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Perfect 7-day Canadian Rockies Itinerary: Can’t Miss Sights in Banff & Jasper National Parks

Are you ready for an action-packed 7-day adventure through the Canadian Rockies? It’s one of the most gorgeous places on the planet! The stunning landscapes of Banff and Jasper National Parks will have you in awe in this 7-day Canadian Rockies itinerary.

Canadian Rockies itinerary view of island in middle of lake with mountains surrounding
Canadian Rockies itinerary: Spirit Island in Jasper National Park

This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, see my disclosures.

It’s been one of my absolute favorite trips ever. As an avid outdoors person, I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the Canadian Rockies. So, I felt it may be helpful to put this itinerary together with everything you need to know to plan your trip!

Let’s dive in!

Canadian Rockies itinerary: the route

This guide takes you through a 7-day trip, starting and ending in Calgary. It’s the nearest large airport and a great spot to begin your adventure.

I recommend renting a car through Discover Cars. It’s a free way to search all the major car companies, and I typically save 20-30%!

Anyway, this 7 day Canadian Rockies itinerary starts in Calgary, takes you through Banff and Jasper then back through Calgary.

Tips for your Canadian Rockies adventure

7 days in the Canadian rockies view of teal lake with rocky ledge and mountains in distance
Stunning Lake Moraine😍

These mountains are dramatically beautiful, and a popular destination, like Banff in summer. Use these tips to help make the best of your time on your trip!

  1. Plan ahead. The Canadian Rockies are a popular destination, especially during the peak summer months. Make sure to book accommodations and activities well in advance to secure your spot.
  2. Pack appropriately. The weather in the Rockies can be unpredictable, so it’s essential to pack layers and be prepared for various conditions, including rain, snow (depending on the time of year) and warm sun.
  3. Stay hydrated. With the high altitude and dry air, it’s crucial to stay hydrated while exploring the Rockies. Bring a reusable water bottle and refill it whenever you have the chance, and pack a collapsable cooler so you have plenty of water for each day.
  4. Respect wildlife. The Canadian Rockies are home to a diverse range of wildlife, including bears, elk, sheep and moose. Be sure to keep a safe distance and never approach or feed wild animals.
  5. Practice Leave No Trace. Help preserve the natural beauty of the Rockies by following the principles of Leave No Trace. Pack out all trash, stay on designated trails and respect the natural environment you’re there to see.
  6. Be bear aware. Bears are a common sight in the Rockies, so it’s essential to be bear aware. Carry bear spray, make noise while hiking, and know how to react if you encounter a bear. Find out more on the Parks Canada website.
  7. Stay safe on the trails: Before heading out on a hike, research the trail conditions and difficulty level. Always let someone know your plans and carry essential safety gear, including a map, compass and first aid kit.

Alright now that those essential tips are out of the way, it’s time to get to the adventure!

Get ready to make memories: Canadian Rockies itinerary

Gah! I’m so excited for your trip. It’s seriously so amazing.

Just a quick note, this itinerary assumes you have 7 full days of travel within the Canadian Rockies. If possible, get a flight into Calgary and drive to Banff on day 0, and fly back out on day 8. Otherwise, just shorten the first and last days of your trip to get to and from the airport.

If your flight is such that you need a quick sleep in Calgary before making your way to Banff, I recommend staying at the Hampton Inn by Hilton near the airport. And if you need a place to stay along the way, I recommend the Blackstone Mountain Lodge in Canmore.

Then, enjoy breathtaking scenery as you make your way to Banff from Calgary!

Day 1: Banff town and Johnston Canyon

view of Main Street Banff building at dusk with people walking, Canadian Rockies itinerary
Adorable Banff town

This Canadian Rockies itinerary starts off with a bang! Nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, the town of Banff is charming mountain town. Spend the morning grabbing breakfast, then strolling along Banff Avenue, where you’ll discover a plethora of boutique shops, cozy cafes, and stunning mountain views.

Next, let’s get out of town and see some nature at Johnston Canyon.

This beautiful waterfall adventure is a paved path to a lower and upper waterfall. But fair warning; if you come during the middle of the day, the line to see the waterfall can be upwards of an hour.

Canadian Rockies itinerary waterfall in deep canyon with rocks and tree
Pretty Johnston Canyon😍

The Johnston Canyon trail includes two waterfalls. By hiking to both of them, it’s 5.3 km (3.3 mi) round trip. There’s quite a bit of ups and downs but it’s doable for most skill levels. Plan on around 2 hours, more if you go between 10am – 4pm.

This fun waterfall trail is a popular tourist spot, including a. tour bus stop. You could swap your morning and afternoon plans, allowing you to arrive at the parking lot by 8:00am and grabbing an easy parking space.

Day 2: Exploring Banff National Park’s treasures: Moraine Lake and Lake Louise

vibrant colored canoes at scenic mountain lake
It really doesn’t get more stunning than this! Moraine Lake

Prepare to be amazed as you visit two of the most famous lakes in the Rockies: Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. These turquoise gems are surrounded by towering peaks and offer plenty of opportunities for photography and relaxation.

Moraine Lake for breathtaking views of the Valley of the Ten Peaks – a sight that’s sure to leave you in awe. You’ll need advanced reservations to visit Moraine Lake as it’s no longer accessible via private vehicle. Alternatively, you can book a tour to see the lakes if you cannot secure advanced reservations.

teal water of lake Louise with mountains in distance
Lake Louse – so stunning!

And bonus, your reservation can get you to Lake Louise as well. This teal lake is another spectacular sight in Banff! At Lake Louise, consider renting a canoe for a unique perspective of the stunning Victoria Glacier.

