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Epic 2 Weeks Alberta Road Trip Itinerary – See the Best of Western Canada

by Viola
alberta road trip

I am embarrassed to say that it took me 17 years of living in Canada to finally do the iconic Alberta road trip. To my defense, my family is based in Toronto and domestic flights in Canada are preposterously expensive guys. I can fly to Iceland for cheaper than I can fly to the west coast. Isn’t that crazy?

But alas, the stars aligned last June when I scored a ticket to Edmonton just $229 CAD! (It’s usually $500+). What’s even luckier, my friend Finola, a born and raised Albertan, had time to do this trip with me. Together, we traveled from Edmonton all the way down to Waterton National Park, covering some of the most epic sights along the way. We did this trip in 14 days. Here is everything you need to know about planning an epic Alberta road trip. Feel free to use the menu to skip straight to the itinerary. Don’t forget to grab the condensed PDF printable version of this article at the end.

*This post may contain affiliate links, which means, at no extra cost to you, I may earn a commission if you make a purchase. Thanks for supporting!

 

When is the best time to go to Alberta?

Jasper National Park

Jasper National Park

The most popular time to visit Alberta is from July to August, since it’s summer break for the children and the weather is nice. A heads up, the sites are jam-packed with people during these months. A better idea is to try the shoulder seasons, spring (mid-June) or Autumn (mid-September to mid-October). We did our road trip in June and had a fantastic time. The accommodations were easy enough to book and we got to do most of the trails we wanted to hike, even though some of them did still have some snow at the peak.

Want to find cheap flights to Alberta? Try my favorite search engine Skyscanner. This is where I found my flight Toronto to Edmonton for $220 return! Top Tip: set “Cheapest month” as your travel time and the system will find the best price for you.

 

Where to rent a car/campervan for an Alberta Road trip?

cars and animals on Alberta highway

For our trip, we rented an SUV from Enterprise in Edmonton. The 2 weeks rental only cost us $380, a very great deal. The car had enough room to fit all our equipment. (We had a lot of stuff since we were mostly camping) I would highly recommend Enterprise for their efficient customer service.

Check RentalCars for more rental car options in Alberta. 

For those who are looking for a camper van, some of the popular companies we’ve seen on the road in Alberta include CanaDream, Cruise Canada and Jucy Campervan.

One day at a campsite, we met a Dutch couple who were kind enough to let us take a tour inside their camper van (I forgot the brand). I was super impressed with how comfortable it looked. Inside was a bed, a working kitchen, a dining area, and a bathroom. It all seemed so luxurious compared to our little tent sitting outside.

*A note about Jucy: This company really appeals to me since their vans are extra cleverly compact. However, their only pickup spot near Alberta is in Point Roberts in Washington. So only consider this option if you are coming from say, Vancouver and can quickly hop over the border to pick up.

 

Booking accommodations for your Alberta road trip

Prince of Wales Hotel Waterton

Prince of Wales Hotel, Waterton National Park

It is best to book your accommodation as soon as you know your dates. Also, think about what type of accommodation suits you. Check Parks Canada’s Reservation Website to reserve campsites and booking.com for finding more comfort plus type accommodations. Remember, the longer you wait, the less choices you will have. Alberta is a hot destination people! Get in there fast!

 

2 Weeks Alberta Road Trip Itinerary

Many people who visit Alberta start in Calgary and only go from Calgary to Banff National Park. However, since Finola is a local, she shared tons of great knowledge for seeing beyond the big tourist attractions. We started our trip in Edmonton and went south from there. Our trip covered a lot of ground in Alberta, including the iconic sites and some off the beaten path sites. This itinerary is 14 days long because we did quite a lot of hiking. If you are not planning to hike much, the trip can be done in a much shorter amount of time. (The hikes are spectacular and so worth it though!) Feel free to adjust the suggestions to suit your interests.

