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15 BEST Stops on the Drive from Jasper to Banff – 2022 Road Trip!

15 BEST Stops on the Drive from Jasper to Banff – 2022 Road Trip!

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Driving from Jasper to Banff is one of the best road trips you can do in Canada. But to be sure you enjoy it, you need to know the best places to check out along the way! This blog will help you plan your epic road trip with the best stops and important info for driving from Jasper to Banff (to Banff to Jasper.)

Anybody who’s been to both Jasper and Banff will know that these two towns are stunning. Seriously, they’re a couple of the most beautiful places in Canada. And the truth is, the road that connects the two is equally as impressive.  

Driving from Jasper to Banff (or Banff to JUasper) is a must-do road trip in Canada. Not only is the drive extremely scenic, but it is also full of attractions and fun places to stop along the way.

So, why not make a day (or week) of it and enjoy one of the best road trips in the world?!

Well, in this blog I’m going to tell you exactly how to do that with the best places to stop on the drive from Jasper to Banff! I’ve also included important tips and info to know before you set off.

Note: The below itinerary can also be used in reverse if you’re driving from Banff to Jasper. 

About the Drive from Jasper to Banff (or Banff to Jasper) 

view on the road from Jasper to Banff
The beautiful road from Jasper to Banff!

What is the road that connects Jasper with Banff?

To get from Jasper to Banff you will drive a scenic road through Jasper National Park and straight into Banff National Park. Start off by driving on the Icefields Parkways (Highway 93) heading south from Jasper.  

This road winds its way through valleys, next to waterfalls, and through some of the most beautiful places in all of Canada. 

Highway 93 turns into Highway 1 at the overpass with Lake Louise. Continue on Highway 1 until you reach Banff. To be honest, driving from Jasper to Banff is pretty straightforward, and with the help of Google maps, you won’t get lost!

How long does it take to drive from Jasper to Banff?

Without stopping, it’ll take about 3.5 hours to drive from Jasper to Banff, or in reverse, from Banff to Jasper. It is 288 km/179 miles long.

With that said, you’re definitely going to want to stop along the way and check out some of the beautiful attractions. There are plenty of stunning hikes, roadside viewpoints, and waterfalls that you surely won’t want to miss. Just imagine, bright blue lakes surrounded by towering mountain peaks – they don’t call this stretch of road one of the most beautiful drives in the world for no reason!

Keep reading to find out the best stops on the drive from Jasper to Banff!

You’ll Need a Parks Canada Pass

photo of a green Parks Canada Pass as well as receipt of purchase
The green pass is to hang on your vehicle mirror, the receipt you should keep as proof of purchase.

Since the road from Jasper to Banff travels entirely through national parks, you’re going to need a national parks pass (Parks Canada Pass.) This pass can be bought online in advance or at the parks’ entrance gates. You can choose between daily rates ($10 CAD per adult per day or $10 per vehicle) or opt for a yearly pass for about $140 per vehicle.

There is no way around this pass, and if at any point you are caught without one in either Jasper National Park or Banff National Park you will end up with a hefty fine. 

Most of the time, you can drive through national parks in Canada without a pass if you don’t stop. This is not the case with the road between Jasper and Banff. There are actually booths at each end of the road and you’re required to have a pass even if you don’t plan on stopping.

Parks Canada Pass Quick Info

If you plan on spending time in Canada’s national parks then you’re going to have to pay for a Parks Pass.

Single Daily Admission:

This type of pass is valid for one person for one day. It is ONLY the best value if you are traveling alone and only plan to visit a national park for one day.

  • Adult (ages 18-64) is $11.04 CAD
  • Senior (65+) is $9.41 CAD
  • Youth/Child (17 or younger) is FREE

Group Daily Admission:

If you’re traveling in a group or with family, you can buy a single-day admission for your entire vehicle (up to 7 people in one vehicle.)

  • $21.36 CAD gets your entire vehicle entry for one full day

Parks Canada Discovery Pass

The “Discovery Pass” is what Parks Canada calls their year-long (365 days from the purchase date), multi-park entry pass. This pass will give 365 days of access to all participating national parks in Canada. This includes the most popular parks like Banff, Jasper, Yoho, Kootenay, Glacier, Mount Revelstoke and so much more.

