Icefields Parkway Alberta Canada, road trip from edmonton to vancouver best routes

Road Trip from Edmonton to Vancouver: 3 Best Routes (MAP)

Are you planning a road trip from Edmonton to Vancouver? So am I! I’ve done the drive from Edmonton to Vancouver a long time ago, but this will be my first with young kids. So, the best routes below will have ideas on where to stop for a family road trip, couples road trip and with your best buds, too.

Road trip from Edmonton to Vancouver, best driving routes Edmonton to Vancouver Canada

You’re gonna want to save me!

Here are the three BEST driving routes from Edmonton to Vancouver:

  • FASTEST: The shortest and FASTEST drive from Edmonton to Vancouver is 1,160km in 13 hours, which goes through Jasper and Kamloops. 
  • VIA CALGARY: To stop in CALGARY, the next shortest and fastest route is 1,260km in 14 hours, which goes through Banff and Kamloops.
  • SCENIC: The most SCENIC route is 1,477km in 17.5 hours, which takes you through Jasper, along the Icefields Parkway, and through Kelowna.

How much does it cost to drive from Edmonton to Vancouver? At today’s $1.50/L gas prices and Canada’s average fuel consumption of 8.9L/100km, this ONE-WAY drive will use 103L of fuel and cost $155, at least.

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MAP of Best Driving Routes from Edmonton to Vancouver

Below is a map to show you the three best road trip routes from Edmonton to Vancouver, including stops.

Tips to use: Click upper left icon to show menu and hide specific routes.

1. FASTEST Road Trip from Edmonton to Vancouver VIA Jasper

Your shortest and FASTEST road trip from Edmonton to Vancouver is 13 hours (1,160km), which goes through Jasper and Kamloops.

If you take the shortest driving route from Edmonton to Vancouver via Jasper, there are three decent places to stop for the night:

  • Jasper AB: Only 5 hours from Edmonton and just under 9 hours from Vancouver. The benefit of stopping here is having time to enjoy the Jasper area.
  • Blue River BC: About halfway between Edmonton and Vancouver at roughly 6.5 hours each way. There isn’t much in Blue River except for comfy cabins and some hiking trails.
  • Clearwater BC: 7.5 hours from Edmonton and just over 5 hours from Vancouver. It’s near Wells Gray Provincial Park and the halfway point if you want to drive the scenic northern route through Whistler (via Highway 99).

Day 1: Drive Edmonton to Clearwater BC

Helmcken Falls in Wells Gray Provincial Park BC Canada, where to stop on road trip from Edmonton to Vancouver

Helmcken Falls. Photo credit: Zachary Kyra-Derksen from Unslash.

To start your fastest road trip route from Edmonton to Vancouver via Jasper, you can drive as far as Clearwater BC. Edmonton to Clearwater is 7.5 hours (682km). Below are great places to stop and stay along the way.

Where to STOP:

  • Miette Hot Springs (near Jasper): A twisting road up to the hottest mineral springs in the Rocky Mountains. Features two hot and two cold pools, indoor and outdoor cafes, gift shop, cabins and restaurant. The turnoff is about 30 minutes east of Jasper.
  • Maligne Canyon (near Jasper): A beautiful limestone canyon with waterfalls and walking trails. Also spectacular as an ice walk in winter. About 15 minutes east of Jasper.
  • Athabasca Falls (near Jasper): A spectacular waterfall that’s only 75 feet high but powerful, carving a short narrow canyon below. About 30 minutes south of Jasper.
  • Wells Gray Provincial Park (near Clearwater): The most iconic waterfall is Helmcken Falls (463-ft), the fourth tallest in Canada. It’s 45 minutes north of Clearwater and an easy 10-minute walk from the parking lot. Along the way, stop at Spahats Creek Falls (246-ft) and Dawson Falls (300-ft wide). Guided canoe, fishing and horseback riding trips are also available.

