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Driving from Calgary to Revelstoke will take you just under 5 hours, but I promise you’ll want to allow at least a full day for this beautiful drive. Not only will you pass through three National Parks on your way (Banff National Park, Yoho National Park, and Glacier Park) but you will also have the chance to stop at the stunning Lake Louise and Banff town.
Therefore, if time allows I recommend allowing at least three full days for this road trip, spending the night at Banff and Lake Louise along the way!
I’ve done the research for you and come up with 12 of the best stops between Calgary and Revelstoke. You can choose to start this particular road trip in Calgary like I’ve done in this blog post or do it in reverse and instead drive from Revelstoke to Calgary. Either way, you will come across the same epic attractions on this iconic Canadian road trip!
About the Drive from Calgary to Revelstoke
The drive between Calgary and Revelstoke will take 4 hours and 45 minutes without stops and it is 408 kilometers (253 miles) in length. The route follows the Trans Canada Highway and is often considered one of the most beautiful drives in the country. The route winds through the Canadian Rockies taking in epic sights like Emerald Lake and Lake Louise. It also passes through some of the most popular towns in Canada, including Banff and Canmore.
For this blog post, I’ve included a short detour off the Trans Canada Highway onto the Bow Valley Parkway in order to include stops at Johnston Canyon and Morant’s Curve. Both are well worth stopping at if you have time – the Bow Valley Parkway is a truly stunning drive!
It’s important to note that until winter 2024, there are significant roadworks on a section of the road east of Golden. It is called the Kicking Horse Canyon Project, and delays can be up to 30 minutes during the day, and this 5 km section is closed at night so you will need to take an alternative route via Radium Hot Springs. You can read all about the roadworks here.
If you will be driving this route in the winter it is essential to have either winter or all-weather tires. That’s because it can get very icy around Yoho National Park and on the section of the road between Canmore and Banff. In the summer too you will need to be careful too, as wildlife like deers and elk are known to venture onto the highway.
12 BEST Stops on the Drive from Calgary to Revelstoke
Don’t rush off on your road trip too quickly and be sure to enjoy Calgary before you go. Despite being a major city in the plains, Calgary offers a variety of fun things to do.
Also, since you’re going to be in town, you may as well spend some time seeing the city and take advantage of the city’s lower lodging costs than the adjacent Rocky Mountain resorts.
Calgary is especially a sight to see in the winter. While they may be cold, you’re still likely to have plenty of sunny days! Calgary actually has the most days of sunshine out of any Canadian city at 333 days a year! Even if you’re trying to dodge the cold or rain, there are plenty of fun indoor activities to keep you busy too.
One of my favorite activities is the Calgary Tower. You get the best city views, plus it’s the highest 360-degree observation deck in the world! I also recommend grabbing a bite at Sky 360, their revolving restaurant.
You can’t talk about Calgary without mentioning the Calgary Zoo. It’s open year-round and has nearly 1,000 different animals and exhibits. If you want to see something extra adorable, make sure you’re there at 10 am to witness the penguin walk! It’s literally the penguins taking a 15-minute walk through the zoo for their daily workout.
Where to Stay in Calgary:
Wicked Hostels is a good choice for budget travelers. The hostel is clean, comfortable, and located in a good area.
If you can spend a bit more, the Regency Suites Hotel is perfect. The rooms are beautiful, breakfast is included, and the location is ideal.
For luxury travelers, check out the Sheraton Suites Calgary Eau Claire. This hotel overlooks the river valley, comes with an indoor pool (with waterslide), hot tub, fitness center, hair salon, and gift shop.
As you leave Calgary and make your way west, you’ll pass one of my favorite areas in all of Alberta – the Kananaskis! Explore Kananaskis Country by taking a short detour onto Highway 40. It’s known as “Alberta’s Mountain Playground”. It’s easy to spend a few days exploring the area – there’s just so much to see and do! There are fewer people here than in Banff, but there are still plenty of fantastic recreational activities!
With a massive indoor waterpark, The Crosswater Resort at Kananaskis is the ideal place to stay in the heart of the Kananaskis for families. You’ll have preferential access to the Kananaskis Nordic Spa if you stay at the resort. Their innovative hydrotherapy treatments at the spa feature getting into a series of hot and cold pools while taking in the views of the mountains.
As I said, there are a ton of things to do in the Kananaskis region. You could easily spend a couple of days here and still not see it all!
Troll Falls is one of my favorite hikes in Kananaskis Country. It’s a 3 km (1.9-mile) round-trip hike with a lovely waterfall at the finish. You can get really close to the waterfall, and there’s even a big rock nearby fashioned like a troll’s head. When the waterfall freezes over in the winter, it’s just as beautiful — but wear ice cleats or spikes since it might be icy and hazardous.
