Get ready for endless adventure and some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the world on your drive from Calgary to Spokane. This trip is a real treat for national park lovers, with some of North America's best included along the way.
The road trip from Calgary to Spokane covers 560 miles with just under 10 hours on the road. On the way, you can pass High River, Glacier National Park, Libby, Kootenai National Forest, Yoho National Park, Banff, Lake Louise, Revelstoke, and Spokane.
If you're longing for nature, wildlife, and charming mountain towns peppered with historic details, then this road trip is for you. Read on below to learn more about our recommended routes, best places to stay, top highlights, and the best seasons to travel.
How far is Spokane from Calgary, and how long will the road trip take?
|9 hours 50 minutes
|Banff National Park Route
|11 hours 20 minutes
There are two amazing routes that will bring you from Calgary to Spokane, either one boasting beautiful scenery and world-famous national parks.
The Montana Route covers a distance of 560 miles and takes approximately 9 hours and 50 minutes. This journey takes you through unbeatable destinations like Claresholm, Glacier National Park, Whitefish, and Standpoint.
Alternatively, the Banff National Park Route, also 560 miles, requires around 11 hours and 20 minutes of driving. This scenic route includes destinations such as Banff, Golden, Revelstoke, and Colville, which makes it a must for winter sports fans.
Although you could drive each route in a day, we suggest taking over 3-4 days for your road trip. This way, you'll be able to see and experience all the incredible sights and destinations this region offers.
Best road trip route from Calgary to Spokane
While both the Montana Route and the Banff National Park Route showcase breathtaking natural wonders, each one is unique with its own experiences and types of destinations.
The Montana Route takes you on a picturesque detour around the Rocky Mountains. Be prepared to make frequent stops to admire and photograph the scenic landscapes and snow-capped peaks.
This route is rich in national forests, such as Kootenai, Kaniksu, and Coeur d'Alene, open nearly year-round. A highlight is the stunning Glacier National Park in the USA, where you can enjoy plenty of outdoor adventures.
The Banff National Park Route takes you directly through the heart of the Northern Rocky Mountains, passing through Canmore and Banff. This route has unparalleled photo opportunities and opportunities to enjoy nature.
If you love winter sports, you'll enjoy stops at Golden and Revelstoke Mountain Resort, famous for skiing and snowboarding. This route also includes the majestic Banff National Park and the Canadian side of Glacier National Park.
How to drive from Calgary to Spokane
The map above shows our suggestions for the best road trip routes between Calgary and Spokane. Keep reading for detailed descriptions of both routes, where to stay on either, and the best things to do on the way.
Begin your drive from Calgary, heading south on Highway 2 towards Claresholm. This leg of the trip offers a smooth drive with rolling prairies stretching out on either side.
After a brief stop in Claresholm, continue south and cross into the United States, heading towards Glacier National Park in Montana, a popular destination for nature lovers and a perfect spot for hiking and photography, especially at St. Mary Lake.
From Glacier National Park, drive west on Highway 2, winding through the dense forests and stunning landscapes of the Kootenai National Forest. Make sure to pause at the Kootenai Falls Suspension Bridge for a breathtaking view of the waterfalls.
You'll soon arrive in Whitefish, a charming town known for the Whitefish Mountain Resort and plenty of outdoor activities.
Continue westward, passing through the picturesque towns of Kalispell and Libby. As you follow the Clark Fork River, explore the Manukau and Kaniksu National Forests, both offering a wealth of wilderness to discover.
Your next major stop after driving west on Highway 2 is Sandpoint in Idaho, a beautiful destination nestled by the lake and surrounded by mountains.
After Sandpoint, head south towards Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, renowned for its stunning lake and downtown. The last stretch of the trip takes you through the scenic beauty of the Idaho Panhandle National Forests, before arriving in Spokane.
Banff National Park Route
Start the Banff National Park Route from Calgary, traveling west on the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1) towards the picturesque town of Canmore. Here, you'll get your first glimpse of the majestic Rocky Mountains.
Continue along the highway west, and soon you'll reach the stunning Lake Minnewanka, a perfect spot for a scenic break.
