How to get around the Canadian Rockies

Covering almost 200,000 square kilometres across Alberta and British Columbia, the best way to get around the Canadian Rockies is with a car. Whether you're on a budget or have limited time, here's everything you need to know about getting around the Rockies. 


Due to the sheer size of the Rockies region, driving is the easiest way to get around. A public bus is available between some destinations like Calgary Airport, Banff, Jasper and Lake Louise, but it's not super frequent and you'll be limited in where you can go without a vehicle.

Calgary and Edmonton are the main airports in the Rockies. You can hire a car from several car rental companies (including National Car Rental, Enterprise-Rent-A-Car, and Thrifty) on arrival – although you may score a cheaper deal if you book a few months in advance.

Driving in the Rockies is fairly straightforward as the roads are well maintained – not to mention the views! The Icefields Parkway is an iconic scenic drive between Banff and Jasper National Parks. You'll be completely glued to your window as you cruise past impressive conifer and broadleaf trees, turquoise lakes and snow-capped mountains. 

Public transport

Public transport in the Rockies is limited, but it does exist. It may suit you if you're on a budget and don't mind sticking to the tourist hotspots, but otherwise, you're best off hiring a car.

Some of the shuttle services mentioned below may also run in the summer months only.

Banff National Park

To get to Banff without a car, you can jump on a shuttle bus with Airport Shuttle Express, Brewster Express or Banff Airporter.

Once in Banff, Roam Public Transit operates local routes to the main attractions including Lake Minnewanka, Sulphur Mountain and Tunnel Mountain. They also have several regional services to Lake Louise, Johnston Canyon and Moraine Lake. You can buy tickets on the bus or on the Token Transit app.

Jasper National Park

Sundog runs a bus service to Jasper from Calgary Airport via Banff, and from Edmonton via Highway 16. It's also possible to take a train from Edmonton to Jasper.

Jasper doesn't have a public transport network like Banff does, but there are local shuttles and taxis to attractions that are a bit further away, such as Maligne Lake. Several hiking trails also start close to the town.

Kootenay and Yoho national parks

At the moment, there's no public transport to or around these parks, so you'll need a vehicle to explore.

Walking and cycling

Walking or cycling is a great way to soak up the beauty of the Rockies. From your base in any one of the national parks, there are plenty of walking and hiking trails to explore, including the breathtaking Plain of the Six Glaciers Trail in Banff National Park and Floe Lake Trail in Kootenay National Park. 

The town of Jasper is also quite small (as are some of the other towns in the Canadian Rockies) and many trailheads start in or close to the town.

There are plenty of cycling shops where you can hire a bike if you don't bring one with you.

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Join a Canadian Rockies tour

Not keen on the thought of driving through the Rockies? Join one of our small group tours. We’ll immerse you in the region's incredible scenery and give you an unforgettable Canadian experience.

Read more about the Canadian Rockies