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Road Trip

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AAA/Frank Swanson
738.9 miles: 14 hours, 32 minutes
Alberta's allure encompasses turquoise lakes surrounded by craggy mountains; stunning, wide-open vistas often featured in Hollywood movies; a celebrated cowboy heritage; and two of Canada's biggest cities, both with all the sophistication and modern comforts you'd expect in world-class metropolises. This route offers a bit of everything, so saddle up and enjoy.
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Calgary to Edmonton
213.3 miles: 3 hours, 54 minutes
You'll see a whole lot of Canadian prairie on the drive between Calgary and Edmonton. Sweeping expanses of grass and farmland are occasionally interrupted by ponds, trees and small towns. The sky arching overhead seems part of the landscape. Roughly at the halfway point, the town of Red Deer offers a convenient place to stop and get a bite to eat.
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flickr/Athabasca River
Edmonton to Jasper
242.8 miles: 4 hours, 25 minutes
Named for the pass it traverses through the Canadian Rockies, the Yellowhead Highway is pretty flat, straight and unspectacular west of Edmonton. That changes dramatically as you approach Jasper National Park and the once-distant line of mountains begins to dominate the horizon. As you near the town of Jasper, the road curves alongside the Athabasca River.
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Courtesy of Brewster Attractions
Jasper to Banff
195.5 miles: 4 hours, 19 minutes
Icefields Parkway offers a spectacular, scenic journey through the Canadian Rockies but one that won't give you vertigo. Meandering alongside crystalline rivers and aquamarine lakes, the parkway never soars above the landscape. Rather it's the craggy snowcapped peaks and glaciers that remain high overhead, easily admired from dozens of turnouts along the way.
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flickr/Karl Johnson
Banff to Calgary
87.3 miles: 1 hours, 51 minutes
Heading east from Banff through the Bow River Valley, you'll reach Canmore, a picturesque mountain town, which like Banff is a destination for lovers of the outdoors. Beyond Canmore, the landscape flattens out as the breathtaking Canadian Rockies recede in your rearview mirror. It's prairies and farmland until you reach cosmopolitan Calgary.