Two Short Days in the Rocky Mountains

Is two days enough time to spend in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, especially when taking the Sky to Sea Highway road trip from Vancouver?   Banff is literally heaven on earth and two days just isn’t enough time to explore everything that the Rocky Mountains has to offer.  So the answer is NO, however, if two days is all the time you have, then this two day itinerary will allow you to see all of the main attractions.

My trip through the Rocky Mountains to Banff was a solo trip. In order to utilize what little time I had and to see as much as I could of this this part of Canada, I arranged a 12 hour tour with Brewster Sightseeing Tours. You can arrange a tour prior to your arrival or contact the conceirge at the resort you will be staying at. They will take care of everything for you. The price is reasonable and you are guaranteed to experience the best that Banff and the Canadian Rocky Mountains have to offer.  If you only have two days in Banff, Alberta, I highly recommend taking a tour with Brewster Sightseeing Tours in order to see all of the main attractions. If you are travelling through the Rocky Mountains solo, the tour will also provide the opportunity to meet new people.

2 Day Itinerary in the Canadian Rocky Mountains

Day 1 in the Canadian Rocky Mountains

The first morning in the Canadian Rockies, get up bright and early and ready to hit the road by 7:00 a.m.  Brewster will pick you up at the front door of your hotel (I stayed at the Rimrock Resort and it was perfect!). They will then take you to their headquarters where you will meet up with other travelers taking the tour.

Lake Louise

First stop was Lake Louise. This place is magical and must be put on everyone’s bucket list!  When I was in the Rocky Mountains it was late May and the lake was still partially frozen, however, with the green water peeking through the snow on the lake the view was absolutely spectacular.  Lake Louise will be the first stop you will want to make on your Rocky Mountain tour in order to avoid the mass influx of tourists. By arriving early you will be provided the opportunity to enjoy the peace and quiet of the Rocky Mountains.

There are several trails at Lake Louise, but on this tour you unfortunately won’t have time to explore any of the trails.  If you visit Lake Louise on your own, be sure to check them out. If you are travelling alone and want to take a solo hike anywhere in the Rocky Mountains, it is important that you take safety precautions as the Canadian Rockies is definitely bear territory. A word of caution if you visit Lake Louise without taking a tour, parking is very limited and fills up fast. If you arrive later in the day, you will have to park a couple of miles down the road and take a bus to the Lake.

You haven't experienced the Canadian Rocky Mountains if you haven't stopped at Lake Louise
Lake Louise, Banff, Alberta

Icefield Parkway

We then made our way towards the Icefield Parkway. This was definitely by far one of the most magnificent drives I have ever taken, and in fact, the Icefield Parkway is known as one of the most beautiful drives in the world, and I can certainly see why!  There were mountains, lakes and glaciers as far as the eye could see.  The beauty of of the surrounding mountains and lakes was indescribable.  Throughout the drive, the guides explained the various mountain elevations we were driving through, as well as the vegetation that grows (or doesn’t grow) at each elevation.  It will not be unusual to see wildlife roaming freely along the highway or by the lakes and mountains.  For me, this was the best part of the drive.  I just had to see at least one bear, and I was lucky enough to spot 4 bears throughout the tour.

CAUTION: Under no circumstances approach a bear. Always keep your distance!

JUST ONE TIP: If you drive the Icefield Parkway on your own, fill up on gas before you start as there are no gas stations along the way.

Bow Lake

Bow Lake
Bow Lake, Alberta

We made a pit stop at Bow Lake for a photo-op and to take in its beauty.  I had never seen anything as beautiful as the reflection of the snow covered mountains reflecting on the green waters of the lake.

While the guides were setting up coffee, there was a loud rumbling noise coming from across the lake.  Yup, it was an avalanche!  It was a pretty cool thing to see!  Winter was late leaving and a large number of the trails had not been opened up to the public yet for fear of avalanches.  If you are an avid hiker like I am, make sure you visit in the summer months to ensure that you are able to get out on the trails.  The trails are numerous and it would take a lifetime to climb them all, but always pay attention to the warnings!

Visitor’s Center

It’s now time for lunch!  The tour included a buffet lunch at the Visitor’s Center.  The restaurant is open for all tourists, but it is busy and expensive.  If the weather permits, I would highly recommend taking a picnic. There are many spots to rest along the Icefield Parkway which allow you to take in the views.  Be aware of the bears, they are out and about!

A road trip along Canada's Icefield Parkway is one of the most magnificent road trips in the world. It must include a stop at the Athabasca Glacier
Glacier Walk on the Athabascan Glacier

Athabasca Glacier

After a nice lunch, we did the Columbia Icefield Adventure We boarded our “bus” for a quick and very bumpy, steep ride out onto the Athabasca Glacier.  I would not recommend that you miss this adventure!  They say that the glacier is receding approximately 5 meters per year, so get out on it and experience it while you can.

It is STRONGLY recommended not to walk on the Athabasca Glacier on your own as there have been many deaths. Take a tour or go with a guide. A guide is knowledgeable and will provide history and information regarding the glacier.

