- 15 Days
- 15 Days
- Prices From:
- US$ 3,235
MODERATE | SELF-DRIVE: Quintessential western landscapes and iconic national parks, such as Banff and Jasper are just for openers. Add unforgettable wildlife viewing, wonderful hiking trails, coastal mountains and picturesque, sheltered valleys to round out the picture. And before we forget, elegant Victoria and dazzling Vancouver make for a perfect end to a memorable trip.
WESTERN EXPLORER - WH
This 15-day self-drive tour explores beautiful Western Canada with a well-planned journey from prairies to Gold Rush country to coast. Your diverse itinerary showcases Calgary, the Rocky Mountains, Banff National Park, Jasper, the Cariboo region, and the rugged wilderness of the Chilcotin plateau. You will travel north through mountain ranges to the peaceful Bella Coola valley, where you board a ferry to the tip of Vancouver Island, then on to the elegant capital city of Victoria, and over to coastal Vancouver and the sparkling Strait of Georgia.
Upon arrival in Calgary pick up your rental car and review the Roadbook you received with all the information needed for your trip. If time allows, go shopping, visit Heritage Park Historical Village, Canada’s largest living history museum, or soar up to the Calgary Tower’s observation deck.
Head westward to Banff through the rolling grasslands of Kananaskis horse country, admiring valley vistas as you make your way to the Bow Valley, and on to the world-renowned resort town of Banff, Alberta. Look for the prevalent curious elk along Banff National Park roadsides. The next day, shop on Banff Avenue, enjoy an Alberta beef at a steakhouse, or book a thrilling outdoor experience such as the Banff Gondola.
Drive to Jasper via the spectacular Icefields Parkway with a recommended stop at Peyto Lake en route. Stop when you wish for incredible photo opportunities of towering forests and cloud-piercing mountain peaks. Take your time: this is considered one of the most scenic drives in the world. After experiencing the beauty of small-town Jasper and Jasper National Park, cross the provincial border into British Columbia and take an interior route to the Cariboo Region, made famous during the Gold Rush.
Continue westward through the pristine wilderness of the British Columbia interior, travelling along the Chilcotin-Bella Coola Highway until you arrive at rustic Steward's Lodge on the shores of stunning Nimpo Lake. Take a leisure day to hike or boat here and experience the grandeur of Canadian nature. Then travel further north through mountain ranges before dipping into the southern arm of Tweedsmuir National Park. Travel into the peaceful Bella Coola valley, situated at the headwaters of a 100 km inlet.
The next day brings a stunningly photogenic full-day ocean cruise with BC Ferries. Travel the winding inlet waterway to the Pacific Ocean, enjoying the peace and rugged beauty, before disembarking in Port Hardy at Vancouver Island’s northeastern tip. End with a craft beer and a halibut dinner overlooking the ocean.
The next day, point your rental vehicle south, winding along the eastern flank of 285-mile long Vancouver Island. Stop for a night in Campbell River, home to some of the world’s best sportfishing and admirable seafood dinners. Continue south past Qualicum Beach, Nanaimo, and the fertile Cowichan Valley. Stop on the scenic Malahat Drive to explore the one-of-a-kind Malahat Skywalk. The views from the Tree Walk and lookout—250m above sea level—are spectacular. Descend via a 20-metre spiral slide if you dare.
Arrive in beautiful colonial Victoria for two days of exploring one of Canada’s most treasured tourist destinations. Tour Butchart Gardens, take a whale-watching tour, or visit Victoria’s two stone-walled castles: Hatley Castle and the Scottish Baronial Craigdarroch Castle. Enjoy afternoon tea at the regal Fairmont Empress Hotel for a taste of British tradition, or visit the downtown’s heritage-rich pubs – twof of them set in historic bank buildings.
Arriving in Vancouver on Day 13, book into your hotel and then enjoy one of the many fine seafood eateries in this cosmopolitan jewel. On your final full day, explore trendy Yaletown, historic Gastown, or a cute little False Creek ferry to Granville Island Public Market, Science World, or Kitsilano’s Sunset Beach. Take a horse and carriage tour in Stanley Park, shop Robson Street, venture out onto Capilano Suspension Bridge, or take the Grouse Mountain Skyride, North America's largest aerial tramway system, and gateway to the majestic nature of the Peak of Vancouver. Drive to Vancouver International Airport the next day to return your rental car and (reluctantly?) fly home.
- 15 Days
- 15 Days
- Prices From:
- US$ 3,235
Arrival in Calgary
Arrive at Calgary’s International Airport and transfer independently to your hotel. The Roadbook you received has all the information needed for your trip. Depending on your time of arrival, you might visit Heritage Park Historical Village, Canada’s largest living history museum or go up the Calgary Tower’s observation deck which offers a spectacular 360° view across the bustling city, the majestic Rocky Mountains, rolling foothills, and expansive prairie landscape. Alternatively, you can always browse the boutique shops and other attractions of the downtown area.
Calgary to Banff (127 km / 79 miles)
The road westward to Banff leaves the towers of glass and steel behind, replaced by the rolling grasslands of Kananaskis horse country on the way towards the mountains. The journey through the valley opens one beautiful vista after another as you make your way to the Bow Valley and the world-renowned resort town of Banff.
Banff National Park
The Rockies arguably most famous town deserves its grand reputation. Nestled in the protected lands of Banff National Park, magnificent elk casually walk the local pathways and parks to the delight of visitors. A wide selection of boutiques, shops and restaurants confirm the town’s international flair and there is no shortage of fabulous outdoor adventures.
