The Ultimate Canadian Road Trip Guide

Winnipeg to Banff: The Ultimate Canadian Road Trip Guide

I’ve been lucky enough to go on a journey from my hometown, Winnipeg, to an amazing place called Banff many times. Each trip has left a strong memory, making this road trip a top favorite of mine.

I remember the thrill as I packed, filled the car, and hit the road. The joy of new sights, paths not yet taken, and memories to be made kept me excited.

But it’s not just getting there that’s fun; it’s the journey too — the laughs with my friends or family, the quick stops at spots by the road, and the sense of freedom while out in the big open.

So, if you’re up for an adventure you’ll never forget, join me on the best Canadian road trip from Winnipeg to Banff.

Let’s go!

About the Route From Winnipeg to Banff 

About the Route From Winnipeg to Banff
Route Distance Driving Time
The Regina Route  1,660 km  17 hours and 15 minutes 
The Saskatoon Route  1,570 km  16 hours and 45 minutes 

When it comes to driving from Winnipeg to Banff, you’ve got a couple of awesome routes to choose from. 

The quickest option takes you through Saskatoon and covers a distance of 1,570 km, with a driving time of approximately 16 hours and 45 minutes without any stops.

But if you’re up for a slightly longer adventure, you could take the scenic route through Regina. It’s about 1,660 km and takes at least 17 hours and 15 minutes to complete.

Now, if you prefer a more urban experience, there’s also the option to take a detour via the Saskatoon Route. Sure, it adds a couple of extra 2 hours to your drive, but think about all the neat places you could explore, like Edmonton and Red Deer!

Here’s a little tip: with all those breathtaking views and cool towns you’ll encounter along the way, it’s recommended to allocate at least four to six days for this road trip. 

Overnight stops not only enhance your experience but also ensure you’re well-rested for the next day’s drive.

Best Time to Travel From Winnipeg to Banff 

The best time to do a road trip from Winnipeg to Banff is during the summer (June to August) for warm weather and outdoor activities. Avoid winter (December to February) due to cold weather and road closures. 

Best Places to Stop on a Drive From Winnipeg to Banff 

Riding Mountain National Park 

— Media credit: kittycatuk

Address 135 Wasagaming Dr, Onanole, MB R0J 1N0, Canada
Phone 204 848 7275
Operating hoursOpen 24 hours

Riding Mountain National Park is an absolute gem for nature lovers! Spread across more than 2,900 square kilometers, it offers everything from rolling grasslands to dense forests. 

And guess what? There’s never a dull moment here! 

With over 400 kilometers of trails, you can hike, bike, paddle, or even saddle up for a horseback adventure. When winter rolls around, you can swap your hiking boots for skis or snowshoes and glide across the frozen lakes or take a spin on the ice skates.

But that’s not all — this park is home to an incredible array of wildlife too. Just imagine spotting moose, elk, wolves, bears, and even bison in their natural habitat.

Casino Moose Jaw

Address 21 Fairford St E, Moose Jaw, SK S6H 0C8, Canada
Phone 306 694 3888
Operating hoursMonday to Sunday: 9 - 4 am

Casino Moose Jaw is one of the coolest spots in downtown Moose Jaw. It’s a renowned gaming and entertainment venue with over 200 slot machines and all your favorite table games — it’s a surefire way to inject some fun into your journey! 

As per the ambiance, the place is filled with 20 beautiful murals and decorations inspired by The Roaring Twenties. 

Bomber Command Museum of Canada

Address 1659 - 21st Ave, AB-2, Nanton, AB T0L 1R0, Canada
Phone 403 646 2270
Operating hours10 - 4 pm

If you’re a history buff, you absolutely can’t miss the Bomber Command Museum of Canada in Nanton. With three WWII bombers, a bunch of training aircraft, cool aviation art, and tons of engaging videos and archives, there’s so much to see and explore. 

And get this: they’ve got these amazing films and library materials you can check out on their website, so the learning doesn’t stop when you leave. Plus, when you need a breather, they’ve got picnic tables in the park nearby.

