Day 8: Icefields Parkway
Today, drive the Icefields Parkway, the 227 kilometer mountain road, built almost parallel to the continental divide, passes through Banff National Park and Jasper National park. Enjoy the sheer beauty of the mountain scenery with river valleys, snow capped rugged peaks, rivers and creeks. You will need the whole day.
- Herbert Lake
- Peyto Lake
- Columbia Icefield & Columbia Icefield centre
- Sunwapta Falls
- Athabasca Falls
- Parker Ridge Hike
Food is available at Simpson’s Num-Ti-Jah Lodge, Columbia Icefield centre, Sunwapta Falls. Fill up the tanks at the village before entering Icefields Parkway. There is only one gas station on the way at Saskatchewan River crossing.
Stay at Jasper.
Day 9: Jasper
Jasper National Park receives millions of visitors every year. They are drawn to its picturesque lakes and mountains and hot springs. The park became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984 as part of the parks that form the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks.
Mt Edith Cavell: The impressive mountain named after Edith Louisa Cavell, is the site of Angel glacier that straddles the lower slopes of the mountain. Hike the shorter Path of the Glacier trail to the brilliant green coloured glacier pool backdropped by Angel glacier clinging to the weather battered face of Mt Cavell.
Jasper Tramway: Take a ride to the top of the Whistler Mountain.
Miette Hot Springs: A trip to Jasper National Park isn’t complete without soaking in the mineral-rich waters of the Miette Hot Springs, whose waters are moderated to provide a fantastic soak.
Maligne Canyon: Hike along the “la traverse maligne” canyon and explore the canyon created by untamed waters.
Lakes, where you can go canoeing/kayaking/paddleboarding, include Pyramid Lake (rentals at the pyramid Lake resort), Patricia Lake, Lac Beauvert (rentals at Jasper Park Lodge), Lake Annette, and Maligne Lake (a boat cruise also available).
If you want to go whitewater rafting, see here.
Day 10: Jasper to Edmonton
- Consider visiting Wilmore Wilderness Area. This is the best place to enjoy the Rockies, far from the maddening crowds! Go on half a day (5 hours) trail riding! The area is more famous for its backcountry expeditions that last a week or more! After your ride, drive to Edmonton (4 hours). Or stay the night at Hinton.
- From Jasper, drive to William A. Switzer Provincial Park. Spend some time hiking and enjoying the views of the mountains. Then get to Hinton, have lunch here. If you have kids with you, continue to Entwistle and enjoy tubing at Pembina River. Or stop at Wabamum Provincial Park Beach for an evening at the beach.
Day 11: Edmonton
See Edmonton Trip Itinerary for more details.
Alberta’s capital and home to Canada’s largest entertainment complex and the largest urban park system, Edmonton is a city that knows how to have fun.
Fort Edmonton Park: The largest living history museum in Canada where costumed staff will take you on a journey back more than 150 years to experience what Edmonton was like during the days of the fur trade and pioneer years.
Old Strathcona: This historic district in south-central Edmonton has been ranked as one of Canada’s five best shopping neighbourhoods with a mix of historic buildings and trendy, one-of-a-kind shops, restaurants, cafes, bars.
West Edmonton Mall: West Edmonton Mall is the largest mall in North America and the tenth largest in the world. Inside, you will encounter more than 800 stores, an amusement park, waterpark, indoor lagoon, ice palace, adventure golf, movie theatres and more.
Alberta Legislature: Go on free guided tours are offered hourly at this marvel of Beaux-Arts architecture with marble pillars and carved oak.
Muttart Conservatory: This innovative botanical garden with its striking glass pyramids, is the leader in plant science in western Canada. Three biomes are housed inside the pyramids and a fourth houses creative displays changing throughout the year.
Day 12: Edmonton to Drumheller.
Start early today! From Edmonton, take Yellowhead Highway to reach Elk Island National Park by 09:30 AM.
If you have more time, consider doing this itinerary backwards: Scenic Road Trip Alberta: Calgary to Edmonton Via The Badlands
Stop 1: Elk Island National Park
Explore Canada’s largest enclosed national park for wildlife viewing! Keep your eyes open and see how many elk, white tailed deer and moose you can spot. Join the Bison Backstage walking tour to really get behind the scenes and discover how Elk Island has helped to bring the plains bison back from near extinction. You’ll be taken through a labyrinth of corrals, catwalks, alleys and gates showing the techniques behind the successful conservation program.
Time Required: 2 hours (or more)
Hours: Open Year Round.
Stop 2: Ukrainian Cultural Village
Next Stop is the Ukrainian Cultural Village is just 5 kms from the Park on Yellowhead Highway.
Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village, an open-air museum which recreates and shows the lives of the Ukrainian Canadian settlements during 1899 to 1930 in east central Alberta with the use of costumes and historical interpreters. Journey back in time and listen to real stories of the hardships and triumphs these people faced in Canada’s oldest and at one-time largest bloc settlement of Ukrainian pioneers.
You can have lunch here.
Hours: Victoria Day to Labour Day.
Time Required: 2 hours or more. If you are planning to do the rail excursion(only available on Weekends and Select Weekdays) , you need to be there by 2:00 PM. Hence, cut short your visit or skip this village or national park visit altogether. The drive to Stettler takes ~ 1 and a half hours. On Sundays, the train usually runs at 11:00 AM, so plan accordingly (Drive straight here from Edmonton).
