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The Icefields Parkway

Prairies & Rockies of Alberta and Saskatchewan

19-day self-drive from £2,010 pp incl. flights

Summary

Short description

Pair Canada’s Rocky-Mountain highlights with the lesser-known charms of Alberta and Saskatchewan

Highlights

  • Travel the plains and pioneering past of western Canada
  • Head into the Rocky Mountains’ natural splendour
  • Take in a dinosaur, First Nations and colonial history that's truly unique
  • Enjoy included excursions, from hot-spring soaks to all-terrain glacier visits
  • Explore with ultra-scenic drives throughout

In Brief

  • 1 Night Calgary
  • 2 Nights Drumheller
  • 2 Nights Cypress Hills
  • 1 Night Moose Jaw
  • 1 Night Regina
  • 2 Nights Saskatoon
  • 1 Night North Battleford
  • 2 Nights Edmonton
  • 2 Nights Jasper
  • 1 Night Lake Louise
  • 2 Nights Banff

About

Recommended for:
History & culture | Natural world | Self-drive

Simply, this is your chance to head off Canada’s beaten track. Scenic drives through Alberta’s Badlands and Saskatchewan’s rolling hills will see you between pioneer towns, centuries-old forts and a pre-history that spans from the dinosaurs to First-Nations tribes. Then, alongside the city bustle of Wild-West Calgary and historic Edmonton, you’ll also sweep into the Rocky Mountains, with spectacular roads bringing you among Lake Louise’s pretty shimmer and Jasper’s alpine-village idyll. You’ll even be treated to a series of complimentary excursions, including hot-spring soaks, Banff’s mountain gondola and an all-terrain trip onto a glacier. Throughout, you’ll stay in comfortable, superbly located accommodation, including a geothermal spa hotel. 

Day by day itinerary

Day 1
UK/Calgary

After enjoying complimentary airport lounge access, board your flight to Canada. Arriving the same day, you’ll pick up your hire car at the airport and make the short journey to your hotel. A delightfully contemporary offering, it’s perfectly positioned right in the city centre, with all of Calgary’s delights on its doorstep. Be sure to take in Calgary’s brash Wild-West sensibilities across its honky-tonk bars, fine steak restaurants and Heritage Park Historical Village, before showcasing its new present in its contemporary art galleries and castle-like National Music Centre.

Stay: Sandman Hotel City Centre (Standard)

Days 2-3
Drumheller

Driving out today, you’ll watch the city limits quickly fade into the arid plains of the Alberta Badlands – one of the world’s greatest repositories of dinosaur fossils. Indeed, we highly recommend a trip to the UNESCO-listed Dinosaur Provincial Park where a new species is discovered nearly every year, exposed by the ongoing erosion of the sandstone and mudstone landscape. Otherwise, perhaps hike out among the dramatic scenery, all wild canyons and hoodoo rock formations. You’ll be staying in Drumheller, a frontier town that’s home to the world-famous Royal Tyrrel Museum – a fascinating glimpse into the world of palaeontology. You’ll also start each day here with a Continental breakfast, and maybe a hot-tub soak.

Stay: Canalta Jurassic Hotel (Standard)

Meals: B

Days 4-5
Cypress Hills

Today’s drive will see you through wide-open prairies dotted only with lonely lakes before you hop provinces into Saskatchewan Province. Here, you’ll wind up into the Cypress Hills, where undulating contours harbour inland lakes and the likes of elk, deer and moose. You’ll spend your days exploring the idyllic interprovincial park, taking in everything from hiking trails and wildlife to historic sites that include the original headquarters of Canada’s famous mounted police. You’ll be staying in a delightful timber cabin, enjoying spa treatments or yoga classes just outside the small-town charm and historic main street of Maple Creek. 

Stay: The Resort at Cypress Hills (Standard)

Day 6
Moose Jaw

Continuing east, pausing at quiet prairie settlements, you’ll arrive into Moose Jaw. Here, you’ll be treated to a stay at one of its prime attractions – the Temple Gardens Mineral Spa. You’ll be able to relax with spa treatments and enjoy soaks in what is Canada’s largest therapeutic geothermal mineral water. You’ll also have some time to explore Moose Jaw itself, learning how it got its “friendly city” moniker with its 1920s casino or a tour of its tunnel system, where Al Capone plied his bootlegging trade.

Stay: Temple Gardens Mineral Spa (Standard)

Day 7
Regina

A short drive east will today see you onto Regina. As Saskatchewan’s capital, it’s home to some of the best collections of provincial history, perhaps best exemplified by the Royal Saskatchewan Museum. Here, you can expect exhibitions on everything from dinosaurs to First-Nation tribes. There’s also the country’s sole training academy for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, where you can visit its historic chapel and watch the cadets drill on the parade ground. Perhaps end the day with a dip in your hotel’s whirlpool tub.