You can also go skiing at Nakiska, visit Upper Kananaskis Lake, hike to Ribbon Falls and so much more.
Important note: A Conservation Pass is required for any vehicles stopping in parks or public places in Kananaskis Country and the Bow Valley Corridor. A daily pass costs $15 CAD and may be purchased online or at any Kananaskis Visitor Information Center.
Canmore is one of Alberta’s best mountainside tourist towns. But unlike Banff, Jasper, and Lake Louise, Canmore isn’t actually located within one of Canada’s National Parks – making it cheaper and more accessible for everyone.
Sitting on the edge of Banff National Park, Canmore boasts some of Canada’s most impressive mountain peaks and is an outdoor playground for visitors. On top of that, the town is lively and filled with amazing cafes, restaurants, and stores.
We’ve been lucky enough to visit Canmore on several occasions. In fact, we also recently lived in Canmore for a couple of months (I know, lucky us!) So, we know all of the best things to do in Canmore, which include:
- Hike to Grassi Lakes – Grassi Lakes is also one of the easiest hikes in Canmore at only 5 kilometers long (return) with only a 125-meter elevation gain. This means it’s family-friendly and suitable for most fitness levels. It’s also open year-round, so it’s one of the best things to do in Canmore in the winter too.
- Visit the local breweries – Canmore is one of the best places to try amazing craft beer and there are lots of local breweries in Canmore to visit! One of my favorites is The Grizzly Paw. They have a bar on 8 St and their brewery is located on Old Canmore Road on the outskirts of town (called Tank 310).
- Hit the trails at the Nordic Centre – The Canmore Nordic Centre offers a variety of trails for hiking, biking, or even cross country skiing. The area was developed to host cross country skiing events at the 1988 Olympic Games and is now an active training center as well as a recreational area.
Where to Stay in Canmore:
In case you want to spend a couple of nights in Canmore (and you should!) there are plenty of hotels to choose from.
For budget travelers, I love the Canmore Rocky Mountain Inn. If you don’t mind spending a little more you can certainly get a nice hotel closer to town. The Grande Rockies Resort-Bellstar Hotels & Resorts is still a short walk from town (but it only takes 5 minutes) and the hotel itself is beautiful complete with a pool, hot tub, fitness center, and restaurant and bar.
Banff is easily one of the best places to visit in Alberta, attracting thousands of visitors each year. And it’s no wonder why – it’s absolutely beautiful and there are tons of things to do in Banff in winter, spring, summer, or fall.
The downtown area is very quaint and there are many awesome options for places to eat, drink, and shop. With the mountains as the backdrop to Banff Ave, it’s a beautiful place to base yourself in Banff National Park.
Plus, when you’re done on the slopes, you can enjoy all that Banff has to offer including some Apres Ski drinks at a couple of the breweries in Banff.
Banff is more than just a ski town though, and regardless of the season you visit, Banff town is an amazing place with plenty to do. Some of the best things to do in Banff include:
- Relax in the Banff Upper Hot Springs – Just a short 5-minute drive up Sulphur Mountain you’ll find the Banff Upper Hot Springs, a public hot spring with incredible mountain views! The hot springs are easy to get to and very affordable. At only $9.25 CAD per adult and $29 for a family, even those on a tight budget can enjoy one of the best Banff attractions. (It’s even a great activity to do in Banff when it’s raining).
- Ride the Banff Gondola up Sulphur Mountain – The Banff Gondola is possibly the singular most popular thing to do in Banff – and for good reason! From the top of the Banff Gondola, the views of the mountains and Banff town are out of this world. The first time I rode the gondola was during my first Christmas in Banff and I loved it! At the top of the gondola, you’ll find a restaurant and cafe, a gift shop, lots of information on the area and wildlife, as well as my personal favorite, the boardwalk!
- Check out the Bow Falls Lookout – The Bow River is a stunning river that runs through the heart of Banff. Turquoise in color, it is nothing short of picture-perfect. A short 1.5km scenic walk from Banff town (or drive) you’ll come to the Bow Falls viewpoint on the river’s edge. Here, not only will you see the river, but also the Bow River Waterfall!
- Cave and Basin National Historic Site – Another great place to visit in Banff is Cave and Basin Historic Site. Here you can see some historic hot springs that are home to a rare species of snail. The museum is the main attraction in my eyes and it is very interactive and fun especially for kids. You’ll find lots of information about Banff and the surrounding area.