 

Day 0: Arrive in Edmonton

Depending on the time you arrive in Edmonton, decide whether you want to sightsee or take the day to get organized for your big road trip ahead. I would recommend the latter. It’s always good to get the errands settled first. Pick up your rental car, shop for groceries, double-check your packing list, and definitely get a good night’s sleep.

*A note a groceries: It’s cheaper to buy groceries in Edmonton than small towns like Jasper and Banff. So load it up as much as you can. Some good places to shop in Edmonton include Costco, Safeway, and Superstore.

 

Day 1: Sightsee in Edmonton

River Valley parks

River Valley parks

Edmonton is the capital of Alberta. Situated on the north Saskatchewan river, the city is surrounded by beautiful nature.

Visit the River Valley parks, the largest collection of urban parks in Canada. There are many scenic locations and trails. We stopped by Keillor Point Lookout in the Belgravia neighborhood and got an epic view of the wide river flowing through lush green forests. I was shocked that the scene before me is a city. It was nothing like the concrete jungles that I grew up in. Cities in western Canada is really something else.

Muttart Conservatory

Muttart Conservatory

We also visited the Muttart Conservatory, a stunning indoor botanical garden which I loved. The different greenhouses showcased all sorts of cool plants that thrive in different ecosystems. Unfortunately, the conservatory is currently closed for renovation now until early 2021. I highly recommend checking it out once it reopens again.

Another notable attraction to visit is the West Edmonton Mall. This is not just any mall, but the largest mall in North America (It used to be the world’s largest in fact, until 2004 when it was surpassed).  This insane mall also holds many record-breaking titles, including the World’s largest indoor amusement park, World’s largest indoor roller coaster, World’s largest indoor lake, and World’s largest parking lot (20,000+ spaces, and over 10,000 overflow spaces).

 

Day 2. Drive from Edmonton to Jasper National Park

jasper national park alberta

Jasper National Park

Today’s the day we start the road trip officially! Follow the AB-16 road from Edmonton to Jasper National Park. The drive is around 4 hours. Start as early as possible so you can arrive at the park in good time. Once you arrive at the park. You need to purchase a National Park Pass.

National Park Entry Fees:

1 Adult Day Pass: $9.80

Group Day Pass: $19.60

1 Adult Annual Pass: $67.70

Group Annual Pass: $136.40

Youth 17 years old and under: FREE

Jasper National Park

Jasper National Park

Unless you are traveling alone, it is worth it to get the group annual pass. The price will pay for itself in as little as 7 days when you are two or more adults. Besides, the pass covers all the national parks in Canada so you have a great excuse to explore some of the other provinces within the year as well. 😉

After you have purchased the pass, you can enter Jasper National Park. Jasper is the largest national park in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. There are many beautiful glaciers, lakes, and mountains. From hiking in the summer to skiing in the winter, Jasper will never fail to make your jaw drop.

We stayed 3 nights in Jasper at 2 different campsites. It was absolutely amazing. My favorite part was wildlife spotting. Jasper is home to many animals including bears, bighorn sheep, and elk. We saw a couple of them. As a girl who grew up where the wildest animals you can spot are raccoons, it was so exciting for me.

Where we stayed in Jasper

  • Pocahontas Campsite: A beautiful campsite that offers good privacy. There are lots of trees between the camps so you are a nice distance from the other campers. The bathrooms are very nice, equipped with flush toilets, hot water and details like hooks. We were impressed. This is the closest campsite if you are coming from Edmonton. Price: $21.50 per night + $8.8 for fire permit.
  • Wabasso Campsite: Another nice campsite with excellent views of the mountains. Although there are not as many trees shrouding campers from their neighbors, Wabasso is quiet and relaxing. Price: $21.50 per night + $8.8 for fire permit.

There are several other campsites in Jasper. Check and reserve here.

