This itinerary takes you through some of the smaller Provincial Parks in the area and away from the tourist crowds of Banff National Park. Learn about the way of life of the Plains people at Head-Smashed-In-Buffalo-Jump and travel back in time at the Fort Steele Heritage Town. Enjoy a boat cruise on Waterton Lake or challenge yourself on one of the hikes in the park!
Day 1: Calgary to Kananaskis (125 km)
Pick up your RV in Airdrie in the morning and travel west on Highway 1 towards Canmore. Take Exit 118 to merge onto the Kananaskis Trail (Highway 40). Consider stopping at the Kananaskis Visitor Information Centre for assistance planning the next two days of your trip. Widow Maker, Barrier Lake and Ribbon Creek are some of the scenic stops along the highway as you travel through several smaller provincial parks.
Discover the adventure that awaits you in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park further south. The interpretive trails will reveal the natural and cultural histories of the Kananaskis area. Stop by Boundary Ranch to see horses in the pasture and view buffalo in their paddock.
- Barrier Lake
- Peter Lougheed Provincial Park
- Boundary Ranch
Day 2: Kananaskis to Fort MacLeod (300 km)
Continue southbound on Highway 40/541 towards the town of Longview. Here in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, the Old West is still evident in the art, history, food, hospitality, and culture of the foothill’s residents. Along the way, you are likely to see cowboys out herding cattle, sometimes right along the highway and families out for a horseback ride.
Visit the Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump Interpretive Centre in the afternoon. This UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site preserves and interprets over 6,000 years of Plains Buffalo culture. Spend the night at one of the nearby campsites.
- Cowboy Trail
- Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump
Day 3: Fort MacLeod to Waterton (125 km)
Clear lakes, thundering waterfalls, rainbow-coloured streams, colourful rocks and mountain vistas await hikers and sightseers in Waterton National Park. The park has 200 kilometres of hiking trails, ranging from easy strolls to strenuous wilderness hikes. The park is a particularly good place to enjoy a variety of shorter trails which can be easily completed in a few hours.
Step aboard the historic M.V. International, the oldest passenger ship still operating in Canada, and take in breathtaking scenery on a 2-hour scenic cruise. View majestic towering cliffs and beautiful waterfalls while learning more about the Park and the interconnected ecosystems.
- M.V. International boat tour
- Spectacular Lake views
- Prince of Wales Hotel
Day 4: Waterton to Fort Steele (250 km)
Depart the town of Waterton in the morning and travel north to Pincher Creek. Today’s spectacular drive will take you from Waterton through the Alberta Plains and The Frank Slide Interpretive Centre overlooks Canada’s deadliest rockslide. See and hear first-hand what happened here the night Turtle Mountain fell on April 29, 1903.
In Sparwood visit the world's largest tandem axle truck, known as the Terex Titan, a 350 ton truck. The town of Fernie is where small-town charm meets adventure in the heart of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Fernie has a thriving cultural scene, the enthusiasm of a vibrant youthful population and a scenic, tranquil location.
- Frank's Slide
- Terex Titan
- Downtown Fernie
Day 5: Fort Steele to Radium (125 km)
Visit the Fort Steele Heritage Town in the morning, where the past lives and breathes! Enjoy old-time trade demonstrations, steam-train rides and Clydesdale horse-drawn wagon tours! Try gold panning, watch live theatre and street performances, and observe the museum displays. The start of this Gold Rush town dates back to 1864.
In the early afternoon travel North on the Kootenay Highway (Highway 93) towards Columbia Lake, the source of the Columbia River. At the north end of Columbia Lake, the Dutch Creek Hoodoos are the result of thousands of years of glaciation, followed by erosion from meltwater and weather.
- Fort Steele Heritage Town
- Columbia Lake
- Dutch Creek Hoodoos
Day 6: Radium to Banff (150 km)
Travel the Banff-Invermere Highway, which will take you through the Sinclair Canyon and to the impressive Kootenay Valley viewpoint, where you will have breathtaking views of the Mitchell and Vermilion mountain ranges.
Day 7: Banff (100 km)
The entire day will be spent exploring the many highlights in and around Banff. Start the day with a visit to Bow Falls just outside of town, followed by a gondola ride up to the top of Sulphur Mountain. Here you will have a breathtaking 360 degrees panorama of the surrounding mountains and the valley below.
After lunch drive to Surprise Corner for a spectacular view of the Banff Springs Hotel, also known as Banff’s castle in the mountains. From here continue to the Hoodoos just up the road. End by driving the Minnewanka Loop, with stops at Two Jack Lake and Minnewanka lake.
- Bow Falls
- Banff Gondola
- Two Jack Lake
Day 8: Banff to Calgary (150 km)
Depart Canmore in the morning and return your RV at Fraserway RV in Airdrie before 11:30 am.