The country of Canada is so beautiful, and so are its people. There is a saying in the world, “People in Canada are so nice” well I agree with that sentence 100 percent. My friends and I do an annual road trip in the states, but this time we decided to do something out of the country. Canada was always on the list. So, why not?
Here is our 1 week itinerary!
Check out the google maps directions below.
Day 1: Arriving in Vancouver
The first thing you want to do is get yourself a car. My American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card made it easy to book a rental from the airport.
Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge
After getting a quick bite to eat, we wasted no time and headed straight to the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge located in Northern Vancouver, about an hour from the airport.
In order to get to the park you have to go through a neighborhood, if you feel like you are lost, don’t worry we had had the same feeling, just keep driving and you will see the forest. After parking the car, it is a 10-minute walk to the bridge. The Bridge spans over a roaring river and a waterfall, you might catch people jumping over the waterfall into the river down below. On the other side of the bridge, there is a hike along a small river. If you want the bridge to yourself, I recommend getting there early in the morning, perhaps 7 or 8 am.
Before heading back to our hostel, we made a quick stop at Stanley Park. Stanley Park has an 8 km sea wall that wraps around downtown Vancouver. It is definitely a beautiful place to visit.
There are many activities like running, biking, or walking along the sea wall. Make sure to catch a glimpse of wild life along the beach side and at the right time of the year, you might see some Orcas passing through the bay. When we started walking through the park, we found an open field where we played with the Frisbee. Later on, we sat on the sea wall by the beach and watched the planes landing in the water.
Finally around 4 pm, we decided to check into our hostel Samesun Vancouver. Samesun Vancouver is a budget friendly place with exceptional accommodations and services. It is in the heart of downtown Vancouver and surrounded by bars and restaurants. Also, most importantly hold on to that free drink voucher you get while checking in.
We got settled in to our room and headed straight to the bar downstairs to use the free drink voucher. We took a stroll around the district to check out the local bar scene. Doolin’s is an Irish pub right around the corner that offers great drinks and bites for happy hour. The Granville Street is filled with local eateries that offer something for all palates.
Day 2: From the ground to the skies
I Woke up at 8 am on my bunk bed, showered, cleaned up and headed straight for the complimentary breakfast downstairs.
We started our day heading north on Route 99, Sea to sky highway is one of the most scenic highways. There is plenty to do on the 120 km trip to Whistler. Pull over when you see Alice lake about 75 km into the drive or just pull over whenever you see a body of water, you are guaranteed to be amazed.
Make sure to stop at the Brandywine Falls Provincial park, and take a short stroll through the woods, cross a railroad and shortly after that you are greeted by the Brandywine Falls.
Whistler is one of the best ski towns in the world and it was also home to the 2012 Winter Olympics. It is hard not to like this place let alone all of Canada.
We had planned all of the adventurous activities for one day. We started our action-packed day by Bungee Jumping or as my dear friend Nigam Patel would say “Jumping off a perfectly normal bridge”. Whistler Bungee is located just 15-minute south of Whistler village; it is the most exhilarating thing to do in Whistler.
As you arrive, you will cross the bridge to check in. However, there is an age limit for this activity. If you are over the age of 19, you can partake in this activity, but if you are under the age of 19, you need a parental consent form.
Luckily, I was not the first one to go, but my heart was pumping faster each time one of my friends took a leap. and when it was my turn, it was game over. Adrenaline hit me as soon as I realized it was my turn to go down. Heart pumping, hands sweating, stepping on the ledge of a 160 ft. high bridge with the glacier fed Cheakamus River flowing below you.
When its time to jump don’t forget to smile for the one site photographer, the photos can be purchased. Depending on the time of the year the height of the Cheakamus River is higher, so when you jump off you might dip your head or half your body in the river, probably the best way to take a shower if you ask me. Whistler Bungee has been open since 2002 and they haven’t had a single accident, their people have been in the bungee jumping industry for over 20 years, so trust that you are in good hands.
