Roadtrips through Alberta
By Laura Gelder| May 2018 | 3 minute read
The wide open roads of Alberta are perfect to explore by car. Check out these great itineraries, packed with activities for all seasons, says Laura Gelder
The Great Northwest: Starting in Edmonton, this action-packed itinerary can start with a trip to the Art Gallery of Alberta or historic Fort Edmonton Park. It continues under wide open skies to Whitecourt and its top hiking trails; Grande Prarie (pictured) for local art and dinosaur digs; Grande Cache for stunning river valley views; and Jasper, with options including a motorcycle tour, Maligne Lake Cruise or glacier adventure. Then wind back to the capital via pretty Edson, set among forest, lakes and sand hills.
Winter wonderland: Running from Calgary to Edmonton via Alberta’s iconic national parks, this eight-day trip is all about embracing winter and the white stuff! Travellers can ski, snow shoe, take an ice walk or dog sled through Alberta’s magical landscapes. Suggested activities include seeing a hockey game in Calgary or snow tubing at Mount Norquay, ice skating at Lake Louise (pictured), scaling glaciers and canyons with Rockaboo Mountain Adventures in Jasper and a snowy Segway tour through the streets of Edmonton.
Calgary hub and spoke: Visitors can use Calgary as a base and day trip to some of Alberta’s top destinations. The drive to Banff is 1.5 hours and from here visitors can fit in activities like horse trekking the Bow River, a Lake Minnewanka cruise (pictured) or spotting grizzly bears from the Lake Louise Gondola. Drumheller and the Badlands is one hour 45 minutes, along with the Royal Tyrrell Musuem and Dinosaur Provincial Park. Kananaskis is under an hour away, with 4,000 sq km of mountain parks and foothills to explore.
Landscape, cities and Rockies: Starting in Calgary, this seven-day trip has a good mix of urban safari and wild spaces. In Calgary there’s various tours – by segway, raft or on foot via the city’s best eateries or breweries, as well as attractions like Winsport Canada Olympic Park. From here, it’s a short drive to quirky alpine town Canmore. Located in Kananaskis Country (pictured), it’s near a vast network of provincial parks offering walking, horse trekking, rock climbing and more. The trip then continues to Banff, Lake Louise and the Icefields Parkway to Jasper before finishing in cosmopolitan Edmonton.
Badlands and Southern Alberta: Starting in Calgary, this drives straight to Banff and Canmore, before looping back east to the canyons, coulees and wind-whipped hoodoos of the Badlands. Uncover dinosaur fossils in Drumheller; stay at the Historic Bar Diamond Guest Ranch and ride old wagon trails; cafe-hop and enjoy local art and culture in Medicine Hat; hike and stargaze in Cypress Hills Provincial Park (pictured); search for ancient rock art in Writing On Stone Provincial Park; relax in Waterton Lakes National Park and marvel at Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump enroute back to Calgary.
Jasper in winter: This four-day Edmonton round-trip can be done with or without a car - taking the VIA Rail train between the two. Just outside the city, the snow-draped landscape of Elk Island National Park (pictured) is a great place to learn about wildlife on a guided interpretive snowshoe tour. In Jasper winter activities include walking along the frozen floor of Maligne Canyon past naturally formed ice sculptures and icefalls, star gazing in a Dark Sky Preserve and skiing or boarding in Marmot Basin. Back in the city is West Edmonton Mall, home to over 800 shops.