Where to STAY:

  • Tekarra Lodge (Jasper): Classy and cozy cabins with fine-dining, stone wood-burning fireplaces, trails and playground. Price includes wifi and parking. Conveniently near Jasper on the south end, with easy access to the highway.
  • Bone Creek Wilderness Retreat (Blue River): Cozy woodsy cabins with mountain views, trails, fire pits, playground and family cabins with bunk beds. Price includes wifi and parking. Pack snacks for the evening and breakfast for the morning.
  • Wells Gray Inn (Clearwater): A comfortable inn with family studio rooms, restaurant and spa, too. Price includes wifi and parking. Reviews are mixed, but good overall, and it’s conveniently near Wells Gray Provincial Park visitor center.

Day 2: Drive Clearwater BC to Vancouver

Lookout in Squamish BC Canada, where to stop on road trip from Edmonton to Vancouver

Squamish BC. Photo credit: Jack Nagz from Unsplash.

If you’re eager to reach Vancouver, the fastest route from Clearwater BC to Vancouver is through Kamloops, at just over 5 hours (478km). Tripadvisor has an audio tour to make the drive more interesting.

But if you’re open to an extra 1.5 hours, take Highway 99 west of Kamloops through Whistler and Squamish BC (544km in 7 hours). It’s the spectacular Sea to Sky Highway, but in reverse! I haven’t driven this route before and want to do it this summer. Woohoo!

Where to STOP:

  • Kamloops: A great stop for food, drink, golf or a park stroll along the river. Visit the wildlife park. Take in the river views from local wineries. Explore a 2000-year-old village at Secwepemc Museum.
  • Harrison Hot Springs (along Highway 5): Located two hours east of Vancouver, this charming village is home to (you guessed it!) hot springs. Plus, beaches and promenades along the lake.
  • Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park (along Highway 5): This lovely 197-ft drop over a smooth rock face creates a veil-like waterfall. A favorite waterfall in BC near Harrison Hot Springs. 
  • Whistler (along Highway 99): A picturesque pedestrian-only mountain village. Known for its skiing, hiking and biking, as well as its restaurants, bars, festivals and spas. Just under two hours north of Vancouver.
  • Squamish (along Highway 99): Where the sea meets the sky! Take the gondola or challenging hike up Stawamus Chief for spectacular views of Howe Sound. Gaze up at the cascading Shannon Falls. Or go underground with the train rides at Britannia Mine Museum. About an hour north of Vancouver.

Where to STOP in Vancouver:

  • Capilano Suspension Bridge: An iconic 450-ft treetop suspension bridge, 230 feet above Capilano River. The area also has pretty trails and a thrilling cliffside walk. Located in north Vancouver.
  • Stanley Park: Arguably the best waterfront views in Vancouver, with a 5.5-mile Seawall path and beach access. Also home to an aquarium, gardens, cafes and the iconic Lions Gate Bridge.
  • Granville Island: A fun, bustling place to visit, with cute shops, cafes and bookstores. Explore the market. Go pub-hopping. Check out the murals and galleries.

Where to STAY:

  • Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Spa (along Highway 5): Right on Harrison Lake, featuring three outdoor pools, indoor mineral pool and spa bath, restaurant and live music. Onsite marina with boat rentals. Price includes wifi. Located two hours east of Vancouver.
  • Fairmont Chateau Whistler (along Highway 99): An incredible luxury experience at the base of Blackcomb Mountain, featuring hot tubs, saunas, Eucalyptus steam rooms, indoor pool, dining options and live entertainment. Plus, a spa, fitness classes and village shuttle. Price includes wifi.
  • Rosewood Hotel Georgia (downtown Vancouver): An exquisite luxury hotel, with excellent family-friendly perks. Features the Rose Bud children’s program, 52-foot heated indoor saltwater pool, spa, dining and lounge. Spacious rooms with heated bathroom floors and robes. Families will find connecting rooms and family suites.