After having our bodies tossed from a bridge and having our stomachs turned upside down, it was time to fill them up. We headed back to Whistler Village to grab some lunch. We opened up yelp and found the best pizza place in Whistler Village, Pizzeria Antico.
They have a variety of choices, ranging from pizza, pasta, calzones and salads. I ordered the Napoletana, one of their best pizzas. Pizzeria Antico also offers a great list of beer and wine, some coming from local breweries and vineyards. If you love Pizza, this place is a must visit. It was the best pizza I have ever had.
It was time to resume our action-packed day. We had booked a zipline adventure with Super Fly Ziplines, Whistlers only backcountry zipline experience. We had booked the 3-hour twilight ziplining tour for $129/person and $99/child. After parking and checking in, we were given our gear. Then we took a short dune buggy ride up the mountain. Our awesome guides gave us a quick lesson on the gear and safety.
We got to the first platform and there it was, Canada’s longest and highest zip line. They start you off with a line ranging 1 km than can reach speeds up to 100 km/hr – I know, right? There are 2 ziplines side by side, one for you and your friend.
I highly recommend this experience, it was so relaxing, gliding across the mountains over a beautiful forest with breath taking views. There are short walks from one platform to the next. At the last platform, the lines are closer to each other, so you can hold hands with your friend while you go down. It takes you right back to the base, where you parked your car.
After returning the gear, we hopped in the car and continued our journey to the town of Lillooet. The sun was beginning to set behind us as we drove through farm country with mountains in the background. We decided to eat dinner at a Thai restaurant in the middle of nowhere, let’s just say that the view was good, but the food wasn’t.
Day 3: Lillooet to Clearwater
We spent the night at the Canadas Best Value Inn Mile-0-Motel in the town of Lillooet.Since that Thai food wasn’t satisfying last night, we were pretty hungry in the morning. We grabbed breakfast at the local A&W joint and headed towards Clearwater
Clearwater is about 295 km, making it a 3.5-hour journey from Lillooet. Today’s agenda was whitewater rafting with Interior Whitewater Expeditions(IWE). We picked the “Ready-Set-Go” package for the seven of us, a 4-hour tour with $92 per person.
What to wear?
You are going to get wet, so just be ready for it. A bathing suit or board shorts is the best choice. You will be given a wet suit and a helmet when you get there. Leave all your belongings in the bus.
Once you arrive at the river, you and your group will have to carry your raft to the river – its actually heavier than it looks! Even if you are not an extreme adrenaline junkie – they offer different levels for rafting, everything from rookie to expert.
Off we go, once you are settled in the raft your instructor will give you a short lesson and tips on how to paddle, when to paddle and when to sit down. You will have to practice jumping in the water and pulling people out of the river – the water was cold!
It is a 4-hour tour, so there will be times where you will get rest. About half way, we pulled over to side of the river and had some fresh fruit, snacks and water provided by IWE.
Depending on the time of the year and the flow of the river, there are different class rapids ranging from 1-5, the higher the number the more FUN!! Our awesome instructor was from Argentina, and he has been doing rafting tours for about 15 years. He was very passionate about his job, so we trusted him and were in good hands.
My advice is once you are in the raft, just enjoy the ride, have fun, and be present in the moment. As IWE likes to say “Its Mother Nature’s Roller Coaster”.
As the tour came to an end, we carried the raft back to the bus, put it on tow rack and headed back to our cars. I cannot emphasize enough how well organized this adventure was, IWE does an amazing job at keeping their customers satisfied, I already want to go back and do it again.
Before getting back on the highway, about 5 minutes away from IWE, there is a Dutch Lake. We decided to stop there and take a quick dip; the water was so perfect in the summer time – still brings memories! Some of us decided to jump in the water and swam to the dock in the middle of the lake and just spend some time there.
It was time to call it a day and head to our hotel in Blue River, Glacier Mountain Lodge.
Day 4: Blue River to Jasper
We grabbed our complimentary breakfast at Glacier Mountain Lodge and headed out for Jasper. Jasper is 211 km from Blue River, giving us plenty of time mingle, chat, and laugh. If there is one thing we did on this trip over and over again was laugh just absurd amounts of it.
