Day 1: Calgary to Lake Louise (200-250kms)
Arrive in Calgary, pick up your BMW and drive off into the magnificent panorama of the Canadian Rockies. Continue to Emerald Lake, a beautiful glacial lake in a stunning setting. Depending upon your arrival time, consider enjoying lunch at the magnificent post and beam Emerald Lake Lodge, where you can peruse the gourmet delights of Rocky Mountain cuisine, the roots of which go back to the lavish Victorian cooking from the CPR rail cars.
In the afternoon, strap on some skates to test out your slap shot on the lake’s impromptu hockey rink, or set off on the groomed cross country skiing trails through the magical forests surrounding the lake. Alternatively, hop into your BMW and drive a short distance to the base of Lake Louise mountain. With 4200 skiable acres, Lake Louise is one of the largest ski areas in North America. The unique layout allows families and groups of varying abilities to ski together; there are beginner, intermediate and expert runs down from every chair.
In the late afternoon, drive to your hotel for the night, the romantic Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. Check in to your room and then consider treating yourself after a rigorous day in the captivating wilderness and relax in the calming ambiance at Escape Spa and Salon, where you can choose from an extensive selection of Aveda products and treatments that will leave you relaxed, refreshed and revitalized.
Dinner tonight is in the Chateau's Fairview dining room. Using the soaring mountains and shimmering lake as a enchanting backdrop to one of Lake Louise's premier dining experiences, the Fairview dining room celebrates the freshest treasures of North America's fields, seas and rivers. Choose from distinctive and modern dishes like Cream of Jeruslam Artichoke or Roasted Venison Loin in elderberry demi glace.
- Overnight: Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
- Meals: D.
- Driving: 2-3 hours
Day 2 - Lake Louise to Jasper (300-350 km)
After sampling the delights of the morning breakfast buffet, climb into your BMW and set off for one of the most spectacular drives in the world along the Icefields Parkway between Lake Louise and Jasper. The Parkway is virtually unparalleled for beauty as it runs alongside a chain of massive Icefields straddling the Continental Divide. Stop at tranquil Bow Lake for an easy walk along the glacial blue lake through fields of rare alpine flowers, evergreen forests and sparkling creeks. Try out the lunch at majestic Num-Ti-Jah lodge, where the chefs use local organic produce to create original Canadian cuisine against a stunning backdrop of mountains.
After lunch, return to your BMW and continue along the Icefields Parkway, keeping an eye out for large herds of graceful caribou. Stop at the Columbia Icefield, an area of glacial ice that is the hydrological apex of North America, covering some 200 square kms with a maximum depth of 365 m (1210 ft). Although the Icefields themselves are closed in the winter, the views from the pavilion are worth the journey as you look out over the Athabasca Glacier, a tongue of ice six kilometers long and one kilometer wide.
Arrive at the world renowned Jasper Park, one of Canada’s first national parks, home of the luxurious Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. It is difficult not to become overwhelmed by the rustic elegance and surrounding natural beauty of the hotel, which invites you to take a stroll to admire the lake, spectacular scenery and wildlife that inhabit this natural paradise. Tonight you are on your own for dinner, and thus you can either explore the hotel’s intimate restaurants or head over to Tekarra Lodge, which sits atop a ridge overlooking the convergence of the Miette and Athabasca Rivers in a mountain setting that has inspired artists, poets and countless guests.
- Overnight: Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge
- Meals: B.
- Driving: 4-5 hours
Day 3: Jasper (0-250kms)
This morning is at leisure, and with the extensive selection of activities you will have your hands full trying to take in all that Jasper National Park has to offer. After breakfast, explore the two groomed skating rinks on Lac Beauvert and Lake Mildred, head out of town for a half day dog-sledding adventure in Valemont, or board a helicopter to be whisked up to the top of the nearby mountains in search of pristine powder skiing. If you can’t tear yourself away from your car, you can always explore the picturesque roads in your BMW as you travel to Miette Hot Springs, the hottest outdoor baths in the Rockies.
After lunch we recommend a guided snow-shoeing expedition on the grounds of the resort featuring gently rolling hills, groomed forest trails, and beautiful glacial lakes. Your licensed interpreter will lead the 4km walk as you explore the abundant flora and fauna along the route. A great opportunity to spot wildlife! The walking pace is leisurely and perfect for all ages.
At the end of a full day of activities in the wilderness of Jasper’s National Park, relax at the Insignia Salon and Spa with a hot basalt stone massage. The heat of the stones penetrates the body gently, at a deeper level, to bring total peace and relaxation to your mind, body and spirit. For dinner tonight, we recommend the Moose’s Nook Northern Grill, where rustic decor, wildlife paintings and artifacts create a dining atmosphere that celebrates the explorer spirit coupled with wildly inspired cuisine. Comfort foods pay homage to regional ingredients and Canadian specialties. Wild mushrooms, Arctic char and world famous Alberta beef are features of the menu.
- Overnight: Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge.
- Meals: B.
- Driving: 1-5 (depending on preferences)
Day 4: Banff (300-350kms)
Enjoy breakfast in bed and then climb into the driver’s seat and head off down the pastoral Icefields Parkway for the return journey to Banff. Some people never have the opportunity to drive this road even once in their life - you get to do it twice from two different angles! Take your time stopping en route to gaze at the majestic eagles that glide high above in the vivid blue sky. Arrive in the early afternoon at your hotel for tonight, the majestic Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel.
In the late afternoon, indulge your senses in an interactive and informative wine and food tasting. Whether you are a novice or a seasoned connoisseur, you can benefit from learning the basic tools needed for pairing wine and food dishes by training your palette. Although the schedule is constantly changing, your tasting session could include everything from an adventurous jaunt through the classic single malts of Scotland or a walk through Spain’s most intriguing fortified wines, taking you through three different styles of sherry.
For dinner tonight, we encourage you to stroll across the grounds to the Waldhaus, Banff Springs’ "House in the Forest". The Bavarian cottage-style building was built in 1927 to be used as the Banff Springs Clubhouse and is set on the edge of the Golf Course and the Spray River. The atmosphere is reminiscent of an old hunting lodge with a large fireplace and a beautiful, temperature controlled wine cabinet which houses an excellent wine selection. The menu consists of authentic German and Swiss dishes such as venison ragout, Swiss cheese fondue, roasted pheasant breast, pan fried rainbow trout fillets and warm apple strudel.
- Overnight: Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge
- Meals: B
- Driving: 5-6 hours
Day 5: Calgary (150-200km)
After a relaxed breakfast, and early morning stroll around the charming town of Banff, get into your BMW for the last time and drive through the mountains on your way out of the Rockies and back to the rolling hills of Calgary. Drop your car off at the Calgary airport and say goodbye as your journey comes to an end.
- Meals: B
- Driving: 2 hours
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Canada Alberta Local Culture Self Drive Cultural Journey