 

Day 3: Explore Jasper: Maligne Canyon, Medicine Lake, Bald Hills Hike

Maligne canyon Jasper

Maligne Canyon

For the first day in Jasper Park, start the morning at Maligne Canyon, an easy and popular trail along a 50 meters dramatically deep canyon. The hike is quite gentle and suitable for people of all abilities. There are six bridges and you can choose how far you want to go. The second bridge is where you can get the highest vantage point over the canyon and don’t miss the third bridge is where you can see a beautiful waterfall. Expect to spend 1-2 hours here.

medicine lake alberta

Medicine Lake

Next, drive to Medicine Lake for a quick photo op. This mysterious lake got its name from the early native people in the area who believed that the lake has magical powers. Every year, the lake appears in the spring and vanishes in the fall. The secret is actually that the glacier water that forms the lake drains through a network of underground caves below the surface. Isn’t that fascinating? Pay attention to the wildlife that live around the area. When we visited Medicine Lake, we saw a bald eagle nesting in a tree.  It was the coolest thing ever.

bald hills jasper park

Bald Hills

In the afternoon, hike up Bald Hills. This is where real hiking starts! I hope your legs are ready. The Bald Hills hike is about 10 km returns and you gain about 500m elevation when you reach the top, where you can see a great panoramic view of Malign Lake. It took us 4 hours to do the round trip. I honestly felt a bit out of shape considering this was the first time I hiked in a long time (My legs got so much toner by the end of our Alberta road trip later on 😛 ). When we did the Bald Hills hike, it was June, and there was still snow near the top of the mountain. We definitely didn’t come with the right clothes and shoes. Make sure to wear a sturdy pair of waterproof hiking boots so you will be prepared no matter snow, rain or mud.

 

Day 4: Explore Jasper: Valley of the Five Lakes, Sulphur Skyline, Miette Hot Springs 

valley of five lakes jasper

Valley of the Five Lakes

Valley of the Five Lakes is a 4.5 km trail that shows you exactly what its name suggests: five beautiful turquoise lakes. The hike is moderate and the scenery is spectacular. This was definitely my favorite hike that we did in Jasper. I could have stared at the colors of the lakes for hours. The deep blue and green hues of the water are just mesmerizing. There are two red chairs near the third lake, which makes a perfect photo and a rest stop. The Valley of the Five Lakes hike takes about 2 hours.

If you are tired after all the hiking, you can head to Jasper town nearby and hang out there for the afternoon. This small town is a bit touristy but charming nevertheless. Make sure to grab a treat in Bear Paw, a local bakery with delicious coffee and scones.

sulphur skyline trail jasper

Sulphur Skyline trail

Alternatively, if you still got energy, check out the Sulphur Skyline trail. Another moderate-intensity exercise that will lead you to a great view of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The climb is quite steady with a short scramble at the top. We completed this hike in 2.5 hours.

Finally, reward yourself for the past two days of nonstop adventures in Jasper at Miette Hot Spring. Miette is the hottest hot spring in the Rockies. Soaking in the warm natural spring water will help you relax all the muscle tension in the body. Comparing to Banff Hot Spring that is a lot more popular, I liked Miette better since it is less crowded and offers much better outdoor scenery.

 

Day 5. Drive the Columbia Icefields Parkway from Jasper to Banff

Columbia Icefields Parkway

Since the drive from Jasper to Banff is about 6 hours, today is more or less a travel day. However, the Columbia Icefields Parkway is a very picturesque drive so don’t you worry about being bored for a second. Take a walk around Athabasca Falls and/or Sunwapta Falls, two powerful waterfalls that will put you in awe. Both of these falls feature fast strong water that pours with great force down into the deep gorge below.

Athabasca Falls

Athabasca Falls

Next, head to the Athabasca Glacier, one of the six principal ends of Columbia Icefield, a huge icefield that sits astraddle the Continental Divide of the Americas. This is the major highlight along the Columbia Icefields Parkway drive. You can go into the Discovery Centre to get some information and decide how you want to spend time at the glacier. There are packages such as the Glacier Adventure Tour which brings you up close on to the glacier, the Skywalk, a cliff-edge walkway with glass floor that gives an interesting lookout, and several other options. We honestly thought the tours were a bit gimmicky and quite expensive, so instead we went for a good old hike got to the glacier on foot. You can still get very close to the glacier and it’s completely free.

