As the ideal gateway to the Canadian Rockies, Calgary is where it's at if you are looking for the perfect mix of urban culture and big nature. All you need is the desire to road trip, a little planning and a great play list. Hit all of the attractions in Calgary and then hit the road and head west towards the beautiful Canadian Rockies and the Icefields Parkway.
Here's a great article from Canadian Affair highlighting day trips from Calgary; however, we think that taking your time on the Icefields Parkway (2.5-5 hrs) from Calgary is worth overnighting in Lake Louise or Jasper.
Canadian Affair website article - "If you fancy making the most of your time in Calgary to see some of the impressive scenery of the neighbouring Rockies, then The Icefields Parkway is another great day trip option. Following this highway, you can journey through Banff National Park and Jasper National Park.
Many regard the drive as the most beautiful on the planet and it’s hard to argue as you cut through the heart of the Rockies and travel from Lake Louise to Jasper, passing innumerable lakes, waterfalls and glaciers along the way. The Icefields Parkway is a 230-mile drive in total so you may want to spend a few days doing the drive after your flight to Canada. Some of the incredible views you can see during your drive on the Icefields Parkway include Peyto Lake, Crowfoot Glacier, Bow Lake and the world-famous Athabasca Glacier."
Other mentions in the article include Head-Smashed-In-Buffalo-Jump and the Canadian Badlands, Drumheller area. We agree!
Come find your own impressive scenery with a tour of the Icefields Parkway in any season.