Mountain Express self-drive
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This compact yet comprehensive self-drive showcases the key highlights of Alberta and British Columbia, including the beautiful scenery of Banff National Park and the harbourside city of Vancouver.
CALGARY Sitting between the wild prairies and the Rocky Mountains, the city of Calgary is a fantastic place to begin your Canadian adventure. It has that wild west atmosphere, it’s welcoming and it has a great cultural and culinary scene. The city is probably most famous for the annual celebration of the great outdoors and cowboy culture, the Calgary Stampede, which takes place in early July.
BANFF Although not geographically very far, the route from Calgary to Banff will take you to a different world high up in mountains, and to the magnificent landscape of the Rockies. Banff National Park is Canada’s oldest and the world’s third oldest national park, beginning life as a small hot springs reserve. Almost every corner you turn there’s another incredible view, whether it’s a turquoise lake, mountain peak or verdant forest, and some of the country’s most loved wildlife species can be seen within the parks boundaries.
ICEFIELDS PARKWAY & COLOMBIA ICEFIELDS This is truly one of those parts of the world where the journey is a important as the destinations you visit, with each new day of driving taking you through some pretty spectacular landscapes. Travelling from Banff to Jasper along the Icefields Parkway we highly recommend making stops at Lake Louise and the Colombia Icefield which you may like to explore on board the impressive ‘Ice Explorer’.
JASPER NATIONAL PARK Over 4000 square miles of mountains, lakes, glaciers and forests await you in the Rockies’ largest national park. The park is younger than Banff by over 20 years, however what it lacks in years it makes up for in sheer size and scale. As well as beautiful drives through the park, there are hundreds of miles of hiking trails, lakes and rivers on which to kayak, canoe or raft, and peaks to climb.
YELLOWHEAD HIGHWAY & WELLS GRAY Between Jasper and the Alpine resort of Sun Peaks you’ll travel along part of the Yellowhead Highway and cross into the province of British Columbia. If time permits we recommend a visit to the breathtaking nature reserve of Wells Gray Provincial Park en route. Less famous than it’s national cousins of Jasper and Banff, this park holds its own when it comes to striking landscapes, and in particular it’s thundering waterfalls.
VANCOUVER From Sun Peaks pass Kamloops, traverse the sagebrush-covered ranch lands along the South Thompson River and pass the Fraser Canyon and the rapids of the Fraser River en route to Vancouver, Canada’s ‘Gateway to the Pacific’. During your stay in the city a hop-on-hop-off city tour, complete with commentary, is included and provides the perfect way to get your bearings. Sightsee at your own pace as you hop-on and off at many of the city’s premier attractions.