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Calgary to Golden Road Trip Itinerary (+Transportation Options)

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Planning to travel from Calgary to Golden British Columbia and turn it into an awesome drive? We got you covered! In this detailed guide, we will share all the possible transportation options between these two destinations, and also check off many of the cool spots along the way. So here is an awesome Calgary to Golden road trip itinerary that you can do in as little as a few hours or stretch by a couple of days!

Calgary to Golden: Road Trip and Transportation Options

Calgary to Golden BC road trip pin
Calgary to Golden BC road trip guide

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But first things first, let’s go over the logistics

Calgary is the largest city in the Canadian province of Alberta. Golden is a charming mountain town that is located in British Columbia. 

Calgary one of the best places to live in Alberta
Calgary Downtown

When embarking on a road trip from Calgary you will head west along the Trans Canada Highway, and pass through small towns and communities that offer a glimpse into rural Canadian life. 

Along the way, you will have the opportunity to take in some of Canada’s most beautiful mountain scenery as they cross over towering peaks and deep valleys. 

And you can visit national parks too!

Golden SkyBridge: Calgary Golden drive

Keep in mind, Golden is not a national park, but you will be able to see mountain views and rivers though and they are just SOO PRETTY!

Getting To Golden British Columbia

The closest international airport to get to Golden in BC is Calgary. Calgary to Golden is a 264.4 km (164.29 miles) drive away. 

Getting to Golden BC

This will take you about 3 hours 35 minutes to reach Golden from Calgary via Trans-Canada Hwy/AB-1 W and Trans-Canada Hwy/BC-1 W.

Note: Driving distance from Vancouver British Columbia to Golden is 7 hours and 30 minutes

Here are the best ways to get to Golden BC from Calgary: 

Calgary To Golden BC – By Rental Car: Quickest Way

The fastest way to get to Golden BC from Calgary is by driving. If you are arriving at the international airport you can pick up a car rental and then drive to Golden.

We recommend reserving a vehicle via Discover Cars online and picking it up from the Calgary airport. 

How to get from Calgary to Golden
How to get from Calgary to Golden: Road Trip Itinerary

It will be a minimum of 3 hours of travel time to get there (fastest), without stopping along the way. You will travel on Trans-Canada Hwy/AB-1 W and Trans-Canada Hwy/BC-1 W.

Starting from Calgary, when you merge onto Trans-Canada Hwy/AB-1 W, you will enter the province of British Columbia. From there, you will continue onto Trans-Canada Hwy/BC-1 W to get to Golden.

Crossing over to British Columbia from Alberta
Crossing over to British Columbia from Alberta

Calgary To Golden BC – By Bus

There are direct bus routes available between Calgary and Golden Town. Typically, the travel time is about 4 hours (but you can find faster trips covering the same distance in 3 hours and 25 minutes). 

Rider Express operates buses from Calgary to Golden. You can confirm the bus schedules and tickets online on BusBud here.

You can catch the bus from the Westbrook Mall in Calgary. Buses are available between Entrance 5-6, and you will be dropped off at the Golden Husky Travel Bus Stop. 

The route will look like this:

Calgary (pick up from Westbrook Mall) > Northwinds Hotel > Brewster Depot > 200 Village Rd (Shell) in  Lake Louise > Yoho National Park >Golden BC

Once you arrive at the bus stop in Golden, you can take a taxi to get to your accommodation or Airbnb. 

Tip: Set aside 4+ hours to complete this ride. The bus frequency is good – they have 1-2 trips per day. We highly recommend planning and booking the tickets in advance. 

  • Tickets cost about $88 CAD per person (one way)
  • 1 carry-on and 2 checked-in bags are included
  • Buses are equipped with wifi, toilets, and AC

Check prices and book your tickets by clicking here

Calgary To Golden British Columbia – By Taxi

It is possible to get to Golden from Calgary by taxi at about the same time as you are driving, but it will be expensive. 

Arriving from Calgary to Golden
Arriving in Golden BC via taxi, rental car, or bus Calgary

Taxi rides will cost $839 CAD one way. The price is per vehicle (2 passengers and 2 bags). 

Although not a cost-effective or cheapest way to get there, you can surely use this as a last resort. Once you reach Golden accommodation, you can rent a bike, hike or walk to various sightseeing attractions. 

Can you hitchhike from Calgary to Golden BC?

Although there is no legislation regarding hitchhiking in Alberta, there are many municipalities including Calgary (within city limits) that have legislation in place that prohibits hitchhiking. 