Athabasca Glacier

We also did the  Wilcox Pass Hike, a 3 to 4 hours hike that gets you to a great view of Athabasca Glacier from the top. For those who who don’t want to hike today, visit Chephren Lake and Waterfowl Lake for some pretty photo ops before arriving in Banff.

 

Where we stayed in Banff

Two Jack Main Campground

Two Jack Main Campground

  • HI Rampart Creek Wilderness Hostel: This is a cute eco-friendly hostel less than an hour drive away from the major attractions in Banff. Do not confuse it with the Rampart Creek Campground right adjacent to the hostel. The bathroom is an outhouse. There is no shower here but they do have a sauna. We really liked that it had a real kitchen which was really a luxury for us after days of cooking on portable gas stoves outside. This is not the most convenient accommodation, but a good choice if the Banff campgrounds are full. Price: $50 per night.
  • Two Jack Main Campground: We tried our luck and got a spot at Two Jack Main for 2 nights. We simply drove up to the entrance and booked on the spot with no prior reservation. This was early on in the season though so you may not have the same luck. Check the Banff campground availabilities here. Two Jack Main is a big campground with nice washrooms that have flush toilets and warm water. It is also right next to the serene Two Jack Lake and Lake Minnewanka. Price: $30 per night.

If you really can’t find an available campsite in Banff due to booking too late or other reasons, Check out these nearby camping facilities: Spray Lakes West, Eau Claire, and Bow Valley Provincial Park

 

Day 6. Explore Banff: Moraine Lake, Lake Louise, Plains of Six Glaciers

Banff national park highway

Banff National Park highway

Banff National Park has been a sensation on Instagram for quite some time. Consequently, this place is top on people’s bucket list when they plan to come to Canada. I definitely don’t blame them. If any place on earth deserves to be described as breathtaking, Banff would be it. So allocate at least two days to explore this precious beauty.

Bow Lake Banff

Bow Lake Banff

Start the morning as early as possible and drive to Moraine Lake. If you are coming from the north (like if you stayed in HI Rampart Creek Hostel as we did), there are a couple of lakes on the way worth making some quick stops by before reaching the destination. Bow Lake and Peyto Lake are both very pretty and quite underrated. I really fell in love with Bow Lake, a mirror-like pool of water that reflects the Bow Summit above it perfectly.

Hopefully, you will arrive at Moraine Lake early enough to beat the crowd (Before 7 AM is recommended). Parking at the site is limited and the traffic volume is crazy during summer peak season. If the lot is full, you can try the overflow parking or come back again later.

Lake Louise is just 20 minutes drive away from Moraine Lake and just as popular. We got to Lake Louise just before 8:30 AM and I was pretty sure we took the last parking spot. The competition for these lake views is brutal but so worth it at the end of the day.  Lake Louise looks even more stunning in real life than on Instagram in my opinion. The aquamarine color of the water is just unreal.

I wanted to rent a canoe and get out on to the lake as I’ve seen in photos on the internet. To our shock, the price to rent a canoe cost $115 per half hour and $125 per hour (Unless you are staying at the famous Fairmount Hotel in front of Lake Louise, in which case the discount is $75 per half hour and $85 per hour).  That was too expensive for us so I had to painfully let go of my canoe fantasy.

Plains of Six Glaciers Trail

Plains of Six Glaciers Trail

Instead, we hiked the Plains of Six Glaciers Trail. This hike is 15.1 km and take 4-6 Hours to complete. The trailhead begins at the right side of the lakeshore, pass Chateau Lake Louise. From here, you can step away from the hubbubs of the big tourist crowd and get into the serene wilderness where you can find green forests, deep valleys, majestic mountain peaks, and stunning glaciers. You can see where the ice sheets melt on the mountain and witness the water running down into the lakes. On your way back, make sure to stop by the Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse and try their delicious hot chocolate. 