Where to stay in Banff:
There are lots of hotels to choose from in downtown Banff. My personal favorite is Moose Hotel & Suites which has a great location, is reasonably priced, and has all the amenities you could want including two rooftop hot tubs.
If you’re on a tight budget, consider checking out King Edward Hotel. It is easily the most affordable place to stay. Plus, it is located right in town on Banff Ave!
And for a little luxury, the Rimrock Resort Hotel is a must! With an onsite spa, balconies with amazing views, as well as a restaurant and bar this hotel is a must! Plus, it is located a couple of minutes from town in a quieter location.
Alternatively, there are a few other areas to stay around Banff National Park that offer a more remote wilderness escape.
5. Johnston Canyon
If you have time, detour off the Trans Canada Highway onto the Bow Valley Parkway. This stretch of road from Banff to Lake Louise winds through forest and meadows with beautiful views and great places to stop along the way. It’s quieter than the main highway and only about 48 kilometers (30 miles)– well worth turning off onto.
One of the places to stop along the parkway is Johnston Canyon. You can walk along the boardwalk next to the canyon or take a longer hike in the area. The hikes here are incredible with seven glacial waterfalls cascading over rocky cliffs. It’s open all year and is free to get to.
The waterfalls freeze over in the cold creating giant icicles hanging over the cliffs which are amazing to see.
Hot Tip: If you’re visiting in the winter, you really need ice cleats or spikes. If you don’t have them, then consider joining a guided ice walk tour that will safely lead you on the ice and supply all of the safety gear you’ll need.
6. Morant’s Curve
Located around 60 kilometers from Banff, Morant’s Curve was made famous by Nicholas Morant who was sent to the area to discover amazing tourist attractions along the Canadian railway many years ago. Nicholas fell in love with the viewpoint and it became his favorite in Banff National Park.
The curve in the name comes from the train tracks that curve their way along the Bow River. This, along with the stunning mountain backdrop, makes it one of the most beautiful photography locations in Banff National Park.
In the summer you’ll enjoy the amazing colors of the Bow River, and in the winter, Morant’s Curve becomes a winter wonderland that’s even more photogenic! So, no matter what season you visit, add Morant’s Curve to your Banff Instagram bucket list!
7. Lake Louise
Lake Louise is without a doubt one of the must-see destinations in Canada. And luckily for you, it’s on your route between Calgary and Revelstoke. Spend at least a few hours here, ideally a night if your itinerary allows. Of course, the famed lake is here but there is also a small village as well as the Lake Louise Ski Resort which is a must-do activity in the winter months. This ski resort is huge with so many runs, both on the front side and backside of the mountain.
Top tip: If you are visiting Banff National Park in the winter and would like to go skiing, I highly recommend purchasing a SkiBig3 Lift Ticket. This pass allows you to ski three different days at three different ski resorts nearby: Lake Louise, Mt Norquay, and Sunshine Village!
On the other hand, if you do this road trip during the summer, you just must hike to the Lake Agnes Tea House! This popular trail is a 7 km round-trip and will take most people 3 hours to complete. It’s rated as moderate due to the steep elevation gain of 400 meters, so a reasonable level of fitness is advised! The views along the way of Lake Louise are astounding but the best part of this hike is the historic Tea House, which was built way back in 1901. Refuel here with tea, coffee, sandwiches, and other baked goods. As mentioned, the Tea House is only open in the summer, from June to September.
Some other awesome activities available in Lake Louise in the summer are going kayaking on the lake, hiking the lakefront trail, and cycling one of the many biking trails in the area! These are just a few of the best things to do in Lake Louise.
As for food in Lake Louise, you must visit The Station which is a restaurant within a historic train museum. Another recommendation is to splurge at the luxurious Fairview Bar and Restaurant within the Fairmont Lake Louise. These are just some of the delicious restaurants in Lake Louise that you can choose from.
Where to Stay in Lake Louise
There are lots of different places to choose from when it comes to accommodation in Lake Louise.
If you want to stay in Lake Louise town, consider the Lake Louise Inn, or the budget-friendly HI Lake Louise Hostel. Dan and I often stay at the HI Hostel and think it’s clean, comfortable, and great value for money.
For a little luxury or to spoil yourself, don’t miss the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. This is arguably the most beautiful hotel in Canada set in the most beautiful location (right on the lake!)
8. Yoho National Park/Field
Yoho National Park with the community of Field in the center is an amazing place to explore – be prepared to spend at least a few hours here if not a whole day! The park is known for its towering waterfalls, crystal clear lakes, and the huge variety of activities that can be done in all seasons. Plus, there are shops, restaurants, and more to see in Field.
