If you’re from Alberta, then we don’t need to tell you that this is the land of breathtaking vistas, winding mountain roads, vast mountain ranges and serenity around every bend.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of experiencing a road trip in Alberta, you are seriously missing out!
We’ve put together some of our favourite campgrounds, destinations and pit stops to make your first Alberta RV road trip one full of great memories. Read on!
Banff National Park
An iconic Canadian destination, Banff National Park sees 4.2 million annual visitors from all over the world. We can’t argue that 4.2 million people are wrong! Banff is a must-stop park on your Alberta RV road trip, even if it’s just to get that Insta-worthy snapshot.
There are endless activities perfect for people of all ages and activity levels. Looking for adventure? You can hike up the famous Sulphur Mountain (or take the gondola if you’re in it for the views and not the exercise). Once you’re at the top, take in the stunning vistas of Banff and the surrounding Rockies and Bow River. You can also discover the Sulphur Mountain Weather Station, a federally recognized heritage building constructed in 1902 to promote tourism in Banff National Park of Canada and to provide information for visitors.
There are also plenty of restaurants serving delicious Canadian and global cuisine if you’re too tired from all of your fun for any campsite cooking. Enjoy walking around town, or hop on your bicycle and head over to Lake Minnewanka for a ride around or a beautiful hike. There are plenty of photo worthy spots all along the shore.
Jasper National Park
Jasper National Park is the largest (and most beautiful) national park in the Canadian Rockies. If you’re an outdoorsy type, you’re going to love Jasper. This sleepy town features some of the most exciting hiking trails in western Canada. The backcountry trails are second to none and many people come from all over the world to explore them. You can also stop by the famous Columbia Icefields, which you drive through on the way to Jasper, if leaving from Red Deer or Calgary. The Icefields are perfect for hiking and taking in exceptional views.
Jasper is known for its wildlife as well as its hiking trails. If you have a curious pet or young children, make sure to pay close attention to them. It isn’t uncommon to find caribou, elk, mountain goats and rams, grizzly and black bears, moose and even wolves roaming around alongside the highway or hiking trails.
Almost every child goes through a dinosaur phase – and who can blame them?! These prehistoric behemoths are endlessly fascinating, not to mention many of their fossils have been found right in Alberta’s backyard. Located adjacent to Red Deer River valley, Dinosaur Campground is perfect for a quick weekend RV getaway.
While you won’t get to enjoy views of the Rockies from this campsite, the Badlands and hoodoos provide their own magic. Go for a hike in Horsethief Canyon, a fun and interpretive style hike rich with history. Did you know the canyon got its name for the illegal horse trade network used in the area in the last century. Plenty of unique flora and fauna can be seen in this expansive and breathtaking canyon.
If your kids (or you) are itching to learn more about dinosaurs, you can make a day trip to Drumheller and visit the Royal Tyrrell Museum. This world-class museum features an incredible collection of full fossils of all kinds of prehistoric life!
Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park
The first interprovincial park in Canada straddles the border of Alberta and Saskatchewan and offers campers and RVers towering hills, lush flora and one of the largest dark sky preserves in the world – so don’t forget blankets and cocoa to enjoy while stargazing!
This modern park has front and back country camping opportunities, and even has a resort, swimming pool, equestrian centre and ziplining! Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park is a great place to make memories with your kids and friends, and has enough activities to encourage you to visit time and time again.
Crimson Lake Park
Situated less than 20 kilometres west of Rocky Mountain House, Crimson Lake Park is perfect for first time road trips – especially with younger kids or pets who might find a longer drive too challenging. If you want to keep the good vibes going through shoulder season, Crimson Lake is an easy choice! There is winter camping at a reduced rate for powered camping sites with access to ice fishing, a maintained skating rink, and groomed and packed trails for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and fat biking.
If outdoor winter adventures aren’t your idea of a good time, you can simply cozy up in your RV with a cocktail or cup of spiked coffee and one of our favourite RV cooking recipes from Go RVing Canada.
No matter where you go for your first road trip as an RVer or camper, there are plenty of options near and far to Red Deer that are worth the drive! Do you have a favourite first time road trip? Share it with our community on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.