 

Day 7. Explore Banff: Two Jack Lake, Bourgeau Lake Hike, Banff Hot Spring

Two Jack Lake

Two Jack Lake

Pack up your breakfast and have the most scenic breakfast by Two Jack Lake. The lake is so quiet and beautiful in the morning. There are several picnic tables available or you can bring a blanket to sit on the grass. We absolutely enjoyed our time at Two Jack, eating our boiled eggs and toasts while getting a great view of Mount Rundel in the distance.

Bourgeau Lake Hike

After you are loaded with food and energy, start the Bourgeau Lake Hike. There are many cool hikes in Banff,  we chose this one for the challenge of it. If you want something easier, by all means, check out the other options. Bourgeau Lake is 14.8kms return with an elevation gain of 725m, so allow 4 to 5 hours. From Bourgeau Lake, you can also go on further to Harvey Pass and then the summit of Mount Bourgeau. That is another 300m of elevation and 5kms return to lake. If you add that extra leg, the total distance would be 19.8kms return, 1025m elevation gain, and a 6-7 hours return trip.

We went as far as Bourgeau Lake, which was still frozen in early spring. After we arrived, we sat and rewarded ourselves with the sandwiches we packed while admiring the surrounding mountains. They all still had snow on them which to me looked like icing on a cake.

Banff Town

I know I’ve suggested a lot of hiking on this itinerary, so how about we have a chill afternoon? 😛 After the Bourgeau hike, choose what you want to do for the rest of the day. You can spend some time in the Town of Banff, a buzzing place filled with locals and travelers, where you can find a quiet corner to sit with a hot cup of tea.

Or, check out Lake Minnewanka, a tranquil lake with canoe rental that cost only $65 an hour, a much better deal comparing to Lake Louise! Although the water is not as turquoise here, it is still very beautiful.

Banff Hot Spring

Banff Hot Spring

In the evening, relax with a soak at Banff Hot Spring. I thought this hot spring is smaller and busier than the one in Jasper, but a hot bath can never be wrong.

 

Day 8. Hike Grassi Lake trail in Canmore and Drive to Calgary

Grassi Lake Trail

Grassi Lake Trail

On your way to Calgary, you will pass through Canmore, which is another small town with some cool trails. We did the Grassi Lake Trail, which is a very easy hike that leads to two drop-dead gorgeous blue lakes. We also saw a huge waterfall. I highly recommend this small detour for people of all fitness levels. Plan for about 1-2 hours for the 4 km Grassi Lake hike.

After that, drive straight to Calgary. It is only about one hour from Canmore. Check into your accommodation for the day and explore the nearby area if you choose.

 

Where we stayed in Calgary

Calgary Airbnb

Calgary Airbnb

This Airbnb: Although it’s not big, this private space is very clean and cozy. The King-sized bed is really comfortable. For us, it felt extra luxurious since we had just been camping in tents for a week. There is a washer and dryer so you can do laundry. Downtown Calgary is quite easy to get to from here. Price: $55 per night.

If you would like to book this AirBnb, make sure to use my referral link which gives you $35 off your first booking!

 

Day 9. Explore Calgary: Princes Island Park, Stephen Avenue, Central Library

stephen avenue calgary Alberta

Stephen Avenue, Calgary Alberta

Calgary is one of the two big cities in Alberta. It is famous for the annual Calgary Stampede, its close proximity to the national parks, and its diverse foodie scene. Spend the day exploring Calgary and decide for yourself whether it is better than Edmonton, its rival city. 😛

Princes Island Park

Take a morning stroll in Princes Island Park, a lovely green space surrounded by the Bow River. On a sunny day, it is Calgarians’ favorite play spot. You can see many people jogging, biking, or lazying about on the grass. On the west end of the park, there is the funky red Peace Bridge, a modern masterpiece designed by a well-known Spanish architect named Santiago Calatrava.

