Western Canada Coast to Mountains
To celebrate Canada's stunning National Parks, we have put together an experience-filled itinerary to give you the holiday of a lifetime. Experience the beauty of the Canadian Rockies, British Columbia's High Country and Coastal regions on this driving tour of Western Canada. You can enjoy an Ice Explorer Ride onto the Athabasca Glacier, a whale watching tour in Clayoquot Sound, a gondola ride up Sulphur Mountain as well as the spectacular scenery and atmosphere.
- Icefields Parkway
- Vancouver Island
- Wells Gray Provincial Park
- Lake Louise
Downtown Vancouver is an intriguing mixture of steel, concrete, mirrored glass buildings, modern sculptures and old-fashioned fountains. There is so much to see and do in the city. You can rent a bike to ride around the Seawall in Stanley Park or try rollerblading if you are feeling adventurous! Dinner can be taken at the top of Grouse Mountain for a spectacular view of the city lit up at night and you can reach the summit by the Skyride Gondola.
Take the ferry across False Creek to the refurbished Granville Island - the place to be on a sunny day. Here you can shop in the Public Market, walk round the marina, browse in the gift shops or sample some of the local food.
A visit to the Capilano Suspension Bridge is well worth it for the spectacular views and stunning forest scenery. Alternatively spend some time at the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge nearby. Take along your bathing suit and you can have a dip in Lynn Creek after a short walk in the forest.
There will be plenty of time for shopping on Robson Street in its trendy shops and the Robson Public Market. Visit Chinatown - the second largest Chinese community in North America and home to the beautiful and peaceful Dr. Sun Yat-sen Classical Chinese Garden. No visit is complete without wandering through Gastown where Vancouver started. The brightly painted buildings date back to 1886 and old gas lamps and trees line the red cobblestone streets. There are many galleries, restaurants and gift shops here The Boathouse Restaurant is a great place for dinner, while watching the sunset over English Bay and people watching all the evening strollers. (Strolling in the evening is a local ritual!!)
"5hrs including ferry"
Today take the ferry across to Nanaimo. From there you will then drive from Nanaimo over to Tofino.
In Tofino, on Vancouver Island’s magnificent west coast, you’ll have the chance to head out to sea in a RIB to look for the abundance of marine wildlife. If you travel from June to November, along with the resident grey whales is a whole host of other mammals that visit the west coast of Vancouver Island, including orcas, humpback whales, a variety of porpoises, Steller’s and California sea lions and harbour seals. If you are fortunate you may even spy a sea otter.
Campbell River is beautifully set between Strathcona Provincial Park to the west and Discovery Islands to the east. Known for the past century as the Salmon Capital of the World, Campbell River is a perfect place to explore the wilderness. You can discover many activities in the area, such as kayaking, hiking, white water rafting, snorkelling or taking a walking tour with llamas. The setting of April Point, on Quadra Island, makes it one of the best places in the world to view Humpback whales during their migration.
Egmont, Sunshine Coast
"2hrs including ferry"
Today you will drive from Campbell River to take the ferry from Comox to Powell River. Then take a connecting ferry from Saltery Bay to Earls Cove before arriving in Egmont.
Egmont, on Canada’s ‘Sunshine Coast’, is often described as British Columbia’s best kept secret. Take a hike around the Sunshine Coast Trail, try to catch a glimpse of a black bear whilst sailing down Powell Forest Canoe Route or go fishing in the one of the many fresh-water lakes in the area. Whilst you are here, a visit to the Tetrahedon Provincial Park and Skookumchuck Narrows is a must; twice a day nature puts on a show as the tide changes and flow of saltwater switches, reversing the direction and power of the incredibly turbulent Sechelt rapids. For extreme kayakers and divers, this phenomenon presents one of the great white-water wonders of the world.
