Each of these scenic drives in Canada is a call to adventure, especially for those who love hitting the open roads for spectacular views. They can be uplifting journeys that take you through some of Canada’s most picturesque places, from the snow-capped Canadian Rockies to seaside villages and clifftops overlooking the vast oceanscapes of the Atlantic.

    In between, you’re treated to various picture-postcard views, ranging from great lakes and fjords to glacial parks and even wildlife sightings. Along winding pine-forested alpine roads, you’ll be tempted to engage in ‘drive-by shooting’ with your camera, but it’s so much easier to pull over and take a pause – and perhaps a selfie. Get behind the wheel and discover the country’s best with Canada’s most scenic drives, below.

    1

    Okanagan Valley

    Beautiful lakeside vistas with lush vineyards and dairy farms en route

    Driving through Okanagan Valley, you’ll be traversing a scenic countryside that’s also known for its vineyards and hot springs. From Kelowna, day-tripping possibilities abound, and if you simply want a taste, you could even enjoy a truly scenic open-road journey that lasts just 2 hours.

    One route leads you to Osoyoos, the only desert in Canada, where you could also drop by a winery for a quick tour or tasting session. Further afield, a drive to Armstrong treats you to lush dairy farms and the brilliant blue waters of Kalamalka Lake. Rev steadily and roll your windows down as you follow the long shores of namesake Okanagan Lake, with glimpses of the painting-like mountain-lake vistas through the towering pines.

    Location: Kootenay Boundary E, BC V0H 1A0, Canada

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    2

    Icefields Parkway

    Stunning peaks and glaciers through your windscreen

    Icefields Parkway on Alberta Highway 93 is a scenic 230-km mountain path through the Canadian Rockies, complemented by majestic snow-capped peaks, glaciers, and stunning lake views. Most visitors hit the open road from Banff, past Lake Louise, and northwards to Jasper National Park.

    Along the way, around every bend, your vision widens to the splendid panoramas of Bow Lake and Peyto Lake with their deep emerald hues, the icy expanse of Columbia Icefields’ ancient glaciers, as well as the thundering falls of Sunwapta and Athabasca. These are among the many stops along the scenic drive where you can simply park, get out of your car and pause to admire the magnificence of nature.

    Location: Icefields Pkwy, Alberta, Canada

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    3

    Trans-Canada Highway

    Take in Canada’s picture-postcard beauty from coast to coast

    The Trans-Canada Highway spans over 7,800 km, connecting the Pacific and the Atlantic coasts and crossing all 10 Canadian provinces. The single long transcontinental drive covers much of the country’s natural beauty, offering many ways to take it all in.

    The highway’s route connects Banff and Lake Louise, following the Bow River until you eventually cruise at the feet of majestic peaks like Castle Mountain and Mount Temple. The stretch between Revelstoke and Golden in British Columbia takes you through Glacier National Park for stunning alpine views. The highway crosses 4 islands and traverses national parks, valleys, meadows, glaciers, emerald forests, ranches, and lakes.

    Location: Trans-Canada Hwy, Canada

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    4

    Cabot Trail

    Find rugged seascapes and quaint fishing villages

    The Cabot Trail is one of the most scenic drives in Canada, where the verdant countryside of rolling green hills opens to spectacular seascapes of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. There are many points where you can start and end your road trip here, but the most common is the town of Baddeck in Victoria County.

    Though the famous road trip would take only a few hours, many prefer spreading out their journey over a few days to allow for further exploration of the picturesque bays as well as the charming towns along the trail. You’ll also pass through the Cape Breton Highlands National Park with its deep forested canyons. From a clifftop, consider yourself lucky if you can spot whales breaching the waves of the Atlantic.

    Location: Cabot Trail Rd, Nova Scotia, Canada

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    5

    Sea to Sky Highway

    Drive on to where the sea meets the sky

    Sea to Sky Highway along Highway 99 is a 150-km-long scenic road trip between Horseshoe Bay in Vancouver and Whistler. As its name suggests, it’s a stunning, picturesque drive on which you could easily visualise yourself starring in a quintessential car poster or TV commercial. It’s pine-lined for most of its length and winds below forested mountains with either the sea, a fjord, or waterfalls on one side.

    The whole route takes around 2 hours to complete, with the many scenic and cultural stops along the way slowing you down a bit, though they are well worth your time. Drop by the Britannia Mines Museum to catch up on some local history or ride the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish to further appreciate the magnificent natural beauty of Howe Sound from up high.

    Location: Sea-to-Sky Hwy, British Columbia, Canada

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    Ari Gunadi | Compulsive Traveller

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