Banff to Jasper (288 km / 179 miles)
Today you drive to Jasper via the spectacular Icefields Parkway. We suggest a stop at Peyto Lake en route for a stretch and a short walk. Dozens of incredible photo opportunities of ancient forests and crisply outlined mountain peaks present themselves around every bend of the road. An abundance of small roadside waterfalls and alpine meadows delight travelers along this route, which is considered one of the most scenic drives in the world.
Jasper to 100 Mile House (451 km / 280 miles)
Today embark on your journey westward over the provincial border into the wilds of British Columbia’s interior enroute to the Cariboo Region, an area famous for its bountiful precious mineral deposits. This rugged land drew prospectors and adventurers during the Gold Rush period, many of whom stayed on to found the small communities that still flourish today.
Overnight 100 Mile House
100 Mile House to Anahim Lake (407 km / 253 miles)
Today you continue westward through the pristine wilderness of the British Columbia interior. Travelling along the Chilcotin – Bella Coola Highway you arrive at Eagle’s Nest Resort on the shores of Anahim Lake. A true Canadian vacation resort, the property is surrounded by water on three sides, the deep waters of the lake reflecting the ancient forests and rising volcanic rock escarpments.
Overnight Anahim Lake
Enjoy the beautiful outdoors today at the resort. Relax on the wide decks and soak up the sun, or perhaps embark on a hike along the nearby Rainbow Ridge trail along the top of a sheer volcanic rock wall overlooking the forest below.
Overnight Anahim Lake
Anahim Lake to Hagensborg (Bella Coola Area) (118 km / 73 miles)
Today you depart Anahim Lake and travel further north through the British Columbia Mountain ranges before turning west and journeying into the southern arm of Tweedsmuir National Park. The largest protected park in the province, this area boasts a near untouched wilderness where visitors can admire the rugged landscape the way it was for hundreds of centuries. Leaving the park, you travel into the peaceful Bella Coola valley, home to the Nuxalt First Nations people and situated at the headwaters of a 100 km inlet leading to the Pacific Ocean.
Overnight in Hagensborg
Hagensborg (Bella Coola Area to Port Hardy (Cruise)
Enjoy a full day ocean cruise on board BC Ferries through a long and winding inlet waterway carved into the mountainous landscape. This tranquil, meandering cruise ends in Port Hardy, and you can look forward to unsurpassed spectacular scenery throughout your voyage.
Overnight Port Hardy
Port Hardy to Campbell River (233 km / 145 miles)
Today’s travels take you south along the eastern shore of Vancouver Island. After following the shores of Nimpkish Lake, the road turns inland, giving you a roadside view of the rugged landscape of the island’s interior. Arrive at Campbell River, known as a centre for some of the world’s best sport fishing.
Overnight Campbell River
Campbell River to Victoria (265 km / 165 miles)
Following the Strait of Georgia separating the island from the British Columbia mainland, you continue along the coast past the quaint villages of Parksville, Nanaimo, and Chemainus. Proceeding along the scenic Malahat Drive, you arrive in beautiful colonial Victoria.
Today, explore this elegant capital city. We suggest a visit to Beacon Hill Park and the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. Alternatively, you may decide to drop in for afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress Hotel and experience a taste of British charm.
Victoria to Vancouver (70 km / 43 miles)
Traverse the charming landscape of Victoria one last time before enjoying a mini cruise on BC Ferries back to Vancouver through the Strait of Georgia. Arriving in Vancouver, take advantage of one of the many fine eateries available in this cosmopolitan jewel on the Pacific.
You will have the entire day to tour Vancouver and the surrounding area. Enjoy exploring neighborhoods such as Yaletown, Gastown, Granville Island and Stanley Park, or venture along the meandering pathways along the ocean, visit a gallery, or indulge in a little shopping on Robson Street. Capilano Suspension Bridge and Grouse Mountain are two attractions close by that are well worth a visit.
Your trip ends today and you either return to Vancouver International Airport for your flight home or check into your hotel if you plan to extend your stay.
2023: Jun 11, 15, 19, 21, 23, 25, 29; Jul 3, 5, 7, 9, 13, 17, 19, 21, 23, 27, 31;
Aug 2, 4, 6, 10, 14, 16, 18, 20, 24, 28, 30; Sep 1, 3, 8, 11, 13, 15, 17, 21
- 15 days Intermediate Car Rental with unlimited mileage (Toyota Corolla or similar)
- Customized Self-Drive Roadbook (Digital version)
- 1 night moderate accommodations in Calgary
- 2 nights moderate accommodations in Banff
- 1 night moderate accommodations in Jasper
- 1 night moderate accommodations in 100 Mile House
- 2 nights moderate accommodations in Anahim Lake
- 1 night moderate accommodations in Hagensborg
- 1 night moderate accommodations in Port Hardy
- 1 night moderate accommodationsin Campbell River
- 2 nights moderate accommodations in Victoria
- 2 nights moderate accommodations in Vancouver
- Ferry crossing: Bella Coola to Port Hardy/Discovery Coast
- Ferry crossing: Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen
- Car rental insurance
- Travel insurance
- International and domestic airfare & airfare taxes
- Entrances fees to sites not explicitly listed as included
- National Park Fees - All visitors to Banff and/or Jasper National Parks are required to obtain a National Park Visitor’s Pass. The pass can be obtained either at the airport or at the information centers in Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper. If arriving by car the passengers may obtain the pass at the park entrance gate.
- Meals and beverages not mentioned
- Road tolls
- Items of a personal nature
- Visa fees if applicable
TERMS AND CONDITIONS:
Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request. Additional terms and conditions apply for car rental - please inquire.
21 Sep 2023