6 stunning Canada winter road trips for skiers and boarders

Jasper National Park. Photo credit: Destination Canada.

It doesn’t cost a lot to have a good time in Canada. All you need is a car with decent winter tires to navigate some of the most beautiful roads to be found anywhere in the world.

After all, it’s a big country and delivers up the epic road trips to go accordingly. You bring the snacks. We’ll bring the very best of the best for you to ponder.

Just remember to drive on the right, keep an eye out for wandering wildlife (oh deer) and be as polite and patient in inclement weather as the Canadians always are.

Sea to Sky Highway

 
 
 
 
 
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Those bound for Whistler Blackcomb are lucky enough to experience this beauty – a stretch of highway known as the Sea to Sky and leading to the mountains from Vancouver that only takes about two hours to drive.

The road hugs the coastline to show off turquoise waters, tranquil forests, stunning waterfalls and some glorious attractions along the way, such as the Sea to Sky Gondola (well worth the trip on a clear day) and Shannon Falls.

If you’re hoping to learn more about the First Nations history of the area – and you should – there are also seven kiosks in the shape of cedar-bark hats positioned along the route, where you can read stories about the area’s very first residents.

The Fjord Route in Quebec

 
 
 
 
 
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Why go all the way to Europe when you can find fjords in Canada?

This roadie can take one to two days to travel 235km from Baie-Sainte-Catherine. It takes you around the jaw-dropping Saguenay Fjord, one of the longest in the world at 105km long. It’s also surrounded by epic cliffs up to 300m in height, so that really makes for a good photo opportunity.

With cute, quirky, old-school villages lining the fjord, you might like to stop off and explore the activities on offer throughout, such as Musée de la Nature and the Musée du Fjord; or pick up an audio-guide to learn more about the towns and attractions along the drive.

The Icefields Parkway

 
 
 
 
 
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Sometimes Canada is just a big show-off, and the Icefields Parkway is the perfect example of this. Try one route with over 100 ancient glaciers to see along the way, along with frozen waterfalls, beautiful lakes and some of the country’s favourite destinations.

Spanning 235km of road, start at Lake Louise and head up to spots such as the massive Crowfoot Glacier and the photo-famous Peyto Lake. Stop by the Columbia Icefield, where you can board an Ice Explorer to take you onto the glacier or explore the Glacier Skywalk, a glass-floored observation platform suspended 280m over the Sunwapta Valley.

Then finish up in Jasper, home to more incredible mountains and endless, pure wilderness.

The Ice Roads

 
 
 
 
 
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Up for an adventure? 

The Northwest Territories are so remote that these isolated polar communities are only connected to each other via ice highways in the winter. That’s 2000km worth of ice roads carved out of terrain that has no roads in the summer.

Visit from January to early April to see the ice roads, such as the Mackenzie Valley winter road, which begins at Wrigley and connects to five communities – the furthest of which is an impressive 651km away. Or try the easily accessible Yellowknife to Dettah ice road, which is only 6km long.

Some of these roads only get an average of about 50 cars per day – so you know you can claim bragging rights for a true off-the-beaten-track experience.

The King’s Road from Quebec to Montreal

 
 
 
 
 
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A road fit for a king, or a queen, or a princess, or whatever royal title tickles your fancy the most. This 280km route links up Montreal and Quebec City, and dates all the way back to 1737, when it was decided that the two biggest cities in ‘New France’ needed to be linked up.

History buffs, pay attention. If you love beautiful churches and fancy driving the same routes that ancient ox-drawn carts used to follow, this one is right up your alley. Sample local Quebecois cuisine and check out pretty towns such as Repentigny and Trois-Rivières before landing in the cobblestone streets of either Old Quebec or Old Montreal, depending on which way you headed initially. 

The BC hot springs route

 
 
 
 
 
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Done with your skiing and boarding? Got seven days to unwind in an extremely ideal way? Why not follow the ultimate hot spring route.

Start in Cranbrook and head to Fairmont Hot Springs, followed by Radium, Golden, Nakusp, Halcyon and Ainsworth Hot Springs. Along the way you see the best kind of authentic British Columbian towns such as Kimberley and Revelstoke, plus you get to wind your way through Kootenay National Park.

From lavish resorts to secret dips in the woods, this route goes through 851km of gorgeous terrain, so allow yourself about a week to ensure you don’t miss any of the ultimate soaking along with some of the country’s best scenery.

Hoping to find more inspiration for road trips around this spectacular country? Click here for much more inspiration to get your travel planning happening.

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