I’ve been roaming around Alberta for the past few years, constantly amazed at how many stunning landscapes and outdoor adventures are located within the province. My trips usually last more than a weekend; however, I realize many people don’t have time to spend an entire week adventuring around the province.
Thankfully, I think a 72-Hr Alberta weekend Roadtrip is enough to see a huge variety of landscapes. It’ll be tight, but with good timing on flights, you could be in and out over a long weekend. With flights from Vancouver, Toronto, and Winnepeg for as little as $300.00 and discounted car rentals from only $100 for the weekend (hotwire.com), the entire trip doesn’t have to break the bank.
Total Driving Distance: 680 KM | Total Sleep Time: 14 hours max | Shooting locations: Unlimited
My 72-Hour Alberta Weekend Roadtrip Plan
The roadtrip plan begins and ends at the Calgary International Airport. It is possible to book direct connections to most Canadian City and a growing number of US destinations, so it’s more and more possible to visit for as little as 3 days. Distances in Alberta are large, so this road trip isn’t for the feint of heart, but I will say to not let the winter road conditions scare you. Rent a 4X4 if there is snow in the forecast, drive slower than normal, and simply enjoy the scenery.
The deal with a photography-themed 72-hour Alberta Roadtrip is that sleep is the last priority. If you’re only staying two nights in the province, I recommend caffeine over rest.
Day 1: Arrive in Calgary
Once you arrive into Calgary, pickup a rental car at the airport and head into the city to photograph the Peace Bridge before checking into your hotel for the night. If you want to see the Calgary nightlife, walk down 17 Ave SW.
Day 2: Calgary to Lake Louise
Wake up at the crack of dawn, as it’s a big day to get from Calgary to Lake Louise with a camera! Begin by photographing the city skyline. There are two viewpoints: Scotsman Hill overlooks the Calgary Saddledome and McHugh Bluff (pictured).
After sunrise, head west to Cochrane to visit the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary.
After the wolfdog sanctuary, head west on Highway 1A towards Canmore and Banff. After a quick lunch stop in Banff, take time to drive the Lake Minnewanka road and then take the Bow Valley Parkway to Lake Louise. The photo opportunities are numerous, but here are some of my favourite stops:
1. The Two Jack Lake Channel
2. Lake Minnewanka Boathouse
3. Castle Junction Bridge
4. Lake Louise
Day 3: Lake Louise to Abraham Lake to Calgary
If you thought day 2 seemed ambitious, this is an even bigger driving day. It’s nearly 500-kilometers from Lake Louise to the Calgary Airport, but the bulk of the scenery lies in the first 160 kms. After that, it’s about hauling ass to the airport to return the rental car and to board your flight back home.
Leaving Lake Louise, head north on the Icefield Parkway towards Jasper National Park. After 80 kms, turn right onto the David Thompson Highway at Saskatchewan River Crossing and head east towards Abraham Lake. My favorite stops along this route include:
1. Bow Lake, Banff National Park
2. The Icefield Parkway Itself
3. Abraham Lake, David Thompson Highway
4. Crescent Falls
Remember to share!
If you pull off a spectacular Alberta weekend roadtrip, remember to share your photos on Social Media. Use the hashtags #exploreAlberta and #winterlust to make sure more people see your view of my amazing province!