Further along Highway 1, you enter the heart of the Rockies as you arrive in Banff. This iconic mountain town, nestled within Banff National Park, has plenty of activities, from hiking to hot springs.
From here, drive a short distance to Lake Louise, famous for its turquoise waters and breathtaking mountain backdrop.
Drive westward into Yoho National Park, where you can see natural wonders like the Spiral Tunnels Viewpoint. The route then takes you to Golden, a gateway to outdoor adventures, and across the Golden Skybridge, offering panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
After Golden, Highway 1 leads you through the Canadian side of Glacier National Park. Experience the rugged beauty of the park before heading towards Mount Revelstoke National Park and the town of Revelstoke.
Here, you can enjoy plenty of winter sports and outdoor activities, including the unique Eagle Pass Heliskiing experience.
As you leave Revelstoke, take Highway 6 South to the Bear Spring Eco Retreat to relax in nature. Then, continue further south, passing through the charming town of Nelson, British Columbia and then towards the United States border.
Once in the USA, continue your drive to Colville in Washington. Here, you'll get to see the gorgeous scenery of Colville National Forest before continuing south on Highway 395 to Spokane.
Best places to stop between Calgary and Spokane
With so many natural wonders, beautiful scenery, and activities along both routes, you'll want to break up your drive and stay in one of the destinations below. This way, you'll be well rested and ready to explore this wonderful part of North America.
Take to the slopes in Whitefish
Whitefish, Montana, located around 5 hours and 10 minutes into the Montana Route, is an ideal spot for an overnight stop. This resort town, snuggled in the Rocky Mountains of northwest Montana, is a gateway to the stunning landscapes of Glacier National Park and has some of the best skiing in the country.
The major attraction in Whitefish is the Whitefish Mountain Resort, famous for its exceptional ski slopes and summer activities like hiking and mountain biking.
Another must-visit is the Whitefish Lake State Park. Here, you'll get to enjoy swimming, boating, and picnicking, with breathtaking mountain views.
For your stay, we recommend the highly rated Lodge at Whitefish Lake. This luxurious resort hotel provides outstanding service and deluxe rooms.
The lodge is just minutes from downtown Whitefish and a short 10-minute drive to the ski slopes, and a scenic 30-minute drive from Glacier National Park.
You'll get to enjoy outdoor activities and amenities, including ice skating, a selection of games and books, yoga, and lawn games. The resort also has indoor and outdoor pools and hot tubs to relax in after your long drive.
Guests at the spa and lodge can unwind in a steamy lakefront sauna, offering spectacular views of Whitefish Lake.
Nearby, you can visit the Whitefish Mountain Resort, just a 10-minute drive from the hotel. Or, take a 30-minute drive to the awe-inspiring Glacier National Park.
Enjoy views across the Rockies in Revelstoke
Revelstoke, located just 4 hours and 30 minutes from Calgary on the Banff National Park Route, is an excellent choice for an overnight stop. It's a skier's paradise and a hub for mountain biking and hiking during warmer months.
The Revelstoke Mountain Resort, known for its thrilling ski slopes and beautiful scenery, is a must-visit for anyone stopping in Revelstoke. When you're here, don't miss Mount Revelstoke National Park, where you can enjoy hiking trails with panoramic views and scenic drives through the Canadian Rockies.
For your stay, consider the luxurious Basecamp Resorts Revelstoke, a boutique hotel conveniently within walking distance from downtown and the beautiful Columbia River. This hotel is just a quick ride from the town's famous ski slopes and the excitement of downtown.
Each room features high-quality linens, a fully-equipped kitchen, and a selection of bath products, ensuring a cozy, home-away-from-home feeling. The resort can accommodate groups of up to 16 people and also offers select pet-friendly rooms.
One of the highlights of Basecamp Resorts is its upper deck, which has two shared hot tubs with stunning views of the surrounding mountains. It's the perfect place to relax and soak in the natural beauty of Revelstoke.
The hotel is conveniently located on the route of the resort shuttle, where you can catch an affordable ride to the Ski Area.
