Western Canada’s Best Scenic Drives

River running along the Bow Valley Parkway.
The Bow Valley Parkway has plenty of lookouts to stop and stretch your legs. Photo © Stanislav Moroz/123rf.

Road-tripping in British Columbia and Alberta is one big visual delight, so it’s hard to pick just a few favorite routes. But here are four of the most spectacular sections of road that make up western Canada’s best scenic drives.

  • Sea-to-Sky Highway: Highway 99 from Vancouver to Whistler winds between the mountains and the ocean, with views of offshore islands and snow-topped peaks around every bend. Stop at roadside kiosks to learn more about local First Nations communities.
  • Bow Valley Parkway, Banff National Park: With numerous lookout points and stops for hikes, this 30-mile (48-kilometer) drive is an ever-so-scenic alternative to Highway 1 between Banff and Lake Louise.
  • Icefields Parkway: Take your time on this 143-mile (230-kilometer) route between Lake Louise and Jasper, as you pass turquoise lakes, rushing waterfalls, and countless glacier-topped peaks. It’s one of Canada’s most spectacular drives.
  • Highway 3A along Kootenay Lake: An alternate route between Nelson and the East Kootenays region, Highway 3A winds along the shores of Kootenay Lake and past one of B.C.’s quirkiest attractions: a house built from more than 500,000 empty bottles of embalming fluid.

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