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Road Trip Canada

Planning a road trip in Canada? Travel this great country by car or RV!

As a tour guide, I visit many popular destinations in Canada.  Having seen so many wonderful parts of this country, I love to share these unique and best road trip destinations with you.

  1. The Icefields Parkway, AB
  2. The Cabot Trail, NS
  3. Pacific Rim Highway, BC
  4. Duffey Lake Road, BC
  5. Glacier Highway, BC
  6. Yellowhead Highway, between Prince Rupert and Terrace, BC

Discover multiple day road trips  
Itinerary samples and road trip ideas Canada

My favourite road trip in Canada
The Icefields Parkway, Alberta

Nested within a Unesco World Heritage Site –the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks-, The Icefields Parkway is definitely one of the most beautiful roads of the world.
Personally, I’ve never been on a more scenic road than this one.

Endless mountain chains, wild rivers, turquoise lakes, 7 icefields, many more glaciers, and a good chance of  spotting wildlife, such as grizzlies and black bears, elk, mountain goat, and bighorn sheep, make the Icefields Parkway my favourite Canadian road trip destination ever.

icefields-parkway Banff national ParkThe Icefields Parkway is one of the most scenic roads in the world!

Good to know, and interesting facts about the Icefields Parkway

  • The road stretches 232 km/ 144 miles, between Jasper and Lake Louise, Alberta.
  • The Icefields Parkway is part of the National Park system of Canada. 
  • No commercial traffic is allowed on this route.
  • You need a valid National park pass to use the Icefields Parkway. 
  • The highest part of the route is Bow pass at 2068 metres/ 6785 feet.
  • The road has been built in the 1930’s as an unemployment project.  Workers received $0.20 a day.
  • During summer, about 100.000 vehicles a month visit the Icefields Parkway.
  • You’ll pass 7 Icefields and 25 glaciers along the route.
  • The Icefields Parkway is open year round.
  • Allow yourself a full day to drive and explore the various stops along the Icefields Parkway. 
  • Start your day with enough gas for the trip (232 km). There is only 1 gas station along the route.
  • Cell phone coverage is unreliable when out on the Icefields Parkway. 

Gems along the Icefields Parkway

Many breathtaking viewpoints are located along the Icefields Parkway.  All worth stopping for...however it is impossible to hit the brakes at all of these when you plan to drive the Icefield Parkway in one day. 

Start your road trip in either Jasper or Lake Louise. Make sure you get out of your vehicle at:

   Peyto Lake
   Coleman Creek: an awesome spot to enjoy a picnic
   Parker Ridge Trail (2.5 hours return, 250 metres/820 feet elevation gain)
   Athabasca Glacier
   Sunwapta Falls or Athabasca Falls

Things to do around:

The Icefields Parkway is included in the Road Trip Calgary to Vancouver

The Icefields Parkway is included in the Road Trip Vancouver to Calgary

Another great Canadian Road Trip
The Cabot Trail, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

Another exceptional and breathtaking road trip destination in Canada is the Cabot Trail. This east coast road trip is one of the finest road trips I’ve enjoyed in Canada.
When I and my other half drove the Cabot Trail half of October, we experienced beautiful fall foliage.

The Cabot trail hugs the edge of Cape Breton Island, NS.

Acadian villages, spectacular highlands, old growth forest, wild creeks, and beautiful ocean vistas characterize the Cabot Trail. The great Atlantic Ocean hugs the rolling hills of Cape Breton.

Great hiking trails and numerous gorgeous lookouts are worth the extra stop.

Cape Breton Island is home to a variety of wildlife such as moose, black bears, coyotes, and several whale species.

Good to know and interesting facts about the Cabot Trail

  • This windy road trip stretches 267 km/ 166 miles at the transition between ocean and land on the north shore of Cape Breton Island, NS.
  • Only local commercial traffic is allowed on this route.
  • Cell phone coverage is unreliable around Cape Breton Island. 
  • A part of The Cabot Trail runs through Cape Breton Highlands National Park. An entry and service fee is charged when entering the National Park.
  • The Cabot Trail is open year round.
  • The road has been in use since 1932.
  • Allow yourself 5 hours driving time excluding any stops.  Allow yourself 2-4 days to enjoy and explore this wonderful area.

cabot trail nova scotiaThe scenic Cabot Trail winds along the coast of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

Road Trip Canada # 3
Pacific Rim Highway (Hwy 4 West), Vancouver Island, BC

The Pacific Rim Hwy is one of my favourite Canadian road trips. It is the only (mostly 2-lane) road leading to Tofino and Ucluelet, located on the west coast of Vancouver Island.  This stretch is big fun for motorcycles lovers and for automobilists as it winds through the Vancouver Island Mountains.

A section of the road cuts through old growth temperate rainforest of giant Douglas fir, hemlock, and western red cedar.  Further west the road gets very windy and narrow, crossing several creeks. 

This road trip offers breathtaking views of surrounding mountains, lakes and rivers.

You might even spot black bears trying to catch salmon or eating berries along the roadside.
All grounds to list this stretch of highway as one of the coolest Canadian road trips.

Good to know and interesting facts about the Pacific Rim Highway

  • From Parksville to the Pacific Rim visitor centre (at the intersection Tofino - Ucluelet on Hwy 4) the distance measures 135 km / 84 miles.
  • Allow yourself 2.5 hours driving time excluding any stops.  
  • Cell phone coverage is unreliable along the Pacific Rim Highway.
  • Port Alberni is the only town along the road.  From Port Alberni you still have another 95 km/ 60 miles  to go, the last 40 km/25 miles are the most scenic, nevertheless the windiest with steep grades.  From Port Alberni it usually takes me 90 minutes to get to Ucluelet and 105 minutes to reach Tofino.
  • The road has been completed in 1961.
  • Ucluelet and Tofino are excellent locations for whale watching in British Columbia.

Gems along the Pacific Rim Highway

Your road trip starts in Parksville, BC. Make sure you get out of your vehicle at:

Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park: enjoy a picnic and a short hike.
Cameron Lake: great for swimming.
MacMillan Provincial Park: awe at huge, big, and up to 800 years old Douglas firs.
Alberni harbour Quay in Port Alberni : sip a fresh Cappucino or visit the Saturday morning Farmers’ Market.
Sproat Lake petroglyphs:  gaze at thousand+ years old petroglyphs on the shores of Sproat Lake.
From the lower campground parking lot (see map), an easy 600 metres walk (with picnic tables just of the start) leads to a floating viewing platform.
Kennedy River: stretch your legs and refresh yourself at the rocky shores of the Kennedy River. 
Pacific Rim Visitor Centre: provides excellent free information and maps of the area.


Parks Canada
The Cabot Trail

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