Glacier Skywalk

Last but not least, was a visit to the Glacier Skywalk.  This is the spot to go in order to take in the many mountains, lakes and glaciers, from an awe-inspiring glass bottom observation platform. The viewing platform hangs 918 feet above the Sunwapta Valley.  It took more than a little bit of courage to get me out on this platform, but I’m sure glad that I overcame my fear and went out on it. This attraction can also be experienced on your own without going on a tour.

If you're afraid of heights then the Glacier Skywalk in Alberta might not be for you. If you love heights , put the Glacier Skywalk on your list!
Bravin it out on the Glacier Skywalk

Day 2 in the Canadian Rocky Mountains

As I always do, I kept one day open to explore and wander wherever my heart desired.  It was also the day before a long 10 hour drive back to the airport, so I made sure to leave some rest time before my drive back.

Banff, Alberta

After a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, head to downtown Banff and spend a couple of hours browsing the shops and marveling at the mountains surrounding the town. If you are staying outside of Banff, many of the resorts offer free shuttles to town.

The beautiful Canadian Town of Banff, Alberta in the Rocky Mountains is completely surrounded by mountains
Banff, Alberta

There are numerous small boutique shops, restaurants, novelty stores and winter clothing stores, which would keep you busy for hours if you are a shopper, which I’m not. 

You can’t visit Banff without checking out one of the quaint coffee shops or restaurants. Don’t be afraid to wander off the main street. Explore the side streets and you will find many restaurants and cafes.

Banff Gondola

After an awesome lunch and some friendly chatter, I hopped back on the free bus and headed back to my hotel.  While heading back to my hotel, I decided not to get off at my stop and instead continue on to the Banff Gondola which takes you up Sulphur Mountain.  I am so glad that I didn’t miss this attraction!!!!  There were no lineups and I hopped on as soon as I arrived. 

The ride up on the gondola was more than a little frightening at first, given that I am terrified of heights, but the beauty surrounding me made it well worth my while.  The gondola ends part way up the mountain at the visitor’s center, which has restrooms, restaurants and coffee shops, as well as an interpretive center.  If you aren’t ready to stop exploring, continue to hike up to the summit of Sulphur Mountain. Once you reach the summit, you are able to see 6 mountain ranges and the Bow Valley from 7,486 feet above sea level.  The hike up from the visitor’s center to the summit is an easy hike and can be done by people of all fitness levels. Once you reach the summit, you will be glad you continued on. The view is spectacular.

Your Rocky Mountain road trip isn't complete without taking the gondola up Sulphur Mountain
Gondola at Sulphur Mountain in Banff, Alberta

2 Days in Banff Comes to an End 😦

As the old saying goes….all good things must come to an end.   My two days in the Rocky Mountains was coming to an end….time to rest up for the ten hour drive back to Vancouver.  My Rocky Road Trippin Adventure took a total of six days including the drive from and back to Vancouver.  If you aren’t into long roadtrips, then I recommend that you fly into Calgary, which is approximately a one hour drive to Banff.  If you plan on exploring the Rocky Mountains on your own, I recommend renting a car.  If you intend on taking tours, then contact Brewster Express as they also have shuttle services from and to the Calgary airport.

I will definitely be back to the Canadian Rocky MountainsTwo days exploring the Rocky Mountains isn’t near enough time, but if you follow the same itinerary that I did, it will allow you enough time to see the major attractions.

The Best Time to Visit the Canadian Rocky Mountains

The Canadian Rocky Mountains are beautiful at any time of the year and you will find plenty of activities whether visiting in the Summer or Winter. It all depends what your interests are and what you want to do.


During the Summer months, June through August, you can expect the weather to range between 14 degrees Celsius to 18 degrees Celsius during the day, and can dip as low as 0 degrees Celsius in the evening. The range in temperature makes it difficult to know what clothing to pack and it is recommended that in addition to the usual Summer attire, you bring some warmer clothing such as hoodies, jacket, and even gloves.

For the nature lover and hiking addict, visiting Banff National Park during the Summer months would be the ideal time and visiting during this period would also guarantee that the trails would be open for hiking. I must caution you though that visiting the Canadian Rockies during this time of the year is EXTREMELY busy, so if it is peace and quiet that you are seeking, the Summer months is not the ideal time to visit.


Banff National Park during the Winter months are magical and if you love to ski, this is the place you want to visit. Even if you aren’t a skier, there are still many winter activities for the entire family, including dog sledding, ice skating on Lake Louise, horse drawn sleigh rides, snow shoeing, and the Ice Magic Festival which is held the second and third week of January each year.

If heading to the Rocky Mountains during the Winter months, you can expect temperatures to drop as low as -14 degrees Celsius so bundle up. Dressing for the Winter in the Rocky Mountains is very much like dressing for Alaska.

If you plan to drive through the Rocky Mountains during the Winter months be prepared, the road conditions are quite treacherous. Before heading out, check the weather conditions and take all necessary precautions.