A must-see is the stunning Emerald Lake with its vivid waters that are true to its name. You can easily walk around the entire lake in about an hour or snowshoe around it in the winter. It’s a great way to see wildflowers including wild orchids that grow around here as well as bald eagles, moose, and loons. You can also canoe or kayak on the lake with its calm and clear waters. Spoil yourself and stay a night at the Emerald Lake Lodge on the edge of the lake.
Another impressive sight is the Natural Bridge – an ancient rock formation over the Kicking Horse River. It’s easy to get to by car as it’s only 3 km (1.9 miles) from Field along Emerald Lake Road. You can also take a guided hike to fossil beds in the area where there are fossils from 500 million years ago.
9. Wapta Falls
Only 15 minutes from Yoho National Park is one of the prettiest waterfalls in Canada. It’s also one of the largest at 107 meters wide and 18 meters tall. Wapta Falls is worthy of a stop on your road trip between Calgary and Revelstoke.
The hike into the falls is short and easy and will take about 1.5 hours round-trip to complete. The total length of the trail is 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) and because the trail is mostly flat it is ideal for the whole family! I should note that there is a steep downhill section as you approach the falls, which you will need to hike up on your return to the car park. The coolest part of this trail is that during the summer months when the water in the river below the falls is low you can actually walk right up close to the falls. It’s the perfect opportunity!
To reach the start of the trail take the Wapta Falls turnoff of the Trans Canada Highway. It’s a short stop on your drive, but you can pack a picnic and take it to the falls to enjoy some lunch with a view.
Golden is a little town in the Rockies, but it’s surrounded by national parks, mountain ranges, and limitless outdoor activities, so there’s always something to do. Not to mention the fantastic restaurants, one-of-a-kind stores, lively bars, and fascinating cultural sites.
Your visit to Golden may be as exciting or as relaxing as you like! Here are a few ideas for epic things to do in Golden:
- Stroll the Kicking Horse Pedestrian Bridge – Golden is situated in such a lovely region that you will want to get outside and explore it on foot! Make a point of crossing the Kicking Horse Pedestrian Bridge while you’re at it. It begins on 8th Avenue North in Golden and stretches 46 meters across the Kicking Horse River.
- Enjoy supper with a view — Eagle’s Eye Restaurant is the finest location to eat while taking in the mountain views! It’s the “crown gem” of resort cuisine and a must-do while staying at Kicking Horse Resort. The views from this restaurant, which is located at the top of the picturesque gondola, are unsurpassed. At 7,710 feet above sea level, it is Canada’s highest restaurant (in terms of elevation) — how awesome is that?!
- Visit the Wolf Centre – Wolves are only one of the many magnificent creatures that may be found in the Canadian Rockies. While you probably don’t want to run into any in the wild, the Northern Lights Wolf Centre in Golden is an excellent location to learn about wolves and even see them.
- Hit the slopes at Kicking Horse Resort – Golden’s Kicking Horse Mountain Resort is a very popular ski resort in Canada, and for good reason! It’s known for the huge amounts of annual snowfall and expert terrain that will challenge even the most experienced riders. It’s a must-visit if you’re in Golden in the winter months.
Where to stay in Golden:
Best Western Mountainview Inn is a great choice if you’re looking for something in town. This hotel is clean and comfortable and has everything you could want including an indoor pool and an included breakfast. The reviews are great and the price is modest.
Related read: If you aren’t quite ready to leave Golden just yet, check out the best places to stay in Golden.
11. Glacier National Park
As you make your way towards Revelstoke from Golden, you’ll actually drive right through the middle of Glacier National Park. This stretch of road is beautiful and along the way, you can spot plenty of wildlife (please, drive carefully!)
Make sure to stop at the Rogers Pass National Historic Site inside the park. Here, you can hike along the now-abandoned railway line that first connected Canada from coast to coast. The visitor center here is great and has lots of info about the history of the area.
On the drive, you’ll go through the Rogers Pass which I think is one of the most beautiful stretches of highway in the entire country.
There are also some nice spots for short hikes in the area including the Hemlock Grove Boardwalk, which is good for the whole family as it’s a series of boardwalks through the forest. If you want to see a waterfall on a relatively easy trail that isn’t too busy, visit Bear Creek Falls. It’s only about a 15-20 minute hike with a really impressive waterfall at the end.
You’ve finally made it to the end of your Calgary to Revelstoke road trip! And what a great town to end your drive at! Revelstoke is one of the prettiest mountain towns in Canada, plus, it’s home to one of the best ski resorts in the country! So, if you’re here in the winter be sure to squeeze in some skiing! Would you believe that Revelstoke Ski Resort is home to the longest descent in all of North America and holds the record for the most snowfall in all of Canada in a single winter?!