Located in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia, Whistler is a world of tranquil forests, alpine trails, sparkling lakes, aqueous skies and shimmering mountain peaks. It is also one of the most popular ski resorts in the country and a year round playground with plenty to do in the spring and summer including mountain biking or hiking the alpine trails, canoeing, rafting and horse riding. The resort’s enchanting alpine village is alive with festive entertainment, intriguing shops and European style cafes. Here you can choose from a bounty of recreational activities with unlimited options.
Today’s drive is a long one but it offers some of the most fantastic views of the Rocky Mountains along the way.
Clearwater is home to Wells Gray Provincial Park, British Columbia's third largest, with an area of 520,000 hectares of wilderness with waterfalls, lakes and mountain ranges. The park has a network of hiking trails, which traverse the Clearwater River Corridor and range in difficulty from easy to advanced. Highlight trails include the route to Mahood Lake and the easy-to-moderate trek to the Trophy Mountains meadows (especially in July when alpine flowers bloom). Helmcken Falls Rim Trail, infrequently used but easily found, snakes behind the iconic falls offering a spectacular and rare view.
Jasper itself is located at the confluence of the Athabasca and Miette Rivers and is surrounded by the peaks of Jasper National Park. Here you can take the Jasper Tramway up the Whistlers Mountain for great views of the mountain and valley, visit Maligne Canyon and Lake or relax in Miette Hot Springs. Drive out to Mount Edith Cavell, one of the highest peaks in the area or visit Patricia and Pyramid Lakes. You also have time to take one of the many whitewater rafting excursions on offer in this area.
Today, heading towards Banff, you will be on the Icefields Parkway which is 300km long. This road takes about 4-5 hours to travel but try not to rush as it is one of the most scenic and inspiring mountain roads ever built; there are 13 viewpoints along the trail. Bow Summit is the highest point along the parkway at 2088m and offers great views of Peyto Lake. The most popular attractions along the parkway are the glaciers that spill down from the Columbia Icefield. Stop at the Icefields Centre to take an Ice Explorer ride onto the Athabasca Glacier. There are also other stunning places to visit including, Bow Lake, Sunwapta Falls, Crowfoot Glacier and the Athabasca Falls. This journey is one worth starting early so you can be sure of seeing all that you want to.
Banff is a small town surrounded by one of the most beautiful parks in the world. One of its greatest assets is the accessibility of its natural wonders; most highlights are located close to the road system. For the more adventurous, there is an excellent system of hiking trails that lead to alpine lakes, along glacial valleys and to spectacular viewpoints where crowds are scarce and human impact has been minimal. Head to the mountaintop by the Sulphur Mountain Gondola for fantastic views of Banff town, Bow Valley, Cascade Mountain and Lake Minnewanka. There are many outdoor activities including canoeing, horseracing and hiking to be enjoyed here and you can always end your busy day with a long soak in the Hot Springs at Sulphur Mountain. When considering hiking in this region, always visit the Banff Visitor Centre where staff can advise you on the condition of the trails and any closures.
Lake Louise is just a short drive from Banff, village is still quite small, with a shopping mall, a few hotels and a visitor centre. The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, situated on the lakes shore, is a tourist attraction in itself and is visited by the millions who come to photograph the lake with Mt Victoria in the background. Rent a canoe from the boathouse and glide through the lake - take care not too fall in as even in August the lake only reaches about 4C! Moraine Lake, though half the size of Lake Louise is just as spectacular.
For another fantastic view, take the Lake Louise Gondola on the 20 minute journey up the face of Mt. Whitehorn to Whitehorn Lodge where you can see Bow Valley, Lake Louise and the Continental Divide. Also from Lake Louise, you can explore to the west of the Rockies into Glacier Park, Yoho Valley, Takakkaw Falls, Emerald Lake and the amazing Spiral Tunnels, built to keep the trains slow on their descent on the mountains.
Today, make the journey to Calgary to catch your evening flight home.
- 17 nights’ accommodation and room tax
- International flights from London (please ask if regional airports are required)
- Excursions as detailed
- Fully insured compact car hire (larger vehicles are available)
- A detailed and comprehensive travel pack with driving instructions and maps