(It is illegal to hitchhike Westwards of Golden, BC).

Calgary To Golden British Columbia – By Tour

Unfortunately, there are no tours departing from Calgary to Golden. If you are not renting a car, we recommend using the bus service (which is economical) and then adding one (or many) of the day tours from below. 

  • Kicking Horse River Family Rafting with Lunch: Join a 4 hour tour from Golden and enjoy rafting as well as lunch (BBQ)! This is perfect for families and also includes a waterfall stop. Click to book this tour
  • Kicking Horse River Half-Day Heli Whitewater Rafting: You can also join a rafting tour with a heli ride. More details here
  • Golden Skybridge Admission Ticket: For many visiting the Golden Skybridge is a must when visiting this little mountain town, and we totally agree! You can grab your tickets here

Where to stop from Calgary to Golden: Road Trip Stops

Traveling from Calgary to Golden, British Columbia is a great way to explore the spectacular Rocky Mountains. This stunning road trip will take you through some of Canada’s most breathtaking landscapes and offer an opportunity to experience the rugged beauty of the Canadian Rockies

Here is what we recommend stopping at,

1. Calgary

The journey begins in Calgary, Alberta where you can enjoy world-class attractions such as the Calgary Zoo and the WinSport/Olympic Park. It is an exciting Canadian city with a wealth of attractions and activities for you to enjoy. 

Plan to spend 1 to 2 days exploring the city highlights. 

Calgary International Airport is also the point of entry when you are flying internationally. 

For those looking to explore some of the city’s major attractions, sightseeing at the iconic Calgary Tower, Calgary Fort, and Heritage Village Park are must-dos. From the top of the Calgary Tower, you can get stunning views of the city and surrounding landscapes. 

Summer in Stephen Avenue Walk
Stephen Avenue Walk

The Glenbow Museum offers a chance to discover more about Alberta’s culture and history through its extensive collection of artifacts, while the Calgary Zoo is home to over 1,000 animals from around the world.

Calgary downtown is amazing for spending a day – wandering the colorful lanes, Stephen Avenue Walk, shopping, checking off Kensington, Peace Bridge, and beyond.  

Heritage Park Historical Village is also one of the most popular attractions in Calgary. This historical village celebrates Alberta’s rich heritage by immortalizing life in the early 20th century. 

Inside the park, you can ride a train, and learn from costumed staff as they demonstrate how people lived in the early 1900s, showcasing everything from horse-drawn carriages to vintage automobiles. 

For outdoor enthusiasts, there are plenty of opportunities to get up close and personal with nature. From hiking trails in Fish Creek Provincial Park to bike paths along the Bow River, outdoor adventurers will be spoilt for choice. 

You can also hit WinSport / Canada Olympic Park in Calgary, which was home to the 1988 Olympics Games. Today it boasts over 100 hectares of skiable areas and terrain parks as well as world-class amenities including a ski school. 

Finally, no trip to Calgary would be complete without sampling some of its amazing local cuisine. From fine dining restaurants to vibrant farmers’ markets, the city is home to some of the most delicious food in Canada.

Whether you’re looking for a traditional Alberta steak or a unique international dish, there’s something to suit everyone’s taste in Calgary.

Top places to stay in Calgary: 

Residence Inn by Marriott Calgary Airport: The Residence Inn is perfect to stay by the airport. They offer free parking and breakfast. Their rooms are clean and spacious and many come with airport views.

We stay here often, and highly recommend it!

Check prices and book your stay at the Residence Inn by clicking here

Alt Hotel Calgary East Village:

Located near downtown, the Alt Hotel is charming and comes with all the comfortable modern amenities plus it is within walking distance of many cool attractions and restaurants in Calgary. 

Check prices and book your stay at the Alt Hotel Calgary East Village by clicking here

Hyatt Regency Calgary:

This is one of the premier properties in Calgary with gorgeous suites, an indoor pool, and a spa center. The accommodation boasts of gorgeous interiors and many rooms offer great views of the downtown area. There is also a restaurant and bar on-site.

You are also within a 4 to 5-minute walk to the Arts Commons and the Calgary TELUS Convention. 

Check prices and book your stay at the Hyatt Regency by clicking here

2. The Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary 

Located near Cochrane, Alberta, the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary is a unique sanctuary dedicated to providing lifetime care for wolfdogs. A wolfdog is a cross between a domestic dog and a wolf and can range in appearance from looking like a regular dog to having distinctive features such as pointy ears and an elongated muzzle.