After that, take in downtown Calgary on Stephen Avenue, a laidback pedestrian street with tons of art, eateries, shopping & entertainment venues. After a few days of camping in the wild, the energy of Stephen Ave certainly reminded me the joys of urban life.

Albertans do not forget about nature though, even when they live in a city. Check out Devonian Gardens right off Stephen Avenue. It is an indoor botanical garden in a shopping mall featuring palm trees, fish ponds, and a children’s play area.

village ice cream Calgary Alberta

Village Ice Cream

You cannot visit Calgary without getting Village Ice Cream, or so I was told by Finola, my local expert. With three branches in the city, this ice cream shop has almost a cult following. Village offers many classic and creative flavors like Melted Chocolate, Earl Grey and Toasted Coconut. It is also vegan-friendly. We stopped by the branch on 10 Avenue South East and luckily there was no line. I tried Passion Fruit and it was very yummy!

From Village, walk to the Calgary Central library that is five minutes away. You may think it’s strange to recommend a library on a sightseeing itinerary but this building is a piece of art and an Insta-worthy spot. The design and construction of the library, by American-Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta and Canadian firm DIALOG, apparently cost $245 million. The main atrium featuring oval shapes overlapping each other on the ceiling is very neat to see.

Calgary Central library

Calgary Central library

If you are up for some nightlife, Calgary has a lively club and bars scene. Check this list here for all the places locals go. Otherwise, retire for the evening and prepare for another drive tomorrow.

 

Day 10. Drive from Calgary to Waterton National Park

OEB Calgary

OEB Calgary

Before leaving the city, have brunch at OEB, the best breakfast restaurant in Calgary. Just check out their Instagram here. Their food, just like their interior decor, is very colorful and drool-inducing. OEB is all about using fresh ingredients. From egg bennnys to French toast and waffles, everything is delicious here.

Waterton National Park Alberta

Waterton National Park

Once you are full and caffeinated, it’s time to get on the road again. Today, we are going to Waterton National Park. Never heard of it before? Well, that’s right. We are going to experience some underrated gems other Alberta road trip itineraries don’t tell you. Most tourists start and end their trips in Calgary and that’s fine. But they will not get to meet the stunner that is southern Alberta, which has a lot to offer.

Waterton National Park is known for its chain of beautiful lakes, hence its name. About 250 km from Calgary, it takes about 2.5 hours to get here on the AB-2S. You will notice that Waterton is a lot less crowded than Jasper and Banff, leaving the lake shores and trails to be quiet grounds perfect for meditation. There are tons of wildlife hanging about though. Bisons, deers, bears…these animals are not too difficult to spot. Make sure to give them tons of space and never get too close while you enjoy their company.

 

Where we stayed in Waterton

Waterton Townsite Campground: There is just one campground in Waterton. The site is fully serviced with air-conditioned bathrooms and hot showers. There are even wooden cabins for cooking and eating, so you don’t have to worry about rainy days. No campfire pits are allowed, however. The campground is right attached to the town so you can walk to any of the restaurants nearby, should you not feel like cooking. Price: $54.80 per night per spot.

 

Day 11. Explore Waterton: Crypt Lake Hike

Crypt Lake Hike

Crypt Lake Hike

The most famous hike in Waterton is the Crypt Lake hike. National Geographic rated this hike as one of the World’s 20 Most Thrilling Trails in 2014 (and again in 2017). This is a full-day trip that entails a short 15 minutes boat ride across Upper Waterton Lake to get to the trailhead at Crypt Landing. The boat departs everyday at 10 am, and returns at 5:30 pm. It cost $27 return. I know we don’t like to pay to hike but trust me, this one is worth it.

The Crypt Lake trail takes about 6 hours to complete. It is 17.4 km return, with 700 m elevation gain. The journey features 4 spectacular waterfalls: Hell Roaring Falls (1 km), Twin Falls (3.5 km), Burnt Rock Falls (5.6 km) and Crypt Falls (8 km).

