The best drives in Western Canada

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RV driving along the Sea to Sky Highway, BC

There are a thousand and one ways to experience Canada but one of the very best is certainly in a motorhome. Canada is made for touring and boasts spectacular vistas with glorious wide roads, just waiting to be explored. Western Canada is a perfect place to start, featuring some of the world’s most incredible drives. With mountain views, lakes, wildlife, and top attractions, a Canada motorhome holiday is an easy choice to make. In this guide, we highlight some of the very best drives in Western Canada, letting you know about just some of what can be enjoyed in this beautiful part of the world.

Icefields Parkway

Road Through Canadian Rocky Mountains - Icefields Parkway

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Big Hill and Big Bend Icefield Parkway, Alberta

Location: Alberta, Lake Louise to Jasper

Distance: 144 miles

Icefields Parkway is a legendary stretch of road in Alberta, extending gloriously from beautiful Lake Louise to Jasper. This 144-mile drive is simply breathtaking, passing between mountains, glaciers, and lakes, providing a perfect snapshot of Canada’s iconic landscape. There’s exciting wildlife to spot along the way, such as black bears and bighorn sheep, as well as a host of great stops. The fact that Icefields Parkway also takes you from one of Canada’s great national parks in Banff to another in the shape of Jasper National Park, makes it a trip not to miss.

Top sights and attractions

Athabasca Glacier: The most accessible of the six glaciers fed by the Columbia Icefield

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Athabasca Falls: A 25-metre-high waterfall in Jasper National Park

Peyto Lake: A turquoise glacier-fed lake in Banff National Park

Bow Lake: A beautiful mirror-like lake in the Canadian Rockies

Bailey, from the travel blog Destinationless Travel, has driven the Icefields Parkway and spoke to us about her love for the route, highlighting Peyto Lake and Athabasca Glacier:

“The only word to describe the Icefields Parkway is ‘stunning!’ At every turn, there is a new view featuring towering mountain peaks, bright-blue lakes, and even waterfalls! As you drive the Icefields Parkway, there are tons of different places to stop along the way. Peyto Lake is one of the best attractions where there is a lookout over a glacial lake. It’s probably the bluest lake you’ve ever seen! It is also only a short walk to the viewpoint from the parking lot, making it super convenient on any road trip. Be sure to also stop at the Athabasca Glacier on your drive. There are plenty of tours you can do here, or you can just hike up to a viewpoint of the glacier – it’s massive!”

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READ ALSO: 48 hours in Lake Louise

The Pacific Rim Highway

Tofino Beach

Surfer on Long Beach, Tofino, BC

Location: British Columbia, Port Alberni to Tofino

Distance: 80 miles

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The Pacific Rim Highway is, without doubt, one of the great stretches of road, not only in Western Canada but in North America. Hopping in a motorhome to enjoy the 80-mile highway from British Columbia’s Port Alberni to Canada’s surfing capital Tofino is a special opportunity. Located on Vancouver Island, the Pacific Rim Highway will take you through a highlights reel of the Canadian wilderness, with views of mountains, forests, lakes and beaches. It’s a stunning way to experience the beauty of Vancouver Island and for anyone dreaming of exploring Canada’s unspoilt nature, this is a great way to do so.

Top sights and attractions

Long Beach: A famous 10-mile-long beach known for spectacular surfing

Cathedral Grove: A network of forest trails and 800-year-old trees

Wally Creek: A dramatic creek with a stunning backdrop

West Coast Wild Zipline: Zipline adventure of forests and canyons

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Corina, from the family travel blog Packed Again, has enjoyed her time on the Pacific Rim Highway, and spoke to us about what she thinks makes it special: “The Pacific Rim Highway is so versatile which is amazing when being on a road trip. In a short amount of time, you can cover rivers, mountains, rainforests and, not to forget, the beach.”

Corina went on to say that “to pick one favourite stop along the Pacific Rim Highway is nearly impossible,” but that there are two which are her must-visits. The above-mentioned Cathedral Grove and the lovely Hole in the Wall, which is a unique hole in a shale rock riverbank, where a small river winds through the forest.