  • Adult (age 18-64) – $93.81 CAD
  • Senior (64+) – $80.18 CAD
  • Group/Family (up to 7 people in one vehicle) – $188.59 CAD

Hot Tip: Although more expensive up front, if you plan on spending more than 7 days in different parks in Canada within a 12-month period, then the Discovery Pass is actually the better deal!

Parks Canada Passes can be bought online here or at one of the Visitor Centers of booths at the entrance to many national parks.

Road Conditions & Safety between Jasper and Banff

The road between Jasper and Banff is Highway 93. It is paved the entire way and well-maintained. With that said, it is a single lane in either direction going almost the entire way, so you may find yourself stuck behind a slow-moving vehicle without any opportunity to pass – be patient!

The road from Jasper to Banff is also very curvy with slight uphill and downhill sections. There are plenty of blind corners and pull-pff bays, so you’ll need to drive with caution at all times.

Be sure to keep an eye out for wildlife too – there are lots around and sometimes they come onto the road out of nowhere.

Driving from Jasper to Banff in the Winter

The road between Jasper and Banff is open in winter (except for the odd occasion where weather conditions force a closure, but this is rare and typically only happens only a couple of days all winter long.)

To drive this route in winter you must have winter tires. You should also go slow and gave some winter driving experience. Having a 4wd will also come in handy from time to time.

Jasper to Banff Road Trip FAQs

Bailey stands on a rock overlooking Lake Louise on our trip to Banff, Canada
Don’t forget to stop at Lake Louise with driving the road from Jasper to Banff!

Jasper to Banff Trip Itinerary: The 15 BEST Stops

The above map shows all of the best places to see along on the drive from Jasper to Banff. Below, I’ve included detailed info about each stop to help you plan your road trip!

1. Jasper Town 

Admiring the views of the mountains while on our Maligne Lake cruise tour in Jasper
Going on a lake cruise on Maligne Lake is a great activity in Jasper before you hit the road and head to Banff.

This epic road trip starts in Jasper town, one of my personal favorite places in Canada. This quaint town, although a tourist destination, somehow still keeps its “small-town vibe” and is very peaceful. There are a ton of fun things to do in Jasper, so many that you could easily spend a few days here exploring and adventuring.  

While you’re in Jasper, some highlights you should consider checking out include: 

Maligne Canyon – This beautiful canyon is a must-visit destination in Jasper National Park. Just a 15-minute drive from town will take you to the trailhead and parking lot where you can walk to various viewpoints along the trail. The first viewpoint is the best and is only a couple hundred meters from the parking lot.  

Maligne Lake – About a 40-minute drive from Jasper town is Maligne Lake. Getting there is a scenic and beautiful drive in itself. In the summer, be sure to jump on a Maligne Lake Cruise to see the famous Spirit Island. In the winter, go snowshoeing – there are a ton of things to do at Maligne Lake!

Pyramid Lake – Another stunning lake within Jasper National Park in Pyramid Lake. You’ve probably seen this lake plastered all over Instagram with its mirror-like reflections and coned-shaped Pyramid Mountain in the background. Here, you can walk out to Pyramid Island along a beautiful boardwalk, hang out at the beach, stay at Pyramid Lake Resort, or rent a canoe/kayak. 

Downtown – Jasper’s downtown area is really cute. The main street called Connaught Drive runs parallel with the train tracks and makes for a fun place to explore. Grab some ice cream, do a little shopping, stop in for a beer at Jasper Brewing Co, or grab a bite to eat at one of the best restaurants in Jasper. Try the Jasper Pizza Place or The Spice Joint, their crab grilled cheese sandwich is to die for!

Miette Hot Springs – If you like hot springs then you can’t miss Miette. Located just outside of Jasper town in Jasper National Park, Miette Hot Springs offers mountain views for only a few dollars per person as an entrance fee. It’s important to note that Miette is usually only open from May-September, so it is only available for those visiting Jasper in summer, spring, or early fall.