VRBO

2. Road Trip from Edmonton to Vancouver VIA Calgary, Banff + Kelowna

To stop in CALGARY, the next shortest and fastest road trip from Edmonton to Vancouver is 14 hours (1,260km), which goes through Banff and Kamloops. Instead of Kamloops, though, I suggest stopping in Kelowna and Penticton, which is 15.5 hours (1,355km).

A good half-way point between Edmonton and Vancouver via Calgary is Revelstoke BC. If you want to make this drive in two days, this is a good place to stop. Keep in mind that the mountain drive between Banff and Revelstoke is narrow, windy and busy, without many passing lanes. So, be prepared for a slow and tiring drive (though beautiful!) right at the end.

If you’re willing to take three days to drive from Edmonton to Vancouver via Calgary, stop either in Banff AB or Golden BC and then Kelowna BC.

Day 1: Drive Edmonton to Revelstoke BC

Banff, where to stop on road trip from Edmonton to Vancouver via Calgary

Beautiful Banff. Photo credit: Louis Paulin from Unsplash.

Driving from Edmonton to Revelstoke BC via Calgary is just under 8 hours (695km). As mentioned above, keep in mind that the final stretch between Banff and Revelstoke will be narrow, windy and busy, without many passing lanes.

Below are great places to stop and stay on your drive, whether you choose to stay in Banff, Golden or Revelstoke.

Where to STOP:

  • Sylvan Lake: My favorite beach in Alberta! Even if you don’t have time for a swim, grab an ice cream, dip your toes and browse a few beachfront shops. About 15 minutes west of the highway.
  • Banff: Stroll the main street shops of this pretty village. Stop at the iconic Banff Springs Hotel, take a dip in the hot springs, and ride up the gondola. Paddle on Lake Minnewanka. Hike Tunnel Mountain. Climb Mount Rundle with Via Ferratta, up ladders and suspension bridges. FUN!
  • Johnston Canyon: An easy short walk beside a creek, ending with a pretty waterfall. It gets busy, but is worth the stop. Just past Banff, exit onto Bow Valley Parkway (Highway 1A), which takes you right there. It meets back up with the highway after the canyon.
  • Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise: A beautiful, historic resort right on Lake Louise. Even if you’re not staying here for the night, it’s a beautiful spot to visit, with onsite dining overlooking the lake, spa and hiking trails past tea houses.
  • Golden: An outdoors-loving paradise! Hiking, kayaking and river rafting in summer. Ice climbing, sledding and heli-skiing in winter. Also a great spot to grab a bite to eat.

Where to STOP in Calgary:

  • Prince’s Island Park: A beautiful spot in downtown Calgary along the Bow River, with walking trails, fountains, a playground and cafes. Park along Memorial Dr NW and walk over the bridge. You can follow the river pathway to the lovely area of Kensington, too. Or walk down to the pedestrian-only Stephen Avenue (8 Ave), starting at Olympic Plaza and City Hall. Both areas have cute shops, cafes and galleries.
  • Canada Olympic Park: An adrenaline-packed stop, with summer bobsleigh, ziplining and mountain biking. Or, winter skiing, luge, bobsleigh and tube park.

You may also like: 3 Romantic Weekend Getaways in Calgary

Where to STAY:

  • Fairmont Banff Springs (Banff): The classiest place to stay in Banff, packed with history and features. Built in 1888 to resemble a Scottish Baronial castle, with 11 restaurants, 14 shops, pools, spa and horseback riding.
  • Winston Lodge (Golden): A super cozy lodge near Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. Features wood furnishings, private balconies, plush robes and onsite bar and bistro with craft beer. Price includes wifi and parking. If you can spare the time, it’s worth the 15-minute drive off the highway.
  • Coast Hillcrest Hotel (Revelstoke): A comfortable hotel easily accessible from the highway, featuring a hot tub, sauna, day spa and onsite dining with mountain views. Price includes wifi and parking.

You may also like: Romantic Getaways NEAR Calgary

Day 2: Drive Revelstoke BC to Vancouver

Kelowna wineries, where to stop on road trip from Edmonton to Vancouver

Kelowna wineries. Photo credit: Dina from Unsplash.

