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Rockies to Vancouver, Canadian Style

14 days Self Drive Tours

Virgin Holidays' view

This road trip from Calgary to the coast gives you plenty of time to get to know each stop along the way. And getting to know western Canada means off-grid adventures galore. You’ll start in Banff, Canada’s original national park, with hiking, biking, mountain-top views and jaw-dropping scenery. You’ll spend days on end on the water in Jasper and Lake Louise – with thrill-filled river rafting and calm canoeing – even riding on an ancient glacier. After savouring the last bit of country life in Baker Creek, you’ll venture into vibrant Vancouver to explore the sights and sounds like a local.  

Itinerary

Day 1: Calgary - Banff

Fly to Calgary from the UK and on arrival, collect your hire car and drive to Banff. Upon check-in, you'll be handed your road book at reception which you can familiarise yourself with at leisure. The rest of the day is then free to relax and plan your west coast adventure. Spend the next 2 nights in Banff.

Day 2: Banff / Buffalo Mountain Lodge

Today is yours to explore the beautiful surrounding of the lodge, set in one of Canada's most spectacular parks. Perhaps embark on one of the many hiking trails that are accessible from trail heads near the lodge. Alternatively, you may wish to take advantage of the numerous mountain bike trails and several road riding areas near both the lodge and the Banff townsite. Trails range from easy to difficult and are one of the best ways to experience both the natural wonders of the area and discover the charms of the town and its amenities.

Day 3: Banff – Jasper

Drive to Jasper via the spectacular Icefields Parkway. We suggest a stop at Peyto Lake en route. Enjoy glorious photo opportunities of snow-capped peaks, waterfalls and alpine meadows as you travel this route considered one of the most scenic drives in the world. Spend the next 3 nights in Jasper.

Day 4: Jasper / Pyramid Lake Resort

Today you take to the rapids on a thrilling white water rafting trip. Travelling approximately 9-kilometres, you will encounter many Class 2 white water rapids on this introductory-level excursion. A licensed guide provides commentary on the local and natural history, accented by incomparible views of Jasper National Park. Returning to the resort, perhaps take some to independently explore the local hiking trails, or go for a relaxing paddle boat or canoe on the calm waters of the lake.

Day 5: Jasper / Pyramid Lake Resort

Embark on a tour of one of the most spectacular areas of Jasper National Park. The first stop is at Maligne Canyon where 10,000 years of erosion have created a 49-metre deep gorge. Set off on a short walk to marvel at the Maligne River, see the 'mysteriously' disappearing Medicine Lake before proceeding to Maligne Lake. Embark on a 90-minute interpretative boat cruise to the world-renowned Spirit Island, followed by a tasty treat at the Lake Chalet. Alternatively, you may enjoy a guided 75-minute walk along the shoreline traul of Maligne Lake. Return to the resort and to relax for the evening and reflect on the day's adventures.

Day 6: Jasper – Baker Creek

Today you retrace your route along the Icefield's Parkway, giving you another opportunity to stop and photograph some of the canyon landscapes enshrouded by the towering mountains in the background. At the Columbia Icefield, you board the specially designed Ice Explorer for a journey on to the massive Athabasca Glacier and experience the thrill of walking on centuries-old glacial ice. After this exciting experience, continue on to arrive in the small town of Lake Louise named after the glacier-fed lake that boasts emerald green waters, set against white of the ice shelf in the distance. Spend the next 3 nights in Baker Creek.

Days 7-8: Baker Creek

The next two days are yours to discover why this quiet area is the perfect location to reconnect with nature and either challenge your adventurous spirit, or find a place of serenity and personal reflection. Hiking trails that lead to all levels of routes are close by the resort, making it easy to plan either a short hike or a series of hikes for the day. The resort's proximity to Lake Louise gives you easy access to the outfitters and adventure suppliers based there. Guided, equipment rentals and tours can make any stay and unforgettable one.

Day 9: Baker Creek – Lac Le Jeune Resort

On this full day of travelling, journey through the pristine landscapes that mark the border between Alberta and British Columbia that lie at the very heart of the Rocky Mountains. First traversing the forests, plains and passes of Yoho National Park, you cross over the provincial border and into Glacier National Park - home of the towering Mount Robson. Continuing westward, the road passes by the picturesque southern shores of Shuswap Lake and its contributing waterways. Arriving at Lac le Jeune Resort, check into your hotel and relax after a rewarding day of exploration. Spend the next 3 nights in Lac Le Jeune.

Days 10-11: Lac Le Jeune Resort

The resort is your playground for the next two days, inviting you to enjoy the wide range of water and land activities both at the resort and the surrounding area. It is a fabulous area for fishing, wildlife photography and viewing, rowing, paddling, bird watching, geocaching, mountain biking and hiking. There is a public beach at the provincial park just a short walk away and many places to just hang out and read a book and catch some sun. You may even request the hotel chef make you up a picnic lunch so you can enjoy your day on the water, or out on the trail. Large powerboats are not permitted on the lake, so it's the perfect place to paddle around.