At the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary, you can observe these amazing animals in their natural habitat and learn more about the different species. The sanctuary is home to a variety of 43 wolfdogs split into 17 different packs.

Guided tours are available for visitors who want to get up close with the animals and observe them in action. You can learn more about wolfdogs and the challenges they face in adapting to a human environment.

The sanctuary also offers educational programs for both adults and children, with a focus on understanding and respecting the behavior of these animals. They work to protect these endangered species through breeding programs and other initiatives.

The Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary is a great place to experience the beauty of these amazing animals and learn more about wolfdogs.

Whether you’re visiting for a day or spending an entire weekend, the sanctuary provides an unforgettable experience that will leave you with lasting memories of your time spent with these majestic creatures.

Check to grab a ticket to the Sanctuary by clicking here

3. Cochrane

Cochrane, Alberta is a small town located just west of Calgary. With its many attractions and amenities, it’s the perfect place for those looking for some outdoor adventure or a chance to relax in a charming mountain setting.

Cochrane view
Cochrane view

One of Cochrane’s best features is its cute downtown area. Here you can stop for lunch when on your road trip. You will find plenty of restaurants, cafes, and shops to explore. 

There are also several craft breweries located in downtown Cochrane, offering visitors a chance to sample some of the best local beers and ales.

Half Hitch Brewery
Half Hitch Brewery

There’s also a renowned ice cream shop located in Cochrane called McKay’s Ice Cream, which serves classic flavors alongside some unique seasonal creations.

The surrounding area is home to numerous trails that offer views of the Bow River and the Rocky Mountains. You can take advantage of these trails by hiking, biking, or horseback riding along the many pathways.

Cochrane Alberta view
Cochrane Alberta view

For golf lovers, Cochrane is home to several excellent courses that offer challenging layouts and stunning scenery. 

Whether you’re looking for an outdoor adventure or a chance to relax and take in some stunning mountain views, Cochrane has something for everyone. From craft breweries and trails to golf courses and ice cream shops, you have plenty of fun things to do in this charming Alberta town.

4. Canmore

Canmore is a small town located in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. It’s an ideal destination for those looking to explore natural beauty and outdoor adventure. 

Girl in Canmore Engine Bridge - Things to do in Canmore in winter

From mountain biking and hiking trails to bouldering and skiing, Canmore offers visitors plenty of ways to experience nature’s beauty up close.

One great way to explore Canmore is to take a stroll along the many trails that wind through the town. There are numerous easy hiking paths, as well as more challenging routes for those looking for a bit of an adventure. 

During the summer months, you can enjoy breathtaking views of nearby mountains and wildlife sightings such as deer and elk.

Canmore summer view

For those who prefer to stay off the beaten path, Canmore also offers a variety of outdoor activities. Mountain biking enthusiasts can explore the classic trails of Canmore and nearby Kananaskis Country, while rock climbers will find plenty of world-class bouldering and climbing spots. 

During the winter months, visitors can enjoy skiing or snowboarding on one of the many local ski hills or visit the Canmore Nordic Centre.

Canmore Nordic Centre

No visit to Canmore would be complete without exploring the town’s vibrant culture. With its many shops, cafes, and art galleries, Canmore provides plenty of unique experiences for visitors to enjoy. 

There are also numerous festivals and events taking place throughout the year that highlight local arts and culture. From food fests, street performances to concerts in the park, there is always something fun happening in Canmore!

Read: Things to do in Canmore in Winter

5. Banff National Park Stops

If you wish to extend your road trip, Banff is perfect to spend 2-3 days. Located in the stunning Canadian Rockies, Banff is a national park that’s filled with breathtaking views and unique outdoor adventures. Read our 3 days in Banff itinerary

For those looking to get an even better view of the majestic Rockies, a ride on the Banff Sightseeing Gondola is a must.

Banff Downtown
Banff Downtown

Next, enjoy a stop at the picturesque Banff Avenue. Here you can enjoy local shops and restaurants, as well as plenty of historical sites such as the famous Cave and Basin Heritage Site. 

After exploring the shops and attractions, end your road trip with a soak in one of Banff’s hot springs. 

Other Banff attractions 

A popular road trip stop is Lake Minnewanka, a beautiful lake situated near the town of Banff. Here you can take in gorgeous views of the surrounding mountain peaks while enjoying a variety of recreational activities such as fishing, canoeing, and kayaking.