If you want the fastest route between Revelstoke and Vancouver, go through Kamloops to make it in just under 7 hours (565km). Check out Tripadvisor’s audio tour to make the drive between Kamloops and Vancouver more interesting.

But if you take the more scenic drive through Kelowna, it’s an 8-hour drive from Revelstoke BC to Vancouver (656km). This more scenic route takes you through the Okanagan Valley and along Okanagan Lake. Be prepared to stop at orchards and roadside markets for fresh fruit! It’s the perfect BC road trip snack.

Where to STOP:

  • The Enchanted Forest (near Revelstoke): A fun family road trip stop in BC, perfect for kids to get rid of some energy. Climb BC’s tallest treehouse. Row a boat through beaver ponds. Spy fairies on your magical walk through a lush forest.
  • Kangaroo Creek Farm (near Kelowna): Interact with kangaroos and other animals, including baby kangaroos! Lots of friendly staff give you animal-approved snacks. Cash only.
  • Kelowna: Winery-hop with spectacular views of the Okanagan Valley. Explore Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park’s historic railway trails over trestles and tunnels. And wander Kelowna’s waterfront park, beach, and boardwalk. Take your time, stopping in at shops, restaurants and bars along the way.
  • Penticton: Find more wineries, orchards, beaches and excellent food. Hiking, biking and golfing. Float down the Penticton Channel on a hot summer’s day. Penticton is a more laid-back experience compared to Kelowna.
  • Harrison Hot Springs: Located two hours east of Vancouver, this charming village is home to (you guessed it!) hot springs. Plus, beaches and promenades along the lake.
  • Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park: This lovely 197-ft drop over a smooth rock face creates a veil-like cascade. A favorite waterfall in BC near Harrison Hot Springs. 

Where to STOP in Vancouver:

  • Capilano Suspension Bridge: An iconic 450-ft treetop suspension bridge, 230 feet above Capilano River. The area also has pretty trails and a thrilling cliffside walk. Located in north Vancouver.
  • Stanley Park: Arguably the best waterfront views in Vancouver, with a 5.5-mile Seawall path and beach access. Also home to an aquarium, gardens, cafes and the iconic Lions Gate Bridge.
  • Granville Island: A fun, bustling place to visit, with cute shops, cafes and bookstores. Explore the market. Go pub-hopping. Check out the murals and galleries.

Where to STAY:

  • Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Spa: Right on Harrison Lake, featuring three outdoor pools, indoor mineral pool and spa bath, restaurant and live music. Onsite marina with boat rentals. Price includes wifi. Located two hours east of Vancouver.
  • Rosewood Hotel Georgia (downtown Vancouver): An exquisite luxury hotel, with excellent family-friendly perks. Features the Rose Bud children’s program, 52-foot heated indoor saltwater pool, spa, dining and lounge. Spacious rooms with heated bathroom floors and robes. Families will find connecting rooms and family suites.
  • House Rental (Vancouver): Search VRBO for beautiful homes and apartments with views, including this bright 1-bedroom home blocks from Kits Beach.

VRBO

3. Most SCENIC Road Trip from Edmonton to Vancouver VIA Jasper, Icefields Parkway + Kelowna

The most SCENIC road trip from Edmonton to Vancouver is 17.5 hours (1,477km), which goes through Jasper, along Icefields Parkway and through Kelowna. The two most scenic sections are Icefields Parkway between Jasper and Lake Louise (Highway 93), and along the Okanagan Valley through Kelowna and Penticton (Highway 97).

If you want to do this drive in TWO days, stop in Golden BC. The drive from Edmonton to Golden via Jasper is 7.5 hours, which will be an intense drive through the mountains. Then, your drive from Golden to Vancouver is just over 8 hours through Kamloops, or just over 10 hours if you do the scenic route through Kelowna. Either way, this second section is much less intense.