Crypt Lake Hike

Crypt Lake Hike Ladder

Another highlight is a steel ladder that you need to climb up right beside a cliff, to get to a 60 feet tunnel that goes through the mountain. I felt like a badass adventurer doing this little maneuver. It was not that hard but definitely unique and exciting. P.S. if that sounds dangerous, do not worry. There are cables to grip on to for safety. It is totally fine.

Once you’ve pass the tunnel, you will arrive at the stunning Crypt Lake. Pat yourself on the back and enjoy that sweet sense of accomplishment. The way back down will be a lot faster than going up so you can take your time here and appreciate the huge lake. Make sure you packed a lunch so you can have a lakeside picnic.

Crypt Lake Hike

Crypt Lake Boat

The boat comes to Crypt Landing only once a day at 5:30 PM to take passengers back across Waterton Lake. Although you have tons of time, do not abuse the clock and miss this pickup! Or you will have to walk back to the campsite on foot and that will be 6 hours of walking in the dark. #NotCool

 

Day 12. Drive from Waterton to Drumheller

Prince of Wales Hotel Waterton

Prince of Wales Hotel

Take a last peek of the glorious Waterton Lake by the Prince of Wales Hotel. The hotel is perch right on a hill that is a great lookout point. You can also take a look inside the historic Scottish hotel that’s been around since the 1920s and feel like you are in Europe for a second.

Drumheller Alberta

Drumheller Alberta

After that, say goodbye to Waterton National Park and head north towards Drumheller, a 3.5 hours drive away. Drumheller is a town located in the Red Deer River Valley. Often referred to as the ‘Dinosaur Valley’, this special region is the dinosaur capital of the world with many fossils having been discovered here. As well, Drumheller has some really cool badlands that look like landscapes straight out of Star Trek. If you want some epic photos where you look to be on another planet, definitely don’t miss Drumheller.

 

Where we stayed around Drumheller

Rosebud Airbnb

Rosebud Airbnb

This Airbnb: Well we actually did not stay in Drumheller but a small town nearby called Rosebud. It is 25 minutes away from Drumheller. We found this fantastic Airbnb in a wood cabin-like house. The space is very artsy with many paintings and colorful decorations. Although there is a lot of stuff, the owner is evidently very organized. (We never got to meet him but he was very kind during our online communication) Everything was very clean and the kitchen was absolutely fabulous. The pantry was well stocked and available for guests to use. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay here.

Again, if you would like to try AirBnb, make sure to use my referral link which gives you $35 off your first booking!

 

Day 13. Explore Drumheller: Horseshoe Canyon, Hoodoos trail, Royal Tyrell Dinosaur Museum

Horseshoe Canyon Drumheller

Horseshoe Canyon

Start the morning at the Horseshoe Canyon, an eye-popping sight right outside of Drumheller. The rugged terrain has a horseshoe shape, which is how the region got its name. You can see so many layers and cracks in the rock formations, telling stories millions of years old. The landscape reminded me a lot of Cappadocia in Turkey, which has that similar dry, dramatic, rocky valley look. Who knew a sight that has been on my bucket list for so long could also be found in my own country!

Hoodoos Trail Drumheller

Hoodoos Trail

Next, drive to the Hoodoos Trail. Hoodoos are sandstone pillars that take forever to form. They are very fragile and can easily erode. The Hoodoos Trail 16 km southeast of Drumheller is a protected site where people can see the hoodoos without damaging them. If you don’t want to make the trip to this landmark, there are tons of smaller hoodoos in the badlands that you will probably see.

The World’s Largest Dinosaur Drumheller

The World’s Largest Dinosaur

After that, walk through the municipality of Drumheller. It is a very quirky and amusing town. There are mini statues of dinosaurs everywhere, sitting on a park bench, chilling on a rooftop, standing on the sidewalk… It was quite entertaining to find them scattered randomly. I think someone should make a scavenger hunt of all the hidden dinos. How adorable would that be!

The focal point of the town is a 26 meters tall Tyrannosaurus that is made of fiberglass. It is literally “The World’s Largest Dinosaur”. This attraction is adored by families with kids. You can go up the monster and see Drumheller from the viewing area in the mouth.