Minnewanka Lake
Minnewanka Lake One of the most beautiful lakes in Canada

Another great spot for a road trip is Two Jack Lake. This lake is located just outside of Banff town and welcomes you to breathtaking views of nearby mountains and wildlife sightings such as deer and elk. 

For those wanting to experience more of the natural beauty of Banff, Vermillion Lakes are an excellent destination. And it is located very close to Banff Avenue. 

Banff Avenue

These three lakes offer stunning views and are home to several species of birds and other wildlife. 

You can also take advantage of the nearby trails which offer an opportunity to explore the area on foot. Read our guide to the best hikes in Banff National Park

Where to stay in Banff: 

Banff National Park has a variety of accommodation options for visitors looking to explore the area. Here are three great places to stay while visiting: 

The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel:

Located in the heart of Banff, this luxury hotel offers upscale accommodations with breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. You can enjoy amenities such as an indoor pool and spa, and delicious restaurants. 

Check prices and book your stay at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel by clicking here

Rimrock Resort Hotel:

Located just outside of Banff, this hotel offers comfortable rooms with balconies that overlook the stunning mountain scenery. Enjoy a variety of dining options onsite and easy access to nearby trails and attractions. 

Check prices and book your stay at the Rimrock Resort Hotel by clicking here

Elk + Avenue Hotel:

This 3 star hotel is located in the heart of Banff National Park and provides guests with comfortable rooms, and stunning views of the surrounding mountains. You can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities and attractions in downtown Banff (by walking). 

Check prices and book your stay at the Elk + Avenue Hotel by clicking here

No matter your interests, Banff National Park has something for everyone. With its stunning mountain scenery and unique outdoor activities, it’s the perfect destination for a Canadian road trip!

6. Johnston Canyon

Johnston Canyon is one of the most spectacular natural attractions in Banff National Park and a must-visit destination for anyone exploring the area. 

The canyon areas provide visitors with stunning views of cascading waterfalls, deep canyons, and towering cliffs.

Johnston Canyon in winter girl hiking

The best way to experience Johnston Canyon is via the trail that winds through it. 

You can choose from a variety of hikes, ranging from easy strolls along the canyon floor to more challenging ascents up nearby mountains and cliffs. To reach the Upper Falls, you will have to hike for 2-3 hours, and you will be rewarded with amazing views! 

Johnston Canyon in winter

Along the way, you will encounter numerous waterfalls and spectacular rock formations that make for great photo opportunities.

The canyon is accessible in the winter for ice walks as well!

Read: Guide to Johnston Canyon winter hiking

7. Lake Moraine

Wake up early morning to visit Moraine Lake, a stunning alpine lake that attracts thousands of visitors every year. With its crystal-clear waters and picturesque mountain peaks, it’s one of the most breathtaking sights in Canada. 

Moraine Lake Banff National Park
Moraine Lake Banff National Park

You can explore the lake via an easy walking trail or take in the views while canoeing. 

Visitors can rent a canoe and explore the lake’s tranquil waters while taking in stunning views of nearby mountains and glaciers. This is also an excellent spot for wildlife watching, with sightings of moose, elk, bears, and many other species being common occurrences.

8. Lake Louise

Located in the heart of Banff National Park, Lake Louise is one of Canada’s most iconic destinations. 

With its stunning turquoise waters and snow-capped peaks, it serves as a timeless reminder of the beauty that nature has to offer. 

Every year, visitors flock to Lake Louise from around the world to take in its breathtaking views and experience activities like hiking, canoeing, and wildlife viewing.

One of the main attractions at Lake Louise is the famous lakeshore trail. Stretching for several miles around the lake, it’s a great way to explore the area on foot. 

Lake Louise views
Summers at Lake Lousie

During the summer months, hikers can enjoy stunning views of turquoise waters reflecting against snow-capped mountains as well as a leisurely paddle boat ride. 

In the winter, the lake freezes over allowing visitors to explore the area on cross-country skis or snowshoes. 

Or take a tour of the lake via horse-drawn carriage! 

The nearby town of Lake Louise also provides plenty of entertainment for those looking to take a break from outdoor activities. 

