The Canadian wilderness is home to some of the world’s most incredible wildlife. In a day, you can witness grizzlies fishing for salmon, come face to face with a majestic moose and watch a breaching humpback whale off the coast. For wildlife photographers, the dramatic landscapes of Canada provide the ultimate setting whilst nature lovers are bound to be blown away by the diverse flora and fauna that awaits around every corner.
Canada’s landscapes are primed for a hiking adventure and its many thousands of trails are fit for any age and ability. Whether it be heli-hiking in the mountains, or a gentle stroll around one of its many alpine lakes, no matter your fitness or walking preferences, there is bound to be something that appeals to everyone.
Canada’s formidable scenery is primed for discovery on four wheels. Roads skirt majestic mountain passes, shimmering blue lakes and endless wilderness making for a journey you and your loved ones will never forget. Whether its that of a sparkling ocean, a lush pine forest, a thundering waterfall, a craggy peak or a gurgling stream, there is a postcard perfect view awaiting at every turn in the road.
The soaring mountains and thick forests of inland British Columbia are a thrilling wilderness where hikers roam through flower-filled meadows and grizzly bears fish for salmon, but venturing to the coast provides just as much fun and adventure. Our specialists have handpicked their favourite ways to spend their days in Coastal BC.
A pristine wilderness on a scale difficult to imagine, Canada’s glaciated Rocky Mountains are a true adventure playground with a huge range of activities on offer. From hiking to horse-riding and of course wildlife spotting, there is no end of things to do. Here’s our lowdown on the top ten ways to spend your days in this grand region, which spans the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia...
Classic Western Canada
Calgary, Field, Jasper, Clearwater, Whistler, Tofino, Vancouver
Best for: Highlights, Self Drive, Spectacular scenery
This self-drive itinerary from Calgary to Vancouver is a fantastic option for first time visitors to Western Canada. Enjoy the majestic mountains and turquoise tinted lakes of the Rockies, wildflower meadows and wild Vancouver Island beaches.
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We don’t think you’ll find a better introduction to the Canadian West than this magnificent road trip that begins in Calgary and takes you through Alberta’s awe-inspiring Rocky Mountains and wide-open plains of British Columbia, across to Vancouver Island before ending in Vancouver city. Along the way, you’ll experience jaw-dropping scenery and famed Canadian hospitality, all while staying at some superbly authentic lodges.
Day 1 - 2 : Calgary
Stay at Hotel Le Germain Calgary for 1 night
with a night in Calgary, Alberta’s prairie city some fifty miles or so from the Rockies. This city, famed for its cowboys and stockmen and its annual Stampede every July, is surprisingly modern and vibrant, and the boutique hotel Le Germain makes an agreeable base for enjoying your first night.
Days 2 - 5 : Lake Louise, Alberta & The Plains, Canada
Stay at Cathedral Mountain Lodge for 3 nights
Next, it’s a drive into the Rockies, where we’ve suggested a couple of nights at the idyllic Cathedral Mountain Lodge in the heart of Yoho National Park. Located on the banks of the Kicking Horse River, it’s a real gem of a hotel with warm hospitality and some of the best dining in the Rockies. With complimentary kayaking at Moraine Lake included, as well as spectacular hiking on your doorstep and at Banff National Park, Cathedral Mountain Lodge provides a real hideaway from the crowds at Lake Louise, with everything you could want to explore and more just a short drive away.
Days 5 - 7 : Jasper, Alberta & The Plains, Canada
Stay at Tekarra Lodge for 2 nights
Continuing up the stupendous Icefields Parkway to Jasper, you’ll pass the Columbia icefield and its spectacular glaciers, tumbling waterfalls and aqua lakes. Couple this with the chance of spotting bears and elk on route, the drive is a true highlight of your holiday. Spend a couple of nights in Jasper, and enjoy this wildlife rich national park, ensuring you take a detour to the spectacular Maligne Lake.