Nearby, you can visit the Revelstoke Railway Museum, just a 5-minute drive away, where you can learn more about the rich history of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Mount Revelstoke National Park's entrance is also a mere 5-minute drive, offering easy access to its natural splendors.
Where to stay when you reach Spokane
Spokane, often known as the Lilac City, blends small-town charm with big-city amenities. Nestled at the foot of the northern Rocky Mountains, it's a city rich in arts, culture, and easily explorable on foot.
The city's Riverfront Park is a must-visit, offering green spaces and trails in the heart of downtown Spokane. If you're interested in arts and history, the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture is another highlight not to miss.
Spokane is the birthplace of Father's Day and is famous for being close to outdoor activities, including ski slopes and hiking trails.
For your stay, The Historic Davenport, Autograph Collection is an excellent choice. This hotel, known for its elegant accommodations and legendary service, is also full of historical charm with antique furniture and art.
The Historic Davenport has three highly rated on-site restaurants: The Palm Court Grill, The Peacock Room Lounge, and The Safari Room. Each offers a unique menu that features local ingredients and a beautiful atmosphere.
On top of its restaurants, you'll love the hotel's amazing amenities such as an indoor pool, barbeque facilities, and free Wi-Fi.
If you're keen to explore the city, Riverfront Park is just a 5-minute drive away. This spot is a serene place to enjoy downtown Spokane's scenic beauty.
Things to see on a road trip from Calgary to Spokane
As you drive from Calgary to Spokane, you'll find plenty to see and do along the way. To help you make the most out of this wonderful journey, we've included our top destinations below.
On the Montana Route
- Museum of the Highwood - Located in High River, Alberta, this museum showcases the region's history, featuring exhibits on the area's ranching heritage and the famous 2013 flood.
- Frank Lake - A haven for birdwatchers, Frank Lake, near High River, Alberta, is an important wetland habitat, home to hundreds of bird species, especially during migration periods.
- Glacier National Park (USA) - Situated in Montana, this park is renowned for its stunning alpine scenery, diverse wildlife, and the iconic Going-to-the-Sun Road.
- St. Mary Lake - Located in Glacier National Park, this spectacular lake is known for its crystal-clear waters and picturesque views of surrounding mountains and wildflowers.
- Museum of the Plains Indian, Montana - Found in Browning, Montana, this museum celebrates the rich cultural heritage and art of the Northern Plains Indian tribes.
- Whitefish Mountain Resort - A premier ski destination near Whitefish, Montana, offering year-round outdoor activities including skiing, hiking, and mountain biking.
- Kootenai National Forest - Spanning northwestern Montana and northeastern Idaho, this forest is a natural paradise with diverse ecosystems, abundant wildlife, and numerous recreational opportunities.
- Kootenai Falls Suspension Bridge - Near Libby, Montana, this bridge offers breathtaking views of the Kootenai Falls, one of the largest free-flowing waterfalls in the northwest United States.
- Manukau National Forest, Clark Fork - This forest area, located near Clark Fork, Idaho, is known for its scenic beauty, wildlife, and numerous outdoor recreational activities.
- Kaniksu National Forest, Clark Fork - Nestled near Clark Fork, Idaho, this forest is a haven for nature enthusiasts, offering expansive wilderness, hiking trails, and diverse wildlife.
- Sandpoint - A picturesque town in Idaho, known for its stunning lake views, vibrant arts scene, and the annual Festival at Sandpoint music event.
- Tree to Tree Idaho Adventure - Located near Athol, Idaho, this adventure park offers exhilarating zip lines and aerial obstacle courses amid the beautiful forest landscape.
- Idaho Panhandle National Forests - A collection of forests in the Idaho Panhandle, offering a wide range of outdoor activities, from hiking and camping to fishing and wildlife viewing.
- Coeur d'Alene National Forest - Located in northern Idaho, this forest features a mix of scenic landscapes, abundant wildlife, and a variety of recreational opportunities.
- Coeur d'Alene, Idaho - A beautiful city known for its stunning lake, vibrant downtown, and recreational opportunities, including the famous Coeur d'Alene Resort Golf Course.