Note: From Lake Louise, you can also head to Jasper National Park via the scenic Icefields Parkway and further extend your trip. Here is a complete Lake Louise Banff to Jasper National Parks drive

9. Field

Field is a small service town located in the Canadian Rockies in the province of British Columbia. This charming mountain community is the perfect spot for a rest stop on a road trip, or even for those looking to explore natural beauty and outdoor adventure. 

Town of Field

You will find restaurants and a cute post office to check out in this little town!

The nearby Yoho National Park offers plenty of opportunities for visitors to experience nature’s beauty up close.

Heading to Yoho National Park from Alberta
Heading to Yoho National Park from Alberta

10. Yoho National Park BC

Make a stop at the Yoho National Park in BC. From majestic mountain peaks to cascading waterfalls and picturesque glacial lakes, Yoho provides an unforgettable experience and opportunities for activities such as kayaking, fishing, and camping. 

Viewing areas - Natural Bridge
Viewing areas – Natural Bridge

One of the park’s most popular attractions is the Natural Bridge – a unique geological formation located near Field. Here you can take in spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and admire the carved limestone archway that spans nearly 30 meters across Kicking Horse River. 

Emerald Lake Yoho National Park
Emerald Lake Yoho National Park

The Emerald Lake area is also a must-see for those visiting Yoho National Park. This stunning lake is nestled among towering peaks and provides plenty of opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, or even just relaxing by the lake’s edge.

The Spiral Tunnels are another unique feature of Yoho National Park and a must-see for those looking to experience the full beauty of this area. The two tunnels were dug through the surrounding mountains in order to create an efficient route for trains traveling between Lake Louise and Field, British Columbia. 

You can take in stunning views of the surrounding peaks while listening to the roar of locomotives as they pass through the tunnels. 

Takakkaw Falls waterfall and footbridge in Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada
Takakkaw Falls waterfall and footbridge in Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada

No visit to Yoho National Park would be complete without a stop at Takakkaw Falls. This spectacular waterfall plunges over 373 meters down into a valley, creating one of Canada’s most stunning natural attractions.

Yoho National Park is also home to some of the best hiking trails in the Canadian Rockies, so make sure to pack your hiking boots! 

11. Golden BC

Up next is Golden – your final destination! 

One of the top attractions in Golden is the SkyBridge area. You have to spend 4 to 7 hours to completely enjoy this place – packed with suspension bridges and loads of adventure activities like zip lining, mountain coasters, and rock climbing! 

Golden Skybridge
Golden Skybridge

Also located in Golden is the Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. Located just outside of town, this ski resort offers some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the Canadian Rockies and features close to 4,000 acres of terrain. 

View of a ski resort, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, Golden, British Columbia, Canada
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, Golden, British Columbia

During the summer months, you can enjoy activities such as mountain biking, hiking trails, and whitewater rafting. 

The town of Golden also offers a variety of cultural attractions for visitors to explore. From art galleries to museums, there are plenty of opportunities to learn about the area’s history and culture. 

There are also cute cafes and a pedestrian bridge, waiting for you to discover! 

Where to stay in Golden British Columbia

Golden, British Columbia is an ideal destination for those looking to experience the rugged beauty of the Canadian Rockies. You will find plenty of accommodations in and around town, from cozy bed and breakfasts to modern hotels here

Golden Prestige Inn

Prestige Inn Golden:

The first option is the Prestige Inn Golden. Located close to downtown Golden, this hotel offers a range of comfortable rooms with mountain views. 

Check prices and book your stay at the Prestige Inn Golden by clicking here

Best Western Mountainview Inn:

Best Western Mountainview Inn offers newly renovated rooms with kitchenettes and private balconies! 

They offer free parking and breakfast for a great price! The inn is also pet friendly! 

Check prices and book your stay at the Best Western Mountainview Inn by clicking here

Holiday Inn Express Golden-Kicking Horse:

Situated in the heart of Golden, this mountain hotel provides guests with stunning views and a variety of recreational activities. Guests can also enjoy free breakfast, parking, and a gym. 

Check prices and book your stay at the Holiday Inn Express Golden-Kicking Horse by clicking here

No matter which accommodation you choose, Golden is sure to provide you with a memorable stay filled with adventure and relaxation. 

We hope you found this post useful in planning your next getaway to Golden BC! Whether you’re looking for an adventure-packed mountain getaway or just a peaceful drive through pristine landscapes, a road trip from Calgary to Golden will not disappoint. 

So grab your camera and get ready for an unforgettable journey through the Canadian Rockies!

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Calgary to Golden BC road trip
Calgary to Golden BC road trip

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