Day 7 - 8 : Clearwater
Stay at Alpine Meadows Resort for 1 night
Then its onto Clearwater in British Columbia, the gateway to Wells Gray, one of BC’s prettiest national parks. Staying at the rustic lakeside Alpine Meadows Resort, you’ll be able to experience first-hand this magnificent tract of wilderness with its rushing meltwater rivers, waterfalls, high alpine meadows, lush forest and valleys – in many ways it’s the very essence of British Columbia.
Days 8 - 10 : Whistler, British Columbia, Canada
Stay at Summit Lodge Boutique Hotel for 2 nights
From Alpine Meadows, drive onto Whistler, for a couple of nights in this charming mountain village, where you can take in its spectacular scenery by gondola, as well as enjoy the excellent choice of restaurants, markets and ice cream parlours it has to offer. We would suggest enjoying the views from the peak-to-peak gondola and indulging in the Scandinave Spa.
Days 10 - 13 : Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Stay at Middle Beach Lodge for 3 nights
Next it’s an early start driving the Sea-to-Sky road to Horseshoe Bay, where you’ll take the ferry across to Vancouver Island. Whilst on the island, a scenic drive will take you to Tofino, via the spectacular Cathedral Grove of 800 year old Douglas Firs and Coombs Market, renowned for excellent ice cream and a perfect refreshment stop. Arrive into Tofino late in the day, where you can enjoy this town’s relaxed surfy vibe, with rolling waves that meet ancient forest coastline, it’s an idyllic place to unwind. Located on Clayoquot Sound, the area is renowned for fantastic whale watching as well as bear viewing where you can spot black bears fishing on the coastline throughout the summer months. It is also a perfect place for strolling along the rugged beaches and indulging in the town’s surprisingly excellent west-coast eateries.
Days 13 - 15 : Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Stay at L'Hermitage Vancouver for 2 nights
Finally, it is onto Vancouver, via ferry and road, to enjoy a couple of nights in this laid-back cosmopolitan city. We’d recommend exploring the best of Vancouver’s food scene on a small group gourmet foodie tour, heading to Granville Market for shopping and soaking up the last views of the mountains and ocean from Stanley Park before returning home.
When to go
The Canadian Rockies and BC are blessed with long summers to enjoy the great outdoors. May signals the start of spring but there can still be some snow at higher elevations in Alberta and many lodges are just getting ready to open. June is considered the best month to visit for wildflowers, pleasant temperatures, wildlife coming alive and fewer crowds. July and August are the most popular months for travel. We encourage early booking to confirm preferred lodges. These summer months are fantastic for outdoor activities, including bear viewing throughout the region and whale watching and ocean activities in Tofino. Whilst temperatures throughout Alberta and BC are fairly consistent during these months (low to mid-twenty degrees Celsius), it is best to come prepared for all weathers in the Rockies.
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Things to do
Attractions Trolley Tour (Hop on/off)
The Hop-On, Hop-Off City Attractions Tour is the easiest way to enjoy Vancouver’s most popular areas: Stanley Park, Chinatown, Gastown, Granville Island and more!
Peak 2 Peak Gondola
Spanning three kilometres between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, the world record-breaking Peak 2 Peak Gondola is a breathtaking journey with 360-degree views. Access via the Whistler Village Gondola.
Whale Watching in Tofino
This tour takes you through the pristine waters of Clayoquot Sound to view beautiful scenery and wildlife. Depending on the time of year, you could encounter gray whales, humpback whales, sea lions, sea birds and resident bald eagles.
Capilano Suspension Bridge
Walk across the magnificent Capilano Suspension Bridge, rise high above the canyon along a new granite Cliffwalk and climb through old growth fir trees on the Treetops Adventure. Don't forget to take a complimentary guided nature walk.
From $4120 per person
International economy flights including taxes from the UK
Breakfast, afternoon tea and canoeing on Moraine Lake included at Cathedral Mountain; Continental breakfast at Le Germain, Middle Beach, and L'Hermitage.
Car rental and return car ferry
Ask our specialists for prices excluding flights from the UK. This price is as a guide only. The actual price is influenced by fluctuations in exchange rate, time of year, travel class of flights and the use of private versus shared excursions. Single supplements are likely to apply.