Today’s plan was to mountain bike down the mountains around jasper, but there was so much smoke and haze in the air due to the fire at the time we decided it probably wasn’t the best idea. We instead decided to just explore and do some sightseeing around Jasper National Park.
But before leaving, we grabbed some lunch at the Jasper Curry Place. During lunch they offer an all-you-can-eat buffet with about 15 different types of tasteful dishes and the best part is their unlimited Garlic Naan.
About an hour southwest from the town of Jasper is Maligne Lake. We wasted no time and headed straight for the lake. Got there and spend some time on the dock, taking in the views and the fresh air.
Shortly after we started walking alongside the lake through water and dirt until we felt liked stopping. Finally came to a stop, and what do I see? My friend hanging in his hammock and sipping on a cold one, I just had to go and experience it myself – it was awesome!
We made our way back to downtown Jasper. We were hungry and thirsty; Jasper Brewing Company was the perfect the perfect solution. They have a great selection of food, beer and cocktails. I tried their Jasper the Bear Ale, mainly because of the name but It was actually pretty good. If you are not sure what to order, get a flight of beers to start with. Order the fried chicken sandwich and you are in good hands – don’t forget to add the bacon!
The weirdest thing happened, we walked out of the brewery at about 10 pm and it was still day light out, I was so surprised!
During July the average day is 16 hours long, making it the perfect time to visit. We headed to our reservation for the night at Tara Vista Inn.
Day 5: Ice fields Parkway
There are ten provinces in Canada, I think Alberta is the most beautiful among all of them, but that’s just me. We hoped on the Ice Fields Parkway highway and headed south.
Our first stop was at the Athabasca Falls, a short 30-minute drive from Jasper. When you get there, it’s a 5-minute walk from the parking lot to the view point. We got lucky because during July the falls are roaring at full capacity due to all the snow melting.
Spent some time admiring natures perfect creation and headed down the stairs behind us to the river. The bank of the river was filled with rocks, visitors had built their own “Rock Balancing” statues so we decided to add to the collection. If you go there I highly recommend trying to build one (send me a pic!)
Another 20 minutes on the highway and you will see the Sunwapta Falls. We didn’t get a chance to stop, but now that I think about it we should have.
Columbia Ice fields
We headed straight towards the Columbia Ice fields, the largest ice field in the Canadian Rockies. Athabasca Glacier is one of the “toes” of the ice fields.
From far the glacier seem tiny, but up close it is a whole different thing. According to research, these ice fields started forming about 240,000 and ice has been piling up ever since. They cover an area 125 square miles and 1200 feet deep, just to put things in perspective that is higher than the Empire State Building. The glacier shown above covers an area of 6 square km and can be up to 900 feet thick in some places.
Where to Park?
Park at the Columbia Ice fields Discovery Centre. Enjoy gourmet dining at the Altitude Restaurant with breathtaking views, take a stroll through the Chalet shop they offer various teas, coffees, and snacks, grab a souvenir to add to that collection at home.
There are 2 ways to experience the Ice fields, either you walk to the toe of the ice fields or you can take a tour. We walked to the toe, when I got there I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I mean how can a river of ice be so mesmerizing. The glacier use to stretch all the way to the discovery centre, but human foot print has receded it back almost a 1.5 km in 125 years.
If you have a higher budget, I recommend doing the Columbia Ice field glacier adventure. Buy your tickets at the discovery centre for $90/adult and $45/child. A bus will pick you up and drive to the glacier. From there you will get in a different bus specifically designed for glacier travel. The tour takes you up much higher into the Athabasca Glacier, and you get a chance to step off the bus and walk on the glaciers. You can see how big the glacier is in comparison to the red bus.
We hoped back on to the Icefields Parkway Highway and headed towards Banff. At the edge of Banff and just off the highway lies something truly spectacular, Peyto Lake. Take the Bow summit exit, and you are almost there.
