There’s no doubt about it that Canada has some truly incredible roads to drive, and finding a perfect road trip route is possible for everyone! In this blog post, we’re going to focus on our favourite road trips in the beautiful province of Alberta.

With an abundance of stunning scenery to drive through, there is so much to see in Alberta by car, from towering mountains to interesting badlands. Here are just a few of our favourite road trip routes in Alberta, in no particular order – so get those snacks and tunes ready for your best road trip yet!

As you plan your next road trip, be sure to check out our blog post on our Road Trip Tips & Tricks. And remember, you can always contact your TierOne Travel Consultant for professional help with planning and booking your travel – including that perfect road trip!


Alberta's Best Road Trip Routes - Dinosaur Trail and HooDoo Trail Drumheller

Dinosaur Trail and Hoodoo Trail

Drumheller is a great home base for this short and sweet road trip, favourite of many Albertans, and perfect for the whole family.

Both the Dinosaur Trail and the Hoodoo Trail offer amazing things to do and see such as hiking, visiting a dinosaur museum, go on an official tour of the area, take in beautiful panoramic views and much more! 

Alberta's Best Road Trip Routes - Dinosaur Trail and HooDoo Trail Drumheller

The Route 

Drumheller is the start and end point for the Dinosaur Trail, which begins at the intersection of 2nd St. NW and South Railway, heading west. The loop ends/begins at the intersection of Hwy 9 and 56 in Drumheller. 

The Hoodoo Trail also starts in Drumheller –take Highway 56 to the Hoodoo Trail, which is along Highway 10. 

Road Trip Length  

The Dinosaur Trail is roughly a 56 km route that takes about an hour to drive.

The Hoodoo Trail is around 22 kms and takes roughly a quarter of an hour for a one-way trip. 

Road Trip Highlights  

  • Enjoy the views at Horseshoe Canyon 
  • Visit the World’s Largest Dinosaur in Drumheller 
  • Gawk at amazing fossils in the Royal Tyrell Museum of Paleontology 
  • See Drumheller’s Little Church (that holds 10,000 people, but only seats six people at a time!)
  • Take the Bleriot Ferry across the Red Deer River 
  • Explore Hoodoos, an iconic symbol of the Alberta Badlands 
  • Stop for a drink at the Last Chance Saloon in the town of Wayne 
  • Walk across the Star Mine Suspension Bridge 
  • Take an underground tour at the Atlas Coal Mine National Historic Site 

Things to Note 

The Bleriot Ferry only operates from late April to November.  



Alberta's Best Road Trip Routes - Icefields Parkway

Icefields Parkway 

Icefields Parkway is one of the greatest Rocky Mountain road trips, featuring truly incredible views of some of the tallest mountains in the Canadian Rockies! You can also see over a hundred glaciers on this route! There’s also various hiking trails to explore along the way, unbelievably blue lakes, wildlife, valleys, waterfalls and so much more. 

Depending on where you want to start, either Banff or Jasper are great places to explore as you begin this unforgettable journey!  

Alberta's Best Road Trip Routes - Icefields Parkway

The Route

The 230 km long Icefields Parkway runs along Highway 93 and connects Banff and Lake Louise to Jasper. 

Road Trip Length  

Without stopping (which you will do a lot of!), the Icefields Parkway takes around 3.5 hours to drive, in nice weather conditions. 

However, there is so much to see and do that you could easily spend 5-8 hours along the parkway one way! 

Road Trip Highlights  

  • Gaze at the famous and beautiful Lake Louise 
  • Check out Herbert Lake, just 15 minutes from Lake Louise
  • Stop to see the huge Crowfoot Glacier at Hetor Lake
  • Stop at the lookout for the beautifully blue Peyto Lake (can you see the famous wolf face shape?) 
  • Hike along the short trail to Mistaya Canyon 
  • Keep a lookout for the Weeping Wall, a series of waterfalls that fall from Cirrus Mountain
  • The Ice Explorer vehicles are massive and operate all day in the summer, and that’s a lot of CO2 emissions doing damage to the precious environment. You can choose to walk up to the terminus of Athabasca Glacier from the parking lot (for free!).
  • Step out on a cliff-edge walkway at the Columbia Icefield Skywalk and view giant glaciers and the spectacular Sunwapta Valley
  • If you’re looking for a beautiful hike, Wilcox Pass Trail is a great option
  • See the powerful Athabasca Falls and hike the short interpretive trail

Things to Note 

  • There is only one fuel station on the parkway, at Saskatchewan River Crossing (not open year-round)Before leaving, make sure your vehicle has enough fuel for the whole trip. 
  • You will need a Park Pass, which can either be ordered in advance or purchased at the gate. 
  • If you are driving the Parkway in the winter or in snowy conditions, snow tires or chains are required by law for your safety. 

 


Alberta's Best Road Trip Routes - Smith Dorrein Trail

Smith Dorrien Spray Trail 

One of the more adventurous road trips in Alberta, the Smith Dorrien Trail is a drive along a gravel road near Canmore with jaw-dropping scenery. The route passes the famous Three Sisters mountains along with the gorgeous Spray Lake Reservoir. 