Royal Tyrell Museum Drumheller

Royal Tyrell Museum

On the edge of the town is the famous Royal Tyrell Museum. This museum is a major center for paleontological research. It contains a collection of over 130,000 dinosaur fossils. Ross from Friends would be very proud (I hope everybody gets this character reference). The exhibits are very educational. I definitely learned a lot about the natural history of dinosaurs and life on earth in the prehistoric area. It’s amazing how scientists are able to uncover these information from millions of years ago. Science is so cool!

Finally, drive to the Horsethief Canyon that is 10 minutes away. It is a similar canyon to Horseshoe Canyon (Even the names are so alike?), so if you are tired, feel free to skip this. For those power rangers who can’t get over the otherworldly beauty that is southern Alberta, take one last look because we are leaving tomorrow.

 

Day 14. Drive back to Calgary or Edmonton

Alberta Road Trip

Valley of the Five Lakes, Jasper

That’s it! We have come to the end of our two weeks Alberta road trip itinerary. Hope you’ve enjoyed this epic journey. Take the last day to drive back to Calgary, or Edmonton, or wherever you are off to next!

 

Plan your Alberta road trip in 4 easy steps

For more Alberta travel inspiration, make sure to check out my Canada Instagram Story Highlights.

 

Alberta Road Trip 2 Weeks Itinerary + Packing List

Did you skip over the whole eyeball melting long blog post? Don’t worry, here is a super-condensed 2 weeks Alberta road trip itinerary in PDF form. It covers all the major landmarks mentioned in this article as well as a packing list! Enter your email below to get the PDF access in your inbox. By signing up, you will also receive the TBB newsletter where I share monthly travel tips, new itineraries, and exclusive goodies like free printables. 

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13 comments

Nyxie October 31, 2019 - 6:23 pm

This sounds like such a lovely trip. You guys experienced so much 🙂

Reply
Tara Pittman October 31, 2019 - 7:22 pm

You saw some amazing things. The views behind you are amazing

Reply
Amber Myers October 31, 2019 - 7:49 pm

Everything sounds like a blast! We’ll have to get to Canada one year. It’s so pretty there.

Reply
Chad October 31, 2019 - 10:57 pm

A friend of mine lives in Alberta and she keeps on mentioning how gorgeous it is! I would love to go on a similar road trip, that would be awesome.

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Marie November 1, 2019 - 4:52 am

Those pictures are some of the most amazing I have ever seen! And that Chateau Lake Louise–yes, please! Maybe someday!

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AMY November 1, 2019 - 1:55 pm

This place is so beautiful. I really wanted to place a visit someday. Thank you for this guide. You get me so excited to come in the place. It was awesome and stunning picture!

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Echo November 1, 2019 - 2:37 pm

God, Canada is so beautiful. I would love to take my family to some of these beautiful places someday!

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Natalia November 1, 2019 - 6:19 pm

I’ve always wanted to visit Canada, seeing these photos makes me want it even stronger! Hope to go there one day for sure! 🙂

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Cindy Ingalls November 1, 2019 - 8:25 pm

This is my kind of vacation. I love spending time in the mountain and the woods, especially when the landscape is so beautiful.

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Sudipta November 2, 2019 - 9:13 am

I have been to Canada a few times, unfortunately never got the time or opportunity to visit Alberta. Your post has made my resolve stronger to do this journey the next time.

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Acupofassamtea November 2, 2019 - 7:05 pm

Alberta is always on my bucket list. Such a breathtaking place to visit. The road trip sounds awesome.

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Jen Walker November 3, 2019 - 10:28 pm

I’ve never been anywhere in Canada! This is a great itinerary to check out Alberta and see what the area has to offer.

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Njkinny November 5, 2019 - 7:24 am

I haven’t been to Canada but this is a great recommendation. Will be saving your website for reference when I visit. Thanks for sharing!

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