There are two ways to get to the main view point, there is a drop off zone for passengers at the top or if you are feeling a little adventurous like us, park your car at the main parking lot and do a short 10-minute hike up to the view point. Either way you are guaranteed to be blown away by what you are about to experience.
This is one of the most scenic places in all of Canada and the most visited, it is very busy during the summer.
Make sure to grab some awesome pictures, to show your family and friends back home. A guaranteed question they will ask you, “Is that the real color?” or “That’s photoshopped, there is no way the water is THAT blue”.
When I got to the top, I was speechless. I couldn’t comprehend in my mind; how beautiful this place was. We spent some time sitting on the rocks, taking some pictures, and enjoyed the serenity of the lake. It is places like this that make me really appreciative how beautiful our world truly is and we should cherish it.
10 minutes down the road, is another blue body of water; Mistaya Lake. There is no viewpoint like Peyto Lake, but it is definitely worth checking it out. There are also campsites available along side the lake. We parked our car in the parking lot and walked to the edge of the lake, depending on the time of the year the lake can be closer or farther from you.
Driving on the Icefields Parkway Highway is the best it gets, huge mountains, lush greenery and epic bodies of water are guaranteed to melt your heart. After Mistaya Lake we headed towards our hotel in Golden. On the way we pulled over at a rest stop and started playing hacky sack, one of the best memories of my life. Just my friends, I, and the Canadian Rockies surrounding us; at that moment life was at its best, at that moment.
Day 6: Glacier National Park, and more lakes…
We had a lot to cover today, so we had to get up early this time. There is only 2 days left (don’t want go home). We checked out of our room at the Ponderosa Motor Inn in Golden and headed to Glacier National Park. It is only a 30 minute drive on the Trans-Canada Hwy/BC-1.
Glacier National Park is a year-around paradise. From the snow covered rockies in the winter to the glacial fed rivers in the summer, you are never to be disappointed. 2017 was Canada’s 150th birthday, so all the parks had free entry. Check out this link to find prices for all the parks in Canada.
We parked and headed for the trails, there is one main trail that takes you in to the park from the parking lot. Just keep following the trail and you will enter the forest, shortly after you will arrive at the river, look for a wooden bridge and two red chairs. The river was flowing at full speed and the air was very fresh. We spent some time relaxing at the bridge and shortly after headed back to the car.
Canoeing on the Blue waters of Lake Louise!
Lake Louise is in the heart of Banff National Park and it is the most visited location. You will find tourist’s there every day of the year. My best advice is getting there super early, I am talking about like 6 or 7 am. If you want the lake to yourself and enjoy the sunrise, before the storm of tourist start to get there. We got there around 10 am and the lake was crawling with tourist, everyone trying to get that perfect picture for their Instagram. Just a piece of advice you are never going to get that perfect picture. Everyone is trying to get the same picture from the same spot, walk along the side of the lake and grab a few shots from there, you will be much satisfied.
This is one of those things you must do, we didn’t plan on Canoeing but when we got there and saw the view and the color of the water everyone wanted to get in on the action.
During Summer it is very busy, so the lines can be very long and the wait can be more than an hour sometime. Get there when they open at 11 am or during evening hours around 5 or 6 pm to skip the line.
The prices are $105 per hour or $95 for half hour, you might as well get the whole hour. Each canoe can fit 3 people, one in the front, middle and back.
We wasted no time, got in our canoe and headed straight for the other end of the lake. After barely making it half way, we realized this lake is huge. Instead of going to the other side, we decided to just park our canoe’s in the middle of the lake and just enjoy the view. I can still see the exact color of the water when I close my eyes. – Let me know how your experience is in the comments.
Our next stop was Moraine Lake, trust me when I say; this place is Nature’s Mona Lisa. The natural beauty here is breathtaking and so surreal. Moraine Lake is a 20-minute drive from Lake Louise. There is one main parking lot right by the lake and there are 2 ways up to the main viewpoint.
Take a short walk up to the viewpoint or if you are feeling adventurous like us, walk across wooden logs on the water and climb the rocks up to the viewpoint.
