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The Canadian Rockies are known for their natural beauty, rugged terrain, and jaw-dropping views. This mountain range is honestly one of the most stunning places on Earth! There are so many amazing destinations within the Rockies, from alpine lakes, glaciers, and mountaintop viewpoints to picturesque towns and boutique wineries.
My partner is Canadian, and together, we’ve spent tons of time traveling the Rockies. We even lived in Canmore, Alberta for a while, which was a great base for exploring these mountains.
During our time here, we realized there’s a huge variety of things to do in the Rockies. It can feel quite overwhelming, but taking a tour can eliminate stress and really maximize your time here.
There are many tour options, and it can be hard to choose between them, which is why we’ve carefully hand-selected the 7 best tours of the Canadian Rockies. These tours are well-organized and take you to some of our favorite spots. Plus, we’ve included loads of details about each so you can figure out which is best for you!
Why join a tour through the Canadian Rockies?
There are so many reasons to join a tour through the Canadian Rockies! On the whole, we tend to be fairly independent travelers. But sometimes, joining a tour is easier, more convenient, and helps you get the most out of the experience.
We spent a lot of time exploring the Rockies by ourselves. But if you’re only here for a short time, a tour can be the most efficient and relaxing way to see everything.
You’ll definitely need a car or private transport to reach certain destinations. We had a car when we lived in Canmore, but rental cars in the Rockies can be super expensive! Also, they’re often fully booked, making it impossible to road trip by yourself. Since the Canadian Rockies cover a huge area, you’ll need to join a tour to access all of the amazing natural attractions here.
A lot of the popular attractions in the Rockies get SUPER busy – especially during the summer – and parking can be impossible. Seriously, the parking lot at Lake Louise is often full by 8 am in the summer and parking is no longer allowed at Moraine Lake! However, tour buses in Banff get special parking passes so this isn’t an issue, and you can spend more time enjoying the great outdoors rather than waiting for parking.
At many attractions, skip-the-line entry is often included as part of the tours of the Canadian Rockies. So instead of waiting in yet another line, you can save time and see more!
It’s not just the attractions, either. Accommodation is difficult to book in the Rockies, especially during the summer when hotels book out months in advance. All the tours we’ve listed here include accommodation, so you don’t have to hunt for places to stay or deal with availability issues.
Another huge advantage of joining a tour is that you don’t have to worry about researching the area before you arrive. You won’t have to work out how to get from one place to the next or whether or not you can make it to all the sights. All of this is taken care of when you join a tour. And as you travel, your guide shares interesting information so you can gain a much deeper appreciation for the area.
Choosing a tour start and end point
One of the main things to consider when choosing a tour of the Canadian Rockies should be your start and end points. The two international airports closest to the Canadian Rockies are in Vancouver and Calgary, so most tours either start and/or end in one of these cities.
Vancouver is a busier international airport, but Calgary receives plenty of domestic flights and has better access to the Rockies. Some tours are round trips, while others start in one city and take you on a one-way journey to the other, so make sure to consider your flight path when choosing a tour.
Ultimately, both cities are great! If you want to experience Canada’s West Coast before venturing into the mountains, there are plenty of things to do in Vancouver. However, if you prefer to start closer to the Rockies, Calgary is full of fun activities as well.
The Best Tours in the Canadian Rocky Mountains
1. 4-Day Calgary to Vancouver bus tour
This 4-day bus tour allows you to cover a lot of ground in a limited amount of time. You’ll get to explore the highlights of both Banff and Jasper National Parks, which are two of the most popular spots in the Rockies! You’ll also take a trip along the famous Icefields Parkway that stretches between them.
The tour starts in Jasper and ends in Vancouver, with so much to see along the way!
In Jasper, you’ll visit famous sites such as Athabasca Falls, Sunwapta Falls, and the stunning Peyto Lake, a bright-blue lake surrounded by snow-capped mountains. In Banff National Park, you’ll get to visit Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. These two lakes are among the most beautiful destinations within the Canadian Rockies and some of the best places to visit in Alberta.