As for the warmer seasons in Revelstoke, it’s all about getting out in nature and taking in the incredible views. Hiking is a popular activity year-round and some of the best hikes here include the Eva Lake Trail and the Giant Cedars Boardwalk, both within Mount Revelstoke National Park. As well as that you can try mountain biking at Revelstoke Mountain Resort and go white water rafting in the nearby Albert Canyon.
I’ve visited Revelstoke numerous times and I agree it can be a little overwhelming deciding what to do here, there are just so many activities on offer. So, thankfully for you, I’ve put a shortlist together of the best things to do in Revelstoke:
- Ride the gondola up to Revelstoke Mountain Resort – it’s just $35 CAD per adult to ride the gondola up to the top of Revelstoke Mountain. This sightseeing activity is only available in the summer because in the winter the gondola is reserved for skiers and snowboarders. The view from the top is one of the best in Revelstoke, and there are a couple of hiking trails that you can access from the summit. As well as that, there’s a large viewing deck here where you can enjoy some food and drinks whilst taking in the views. I should mention you need to take two gondolas to reach the summit the first takes you to the top of the mountain coaster and the second is a 10-minute gondola ride to the summit.
- Ride the Pipe Mountain Coaster – following on from the above, when you reach the top of the first gondola up Revelstoke Mountain a fun activity to try is the pipe mountain coaster. This high-speed coaster, which you control yourself with the brakes is one of the top things to do in Revelstoke and as you can imagine is especially popular with kids. It costs $25 CAD per ride.
- Visit the Enchanted Forest – just 30 minutes from Revelstoke is another awesome, family-friendly activity – The Enchanted Forest is home to the tallest treehouse in B.C. as well as the chance to paddle a rowboat through beaver ponds. There’s also a castle as well as fairytale figurines dotted throughout the park that the kids can take photos with. Right next door is the Skytrek Adventure Park which has zip lines, a treetop obstacle course, climbing walls, and a jungle gym. Both these attractions are only open in the summer months!
Related Read: Want to continue further? Check out our guide to driving from Whistler to Banff for another awesome road trip!
Where to Stay in Revelstoke
When it comes to choosing where to stay in Revelstoke, you have plenty of hotels to consider! Here are some of my personal favorites:
Frontier Motel – The Frontier Hotel is your cheapest option in Revelstoke. In all honesty, it’s very basic but the rooms only cost up to $74 a night for a queen room for two people.
Stoke Hotel – This hotel is a very good budget option that includes breakfast. It’s located right in town and has really good reviews!
Coast Hillcrest Hotel – This highly rated hotel offers guests a comfortable stay at a reasonable price. They have an onsite fitness center, sauna, hot tub, as well as a restaurant. The location is central and the large selection of room types means there is something suitable for everyone including families.
Ramada hotel – Ramada hotels are always a great choice around Canada. Their rooms are luxurious and well priced. the hotel in Revelstoke is close to town and a great place to stay during your visit.
Sutton Place Hotel – If you want to be close to the action in winter or summer then this is easily your best option in Revelstoke. Its located right at the base of the Revelstoke mountain resort and comes with a pool. They offer studio apartments or suites!
Renting a Car in Alberta
If you’re arriving in Alberta via plane then I can’t recommend getting a rental car enough. Canada is a large country and traveling between cities and even just getting out to some of the best places to visit in Alberta requires transport. Although you can use public transport, on some occasions, it means your trip will not only require more time but more planning.
Car rental in Canada is relatively cheap, especially if you get a budget car. The cheapest car with pickup and drop-off in different locations is around $100 CAD per day. The price does vary though depending on the time of year and the type of car that you rent. For car rentals, I use the website Rental Cars.com. It’s a search engine with lots of deals with good customer service. In fact, I’ve used them all over the world including in Chile, New Zealand, and Australia.
Another popular option is to rent a campervan or motorhome (only for the brave in winter.) Using Motorhome Republic you can search hundreds of deals across multiple companies to pick a great vehicle and the cheapest price. Having a motorhome is a stunning way to see Canada, and using crown land and campsites, you can often camp for free or very cheap in the most beautiful places imaginable!
Thanks for reading!
Calgary and Revelstoke are two epic destinations, and the drive between them is increasing in popularity every year. I mean, in the space of 5 hours you will drive through stunning National Parks as well as pass by turquoise lakes and some of the best towns in Canada – what more could you want from a road trip?!
I hope you’re excited to embark on your road trip between Calgary and Revelstoke, I for one can’t wait to drive this route again soon!
If you enjoyed this blog post, you may also enjoy some of my other posts about B.C. Some of my favorites include: