Hiking, Outdoors, Travel

Seattle-to-Banff 7 Day Road-trip Itinerary

O Canada… One of my favorite parts about living in Seattle is the accessibility to our gorgeous neighbors up north. Growing up, we used to take road trips to Vancouver once or twice a year to feast on delicious dim sum and Chinese food (which puts Seattle Chinese food to shame). In college, my friends and I started taking an annual ski trip to Whistler, which to this day is still one of my favorite traditions. Banff has always been high on my list of places to go, but I had never done a real roadtrip this long so I procrastinated planning until last fall! We did the whole drive of Seattle-to-Banff and back in 7-days, and it was such a fun way to explore more of Western Canada! 

Since this trip was the same year I travelled to Patagonia, I was fairly money-conscious while planning. Luckily I was able to drive my own car (my poor baby Prius), and we decided to stay in budget-friendly Airbnbs the whole way, so it was a really nice way to take a full vacation without breaking the bank! 

While this isn’t a fully baked itinerary, I wanted to share our general driving route, places to stay, eating locations, and activity ideas for those of you looking to plan a similar roadtrip in the future!

Day 1

8 am – Leave Seattle

4 hour drive

12 pm – Explore Hells Gate

  • Explore and Lunch – Salmon chowder
  • Airtram

1 pm – Leave for Salmon Arm

3.5 hours hour drive

6pm – Dinner in Salmon Arm at Aquatico Bay Steak & Seafood menu

Over night in salmon arm: Airbnb 

Day 2

9 am – Leave for Banff area

3.5 hour drive

Buy park passes here: https://www.banfflakelouise.com/parks-pass-online

12 pm – Yoho National Park. Below are all separate, will need to drive to each:

  • Emerald Lake: can drive to
  • Lake O’Hara (sounds hard to get to in a day so unlikely)
  • Wapta Falls: 4.7km out and back; furthest away from others but on the way, want to start here
  • Takakkaw Falls: 1.6km out and back

30-60 min drive

7 pm -Overnight in Banff area: Hotel

Day 3

5 am (sunrise) – Lake Louise

Hike up to the Teahouse

12 pm – Moraine Lake

  • Moraine Lake Lodge Canoe
  • Rockpile trail Moraine Lake (40 min, lower end of parking lot)
  • Late Lunch at the Fairmont (Lake Louise) 

Driving through Banff area

  • Peyto Lake – quick 3.8 mile hike
  • Spiral Tunnel view point on drive back to air bnb
Peyto Lake

Overnight in Banff area Airbnb (glamping): Airbnb Pre download map and know how to get here, as there’s spotty service in this area!

Day 4

Glacier National Park

  • Whitefish
  • Avalanche Lake (trail of cedars) or Hidden Lake overlook 
  • Golden
  • Cedar Lake
  • Columbia Wetlands

Overnight in Banff area Airbnb (glamping): Airbnb

Day 5

Morning exploring the Banff area

12 pm – Leave for Kamloops 

~4 hour drive 

7pm – Dinner & overnight in Kamloops

  • Pioneer park beach 
  • Rent bikes around the town
  • Paul Lake paddling on the way to kamloops if we leave early enough 

Dinner: Sushi: menu 

Overnight in Kamloops: Airbnb 

Day 6

9 am – Leave for Whistler

4 hour drive – Kalei

1 pm – Afternoon in Whistler

  • Walking through the Olympic village
  • Bike tour depending on how body feels
  • Peak 2 Peak Gondola

Lunch: Peaked Pies: Menu 

Overnight in Whistler at the Aava Whistler Hotel: Hotel

Day 7

10 am – Leave Whistler

2 hour drive

12 pm – Stop in Vancouver for lunch

  • Granville Island
  • Stanley Park Seawall
  • Dim Sum in Chinatown

3 pm – Leave Vancouver

3 hour drive

6 pm – Get back to Seattle

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