Sunset view of downtown Calgary.
Mikhail Zapolskyi/

Road Trip From Vancouver To Calgary

Updated by Dianne Titos on May 5 2022

Driving from Vancouver to Calgary will take you through some of the most scenic mountain landscapes in Canada and although it's a long trip, it's worth it. Many argue the Canadian Rockies are more scenic than the American ones, so if you set off on this road trip, then you can decide for yourself!

The 970-kilometer road trip from Vancouver to Calgary takes 10 hours 20 minutes to drive. Highlights en route are Kamloops, Revelstoke, Golden, Banff, Lake Louise, EC Manning Provincial Park, Mount Revelstoke, Glacier, Yoho and Banff National Parks.

This Vancouver to Calgary has so much to do and many picturesque places to visit, no matter which route you choose. With so much to do along the way, you'll want to read until the end to get an idea of just how legendary this trip can be.

How to drive from Vancouver to Calgary

The map below shows two great route options for your road trip from Vancouver to Calgary. Click on the star icons for headline details, and scroll down for much more information below.

* Always remember that drive times can be impacted by traffic, closures, weather and other conditions. It's best to double-check while planning and before starting out on your trip.

Comparison of road trip routes between Vancouver and Calgary
RouteDistanceDriving Time
Banff Route970 km10 hours 20 minutes
Crowsnest Route1,230 km13 hours 40 minutes

How far is Calgary from Vancouver and how long will the road trip take?

Along the quickest route, the road trip from Vancouver to Calgary spans around 970 kilometers and takes 10 hours and 20 minutes, not accounting for weather conditions. Aside from the occasional winding mountain turns, the four-lane Trans-Canada Highway makes this drive straightforward regardless of season.

Extending the drive to about 13 hours and 40 minutes, an alternate route will have you driving the Crowsnest Highway. This route is sandwiched between some gorgeous Canadian parks to the north and many of the best forests in Washington, Idaho, and Montana to the south.

A scenic view of the Bow River
Morant's Curve is only one of countless stunning viewpoints you can expect to find by taking the Trans-Canada Highway.
Stas Moroz/

Best road trip route from Vancouver to Calgary

Although there's a case to be made for the southern itinerary, the best road trip route from Vancouver to Calgary will depend on how much time you have on your hands to dedicate to some of the most breathtaking sceneries in Western Canada.

The Banff Route will take you to some of the most beautiful landscapes of the Canadian Rockies, from snow-capped mountains to crystal-clear lakes, this route has it all.

Following this route, you will have the opportunity to make stops at world-famous national parks, which are perfect for outdoor recreation year-round, such as Mount Revelstoke National Park, Glacier National Park, Yoho National Park and Banff National Park.

If you don't shy away from longer detours, you can also head further north to visit Jasper National Park on this route.

Taking the Crowsnest Route will mean that you'd be missing out on Banff and Yoho National Parks, arguably the highlights of the region, unless you're willing to make a decent-sized detour.

However, if you have seen these national parks and would like a change of scenery , dotted with charming small Canadian towns, then the Crowsnest Route is the perfect alternative.

Taking one route on the way to Calgary and the other on the way back is optimal for sightseeing, although the Crowsnest Route might not be the best option to follow in winter.

Both routes are very scenic, but keep in mind that gas stops are hard to come by outside the major cities like Abbotsford and Kamloops, so you'll want to make sure your tank is nice and full on your way out of Vancouver. Remember that phone signal in this part of the Rockies can be patchy, so be prepared and plan ahead.

Banff Route

Follow the Trans-Canada Highway out of Vancouver along the Fraser River, making an optional detour to Pinecone Burke and Golden Ears Provincial Parks before entering Abbotsford.

Continue north along BC-5 through Coquihalla Summit Recreational Area, then visit Monck and Lac Le Jeune Provincial Parks before reaching Kamloops.

From here, hop back onto the Trans-Canada Highway and follow the South Thompson River, stopping at BC Wildlife Park. After driving through a series of minor provincial parks and passing Tsútswecw Provincial Park, drive along Shuswap Lake and through the Enchanted Forest, then prepare to pass through the Rockies.

Without leaving the highway, marvel at the beautiful Rocky peaks as you make your way past Mt Revelstoke, Glacier, Yoho, Banff, and Kootenay National Parks. Not long after passing Bow Valley Provincial Park, you'll see the Calaway Amusement Park as you enter Calgary.

Emerald Lake with crystal waters in Yoho National Park in Canada
You will get to visit the stunning Yoho National Park on the Banff Route.
i viewfinder/

Crowsnest Route

Like the previous route, take the Trans-Canada Highway out of Vancouver and follow it through Abbotsford. After passing Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park, jump onto BC-3 and follow it along the outskirts of the town of Hope, then pass Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park and Othello Tunnels.

After driving through EC Manning Provincial Park, you'll have a somewhat barren section leading up to Sẁiẁs Provincial Park. Driving through the Rockies, you'll have a chain of smaller provincial parks in the north and Kaniksu and Kootenai National Parks in the south.