Ride the Jasper Skytram – In the summer months, this is easily the best way to enjoy a panoramic view of Jasper National Park without having to go on a long hike. In a large tram, you will be transported up Whistler Mountain with about 20 other people at the speed of 6 meters per second. Once at the top, you can do a 1.4-kilometer-long hike to reach the summit. Be sure to book the tram well in advance to secure your spot.

Marmot Basin – One of the best ski resorts in Canada is located in Jasper National Park – Marmot Basin! With 91 different runs spread out evenly between all levels, you’re sure to have a great day hitting the slopes in Jasper!

Where to Stay in Jasper 

Cabins at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge
Cabins at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge

There are plenty of great places to stay in Jasper. Budget travelers will absolutely love Jasper Downtown Hostel. Dan and I often stay there and it is clean and comfortable with a huge communal kitchen that has everything you need and more. They have private rooms, family rooms, and dorm rooms.  

For something a little nicer, check out The Crimson Jasper. It is a great mid-range hotel with a central location, pool and hot tub, and of course, excellent reviews. 

But if you want to splurge a little, the only option is the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. This place is a luxurious getaway in the wilderness. I can’t say we’ve ever stayed here (a little pricey for us if I’m being honest) but I’ve heard amazing things! 

Airbnb is also a great option in Jasper. There aren’t a ton of options, but it is well worth checking out to see if there is one available for your desired dates. 

2. Valley of the Five Lakes 

A lady poses for a photo overlooking one of the 5 lakes on the Valley of the Five Lakes hike.
Just one of the lakes!

The Valley of the Five Lakes is my favorite easy hike in Jasper. As you leave Jasper town along the Icefields Parkways (the road that connects Jasper with Banff) you’ll see signs for the Valley of the Five Lakes on your left-hand side.

This is a 4.5-kilometer-long hike (2.8 miles) that takes you to – you guessed it – 5 lakes! It is actually a very easy hike that is suitable even for families. On a warm day, bring your swimsuit and if you can brave the cold water, jump in!

3. Athabasca Falls 

Lower part of Athabasca Falls in winter
Lower Athabasca Falls in winter!

Leaving Jasper on the Icefields Parkway towards Banff, your second stop is the epic Athabasca Falls. It’s located on your right about 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) from Jasper town. Because of its close proximity to Jasper, Athabasca Falls is often considered one of the best things to do in Jasper.  

This waterfall is huge, powerful, and seriously impressive. You can do the short walk along a boardwalk to various viewpoints of the falls. With mountains as her backdrop, Athabasca Falls is one photogenic waterfall.  

In the winter months, this is one of the few stops along your road trip from Jasper to Banff that is still open – and possibly even more beautiful! The falls freeze creating the feeling of being in a winter wonderland. We were just there a couple of weeks ago, and believe me, it is well worth visiting. 

Related read: Chasing waterfalls is one of the most romantic things you can do in Jasper on a honeymoon or couples’ holiday!

4. Sunwapta Falls 

The beautiful Sunwapta Falls from the boardwalk
The beautiful Sunwapta Falls from the bridge,

Just 15 minutes further down the highway from Athabasca Falls is Sunwapta Falls. This waterfall is smaller than Athabasca but still worth checking out. The power of the water has carved some unique rock formations in the canyon below that you’ll see from a bridge and viewpoint.  

It is only a short walk from the parking lot to the falls and this stop should only take about 10-20 minutes. Like Athabasca Falls, Sunwapta Falls is also very impressive in the winter months. In fact, if you’re visiting Jasper in the winter then this is one of the most popular attractions.  

Accommodation option: At Sunwapta Falls there is the Sunwapta Falls Rocky Mountain Lodge. If you want a quiet wilderness escape, consider staying here. They also have an on-site restaurant and small store if you’re hungry.  

5. Athabasca Glacier and Skywalk 

The Skywalk at the Athabasca Glacier showing the platform and the mountains in the background
The Skywalk!
  • Type of attraction: Tour to walk out onto a platform, tour onto the Glacier
  • Time needed: A couple of hours to do both experiences
  • Google Maps location link: You must park at the Columbia Icefield Discovery Centre. From here the tours to both the Skywalk and Glacier depart.