Alberta's Best Road Trip Routes - Chester Lake Trail

The Route 

The Smith Dorrien Spray Trail starts south of Canmore and ends on the Kananaskis Trail. You can then head north, onto the Trans-Canada, which will take you back to Canmore and further on to Calgary. Or, head south over the Highwood Pass, which finishes at Longview, one hour south of Calgary. 

Road Trip Length  

The almost-70 km Smith Dorrien Trail takes less than 2 hours to drive, without stopping. However, you will want to take your time to see the sites or do some activities that will probably add at least a few more hours. 

Road Trip Highlights  

  • Watch for wildlife like moose, coyotes, and bears along the road – there is plenty of wildlife along this route!
  • Relax on the on the shores of the Spray Lakes Reservoir (perhaps even pack a picnic!)
  • Go boating at the Driftwood Day Use area 
  • Fish for Mountain whitefishRainbow troutLake troutCutthroat trout, and Lake whitefish in Spray Lakes Reservoir  
  • Hike one of the many amazing hikes in the area, such as Chester Lake or Black Prince Interpretive Trail (can also be biked); there’s so many to choose from!
  • Walk along the Blackshale Suspension Bridge 

Things to Note 

  • There are no services on the Smith Dorrien trail, so make sure to fuel up and check tire pressures before heading out
  • The road is completely made of gravel, so give plenty of space between vehicles to avoid getting a cracked windshield

Alberta's Best Road Trip Routes - Red Deer River

The Road to Ya Ha Tinda 

Ya Ha Tinda is a lovely and quiet area that is far from the crowdsand totally worth the detour!

Follow the Red Deer River west on Coal Camp Rd. and you’ll eventually reach Ya Ha Tinda Ranch, a federally operated horse ranchThere are so many things to do in this area, from horseback riding to hiking, waterfall viewing and more! 

Alberta's Best Road Trip Routes - Red Deer River

The Route 

Follow the Red Deer River west on Coal Camp Rd. and you’ll eventually reach Ya Ha Tinda Ranch, access to the ranch is via a small gravel road. 

Road Trip Length  

The road from Sundre to Ya Ha Tinda is about 85 km, which takes around 1.25 hours to drive.

From NW Calgary, it is about a 2.5-hour driveFor this road trip, it is best to plan for a full day, because you’ll want to stretch your legs and see all the sights along the way. 

Road Trip Highlights  

  • Visit Ya Ha Tinda Ranch and see horses, hectares of grasslandmountain views, tree-lined ravines, archeological sites, and more! 
  • You have the chance to see an abundance of wildlife in the area, including grizzlies, wolves, cougars, moose, deer, and bighorn sheep
  • Whitewater paddle along on the Red Deer River 
  • Hike to the beautiful Bighorn Falls  
  • If you have horses, you can bring them to ride the many trails connected to Ya Ha Tinda Ranch

Things to Note 

  • The gravel road can get rough, so budget extra time to drive safely on the gravel
  • Cell reception is spotty to unavailable, so plan appropriately

Alberta's Best Road Trip Routes - Barrier Lake, Kananaskis

Kananaskis Trail 

This is one of the best Alberta road trips from Calgary! It travels through a handful of provincial parks, so there are endless things to do and see!

Kananaskis Country is known as one of the prettiest places in the Canadian Rockies, and for good reason. The scenery here is amazing throughout the entire road trip, and you’ll want to stop a lot to take it all in! 

Alberta's Best Road Trip Routes - Kananaskis

The Route 

Take the TransCanada Highway and about 76 kilometers west of Calgary, turn onto Highway 40. Here is where you will enter stunning Kananaskis Country! 

Road Trip Length  

Depending what you decide to do on this adventure, you’ll travel about 300km. It is best to plan a full day, so you have time to do everything you want to do while not feeling too rushed. 

Road Trip Highlights  

  • Keep an eye out for wildlife along the way – bears, moose and deer are commonly seen. 
  • Visit the majestic Wolfdogs at the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary  
  • Check out Canoe Meadows, a large day-use area above the sparkling Kananaskis River. 
  • Bring your kayak and paddling (or rent one!) and take it to one of the many lakes along the way. 
  • Make a stop at the Barrier Lake Visitor Information Centre for park information 
  • Pack a picnic and stop at Barrier Lake, This man-made lake has stretches of sandy beach and a few hiking trails that features amazing views, waterfalls and more. You can rent water crafts here too!
  • Visit Kananaskis Villagethe center of the action during the 1988 Winter Olympic Games.  
  • Go hiking! There are so many in this area. Some wonderful and easy hikes to consider doing here are the Grassi Lakes hike or Grotto Canyon. 
  • For great mountain biking and hiking, or snow activities in the winter, head to the Canmore Nordic Centre. 
  • You might also consider a stop for afternoon tea at Mount Engadine Lodge in Spray Valley Provincial Park 

Things to Note 

  • Highway 40 is annually closed between Peter Lougheed Provincial Park and Hwy 541 from December 1 – June 14. 

Alberta's Best Road Trip Routes - Wolfdog Sanctuary


START PLANNING YOUR ROAD TRIP GETAWAY TODAY

There is no shortage of gorgeous roads to travel in Alberta! When you’re ready to explore a new or favourite destination and make your travel dreams come true, contact one of our TierOne Travel agents. They have extensive experience in life-changing travel and will be able to craft something incredible that is suited to your unique needs. One call; endless experiences!

“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” – Anonymous

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