The tour costs $1,632 CAD and includes 3 nights of accommodation, as well as breakfast each morning. However, you’ll have to pay for your own lunch and dinner, although we think this can be quite nice as Banff and Jasper are both home to some excellent restaurants!
You have the freedom to check out the cafes and restaurants that appeal to you. I found some delicious restaurants in Jasper with epic views, as well as some super cute cafes in Banff!
The 4-day tour also includes a transfer from Edmonton or Calgary to Jasper, but the first day is more about transportation than a tour experience. Breakfast isn’t included on the first day, either, so we recommend bringing breakfast, a packed lunch, and some snacks with you.
Optional extra activities are available, like a ride up Sulphur Mountain on the famous Banff Gondola (which we highly recommend – we love it up there!). You can also take an Ice Explorer tour of the Athabasca Glacier, which is an absolutely incredible experience if you have enough room in your budget. You get to walk on the glacier itself, which is definitely not something you can do just anywhere in the world!
One of the things we like about this tour is that the itinerary is well thought out, ensuring you get a well-rounded picture of the area and cover all of the most popular sights. This tour is perfect for anyone who’s short on time but wants to see the best of the Canadian Rockies.
Plus, the accommodation is highly rated, and the guides are super knowledgeable about the area, so you’ll come away knowing much more about the Rockies than when you arrived!
This tour runs from May – September with options to start on Wednesdays or Saturdays. If you’re visiting this time of year and it sounds like a good fit, check availability and book your spot here!
Related Read: If you’re starting your journey in Jasper, we recommend staying in town and exploring for a couple days beforehand. So check out these great hotels in Jasper, including options for all budgets.
2. 4-Day classic summer tour from Vancouver
This 4-day tour starts and ends in Vancouver, taking you through varied landscapes of the Canadian Rockies. What we love about this tour is that you get to see a bit of everything!
You’ll pass through the Okanagan Valley (known for its wineries and fruit orchards), visit Lake Louise, and explore stops along the Icefields Parkway. This journey is full of stunning views of turquoise lakes and mountaintops. You’ll also get to experience a traditional ranch and a wine farm.
The tour covers 3 nights of accommodations. On the first night, you’ll stay in the beautiful town of Revelstoke, surrounded by the Selkirk and Monashee mountain ranges. Next, you’ll spend a night in the city of Banff, followed by a night in the small mountain town of Valemount.
One thing that we really like about this tour is that there’s onboard entertainment, so you can watch TV shows and movies on some of the longer drives, just like you would on a long-haul flight (although you’ll have much better views out of the window which may distract you!).
We think this is a great way to experience the Canadian Rockies if you’re coming from Vancouver and don’t have much time to spend in this part of the country. In just a few days, you’ll see some of Canada’s most impressive landscapes and understand why so many people (ourselves included) gush about the beauty of this mountain range.
We also love that a Canadian family owns the tour company. They have been leading tours to the Rockies for over 15 years and support local social and environmental initiatives.
The tour costs $824 CAD per person and includes breakfast, lunch, and accommodation in a quad room, although there’s the option to upgrade to a triple, double, or single room if you prefer. You can also add an Ice Explorer tour of the Athabasca Glacier on Day 3 when you visit the Columbia Icefields.
The tour picks up and ends in Vancouver. However, breakfast isn’t included on the first day so make sure to eat beforehand. This is a summer tour running most Fridays from mid-April to mid-October.
If you’re based in Vancouver and want to see a ton in a short amount of time, book your spot on this 4-day tour here!
3. 4-Day roundtrip from Vancouver tour
This round-trip tour from Vancouver really showcases the highlights of the Canadian Rockies in just 4 days. It includes visits to Jasper, Athabasca Glacier, and Lake Louise, among many others. And a trip to the Rockies wouldn’t be complete without stopping along the scenic Icefields Parkway!
It’s a comfortable journey since you’ll be traveling on a luxury bus, and you’ll make frequent stops to stretch your legs and see the amazing sights. You’ll stay overnight in Jasper on the first day, and spend the following two nights in Banff.
