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A leisurely drive through stunning mountain scenery, historic towns and opportunities for a hot soak in natural springs. The Kootenay Escape is ideal for those wishing to get bang for their buck without travelling too far from Calgary.
872km / 542mi
Start / End
Calgary / Calgary
Alberta, British Columbia

Route - 872 km / 542 mi

Day Location Distance Duration
01 Calgary to Banff 127 km / 79 mi 1.5 hours
02 --
03 Banff to Radium Hot Springs 143 km / 89 mi 1.5 hours
04 Radiuim Hot Springs to Fairmont Hot Springs to Kimberley to Fort Steele 172 km / 107 mi Approx 2 hours
05 Fort Steele to Fernie 100 km / 62 mi Approx 1.5 hours
06 --
07 Fernie to Fort Macleod 174 km / 108 mi Approx 2.5 hours
08 Fort Macleod to Calgary 174 km / 108 mi Approx 2.5 hours

Trip Details

The main campground is at Tunnel Mountain where free shuttles are available to take you into the township.

Spend the rest of today and tomorrow exploring Banff and Surrounds. There is no RV parking in downtown Banff.  The Roam buses are a stress-free way to get around and can take you as far as Lake Minnewanka, Moraine Lake, Lake Louise and Johnson Canyon.  Check out the Roam Transit website for more information. If you are planning to travel to Moraine Lake or Lake Louise, advance bookings are essential during peak travel season. The Moraine Lake Road may be closed to private vehicles so you need to look at other options for visiting there including biking and organized tours.

Downtown Banff is very walkable. The Banff Gondola and Banff Hot Springs are popular spots as are the Banff Springs Hotel and Bow Falls. 

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Hikers should make time to stop as they travel south on Highway 93 to take in some of the 200km of trails sprouting off from the highway. 

Stop at Marble Canyon where a short self-guided nature trail crosses a narrow gorge eroded by the waters of Tokumm Creek. A connector trail from Marble Canyon leads 3.2 km to a cold mineral spring known as the Paint Pots. At the Paint Pots, the iron in the water has seeped into the region’s clay, giving it a vivid orange colour. Continue on to Radium Hot Springs (more informally known as Radium) and named for the hot springs in nearby Kootenay National Park. Take time to dip in the hot springs today or just spend time exploring the area. Radium boasts a number of campgrounds welcoming RVers including the Parks Canada Redstreak Campground. Advance reservations are strongly advised, especially during peak camping season.

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Another short drive today giving you plenty of time to explore en route.  Small towns with UK influenced names like Windermere and Invermere are reached by roads sprouting from Highway 93 and are worth a stop.

From Invermere a road leads to Panorama Mountain Resort, a popular winter ski resort, also alive in summer with activities such as ATV tours, scenic flights, trail riding, white water rafting and excellent mountain biking opportunities.  Relax on one of Windermere Lake’s many beaches. Stop in Fairmont Hot Springs - a prime destination for hot springs, golf, and skiing in winter.  Continue on to the mountain town of Kimberley where rich history combines with endless opportunities for adventure. Head underground to discover Kimberley’s humble mining history. Spring through summer offer hiking, rafting, golfing and awesome mountain biking. Stroll through the Platzl, home to the Canada’s largest free-standing cuckoo clock. Continue on to Fort Steele for your overnight stay.

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Take time to visit Fort Steele Heritage town today before heading to your next stop in Fernie, BC. This town of fewer than 10,000 people really comes alive in the winter when skiers and snowboarders alike flock to Fernie Alpine Resort. Spring through Summer are still busy as mountain biking, boating, fishing, golfing, hiking, rafting and more draw tourists to the city.

Stroll the sidewalks in downtown Fernie and admire the early 1900s rose and gold brick buildings.  Pop in to some unique shops or stop for coffee in a local cafe.  Scenic summer chairlift rides are available on the mountain at Fernie Alphine resort and those who fancy a bit of hiking might enjoy the Ancient Cottonwood Trail or a more sedate walking tour.  There's definitely something for everyone in Fernie so plan to spend a couple of nights here to give you enough time to explore.

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Today’s drive takes you over the Crowsnest Pass, the richest archaeological zone in the Canadian Rockies. Sites and relics in this area date back to 1000BC, the oldest relics being stone tools found outside Frank, Alberta. The Pass takes its name from a nearby mountain, possibly referring to the nesting of crows or ravens at the base of the mountain’s peak. Stop in Sparwood – that town with the big green truck. This 1974 Terex Titan is so big that two greyhound buses and 2 pickups can fit into the box. The area has a long history in mining and mine tours are available here in July and August. Take a stroll around the town to admire several murals depicting the town’s railway and mining history before continuing on through Bellevue (another opportunity for a mine tour) to Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump. This UNESCO World Heritage Site preserves and interprets over 6,000 years of Plains Buffalo culture. Plan to spend time here to view the exhibits and learn about the cultural significance of the Buffalo Jump. End your day in Fort Macleod, founded in 1874 by the establishment of a North-West Mounted Police in the town. A re-creation of the Fort now sits approx. three kilometers from its original site and visitors are welcome to experience the NWMP Musical Ride or to participate in their programs. The town itself is often used as a small town set in many box-office movies.

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From Fort Macleod, Highway 2 travels through small prairie towns back to Calgary.  Stop in Nanton where you’ll be surprised at the number of things to do and see in a town of fewer than 3000 people. Standing proud on the landscape are two preserved grain elevators, a nod to the farming history of the area.  Nanton is home to many antique stores and also to the Bomber Command Museum of Canada celebrating the rich aviation history of Alberta and Canada.  Check out the Nanton Candy Store where your sweet tooth will have you making decisions about what to buy.  Continue on back to Calgary for your final overnight stay before dropping off your RV on Day 9.

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Other Itineraries in Alberta and Yukon

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