Dinosaurs, Prairies and Rockies (17 nights)
Day 1 Arrive Calgary
Upon arrival at Calgary International Airport, pick up your rental car and proceed to downtown Calgary and your selected hotel.
Day 2 Calgary to Drumheller (137 km/85 miles)
Drumheller is the gateway to the Canadian Badlands and Dinosaur Provincial Park. The city lies in the heart of the parched eroded Alberta Badlands that may be the world’s greatest repository of dinosaur fossils. The town of Drumheller is home to the world-famous Royal Tyrrell Museum.
Day 3 Drumheller
You may wish to take a journey to Dinosaur Provincial Park about 56km east of Drumheller. New species of dinosaur are discovered virtually every year in this 90km patch of the Alberta Badlands, making it one of the world’s richest fossil beds. The region was a prime dinosaur habitat 65 million years ago and ongoing erosion of the sandstone and mudstone landscape regularly exposes remains of the ancient creatures. The park has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Day 4 Drumheller to Maple Creek / Cypress Hills (344 km/213 miles)
Cypress Hills marks the highest elevation in Canada between the Rocky Mountains and Labrador. The park is home to a forest of lodge pole pine, rare wildflowers, wildlife including bobcat, elk and moose, as well as over 200 species of birds. Visit Fort Walsh National Historic Site, the original headquarters of Canada’s Mounted Police. Nearby, prehistoric Saskatchewan can be explored at the impressive T.rex Discovery Centre in Eastend. A visit to the region would not be complete without a trek through Grasslands National Park of Canada, where undisturbed prairie is preserved and protected, and plains bison roam freely.
Day 5 Cypress Hills
Day 6 Maple Creek to Moose Jaw (310 km/192 miles)
Moose Jaw is known far and wide as ‘the friendly city’ and is regarded as one of North America’s most unique destinations. The crown jewel of the city’s attractions is Temple Gardens Mineral Spa Resort Hotel, featuring its naturally relaxing geothermal mineral water pool. Across the street is the 1920’s themed Casino Moose Jaw. While, downtown, step back in time with a guided tour of the Tunnels of Moose Jaw and learn about Al Capone’s bootlegging operations, as well as the experiences of Chinese immigrants in the early 1900s.
Day 7 Moose Jaw to Regina (77 km/47 miles )
Saskatchewan’s capital city , Regina, is home to some of the best collections of provincial history. The Royal Saskatchewan Museum provides a look at the many layers of this history from dinosaurs that used to roam this area as well as how the First Nations lived thousands of years ago. Canada’s sole training academy for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is located in Regina – visit the RCMP Heritage Centre. Visit the historic Chapel or watch the cadets practicing drill in the Sergeant Major’s Parade.
Day 8 Regina to Saskatoon (260 km/161 miles)
Visit Manitou Springs Hotel & Mineral Spa. This European-style mineral spa is legendary for its natural buoyancy, curative power, and a mineral content high in sodium, magnesium and potassium. Visitors to Saskatoon are struck by the site of the mighty South Saskatchewan River winding its way through the city. Attractions along the riverbank include the Ukrainian Museum of Canada and the Mendel Art Gallery. For a glimpse into Saskatchewan’s past, head to the Western Development Museum.
Day 9 Saskatoon
A journey of discovery awaits you at Wanuskewin Heritage Park, just north of Saskatoon. As far back as 6,000 years, people assembled at this site to hunt, gather food, and seek refuge from the winter winds. Wanuskewin pays tribute to the long, meaningful heritage and culture of Saskatchewan’s First Nations with an internationally renowned interpretive centre, traditional and interactive displays, dance exhibitions, themed hiking trails, and more. The cultures of six Northern Plains tribes are described in the Park’s various attractions.
Day 10 Saskatoon to North Battleford (139 km/86 miles)
The city of North Battleford is a popular year-round vacation spot in the historic heart of Saskatchewan. Visit Fort Battleford National Historic Site of Canada – the original Northwest Mounted Police post has five buildings, four with period furnishings, and reconstructed stockade/bastions. Visit the Western Development /Heritage Farm and Village with its various agricultural equipment on display, supplemented by demonstrations of 1920 farming techniques in a 1920 Saskatchewan town.
Day 11 North Battleford to Edmonton (388km/241 miles)
There is a lot to do today. There is included admission to Fort Edmonton Park, a living history museum tracing the growth and development of Edmonton through four historical periods; The Fort, 1885 Street, 1905 Street and 1920 Street. Also included is a ‘Passport of Savings’ to West Edmonton Mall. Even the most jaded shopper will be impressed by the immensity of this mall. Sprawling over an area big enough to accommodate 104 football fields, the complex claims to have one of the largest enclosed shopping centres and indoor amusement parks in the world.
Day 12 Edmonton
You may want to visit Fort Saskatchewan, a small downtown park overlooking the North Saskatchewan River and the setting for the Fort Saskatchewan Museum and Historic Site. Amid its collection of restored 18th century homes, school, blacksmith shop, church, vintage cars, and farm equipment is Alberta’s first courthouse (1909).
Day 13 Edmonton to Jasper (365 km/226 miles)
Jasper, fascinating in beauty and history, is set amid some of the most rugged peaks in the Rockies. You may wish to take a tram ride up Whistler’s Mountain or soak in the pools at Miette Hot Springs (among the Rockies warmest natural hot springs).
Day 14 Jasper
Explore this charming mountain village close to many terrific scenic highlights. Take a tram ride up Whistlers Mountain, or visit Maligne Lake, one of the most photographed lakes in the world, and enjoy a 90 minute cruise heading toward the south end of this postcard setting (Maligne Lake cruise not included). You will marvel at the magnificent shoreline with dense forest and glacial peaks rising abruptly from the water’s edge. Stopping at Spirit Island, you will have the opportunity to take your own version of the world famous photograph of the lake.
Day 15 Jasper to Lake Louise (208 km/129 miles)
This morning depart on the scenic drive that takes you through the spine of the Canadian Rockies. You view a never-ending procession of mammoth mountains, jagged peaks, over 100 glaciers and pristine emerald colour lakes. Along the way see such sights as the Columbia Icefield and take an Ice Explorer ride out onto the glacier (included). Also watch for the Sarbach Glacier, Peyto Lake, Bow Lake, with the Bow Glacier providing the backdrop, and Crowfoot Glacier before your arrival into Lake Louise.(Please note: Mountain lakes in this region will be frozen through to mid June).
Day 16 Lake Louise to Banff (62 km/38 miles)
Take the short drive from Lake Louise to Banff. Choose the Bow Valley Parkway, beside the Bow River with an option for you to take a stop at Johnston Canyon and walk along the paved footway to either the lower or upper waterfalls before continuing to Banff. This afternoon explore Banff and area. In town you’ll find lots of excitement - shopping, cafés, nightlife and museums.
Day 17 Banff Sightseeing (Banff Gondola)
A full day to explore Banff and area. Check out the Cave and Basin National Historic Site, Banff Gondola (included) where you will see panoramic views of the Bow Valley, and then take a dip in the hot mineral pools at the Upper Hot Springs.
Day 18 Banff to Calgary (115 km/72 miles)
Drive to Calgary today, along the 1A Highway. En route, you may wish to stop at the historic Cochrane Ranch (not included) before dropping off your rental car at the Calgary International Airport or downtown location.