On the Banff National Park Route
- Canmore - A charming mountain town in Alberta, offering a gateway to the Canadian Rockies with outdoor activities, arts, and cultural events.
- Lake Minnewanka - Located near Banff, Alberta, this glacial lake offers boat tours, hiking trails, and breathtaking mountainous scenery.
- Banff - A world-renowned resort town in Alberta, nestled in the heart of the Rockies, known for its hot springs, outdoor activities, and breathtaking landscapes.
- Banff National Park - Canada's oldest national park, famed for its stunning mountain scenery, wildlife, and a multitude of outdoor recreational activities.
- Lake Louise - Famous for its turquoise waters and stunning backdrop of Victoria Glacier, this lake in Banff National Park is a must-see destination.
- Spiral Tunnels Viewpoint - Located in Yoho National Park, this viewpoint offers a unique perspective on the engineering marvel of the Spiral Tunnels, used by trains navigating the steep terrain.
- Yoho National Park - A park in the Canadian Rockies known for its waterfalls, rock walls, and the famous Burgess Shale fossil beds.
- Golden - A vibrant town in British Columbia, offering outdoor adventures, surrounded by the stunning scenery of the Canadian Rockies.
- Golden Skybridge - Featuring Canada's highest suspension bridges, this attraction in Golden, British Columbia, offers panoramic views of the Columbia Valley.
- Glacier National Park (Canada) - Situated in the Canadian Rockies, known for its rugged mountains, picturesque lakes, and diverse wildlife.
- Mount Revelstoke National Park - A park in British Columbia known for its rainforest, alpine scenery, and the Meadows in the Sky Parkway.
- Revelstoke, British Columbia - A small mountain town renowned for its outdoor adventures, including skiing, mountain biking, and a rich railway history.
- Eagle Pass Heliskiing - Based in Revelstoke, this company offers thrilling helicopter skiing experiences in the Monashee and Selkirk Mountains.
- Bear Spring Eco Retreat - Located near Revelstoke, this retreat offers a unique, sustainable stay amidst the natural beauty of the Canadian wilderness.
- Nelson, British Columbia - A cultural hub in the Kootenay region, known for its historic architecture, vibrant arts scene, and stunning setting on the west arm of Kootenay Lake.
Best time to go on a road trip from Calgary to Spokane
Spokane, the Lilac City, is a captivating year-round destination, with each season offering its unique charms and activities.
In winter, Spokane transforms into a snowy wonderland, with average temperatures ranging from 20 to 35 degrees Fahrenheit.
While driving through the Rocky Mountains on the Montana Route during this time, be prepared for road closures due to winter storms or avalanche safety work. On the Banff National Park Route, similarly, expect harsh winter conditions and take caution if unsure about driving.
The national parks and forests, including Glacier National Park and Kootenai National Forest, are open year-round, offering plenty of winter activities. Don't miss the Ice Magic Festival in Banff (January, February) or the annual Christmas and New Year's festivities in destinations like Banff and Spokane.
In your destination, don't miss the Spokane International Film Festival in February. This is another cultural event in winter worth scheduling your trip around.
Spring in Spokane brings milder temperatures, averaging between 45 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. This season is ideal for enjoying the Spokane Lilac Festival in May. Both routes offer stunning spring vistas, with the national parks and forests coming to life.
Summer in Spokane is pleasant, with temperatures typically in the high 70s to mid-80s Fahrenheit. The city's arts and cultural scene is in full swing, and outdoor activities like hiking and mountain biking attract adventure-loving visitors.
One of our highlights of this season is Spokane's Pig Out In The Park festival, which showcases the city's best food, music and entertainment in the week leading up to Labor Day.
The Banff National Park Route shines in summer, with the Golden Sound Festival being a popular must-see event in August. Both routes offer lush landscapes and ideal conditions for exploring national parks and outdoor attractions.
Autumn in Spokane is a delightful time, with temperatures ranging from the mid-50s to 70s Fahrenheit. The scenery along both routes is spectacular, with fall foliage adding to the charm.
On the Montana Route, don't miss events like the Great Northwest Oktoberfest and the Montana Dragon Boat Festival in the early fall.