Overall, we felt this tour had a nice pace – it was stress-free and relaxing, but kept us engaged. We’re also really impressed with this itinerary because you get to see some of the most incredible natural attractions that the Canadian Rockies offer in such a short span of time.
You already see so much on this tour, but there are optional extras if you have a bigger budget and like a faster pace! You can ride up Sulphur Mountain on the Banff Gondola, relax in the Banff Upper Hot Springs, or take an Icefields Explorer tour of the Athabasca Glacier. While all these options are great, we highly recommend taking the Icefields Explorer tour – it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to walk on an actual glacier!
This tour costs $1,454 CAD and covers 3 breakfasts, 3 nights’ accommodations, park passes, and a Rocky Mountains information packet. You’ll start and end the tour at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Vancouver. It runs from May – September with options to start on Wednesdays or Saturdays.
If this tour sounds right for you, check availability and book it here!
Related Read: If you’re spending some time in Vancouver on your trip, read about the fun things to do here in summertime.
4. 7-Day roundtrip from Vancouver
If you’ve got the time, this 7-day roundtrip tour from Vancouver is an excellent way to experience the Canadian Rockies to the fullest. You’ll see the highlights we’ve already talked about (like Banff, Jasper, and Lake Louise), as well as visit Whistler in the summertime. You’ll also spend a night at Sun Peaks, a well-known year-round resort, and visit Kelowna in the Okanagan Valley.
We can never get enough of exploring the Canadian Rockies, and sometimes 4 days doesn’t feel like enough! So if you have time for this comprehensive, week-long tour, you should go for it. It offers a very well-rounded experience that will leave you with a wonderful impression of the Rocky Mountains.
This tour has everything from visiting the Whistler Blackcomb Resort area to hiking in Banff National Park. So bring your hiking boots and keep your eye out for all the must-see animals in Banff! There are also lots of optional extra experiences on offer outside of the basic itinerary, like the Peak2Peak Gondola or ziplining in Whistler, the Sun Peaks chairlift, and the Banff Gondola.
The cost for this tour is $2,378 CAD, so it’s actually quite cost-effective given its duration. Like most of the tours, you get breakfast each morning (except for the first day) and all of your accommodation included. There’s a maximum of 24 guests so it’s still small enough to feel like a personal experience. It leaves and ends at the Vancouver Cruise Pier on select Sundays between June and October.
So if you have 7 days to experience the Canadian Rockies, book this unforgettable tour online here!
Related Read: If you’re interested in adding on a trip up the Banff Gondola separately, find out where to buy tickets here!
5. 5-Day roundtrip from Vancouver
One thing we love about this roundtrip tour of the Rockies from Vancouver is the itinerary’s flexibility. You get to see the highlights of the Canadian Rockies plus have a free day in Banff to do whatever you please (and trust us, there are a TON of cool things to do there).
We always appreciate some free time during an organized tour to explore locations how you’d like. You can choose to relax in this magical town or plan your own one-day itinerary in Banff.
Another thing I love about this tour is you spend a night at the Mike Wiegele heli-skiing resort, where you’ll have amazing views and the option to canoe or swim in the lake. There’s also a sightseeing stop at Mount Robson, the Rockies’ highest peak, and unlike other tours, your Banff Gondola admission ticket is included in the tour cost.
The friendly guides really bring this tour to life and give you the opportunity to have a true Canadian Rockies experience. Plus, their commentary is both interesting and educational!
The cost of this 5-day tour is $1,585 CAD, including 4 breakfasts and 1 dinner in Revelstoke on the third night of the trip. The tour starts on Mondays from May through the beginning of October. You’ll be picked up and dropped off in Vancouver, so you can always add on a Vancouver city tour before or after this one!
If you want to see the sights AND have a free day in Banff, check availability and book this tour online here!