The next stop on this road trip from Jasper to Banff is the famous Skywalk and Athabasca Glacier. As you drive from Sunwapta Falls, about 35 minutes further, you’ll reach the Skywalk. You can’t miss it seeing as it is a huge man-made structure hanging off the edge of a cliff. 

Continue you on a couple more kilometers down the road to reach the Columbia Icefield Discovery Centre. This is where you need to go if you want to walk on the Skywalk. You’ll pay $40 CAD here, sign up for a tour time, and then jump on a bus to the Skywalk (there is no parking at the Skywalk which is why you need to go to the Discovery Centre.)

To avoid having to wait for an available departure time, book your Skywalk tour online in advance. During peak times, the bus could be fully booked and you might not be able to visit if you try to book on arrival.

Dan and I have done the Skywalk before and it was really a neat experience. A little nerve-racking if I’m being honest, however, the views are astounding! Book with Skywalk with the Glacier Explorer tour (more on that below) to get a discount!

Athabasca Glacier
Dan, getting out of this massive truck to walk on the Athabasca Glacier!

Just across the road from the Columbia Icefield Discovery Centre is Athabasca Glacier. There are a couple of different ways to experience Athabasca Glacier but the only way to see it up close is on a guided tour.

The guided glacier tours depart from the Columbia Icefield Discovery Centre and actually drive up and onto the glacier itself in a specially adapted ice-explorer vehicle (see the photo above.) You will be able to hop out and walk around on the Athabasca Glacier and take some photos. Plus, you will even be able to fill up our water bottle with refreshing glacier water.

Be sure to book this tour in advance, because it is super-popular! Dan and I did this tour last year and made the mistake of not booking in advance, so we had to wait around the Columbia Discovery Centre for a couple of hours before they could get us on a tour. It was such a waste of time!

Another good option is this half-day hiking tour. Although more expensive, it is better for those who really want to hike on the glacier and spend a couple of hours.

Unfortunately, if you don’t book a tour, you’ll only be able to walk up to a viewpoint next to the glacier for safety reasons. Jump on Athabasca Glacier trail and hike right up almost to the edge of the glacier. It’s only a short 1-kilometer hike, but from here you’ll have a better view of the glacier than from the road.  

In the Columbia Discovery Centre, you will also find a restaurant and foodcourt-style place to eat.

If you’re running short on time, there is a beautiful hotel located right next to Athabasca Glacier called Glacier View Lodge. You should book it in advance in the summer months to avoid missing out.

Note: Both the Skywalk and Athabasca Glacier tours are only available from the beginning of May until mid-October.

6. Big Hill and Big Bend 

The view from Big Hill just after Big Bend on the Icefields Parkway
The view from up on Big Hill!

Shortly after the Athabasca Glacier as you continue driving towards Banff you’ll come to Big Hill and Big Bend. This is the most challenging part of the drive from Jasper to Banff as the road winds its way down the side of a mountain. 

Along the road are a couple of different pullover bays where you can stop and enjoy the views of the valley below. You will also see Big Bend, which is the nickname for the road that does a huge curve (believe me, you can’t miss it!) 

This is simply just a viewpoint stop along this epic road trip and depending on how long your photo ops take, should only take 5 or so minutes.  

Related read: For an epic Alberta summer lake destination, be sure to visit Sylvan Lake and all the fun things to do there!

7. Weeping Wall 

The Weeping Wall on the Icefields Parkway scenic drive between Banff and Jasper National Park
The Weeping Wall!

Once you descend into the valley and wind your way through Big Bend, you’ll see a pullover bay with toilets on your right. Stop here and then look across the road – you’ll see the Weeping Wall! 

The Weeping Wall is essentially a large cliff face with lots of tiny streams of water flowing over it. It appears as if the cliff is crying (hence the name.) This is once again just a short stop on your drive from Jasper to Banff. It is great all year round with rushing water in the summer and frozen crystals in the winter.  

8. Mistaya Canyon 

Mistaya Canyon along the Icefields Parkway in Canada
The beautiful Mistaya Canyon!