If you want to avoid the crowds, visiting the Canadian Rocky Mountains during the off-season between April and June, and September and November, is the best time to avoid a deluge of tourists. You will also find the cost of lodging to be less expensive, however, you will also find that many of the trails are closed due to the potential of an avalanche.

The off-season is the perfect time to visit if you are seeking rest, relaxation, scenery, and possibly the odd bear or two.

Enjoy Your Time in the Canadian Rocky Mountains

If you are lucky enough to be in a position to visit the Canadian Rocky Mountains, be prepared….it is expensive…..but worth every single penny! I will be going back, but next time I will go for two weeks. Two short days in the Rocky Mountains just isn’t enough time to see it all. Have you been to Banff, Alberta in the Canadian Rocky Mountains?


Kelly xoxo


57 thoughts on “Two Short Days in the Rocky Mountains

  1. Stephanie Rumore

    I have never been to Alberta but ah I’ve seen so many incredibly photos of Lake Louise I’d been getting the itch to make the trip… You definitely have shown me that there’s SO much more to see than just the lake (and a lot of it is even more beautiful by the looks of it!). Did you find it different to other parts of Canada that you’ve seen previously?


  2. Zoe | Together In Transit

    You are so right with “heaven on earth”! Love your photos with the mountains in the background. Living in Europe doesn’t really give me the option for 2 short days here, so when I plan, I’ll make it at least 2 weeks πŸ˜€ Thanks for sharing what you enjoyed!


  3. Usha Kankaria

    Canada is second on my list after Croatia and I already have seen so many enticing pictures that I am sure I will be there minimum 2 weeks. A good write up on the rockies.


  4. Ketki Gadre

    Rocky Mountains offer the most amazing and breathtaking views! I could spend a cozy weekend here (if it was not so cold that it). Gorgeous photos.


  5. Corina

    I will be in the area next year pretty much the same time as you have been and I will sage this itinerary tour. great to share it thanks


  6. Esther Namugerwa

    I’ve always heard that Canada is a beautiful country, I never imagined it was this beautiful. You are right when you say it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen, i mean look at those amazing rocks and the bow lake-the views are simply breathtaking. I bet you enjoyed the ride up in the sky. I am also afraid of heights like you, but I wouldn’t miss this for anything.


  7. thewayfaringfoodie

    Alberta has been on my list for a while now, I need to just go ahead and book a weekend up there! I would love to visit during the summer to do some hiking, but I have also heard the off season is nice to avoid all the tourists. Ideally I would like to visit during both times eventually! I will remember your tips when I go either way!


  8. Joy Generoso

    Rocky mountains has been on top of my long list for quite sometime now. Unfortunately visa issues has got in the way and hindering the travel plans. Hopefully I would get that chance to see not only the Rocky Mountains but some parts of Canada. If that time comes, I will never miss the gondola ride.


  9. nicky

    this gets me excited! i moved to vancouver recently and the rockies are definately on my list of to-dos. Im saving it fr next Spring when the weather is a little warmer / less snowy! Will pin for later – thank you!


  10. mohanaandaninda

    The Rockies are incredibly majestic! Lake Louise is such a lovely shade of blue and nestled between snowy peaks, it looks like a slice of heaven. I’d love to hike in the area.


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  15. Brian

    Glad you were able to experience some of Banff National Park! The whole region is just insanely beautiful and we have been three times. With so much to see and do, there is no doubt that we will be returning as often as we can.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Brian

        Have a great time! Our second trip there was in early June. We were treated to some beautiful days and a couple with some light snow. Made for an ever more magical experience!

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Kelly

    I love Banff and am heading back there on a weekend road trip next month so this post gets me so excited to be back in the Rockies! Didn’t get to see Lake Louise last time so that is first on my list πŸ™‚


  17. Michelle Segrest

    This is a truly comprehensive, busy, and exciting two-day itinerary in a truly gorgeous part of the world! You really made the most of your short time in the Rocky Mountains and benefited from some of the most spectacular experiences there! I’m definitely saving this for when I have an opportunity to explore this amazing destination!

    Liked by 1 person


  19. cristinarm937

    There are so many beautiful places in Canada! I would love to visit the Rocky Mountains someday πŸ™‚ Also, the Banff Gondola sounds fun. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Rhonda Sachs Albom

    Lake Louise was one of my mother’s favourite places to visit. Sadly, I have never been there yet. I love the snowy mountains of the Canadian Rockies.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just One Passport

      I can see why! I have lived in Canada my entire life (60 years) and finally made it to our west coast in 2018. It is one of the most beautiful spots that I have been to yet and one of the only spots that I will consider visiting more than once. I LOVED it and you have to visit whenever you get a chance.


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  24. Renee

    Seeing this article has me longing to go back west! I’ve been to Alberta a few times, but not to all of these amazing hiking spots. I would to do the Glacier Skywalk – the views must just be so incredible.

    Liked by 1 person

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