Once you're out of the mountains, you can cross the American border and take a detour to Montana's Glacier National Park (not to be confused with the Glacier NP of Canada from the other route!) or take AB-22 and AB-2 into Calgary.

As an added footnote, if you want to see more of Washington, you can take BC-11 and WA-9 from Abbotsford into the States. From there, it's only a short drive from North Cascades National Park and Ross Lake National Recreation Area.

Best places to stop between Vancouver and Calgary

The road trip from Vancouver to Calgary is bound to take you at least two or three days to complete. If you're aiming to see as much as possible, you should take at least a week to explore the Rockies or even the northern parts of the States. These are some of the best stops the trip has to offer:

Recharge your batteries at Kamloops

It's a little hard to split the road trip from Vancouver to Calgary into even halves, but Kamloops comes pretty close to being a midpoint; best of all, it's less than 4 hours' drive on the Banff Route and a short drive from the beautiful Rockies once you are ready to set off.

The city's landscape, surrounded by rolling hills and pristine lakes, is the perfect setting for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether it's hiking, biking, or just enjoying the picturesque views, Kamloops is a great place to spend a night or two.

BC Wildlife Park in Kamloops offers an opportunity to connect with nature and witness a variety of indigenous and exotic animals, providing an educational and engaging experience for all ages.

Scenic outlook onto Kamloops, Canada from a distance, with a river running through it
The view of the beautiful city of Kamloops upon your approach will take your breath away, especially during a magical sunset.
Ng Wai Chor/

The Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Kamloops is a standout choice if you are looking for comfort and modern amenities. This contemporary hotel features a lovely terrace to relax at and also has a snack bar, perfect for a quick bite or a refreshing drink.

Certain rooms come equipped with a seating area, offering a tranquil space to unwind and reflect on the day's adventures. Moreover, select rooms boast either city or river views, providing picturesque backdrops to your stay.

When you are ready to explore, the BIG Little Science Centre, located 6 km away, is a must-visit for families and science enthusiasts alike.

A charming small village experience in Keremeos

Keremeos, charmingly situated along the picturesque Crowsnest Route about 3 hours and 30 minutes into the drive, makes for an ideal stopover on the journey. This small village, often referred to as the "Fruit Stand Capital of Canada," is nestled in the Similkameen Valley.

Grist Mill & Gardens at Keremeos, a heritage site, offers a glimpse into the 1870s with its functioning waterwheel-powered flour mill. It's a living history site where you can explore the beautiful gardens and learn about the local heritage.

Keremeos vineyard, Canada with the beautiful mountains in the distance and the vineyard in the foreground taken on a sunny day.
Keremeos is a beautiful village famous for its vineyards and orchards - what a romantic place to be!
Michelle Leduc/

The Similkameen Valley itself is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering opportunities for hiking, wildlife viewing, and enjoying the serene river landscapes.

Just a short drive from the heart of Keremeos, the Crowsnest Vineyards Guesthouse is one of our favorite places to stay. This pet-friendly bed and breakfast features a restaurant, ensuring a delightful culinary experience right at your doorstep.

Some rooms at Crowsnest Vineyards Guesthouse boast a cozy seating area, perfect for unwinding after a day of exploration. Additionally, the property includes a gift shop, in case you'd like to grab some souvenirs to remind you of your time in Keremeos.

The surrounding area offers activities like horse riding and cycling for those seeking adventure. The guesthouse's location is ideal, with Osoyoos 26 km away and Penticton 37 km away, positioning it perfectly for further exploration or a leisurely journey towards your final destination.

Where to stay once you reach Calgary

When you think of Canada, images of towering buildings might not be the first thing that springs to mind, but Calgary puts a lot of the States' cities to shame with its jaw-dropping architecture and urban atmosphere.

Beautiful Calgary city skyline from Scotsman’s Hill on a sunny day
After your stunningly scenic road trip through small-town charm and Canadian wilderness, you will reach the urban scenery of Calgary.

To round off your trip with the best rooms and window views in town, book a room at Hotel Le Germain Calgary.

Offering world-class accommodation and the incomparable Charcut Roast House cuisine, this hotel and its 10-foot ceilings raise the bar for all the local competition. The cherry on top is the Santé Spa, which offers every type of spa treatment under the sun.

There are amazing hotel room views, and then there's this – if you're lucky enough to snag a room on or near the 20th floor, you'll be treated by an unprecedented view of the city and a skyline you'll remember for life.

The hotel is pretty costly, but if you can afford it, there's no better way to experience the city. Located 500 meters from the heart of town, Hotel Le Germain is a hop and a skip from all of Calgary's main draws, including Glenbow Museum and The Art Gallery of Calgary.

Things to see on a road trip from Vancouver to Calgary

If you combine the two routes, the road trip from Vancouver to Calgary is as scenic as they come. Although it would be impossible to mention everything, these should be some of the highest priority stops during your journey.

