Scenic Canadian Road Trip
Along a 175-mile route from Jasper to Banff, a seemingly endless succession of peaks towers over deep glacial valleys and turquoise lakes. Streams fed by an ice field a quarter-mile thick cascade through rock-walled canyons. Elk and deer frequent the roadsides, and in the backcountry are mountain caribou, bighorn sheep, grizzlies and wolves. There’s boating and canoeing on pristine lakes, whitewater rafting, kayaking, fishing, mountain biking and spectacular hiking. The route, quite simply, ranks among the world’s great road trips. And it’s an ideal summer vacation choice for families.
This itinerary includes stops at my favorite new hotel discoveries in the region, including stops in Alberta’s two major cities: unexpectedly vibrant Edmonton and western-inflected Calgary. I omit my two longtime-favorite hotels in Yoho National Park, Emerald Lake Lodge and Cathedral Mountain Lodge, but those with more time could easily add one into their itinerary, or use one as a substitute for the Post Hotel & Spa.
Arrive at Edmonton’s airport, pick up a rental car and drive to the landmark Fairmont Hotel Macdonald, set on the edge of a bluff overlooking parkland along the North Saskatchewan River. Have dinner in The Harvest Room, which has wide views over the river valley.