Heritage Park

Address 1900 Heritage Dr SW, Calgary, AB T2V 2X3, Canada
Phone 403 268 8500

Heritage Park is an open-air museum that takes you on an interesting journey through Western Canada’s history from the 1860s to the 1950s. Imagine yourself strolling through meticulously reconstructed buildings, each one a time capsule of bygone eras. 

But it’s not just about the buildings; you’ll witness live demonstrations and exhibits featuring classic cars, horse-drawn carts, and other relics of the past. 

And for the kids (or the kid in you), there’s no shortage of excitement, with steam engine rides and paddlewheel tours to enjoy.

Where to Eat During the Winnipeg to Banff Road Trip 

1. Elk & Oarsman Restaurant & Bar

Address 119 Banff Ave, Banff, AB T1L 1B6, Canada
Phone 403 762 4616
Operating hours
  • Monday to Thursday: 11:30 - 11 pm
  • Friday: 11:30 - 12 am
  • Saturday: 9:30 - 12 am
  • Sunday: 9:30 - 11 pm
  • Must order menu items
  • The MVB
  • Butter Chicken Poutine
  • Baby Back Ribs
  • Price range$$ - average

    I love the atmosphere at Elk & Oarsman Restaurant & Bar in Banff; they’ve got this killer rooftop deck that gives you a 60° view of the breathtaking Rocky Mountain scenery. It’s the kind of place that’ll give you the relaxation you need after a long, long drive. 

    Now, when it comes to food, their claim to fame is called The MVB. It’s like they took all the best burger elements and threw a party in your mouth!

    We’re talking about a juicy 6 oz. beef patty, crispy bacon, gooey cheddar, sautéed mushrooms, lettuce, tomato, caramelized onions, pickles for a tangy kick, and their secret house burger sauce that ties it all together. 

    It’s the kind of burger that dreams are made of.

    2. St James’s Gate Irish Pub

    Address 07 Wolf St, Banff, AB T1L 1C2, Canada
    Phone 403 762 9355
    Operating hours
  • Sunday to Wednesday: 11:30 - 11 pm
  • Thursday to Saturday: 11:30 - 1 am
  • Must order menu items
  • Irish Nachos
  • Steak & Guinness Pie
  • Fish & Chips
  • Price range$$ - average

    St. James’s Gate Irish Pub is one of the go-to restaurants if you’re looking for a quick, tasty bite. Their Irish Nachos have been rumored to be the talk of the town. 

    Instead of the usual tortilla chips, they’ve got these lattice-cut potato fries that are crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.

    Then, it’s piled high with creamy cheese, savory bacon, juicy tomatoes, crunchy red onion, fragrant basil, and a dollop of tangy sour cream.

    No wonder it’s the best-selling dish here. I mean, who can resist the temptation of Irish comfort food with a twist? 

    Where to Stay During the Winnipeg to Banff Road Trip 

    1. Super 8 by Wyndham Moose Jaw SK

    Address 1706 Main St N, Moose Jaw, SK S6J 1L4, Canada
    Phone 306 692 8888
    Operating hours
  • Check-in time: 3 pm
  • Check-out time: 11 am
  • The Super 8 by Wyndham Moose Jaw SK isn’t your fancy, overpriced hotel, but it hits all the right notes for a budget-friendly stay.

    They’ve got everything you need: a free breakfast to start your day right (think waffles, muffins, bacon, and eggs) and free Wi-Fi to keep you connected, because, let’s be honest, road trips get lonely without Instagram!

    But here’s the best part: This hotel has the best location. You’re right near the Western Development Museum, a bunch of golf courses, and even the Moose Jaw Casino for a night of trying your luck.

    2. Delta Hotels by Marriott Regina

    Address 1919 Saskatchewan Dr, Regina, SK S4P 4H2, Canada
    Phone 306 525 5255
    Operating hours
  • Check-in time: 3 pm
  • Check-out time: 11 am
  • If you’re looking for a place to stay in Regina, the Delta Hotels by Marriott should be at the top of your list! 

    This place isn’t just some boring hotel room. We’re talking about comfy, newly renovated rooms that basically beg you to crash after a day of exploring. 

    Plus, there’s an indoor pool with a waterslide that’s sure to unleash your inner child.

    But it gets even better! They have a whole fitness center if you’re feeling energetic and an on-site spa for when you need to melt away the stress.