Banff Route

  1. Mt Seymor Provincial Park - An iconic mountain biking spot in the North Shore Mountains with a great view of the Indian Arm.
  2. Golden Ears Provincial Park - Home to Mount Blanshard's unmistakable Golden Ears peaks and several of the region's finest campgrounds.
  3. Abbotsford - A quintessential mix of size and quaintness, the city is best known for the Abbotsford International Airshow.
  4. Chilliwack Lake National Park - Houses a ginormous event building that offers everything from rodeo arenas to kart racing.
  5. Coquihalla Summit Recreational Area - This area features the iconic Coquihalla Highway and the Kettle Valley Railway.
  6. Lac Du Bois Grasslands Protected Area - A system of unique grasslands and forests and a complex intersection of various geological formations.
  7. Kamloops - The midpoint of the Trans-Canada route and home to various gorgeous parks and ski resorts.
  8. Mount Revelstoke National Park - Despite its relatively small size, this park is a gorgeous precursor to the chain of parks that define the Rockies.
  9. Glacier National Park of Canada - A bevy of scenic caves, skyscraping peaks, and indigenous animals all call this incredible park system home.
  10. Yoho National Park - The park's incredible rock walls and high-altitude vistas make it a must-see for passersby; Takakkaw Falls is a must-see!
  11. Banff National Park - The oldest national park in Canada and the definitive place to experience the Canadian Rockies.
  12. Morant's Curve - A vista that runs along a particularly scenic bend of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
  13. Bow Valley Provincial Park - Stretching along the Bow River, the spring water at this park is famous for not freezing in the winter.
A vista at Banff National Park overlooking Moraine Lake
The kaleidoscope of colors at Banff National Park is one of the highlights of the trip.
Zhukova Valentyna/

Crowsnest Route

  1. Abbotsford Castle Fun Park, British Columbia - A family-friendly amusement park offering a variety of attractions including mini-golf, go-karts, and arcade games.
  2. Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park - A scenic park featuring the stunning Bridal Veil Falls, which cascade down a rock face creating a veil-like effect.
  3. Skagit Valley Provincial Park - Approximately 50 kilometers of scenic hiking trails and a number of amazing fishing spots.
  4. EC Manning Provincial Park - No matter when you do the trip, you can do anything from hiking to skiing at this spectacular park.
  5. Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park - Known for the historic Othello Tunnels, this park offers dramatic canyon views and opportunities for hiking and photography.
  6. Cathedral Provincial Park and Protected Area - A remote and breathtaking wilderness area known for its rugged peaks, alpine meadows, and clear blue lakes.
  7. South Okanagan Grasslands Protected Area - A unique ecosystem with rolling hills, grasslands, and diverse wildlife, ideal for hiking and nature observation.
  8. Elizabeth Lake - A serene natural lake on the outskirts of Cranbrook, popular for birdwatching, walking, and picnicking.
  9. Cranbrook History Centre - A museum showcasing the region's history, with exhibits on railway heritage and the local culture.
  10. Fort Steele Heritage Town - A restored 1890s pioneer boomtown offering historical reenactments, heritage buildings, and interactive experiences.
  11. Leitch Collieries Provincial Historic Site - An important historical site featuring the ruins of an early 20th-century coal processing plant.
  12. Lundbreck Falls - A picturesque and easily accessible waterfall, offering stunning views and picnic areas in a peaceful setting.
  13. Museum of the Highwood - A local museum in High River, Alberta, displaying artifacts and exhibits related to the area's cultural and natural history.
  14. Kaniksu & Kootenai National Forests - Mostly located in Washington and Montana, respectively, these forests are the perfect complement to Canada's southernmost attractions.

Best time to go on a road trip from Vancouver to Calgary

When it comes to picking the optimal time for a road trip from Vancouver to Calgary, there are two important areas to keep in mind – the Canadian Rockies and Calgary itself.

Many people find the Canadian parts of the Rockies to be more lush and beautiful in the springtime than the American ones. The peaks are also less steep on average than in the States, so hiking in the spring or fall is both accessible and scenic.

As for Calgary, the best time to visit depends on how well you can handle the Canadian climate. Although it's sunny year-round, summers in Calgary peak at around 13 degrees Celsius, and this is also when the city has the most tourists.

If you visit in summer, you can participate in the famous Calgary Stampede and Calgary Folk Music Festival, both in July. So, don't forget to book your tickets if you are planning your drive from Vancouver during this month.

In the winter, temperatures can plummet to around -1 degrees Celsius and there are hardly any tourists to be found. This is still a good time to visit if you want to ski down the Rockies, though, as the slopes are only 90 minutes away by car.

If you're not a huge fan of crowds, you can get a good hotel deal in spring. Keep in mind that this is nothing like your average spring further south, and you can expect a lot of melting snow and slippery roads as late as April.

Make sure to check out the fabulous Kamloops Wine Festival if you are travelling between May and June to sample some of the region's famous vintages.