I suggest you take the adventurous route, plus you might get to see one of your friends slip and fall in the water – Miraj Patel.
Moraine Lake is surrounded by the Valley of the Ten Peaks, the lake is glacier fed which gives it the vibrant turquoise blue color.
You can also rent a canoe or do some short hikes around the lake. The Lake is just half the size of Lake Louise but twice as more scenic.
The best time of the year to visit and see the true color of the lake is between late June to August. By summer the glaciers have melted, and the lake is full to the top. During the months of winter, the lake is fully frozen and can be just as beautiful. But some of the roads might be closed, check the local government website before you decide to make your way out there.
It was around 4 pm, we got to our room at the Banff Park Lodge, the Lodge Suite was perfect with 2 queen beds, a pull out double bed, and 2 bathrooms. The Lodge is surrounded by shops and restaurants within walking distance.
There was still some day light left, so we decided to go walk around and explore the small resort town of Banff. This place is surrounded by tall and beautiful mountains. Banff Ave. is filled with local shops that sell authentic souvenirs, gifts, and various art and photo galleries.
After walking around for a while, we started to get hungry so we decided to get some pizza. I don’t know what it is with Canada and Pizza, but they seem to know what they are doing. I know I said I had the best pizza in my life earlier in whistler, but this place is a close second. Bear Street Tavern offers great pizza and beer with such friendly staff.
Get a pie for yourself or split it with a friend, either way it will leave a lasting taste.
We slowly made our way back to the room to relax for a bit before we head out to celebrate our last night of the road trip.
Its about 9 pm and everybody had cleaned up and dressed for a fun night out. We started by a celebratory drink at the hotel bar and headed towards the town.
Our first stop was at the Elk & Oarsman kitchen & Bar; this place is like a cabin in the woods. Built with big timber logs and an open patio on the second floor, this place has a very home like feeling. They offer a wide selection of beers and spirits, it was also rated the Top 12 pubs in all of Canada.
As the night started to progress and our minds started to wander, me made our way to the Dancing Sasquatch. If you are looking to get you groove on and show off your dance moves this place is perfect. They do have an entry fee of around $10 depending on the day of the week.
The drinks started to pile up, going from bar to bar so some of us called it a night and some still wanted to party.
Its about 2 am, and the bars are closing. So we did what everyone does when they are drunk, grab some Pizza- I know right, again! But its just so good we couldn’t get enough of it. It was time to call it a night.
Day 7: Final day of the trip- 🙁
Today was our official last day of the trip. I was feeling like vacation is over and now it’s time to go back to school. But I told my self that, I should be grateful for what I was able to experience and the memories that would last a life time.
We checked out of our room, grabbed some breakfast at the local Tim Hortons. It is a must visit if you are in any part of Canada, their breakfast and donuts are exceptionally yummy. We grabbed some beer from a local shop and drove to the Cave and Basin National Historic Site.
Start by walking around the discovery center, learn about the history of the Canada Parks and how they came to be, and then make your way to Canada’s most protected asset. An underground cave filled with a natural pool of water, be warned this place has a distinct smell from all the sulfur and minerals in the cave; just don’t breath through your mouth.
Don’t forget to check out the local musical performance.
Shortly after we made our way to a nearby lake. Just to relax and enjoy some cold beers while enjoying the views again (something you can never get enough of). About 30 minutes later, we were serenaded with a beautiful trumpet solo. To this day, I am not sure if it was a government employee or just random person, either way it was perfect.
Goodbyes are never easy!
Eventually all good things must come to an end. If you are anything like me, you are going to miss this beautiful country very much and you will remember it for years to come.
This place is still etched in my brain as if it was today.
We made our to way Calgary, an hour from Banff. We explored downtown for a few hours, and shortly after headed to the airport. Don’t forget to return your rental car.
I hope this itinerary helps you plan your perfect Canadian road trip. I want to hear all about your experience. If you have any questions, please comment below or email me.
Happy Travels!! 🙂
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