Lucky for us Canadians, we have one of the most stunning backyards in the world. Canada is a beautiful country with dazzling mountain ranges, pristine lakes, golden prairies, and precious wildlife. From coast to coast, we can enjoy majestic views from the comfort of our vehicles while we cruise on one of our many scenic drives. The time for a good road trip is finally here. Let this list of Canada’s most scenic drives guide you on your next motoring adventure.
#1 Pacific Rim Highway (Highway 4), Parksville to Tofino, Vancouver Island, BC
B.C.’s Pacific Rim Highway runs westward across Vancouver Island from Port Alberni to Tofino. It stretches across the island’s rugged mountain range and ancient forests, all the way down to its splendid beaches. It only takes two to three hours to drive. That makes it a perfect choice for a daytrip filled with plenty of pit stops to check out the sights. Once you make it to Tofino, you can hike through Canada’s sole temperate rainforest, or eat some world-famous fish tacos. Keep an eye out for whales, too, they like to pop up for air around there.
#2 The Icefields Parkway (Highway 93), Alberta
The Icefields Parkway is a mountain highway that travels from Banff National Park to Jasper National Park. It’s a 230km stretch of road that criss-crosses through Alberta’s Rocky Mountains and straddles the Continental Divide. Along the way, you’ll see clear blue lakes pooling in the middle of wide valleys, dramatic glaciers, and cascading waterfalls. It’s a truly spectacular journey.
Begin your adventure in Lake Louise, then continue to the Columbia Icefield, the largest ice field in the Rocky Mountains. Finish it off in the charming mountain town of Jasper, home of some of the world’s most magnificent protected wilderness. From there, you can make it to the Marmot Basin ski resort for a day of skiing.
#3 Fundy Coastal Drive, New Brunswick
The Fundy Coastal Drive on New Brunswick’s southern shores extends about 400km from the coast of Maine to Nova Scotia. You can see some of Canada’s most inspiring landscapes, and visit one of the many towns that dot the way.
Don’t miss the Bay of Fundy, where the world’s highest tides reach more than 16 metres in some areas. The water has eroded the shore’s red sandstone and volcanic rock, making for some interesting rock formations. And when the tide pulls back, you can walk the ocean floor. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a fossil to keep as a souvenir. Be sure to watch for whales breaching off the coast, and strike up a conversation with the friendly locals.
#4 Badlands Trail, Alberta
The Badlands Trail in Alberta isn’t like other scenic Canadian drives on this list. Its beauty doesn’t come from lush forests or fabulous beaches. Instead, imposing cliffs, hoodoo rock formations, and the sheer ruggedness of its landscape are what make it an epic drive. This region of Alberta has some of the richest deposits of fossils in the world. In fact, it’s also home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Dinosaur Provincial Park. Don’t forget to check out the world-renowned Royal Tyrrell Museum. There, your kids can spend hours learning everything there is to know about dinosaurs.
It’s approximately 50km long, and can take you a day or a week to drive. It all depends on what you do along the way. It also happens to be a perfect place to test out your car’s all-wheel drive. Climbing over the rough terrain of the Badlands would be especially fun in a Jeep Wrangler.
#5 Algonquin Park Corridor (Highway 60), Ontario
Located in central Ontario and travelling through the Algonquin National Park, the Algonquin Park Corridor (highway 60) will take you through a wonderland of nature. Driving through the park along Highway 60 only takes about an hour, but be ready to make frequent stops for wildlife sightings. The park is an expanse of forests, bogs, rivers, and tranquil beaches. It’s in the heart of moose country, so have a camera ready to capture all the moose (not meese, apparently). Aside from our antlered friends, you might see beavers, bears, turtles, and dozens of different types of birds.
#6 St. Lawrence Route, Quebec
Going along the coast of Quebec, the St. Lawrence Route (or Route du fleuve) on Highway 362 covers about 50km between Baie-Saint-Paul and La Malbaien. Picturesque villages are scattered about the drive, and there are plenty of historical sites to visit along the way. Even if you’re not interested in what history has to offer, you’ll love the view of the St. Lawrence River.
#7 Sea to Sky Highway, B.C.
Journey along the 150km portion of Highway 99 that connects Horseshoe Bay in Vancouver to just north Whistler. The drive takes about two hours to complete in a straight shot. But to experience it correctly, plan to make lots of stops to explore the wondrous lakes, mountains, waterfalls, and wildlife. As well, be sure to check out the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish for breathtaking views.
The highway underwent major repairs before the 2010 Winter Olympics, so it’s in good condition and safe to drive.
#8 Viking Trail, Newfoundland
Travel from Newfoundland’s west coast to southern Labrador along the Viking Trail. You’ll experience a land rich in culture, history, and awe-inspiring sights. The Viking Trail is about 443km long, and goes through wooded valleys, mountains, and along the epic windswept Newfoundland coast. Set aside some time to explore the two UNESCO World Heritage Sites accessible from the trail: Gros Morne National Park, and L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site of Canada.
#9 Cabot Trail, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
This drive will take you around the greater part of Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island, where you’ll see stunning ocean vistas, prehistoric rock formations, and old growth forests. The 300km long Cabot Trail takes a few hours to drive, but most people will set aside two to three days to properly experience the wonders of the region. Quaint towns, awesome seafood, music festivals, and welcoming locals make the Cabot Trail one of Canada’s finest hidden gems.
#10 The King’s Road (Chemin du Roy)
If you’re driving from Quebec City to Montreal, or vice versa, opt for the more scenic route of the Chemin du Roy (French for “King’s Road”). It borders the St. Lawrence River’s north shore, and is said to be to oldest land route in Canada. The 260km drive does take more time to drive than the main highway – that’s true. But it also takes you across a beautiful countryside you wouldn’t otherwise see.
Hopefully this list of Canada’s most scenic drives has helped you narrow down your road trip options. Now, all you need to do is make sure your car is prepared and fully serviced for the journey. There’s nothing quite like car troubles to throw a wrench in your road tripping plans.
Book a service appointment by clicking here, or call us at 780.777.7777. We’re happy to help!