6. 3-Day Banff, Jasper, and Lake Louise tour
This 3-day roundtrip tour from Calgary is packed with stunning sightseeing and fun experiences. Since Calgary has better access to the Rockies than Vancouver, you’ll spend less time on the bus and more time exploring, making this a top Calgary tour if you’re staying in that city.
We like that it includes stops at some places the other tours skip, like the Natural Tunnels and the Spiral Bridge in Yoho National Park. You’ll also get to visit the Crowfoot Glacier and Bow Lake along the Icefields Parkway. Of course, there’s a stop at the Columbia Icefield, where you’ll also have the option to hop on an Ice Explorer to explore the Athabasca Glacier (for an additional charge).
In Jasper, you’ll check out Medicine Lake and Maligne Lake and Canyon before resting at the Saskatchewan River Crossing. After spending a night here, you’ll head to Lake Louise which is gorgeous in the summer!
This tour costs $857 CAD and includes 2 nights standard hotel accommodation. Unlike most tours, breakfast isn’t included, but this can be a blessing if you’re a picky eater (or just not a breakfast person). They offer hotel pick-up and drop-off at select hotels in Calgary. The tour runs from May to the beginning of October with several tours leaving throughout the week.
We think this is one of the top Banff tours from Calgary since it’s short but sweet, and you’ll see the major sights as well as some bonus ones in just 3 days. To book this tour, check availability and pick a date here.
Related Read: For more tour options in Banff National Park, these are the best tours along the Icefields Parkway!
7. 4-Day bicycle tour
If you’re an avid cyclist, this 4-day bike tour is the perfect way to experience the true beauty of the Canadian Rockies! You’ll cover 305 kilometers (189 miles) over 4 days while enjoying the fresh mountain air.
You’ll begin with a van transfer from Edmonton to Jasper before cycling along the Icefields Parkway, over the Bow Pass to Lake Louise, and finally to picture-perfect Banff, where the tour wraps up. What we love about this tour is that you cycle by many of the sights, allowing you to take them in slowly while also getting exercise.
The maximum group size is 11, so this is a nice, intimate experience, and you’ll get to know your guide and fellow travelers pretty well over the tour. Coming away from a tour with new friends makes the whole experience extra special. Ultimately, we always prefer small group tours over large, super commercialized ones for these reasons.
The basic tour package costs $1,792 CAD and includes hotel pickup and drop-off in both Edmonton and Banff, where the tour starts and ends, and 3 nights’ accommodation in twin sharing rooms. All 3 meals per day are included, plus unlimited snacks, which is super handy as you’ll expend a lot of energy when cycling such long distances.
However, you don’t get lunch on the first day and alcoholic drinks will cost you extra – not that you’re likely to be hitting the bar super hard with a long day of cycling ahead!
One important thing to note is that a rental bike is not included in the basic tour package and you will need to supply your own, or you can pay an extra $46 CAD to rent a bike for the duration of the tour (which we think is pretty reasonable).
Overall, this tour is super well organized! The leader, Ben, is super supportive and makes the experience extra special with his vast knowledge of the Rockies. All of the details are taken care of so it feels like a seamless experience with absolutely incredible views the whole way. If you love cycling, there’s really no better way to see the Rockies than this.
This tour starts on Fridays from June through the beginning of August. Since the cycling season is short and groups are limited, we recommend you book your spot ahead of time here!
Related Read: If you plan to remain in Banff after your cycling tour, read about these great places stay in Banff National Park.
Thanks for reading!
The Canadian Rockies are an absolutely breathtaking destination in Canada. We feel these tours are the best way to see everything in this area (without having to do any of the planning1). Hopefully, you found one that suits your interests and you have a wonderful time in the mountains!
If you found this list helpful, check out my other blogs about Canada. We’ve explored this country extensively and love sharing what we’ve learned. Below are a few articles that might come in handy if you’re visiting the Rocky Mountain area.
16 Absolute BEST Tours in Banff (that you won’t want to miss!)
The BEST Wildlife Tours in Jasper
Where to Stay in Canmore: The 5 BEST Hotels!