But to do this scenic route from Edmonton to Vancouver properly, give yourself THREE days. Great stops are Lake Louise AB and Kelowna BC.

Day 1: Drive Edmonton to Lake Louise AB

Glacier Skywalk on Icefields Parkway in Alberta Canada, where to stop on road trip from Edmonton to Vancouver

Glacier Skywalk. Photo credit: Andy Holmes from Unsplash.

The first leg of your scenic road trip from Edmonton to Vancouver starts with a spectacular drive between Jasper and Lake Louise. It’ll take about 6.5 hours (597km), plus stops. Enjoy the sights along the way and plan to see Lake Louise the next morning.

Where to STOP:

  • Miette Hot Springs (near Jasper): A twisting road up to the hottest mineral springs in the Rocky Mountains. Features two hot and two cold pools, indoor and outdoor cafes, gift shop, cabins and restaurant. The turnoff is about 30 minutes east of Jasper.
  • Maligne Canyon (near Jasper): A beautiful limestone canyon with waterfalls and walking trails. Also spectacular as an ice walk in winter. About 15 minutes east of Jasper.
  • Athabasca Falls (near Jasper): A spectacular waterfall that’s only 75 feet high but powerful, carving a short narrow canyon below. About 30 minutes south of Jasper.
  • Sunwapta Falls (Icefields Parkway): A narrow 30-foot wide and 60-foot high powerful waterfall, with two drops. About 15 minutes south of Athabasca Falls.
  • Glacier Skywalk (Icefields Parkway): Test your nerves on this glass-floored observation walk, 918 feet above Sunwapta Valley.
  • Peyto Lake (Icefields Parkway): Famous for its turquoise color. An easy walk to the viewing platform on the south end of the lake. For less touristy views and the highest point on the Icefields Parkway drive, keep climbing to Bow Summit Lookout. It’s only about 30-minutes round-trip.

Where to STAY:

  • Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise (Lake Louise): If you’re staying in Lake Louise, stay in the most beautiful spot, right ON the lake. Features onsite dining with fondue, floor-to-ceiling wine library, pool, spa and outdoor activities. This is where many trails start, including past tea houses. Price includes wifi.
  • Cathedral Mountain Lodge (Field BC): A lovely cabin retreat in the Kicking Horse River Valley, next to the highway between Lake Louise and Golden. Cabins have stone fireplaces, soaker tubs, and balconies with mountain views. Property features a restaurant, guided hiking and canoe rentals. Price includes wifi (though service is poor) and parking.
  • Winston Lodge (Golden): A super cozy lodge near Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. Features wood furnishings, private balconies, plush robes and onsite bar and bistro with craft beer. Price includes wifi and parking. If you can spare the time, it’s worth the 15-minute drive off the highway.

You may also like: Romantic Getaways Near Calgary

Day 2: Drive Lake Louise AB to Kelowna BC

Okanagan Valley BC Canada, where to stop on road trip from Edmonton to Vancouver

Okanagan Valley. Photo credit: Mike Benna from Unsplash.

This second day is another beautiful drive, from Lake Louise AB to Kelowna BC. It’s a 5.5-hour drive (423km) through mountains, thick woods and then the lovely Okanagan Valley.

Where to STOP:

  • Golden: An outdoors-loving paradise! Hiking, kayaking and river rafting in summer. Ice climbing, sledding and heli-skiing in winter. Also a great spot to grab a bite to eat.
  • The Enchanted Forest (near Revelstoke): A fun family road trip stop in BC, perfect for kids to get rid of some energy. Climb BC’s tallest treehouse. Row a boat through beaver ponds. Spy fairies on your magical walk through a lush forest.
  • Kangaroo Creek Farm (near Kelowna): Interact with kangaroos and other animals, including baby kangaroos! Lots of friendly staff give you animal-approved snacks. Cash only.
  • Kelowna: Winery-hop with spectacular views of the Okanagan Valley. Explore Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park’s historic railway trails over trestles and tunnels. And wander Kelowna’s waterfront park, beach, and boardwalk. Take your time, stopping in at shops, restaurants and bars along the way.