Day 12: Lac Le Jeune – Vancouver

Departing the resort this morning, you will traverse the stunning, sagebrush-covered ranch land along the South Thompson River and its vast herds of cattle and cowboys on horseback. Entering between the towering rock walls of the Fraser Canyon, marvel at the thunder of the whitewater rapids of the Fraser River gushing far below. Over 750,000 litres of water surge through the 34-metre Hell's Gate gorge every minute. A suggested gondola ride over this part of the canyon is sure to impress. Further downstream, the lush Fraser Valley opens up into the maritime basin of the Lower Mainland as you approach Vancouver, Canada's 'Gateway to the Pacific'. Spend the next 2 nights in Vancouver.

Day 13: Vancouver

Today you discover the unforgettable sights and sounds of this oceanside metropolis on your Vancouver city tour. See such city highlights as Place, Robson Street, sports venues, the Library, theatres, Chinatown and historic Gastown. The tour also stops in Stanley Park en route to the Capilano Suspension Bridge in the North Shore rainforest. Cross the 450 foot long bridge over a spectacular canyon to the treetops adventure observation structure before concluding with a visit to Granville Island with its public market, shops, eateries and galleries along the water.

Day 14: Vancouver

Your Canadian adventure ends this morning, as you check out and head for the airport in time for your onward flight.

Please note: the minimum age for this tour is 18 years old.

Meals: This tour is based on a room only basis.

*Denotes local charge – Optional trips and excursions suggested on the itinerary are bookable and payable locally.

Please note: this is a set tour itinerary, if you have booked any pre/post or optional tour arrangements please refer to your separate vouchers and final documents.

Dates & prices

The table below shows our escorted tour departure dates.

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Prices are described as Guide prices on this website and may be higher or lower due to availability and date of departure.

Prices are for departure dates listed, ex-UK and are per adult based on two adults travelling and sharing a standard room and with return economy flights where stated. Single room and flight prices are available at a supplement.

Please note some tours are subject to minimum numbers, please call our travel experts or visit your local retail store for full details as well as our latest prices.

Tour information

Please click here to download a pdf of the itinerary and additional tour notes

Pre/Post Tour information

If you would like to extend your trip or make the tour part of a longer holiday, we can easily add on a pre or post night stays for you. Our Sales Team will work with you to arrange the best connecting flights and book any additional hotel stays. Simply tell us what you’d like and we can arrange it.

Time difference

Eastern Time Zone: GMT -5 hours
Western Time Zone: GMT -8 hours

Tour inclusions

  • Accommodation listed above
  • Resort activities: Buffalo Mountain Lodge (hiking/biking), Baker Creek Chalet’s (hiking), Lac Le Jeune (canoeing/kayaking)
  • White water rafting in Jasper
  • Sightseeing Cruise of Maligne Lake (for tours departing between June 5-Sep18, other departures are substituted with Tour to Maligne Lake & Walk)
  • Ice Explorer Ride on the Columbia Icefield
  • Sightseeing tour of Vancouver and the Capilano Suspension Bridge
  • A personalised Jonview Roadbook containing essential travel information featuring overview notes of the area of travel, local sightseeing and attractions, daily itinerary highlights, provincial maps and city guides, hotel vouchers and customised day-by-day routing maps

Tour exclusions

  • All Flights and airport transfers in the UK
  • Travel Insurance
  • Car hire and insurance unless this has been booked by the sales consultant
  • Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, tips & gratuities, video camera fees at monuments
  • The required Canada Electronic Authorization (eTA)
  • Anything not detailed on the itinerary

Dining inclusions

Room only.

Accommodation

Accommodation listed on the itinerary is a mix of 3-4V graded properties. Please note some tours are up to 3 weeks in duration and there may be some nights when staying in remote locations e.g. the National Parks, when the ‘V’ rating may vary. Hotels are subject to change up until 30 days prior to departure, but you will be advised of any changes.

Visa requirements

Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA)

Visitors travelling to or transiting through Canada by air are now expected to get an electronic travel authorisation (eTA) to enter Canada. If you’re arriving into Canada by air from either the UK or another destination e.g. the USA, you’ll need an eTA. This costs CA$7 and lasts for 5 years or until your passport expires, whichever is first. If you’re travelling by land or sea, you won’t need an eTA when you enter Canada. However, you must travel with acceptable travel documents and identification, i.e. your passport.

For more information on eTA system, and to apply online, visit the official Canadian government website.

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You can continue to pay for your holiday in Manage my booking, even if travelling in less than 12 weeks. 

If you’re struggling to pay, you can delay any additional payments by choosing a new time to travel. If your holiday is more than 6 months away, you may wish to set up a Direct Debit to spread the cost. This can be arranged whilst rebooking or afterwards in Manage my booking.

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We understand that you may wish to change your holiday plans and we appreciate the need for flexibility. 

We'll be in touch by email letting you know how to register to change your holiday plans. You can also log into Manage my booking to find the details there. 

Please look out for emails from us or visit our dedicated Covid-19 (Coronavirus) page for the latest updates.

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Currently, your holiday will be going ahead as planned.

Rest assured; we will notify you as soon as we know if your holiday has been affected by travel restrictions or cancellations.

Please look out for emails from us or visit our dedicated Covid-19 (Coronavirus) page for the latest updates.

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