READ ALSO: A guide to Canada’s islands

Dinosaur Trail

Hoodoos at sunset, near Drumheller, Alberta

Hoodoos near Drumheller, Alberta Badlands

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Location: Alberta, Drumheller

Distance: 30 miles

Located in the region of Drumheller, the Dinosaur Trail is a 30-mile circular tourist route perfect for motorhome explorers. Set in a land that was once brimming with dinosaurs, the area is today known as the dinosaur capital of the world due to the number of fossils that have been found here. The dramatic landscape of the Canadian Badlands provides a stark contrast to the lush green of other driving routes and instead presents a dramatic desert scene of canyons, cactuses, and iconic buttes straight from the wild west.

Top sights and attractions

Royal Tyrell Museum: Home to one of the largest dinosaur fossil collections in the world

Horsethief Canyon: Carved out by the Red Deer River, the canyon provides spectacular views of the valley

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Orkney Lookout: A marvellous natural lookout on cliffs above the Red Deer River

Hoodoos Trail: Impressive sandstone formations along a 13-mile driving route

READ ALSO: How to plan a road trip in Canada

Sea to Sky Highway

RV on Sea to Sky Highway

RV driving along the Sea to Sky Highway, BC

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Location: British Columbia, Vancouver to Pemberton

Distance: 100 miles

The Sea to Sky Highway in British Columbia takes you between the beautiful city of Vancouver to Pemberton, across 100 miles of breathtaking Canadian landscape. Starting off at coastal Vancouver you can enjoy beautiful coastal sites, taking in the likes of Horseshoe Bay and the shipwrecks at Porteau Cove. Enjoy the views as you cruise past beaches, provincial parks, and highlands, climbing up into the mountains as you move inland until you finally reach Pemberton, just north of wonderful Whistler – one of the world’s great ski resorts.

Top sights and attractions

Horseshoe Bay: A family waterfront rest stop where you can watch ferries sailing into port

Porteau Cove: A top scuba diving destination with reefs supporting myriad marine life

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Sea to Sky Gondola: A thrilling cable car ride 885 metres above sea level with sweeping views of Howe Sound

Whistler: A premier North American ski resort with a charming village and wilderness activities

Adam and Kathryn, from the travel blog Adventures of A + K, believe the Sea to Sky Highway to be one of the best activities in the area: “Whenever we know someone visiting Vancouver, we always recommend that they spend a day or more driving at least part of the Sea to Sky Highway. The wide variety of sights along the drive makes it a perfect way to see a diverse range of scenery and get a true feel for what the Pacific Northwest is all about.”

READ ALSO: What are the top places to stop along the Sea to Sky Highway?

Bow Valley Parkway

Lake Louise

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Lake Louise and Fairmont Chateau Hotel, Banff National Park, Alberta

Location: Alberta, Banff to Lake Louise

Distance: 35 miles

The fact that the Bow Valley Parkway takes you from beautiful Banff to the glorious Lake Louise makes this driving route worth it as these are two destinations that should be on any motorhome holiday to-do list in Western Canada. Following the awesome Bow River, you will take advantage of every inch of its 35 miles to take in the epic scenery that presents itself. Filled with dramatic peaks and wild areas where Elk like to roam, the Bow Valley Parkway is an attraction in its own right. Enjoy time in the mountain town of Banff and finish your excursion by exploring the picture-perfect hamlet of Lake Louise.

Top sights and attractions

– Banff: A ski and outdoor activity resort town set amongst Canada’s oldest national park

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– Castle Mountain: A spectacular multi-tiered mountain that dominates the landscape

– Johnston Canyon: A dramatic canyon with a thundering waterfall, featuring a catwalk and viewpoints

– Lake Louise: Famous turquoise, glacier-fed lake surrounded by high peaks

READ ALSO: 48 Hours in Banff

Western Canada’s greatest drives

– Icefields Parkway

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– The Pacific Rim Highway

– Dinosaur Trail

– Sea to Sky Highway

– Bow Valley Parkway

As you can see, Western Canada is packed with some astonishingly good driving routes, perfect for those looking to explore this beautiful part of the world on a motorhome holiday. If you like the sound of these routes as part of your Canada holiday, get in touch and our Canada travel experts can tailor-make your dream adventure.

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READ ALSO: The best campsites in Canada for motorhomes

For more tips, guides, and advice, make sure to visit our blog.



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