Where to STAY:

  • Delta Grand Okanagan Resort (Kelowna): A terrific resort right on the boardwalk, with easy walking distance to Kelowna’s public beach, park, and downtown cafes and shops. Features in indoor/outdoor pool, hot tubs, spa, restaurant and wine bar, lounge, and adjoining casino and marina. 
  • Manteo at Eldorado Resort (Kelowna): A more private resort experience, 10 minutes south of downtown Kelowna. Features a private beach, boardwalk, movie theater, indoor pool, sauna, steam rooms, games room and restaurant. Enjoy meals and views from the lakefront patio. Variety of room options, including fireplace, balcony and 3 bedrooms. Price includes parking.
  • House Rental (Kelowna): Search VRBO for the perfect home or apartment with lakeviews. Like this lovely 3-bedroom home just north of Kelowna.

VRBO

Day 3: Drive Kelowna to Vancouver

Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver BC Canada, where to stop on road trip from Edmonton to Vancouver

Capilano Suspension Bridge. Photo credit: Lisha Riabinina from Unsplash.

This final stretch of your drive from Kelowna to Vancouver via Penticton is just under 6 hours (459km). 

The first section between Kelowna and Penticton through the Okanagan Valley is gorgeous, as the road follows Okanagan Lake the entire way. I’d also argue that Highway 3 in the south is a prettier drive to Vancouver than Highways 97C and 5 through Merritt, west of Kelowna.

Give yourself time to stop at orchards and markets you see along the road. Fresh fruit and PIES make for the best BC road trip food!

Where to STOP:

  • Penticton: Find more wineries, orchards, beaches and excellent food. Hiking, biking and golfing. Float down the Penticton Channel on a hot summer’s day. Penticton is a more laid-back experience compared to Kelowna.
  • Harrison Hot Springs: Located two hours east of Vancouver, this charming village is home to (yup…) hot springs. Plus, beaches and promenades along the lake.
  • Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park: This lovely 197-ft drop over a smooth rock face creates a veil-like cascade. A favorite waterfall in BC near Harrison Hot Springs.

Where to STOP in Vancouver:

  • Capilano Suspension Bridge: An iconic 450-ft treetop suspension bridge, 230 feet above Capilano River. The area also has pretty trails and a thrilling cliffside walk. Located in north Vancouver.
  • Stanley Park: Arguably the best waterfront views in Vancouver, with a 5.5-mile Seawall path and beach access. Also home to an aquarium, gardens, cafes and the iconic Lions Gate Bridge.
  • Granville Island: A fun, bustling place to visit, with cute shops, cafes and bookstores. Explore the market. Go pub-hopping. Check out the murals and galleries.

Where to STAY:

  • Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Spa: Right on Harrison Lake, featuring three outdoor pools, indoor mineral pool and spa bath, restaurant and live music. Onsite marina with boat rentals. Price includes wifi. Located two hours east of Vancouver.
  • Rosewood Hotel Georgia (downtown Vancouver): An exquisite luxury hotel, with excellent family-friendly perks. Features the Rose Bud children’s program, 52-foot heated indoor saltwater pool, spa, dining and lounge. Spacious rooms with heated bathroom floors and robes. Families will find connecting rooms and family suites.
  • House Rental (Vancouver): Search VRBO for beautiful homes and apartments with views, including this bright 1-bedroom home blocks from Kits Beach.

So, which route will you take? What are you most excited to see and experience for yourself?

Me… I’ll be taking the scenic road trip from Edmonton to Vancouver along Icefields Parkway and the Okanagan Valley. And then returning to Edmonton along the Sea to Sky Highway and with a stop at Wells Gray. I’m SO excited to see the mountains again!

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Road trip from Edmonton to Vancouver, best driving routes Edmonton to Vancouver Canada

Featured photo credit (mountain drive): Ali Kazal from Unsplash.

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