Stop 3/optional: Alberta Prairie Railway Excursions
Alberta Prairie offers an exciting one day adventure on board a real steam or diesel-powered train. Travel through the beautiful rolling and treed countryside of Alberta’s Parkland. During your journey, different themes are enacted throughout the season showcasing living history of the settlement of Western Canada, murder mysteries, family, live stage show. Dinner is served on your trip and included in your fare.
Hours: Victoria Day to Labour Day.
Time Required: You will be back at 7:30 PM, if you are choosing 2:30 Train.
From Stettler, an hours drive on AB 56 gets to you Drumheller.
If you are not doing the train trip and have children with you, consider visiting, Lacombe Corn Maze. Or if you are visiting during mid of July head to Drumbeller to enjoy Canadian Badlands Passion Play (Weekends ~ 06/07:00 PM).
If you are not interested in the train ride, or visiting the village, consider doing Edmonton to Red Deer part of the itinerary given in this article.
Day 13: Drumheller and Dinosaur Provincial Park.
Today, we will explore Alberta’s badlands on Dinosaur trail – Highway 838!
Right in the morning, visit the World’s Largest Dinosaur, that serves as the visitor centre (and get information you need for the following road trip). Climb to the top and enjoy the views of Red River Valley and badlands.
Royal Tyrell Museum
From the visitor centre, visit the Royal Tyrell Museum located in Midland Provincial Park. Continue on Dinosaur Trail for ~ 5km to reach the Museum.
Journey through time and come face-to-face with some of Canada’s mightiest dinosaurs. The Royal Tyrell Museum of Palaeontology is Canada’s only museum dedicated exclusively to the science of palaeontology. In addition to housing one of the world’s largest displays of dinosaurs,
the Museum is a world leader in palaeontology research and offers a wide variety of creative, fun, and educational programs that bring the prehistoric past to life.
Hours: Open Year Round.
Time Required: 1 hour.
Continue North on Dinosaur Trail
Stop at Horsethief canyon look out, get on Bierot Ferry, one of the few cable operated ferry in Alberta. Crossing the ferry, continue on Highway 838 and then south on 837. Stop at Orkney Hill Lookout, that offer stunning view of Drumheller Valley. Continuing approximately half an hour on the South Dinosaur Trail (AB-575 W, AB-10/56 E) you reach the Hoodoos Trail in East Coulee. Stop at Drumheller on your way to Hoodoos Trail for Lunch. Or you can take a detour to Wayne to the historic Last Chance Saloon.
Stop here for a hike amongst the most photographed location in Dinosaur Valley. Come up and close with the strange rock formations called the Hoodoos that have unique mushroom-like shape due to thousands of years of erosion. The trails are well maintained.
Time Required: half an hour to one hour.
Hours: Open Year Round.
Atlas Coal Mine National Historic Site:
Another 8 km on AB-10 takes you to Atlas Coal Mine National Historic Site.
Atlas Coal Mine National Historic Site was once a working mine established in early 1900s,and was part of the erstwhile booming coal industry that covered the region of Drumheller. The Atlas Coal Mine National Historic Site is famous for fascinating underground tours, train tours, and tipple tours.
Time Required: 1 hour.
Hours: Early May to Thanksgiving weekend.
If you are planning to camp in Dinosaur Provincial Park (yes, comfort camping options are available), then drive approximately 1 and a half hours to reach the park. If you want to stay at a hotel, plan to stay at Patricia Hotel in Patricia (this is an excellent place to have dinner) or in Brooks.
Day 14: Dinosaur Provincial Park to Medicine Hat
Spend the day exploring Dinosaur Provincial Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. See the myriad colours of badlands, visit the outdoor fossil displays and take Explorer’s Bus Tour (book early). Hike through rugged lands that preserves millions of fossils. (What you should realise: It is a crime to take anything from here)
Time Required: 8 hours.
Hours: Year Round. (Limited facilities in winter)
By evening, drive to Medicine Hat. You can continue you stay at Dinosaur Provincial Park.
Day 15: Medicine Hat to Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park
In the morning, visit Medalta Potteries, located in the Medicine Hat Clay Industries National Historic District. The museum showcases historic clay and pottery collections, and within the complex you can go inside huge Kilns that doubled up as cheap accommodations during great depression and for those looking for work. As many as 40 men crowded into the cozy warmth of cooling kilns. Potteries from Medalta, once accounted for a large share of Canada’s pottery!
Time Required: 1 hour
Hours: Open year round.
Red Rock Coulee
From Medicine Hat, a 45 minute drive via AB-3 W and AB-887 S gets you to Red Rock Coulee
Red Rock Coulee is the site of intriguing landscape covered with red boulder shaped formations. These spherical sandstone concretions that have eroded out of the softer bedrock, the best example of spheroid rock formations in Alberta.
Time Required: half an hour
Hours: Open Year Round
Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park
1 and a half hour drive ~ 135 kms from Red Rock Coulee, gets you to the final destination of your 14 day trip in Alberta.
Located on the spectacular Milk River valley, Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park protects a sacred landscape that is important to the First Nations. Hike the Hoodoo Interpretive Trail and discover the largest concentration of First Nation petroglyphs and pictographs on the great plains of North America.
Time Required: 3 hours or more!
Hours: Open Year Round. (Though some services will not available)
You can stay here or continue to Sweet Grass, via Coutts after a glorious fortnight in the Wild Rose Country!