Stay: Sandman Regina (Standard)

Days 8-9
Saskatoon

You’ll start looping back west today, perhaps pausing for a dip at the Manitou Springs Hotel & Mineral Spa before horizonless grasslands see you on to Saskatoon. Here, we highly recommend making the short journey to the nearby Wanuskewin Heritage Park, where you’ll be able to learn of the region’s rich hunter-gatherer history. It’s a First Nations past that dates back over 6,000 years, showcased across hiking trails and interactive exhibits. Then, back in Saskatoon, explore its riverside parks, intriguing museums and superb Mendel Art Gallery before ending each day in your plush accommodation.

Stay: Sandman Hotel Saskatoon (Standard)

Day 10
North Battleford

Continuing northwest through vibrant crop fields, you’ll arrive at North Battleford and its famous Fort Battleford. A national historic site, it’s the chance to step back to the 19th century with period furnishings, reconstructed bastions and costumed guides. The Heritage Farm is a further highlight for its 1920s town and historic agricultural practices. Lastly, your accommodation also comes with a trio of hot tubs and breakfast in the morning.

Stay: Golden Eagle Lodge (Standard)

Meals: B

Days 11-12
Edmonton

You’ll return to the province of Alberta today, with the giant skies of the Trans-Canada Highway seeing you on to its capital city – Edmonton. Don’t miss out on the living history of Fort Edmonton Park, where four historical periods are represented across turn-of-the-century street scenes and timber trading posts. Shoppers will then be impressed by one of the world’s largest malls, while Fort Saskatchewan offers further intrigue. Here, restored 18th-century homes are joined by the likes of blacksmith shops, vintage cars and Alberta’s first courthouse. You’ll return to your historic hotel on the banks of the Saskatchewan River.

Stay: Fairmont Hotel Macdonald (Superior)

Days 13-14
Jasper

The drive today is a real treat, winding up high into the Rockies. After perhaps pausing for a tram ride up Whistler Mountain and your included soak in Miette Hot Springs, the snow-capped peaks will see you on to your cosy accommodation in Jasper. This charming mountain village is surrounded by scenic highlights, with favourites ranging from serene lakes and wild waterfalls to hill hikes and dramatic canyons. It’s all watched over by some of the world’s most spectacular mountain scenery.

Stay: Fairmont Jasper Lodge (Superior)

Day 15
Lake Louise

The gorgeous driving continues today, mapping the very spine of the Rockies with a trip along the Icefields Parkway. Expect never-ending vistas of jagged peaks, hundreds of glaciers and emerald-coloured lakes. You’ll even enjoy an included trip onto the Columbia Icefield, heading out on an all-terrain Ice Explorer vehicle. It’s the chance to step right onto the great white expanse of a glacier. You’ll then end the day on the turquoise shores of Lake Louise, enjoying an alpine-chic stay and exploring forested hiking trails.

Stay: Lake Louise Inn (Standard)

Days 16-17
Banff

For your drive to Banff, be sure to choose the Bow Valley Parkway, mapping the rushing Bow River and offering the chance to stop at Johnston Canyon’s waterfalls. Then, arriving into Banff’s village idyll, you’ll stay in a chic hotel, complete with sauna and cocktail lounge. To help you get your bearings, we’ve included a trip on the Banff Gondola, offering mile-high views of no fewer than six stunning mountain ranges. There’s also the option of soaking in the Upper Hot Springs, spotting elk on valley hikes or checking out the Cave and Basin National Historic Site – an underground lake of ethereal beauty.

Stay: Elk+Avenue Hotel (Standard)

Days 18-19
Depart for UK

As you return towards Calgary, you’ll sweep down back into the plains along the scenic 1A Highway. You might want to pause at the 19th-century Cochrane ranch before dropping off your car at the airport and boarding your overnight flight home.

Map

Pricing

Any element of this itinerary can be adjusted to suit your needs. Just contact us to find out more.

Accommodation rating: Standard

19-day self-drive from £2,010 incl. flights

Standard/Superior

Low Season

from £2,010 pp. incl. flights

High Season

from £2,410 pp. incl. flights

Includes

  • Complimentary UK airport departure lounge access
  • Return flights between UK and Calgary
  • 18 days car hire in an Intermediate vehicle
  • Accommodation for 17 nights in Standard and Superior accommodation
  • Admission to either Banff Upper Hot Springs or Miette Hot Springs in Jasper
  • Ice Explorer ride on the Athabasca Glacier
  • Banff Gondola

Terms & Conditions

Prices are per person based on two people sharing a twin/double room; prices are subject to availability and possible change; normal booking conditions apply.

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