If you’re up for some hiking, strap on your hiking shoes for the Big Beehive hike, Little Beehive hike or the Beehive Circuit. In total, combining the trail and doing the circuit is over 14 km (8.6 mi) and 1032 m (3385 ft) in elevation gain. It comes with spectacular views of Lake Louise!

Day 3: Drive the scenic Icefields Parkway

Canadian rockies itinerary view of lake with water shaped like wolf head and mountains in distance
Peyto Lake, along Icefields Parkway

This day is going to be epic! Take the scenic Banff to Jasper drive along the Icefields Parkway, one of the most stunning routes in the world.

There’s actually two days on this Canadian Rockies itinerary that you’ll make this scenic drive. And with over a dozen stops worthy of your time, there’s too many adventures to take on in a single day anyhow, so no need to rush.

So for your first day, I recommend stopping by Bow Lake and Peyto Lake. Also be sure to include some time at the Athabasca Glacier and Icefield Center, where you can take an Ice Explorer tour or do the Icefields Skywalk.

Canadian Rockies itinerary Athabasca glacier view of water mountains and glacier
Athabasca Glacier from the hiking trail

Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife as you make your way along Icefields Parkway – you never know what you might spot! My family saw deer, elk and big horn sheep!

More to see on this 7 day Canadian Rockies itinerary

Gah! You’re almost 1/2 way through this itinerary – can you even believe it? This place is so surreal – it’s truly hard to believe it exists. Truly one of the best places to visit in all of Canada!

Day 4: picture-perfect landscapes await in Jasper National Park

Canadian Rockies itinerary view of island in middle of lake with mountains surrounding
Spirit Island on Maligne Lake😍

This is an absolutely incredible day and one you won’t soon forget!

Spend the day in Jasper National Park, witnessing the beauty of Maligne Lake.

Take a Maligne Lake Cruise and immerse yourself in the serene beauty of Jasper National Park’s largest glacial lake. As you glide across the crystal-clear waters, surrounded by towering peaks and ancient glaciers, you’ll feel a sense of peace and wonder wash over you.

Keep your camera handy to capture breathtaking views of Spirit Island, one of the Canadian Rockies’ most iconic landmarks, making this cruise an unforgettable experience for nature lovers and photography enthusiasts alike.

You’ll want to make your reservations in advance for Maligne Lake, as they tend to sell out quickly!

lake with walking trail beside with trees and mountain in distance
Medicine Lake, Jasper National Park

You can grab lunch or food at the Maligne Lakehouse before continuing to explore the area. Medicine Lake is another note-worthy stop. Stay alert if you go hiking on any nearby trails as my family saw lots of wildlife in this area!

Day 5: explore more of Jasper National Park

paddle board sitting on edge of lake with mountain in distance Jasper National Park
Pyramid Lake, Jasper National Park

After such a fun adventure in the Canadian Rockies, we’re slowing it down a bit for day 5. This is a perfect opportunity to relax by a lake and enjoy Jasper town.

Pyramid Lake is a fun spot to spend the afternoon. In the summer the lake is perfect for swimming or paddle boarding. Grab food for a picnic and enjoy the views of Pyramid Mountain from the lake.

view of town with log cabin style stores and cars with mountains and puffy clouds in the sky
Downtown Jasper

Spend some time wandering the charming town of Jasper. This adorable mountain town is full of delicious restaurants and shops. One of my family’s favorites was Earl’s in downtown – delicious food and mountain views.

Day 6: more adventures down Icefields Parkway (Jasper to Banff)

stop at waterfall with deep cove and rainbow over falls 7 days Canadian Rockies itinerary
Athabasca Falls from the top

As you saw on day 3, adventure awaits around every corner of the Icefields Parkway. With more sights to see, start your day with a visit to Athabasca Falls. This amazing waterfall is spectacular and a must-see along the Icefield Parkway. Located just outside of Jasper, this is a great way to start your trip back to Banff.

Other must-see stops, given you didn’t see them on day 3, are the beautiful Sunwapta Falls, followed by a hike in Maligne Canyon – home to impressive limestone walls and cascading waterfalls.

Canadian rockies trip view of road through Rocky Mountains with trees and white capped mountains
Driving from Jasper to Banff – so gorgeous!😍

Of course there are also roadside waterfalls and a plethora of roadside stops and viewpoints. Take your time on day 6 during this stunning drive back to Banff to see all the stops you didn’t get to make on day 3.

The panoramic views of the surrounding mountains is truly an adventure of a lifetime!

Day 7: last day on your Canadian Rockies vacation

bright green lake with trees and mountains on sunny day
Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park

As your adventure comes to a close, explore the last of the stunning landscapes that have captured your heart over the past week. This is your final day of the trip so you get to choose how to spend it! I recommend exploring more sights local to Banff.

A few great options for your last day are:

Of course, depending on when your flight is out of Calgary, you may want to depart the area during day 7 to hop on your flight. Or, if you need a place to stay near the airport, consider the Hampton Inn by Hilton in Calgary.

Canadian Rockies itinerary – that’s a wrap!

7 days in the Canadian rockies view of teal river with trees and mountains surrounding it
Scene near Canmore, Alberta

Whether you’re already planning your next trip or reluctantly heading home, one thing’s for sure – the Canadian Rockies will leave a lasting impression.

So there you have it; a 7-day itinerary that will take you through the Canadian Rockies’ natural wonders of Banff and Jasper National Parks. Are you ready to go on the adventure of a lifetime??

Related content you might like:
Banff Summer Guide: 21 Amazing Things to Do (Plus What to Know Before You Go)
Banff to Jasper Drive: 12 Must-see Stops (Plus What to Expect Along the Icefields Parkway)

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