Along your road trip, you’re going to need to stretch your legs, right?! Well, Mistaya Canyon is the perfect place to do so. This easy 1-kilometer-long walk (roundtrip) takes you down to the canyon and along its edge to various viewpoints.  

The walk from the parking lot to the canyon is a slight downhill, which means you’ll have to walk uphill on the way back up (it’s about 40 meters of elevation gain.)

Although maybe not the most spectacular canyon walk we’ve ever done (Johnson Canyon and Maligne Canyon take the cake on this one) it is the perfect place to get out of your car and go for a quick walk on this day of driving.  

9. Peyto Lake Upper Viewpoint 

Peyto Lake from the Peyto Lake viewpoint
Arguably the best view on the Icefields Parkway

As one of the most beautiful lakes in Canada, it should come as no surprise that Peyto Lake is a must-visit destination on any road trip from Jasper to Banff.  

And the best part? For this epic viewpoint, you only need to walk about 10 minutes from the parking lot! This makes Peyto Lake an easy and accessible viewpoint in Banff National Park.

The only downside to Peyto Lake is that sometimes it is very busy. Getting a parking space can be a test of patience.

10. Bow Lake 

A lady jumps from rock to rock on the edge of the Bow Lake in Banff National Park
It was a moody day but the place is still so beautiful!

You have two options when it comes to visiting Bow Lake. You can either turn into a large parking lot at Num-Ti-Jah Lodge. Here, you can walk along a couple of trails along the shoreline and take in the views from all angles.

Alternatively, for just a quick pit stop and photo opportunity, continue down the highway a little further until you come to a pullover bay on your righthand side. Here, is another viewpoint of Bow Lake (and where we once saw a Grizzly Bear!)

If you visit on a clear day, you might even be able to spot Crowfoot Glacier in the mountains in the distance.

11. Lake Louise

A lady sits on a rock at Lake Louise looking out over the water at the glacier and mountains
Enjoying the beautiful Lake Louise!

Another 45-minute drive from Bow Lake and you will arrive at the overpass for Lake Louise. To me, Lake Louise is a huge attraction and a place where you should stop to spend a night or two, or at the very least, a few hours. Here you will not only find the lake but a small town as well as the famous Lake Louise Ski Resort.

There are lots of different things to do in Lake Louise including visiting the Lake Louise lakefront, going on an epic hike (Lake Agnes Teahouse is my favorite), or going canoeing on the lake.

If you want a delicious meal, be sure to visit The Station. Not only is it one of the best places to eat in Lake Louise, but it is set in a historic train museum too!

Note: From May 13th until October 10th, you’ll be required to pay $12.25 per vehicle per day to park at Lake Louise lakefront (2022 updated price). The paid parking is in effect from 7 am until 7 pm daily.  

Skiing in Lake Louise

skiing at lake louise ski resort
Look at those views!

Skiing at Lake Louise Ski Resort was always a bucket-list thing for Daniel and me. We visited once in the summer and rode the sightseeing gondola – it was huge and the views were epic. But we always wanted to ski and snowboard there (I ski and Daniel snowboards) for ourselves.

Well, last month our dream came true and we spent the day shredding at Lake Louise! This ski resort is huge with more runs than you can imagine both on the front side and backside of the mountain. We spent 8 hours exploring and still could’ve used more time!

Hot tip: If you are visiting Banff National Park in the winter and want to spend a few days hitting the slopes, then consider getting a SkiBig3 Lift Ticket. This pass allows you to ski three different days at three different ski resorts nearby: Lake Louise, Mt Norquay, and Sunshine Village! This is what Dan and I recently did and we loved it. It was fun to explore a new mountain each day and paired perfectly with our road trip!

Where to Stay in Lake Louise

A panoramic photo of Lake Agnes with The Devils Thumb Mountain summit in the background
Lake Agnes!

There are lots of different places to choose from when it comes to accommodation in Lake Louise.

If you want to stay in Lake Louise town, consider the Lake Louise Inn, or the budget-friendly HI Lake Louise Hostel. Dan and I often stay at the HI Hostel and think it’s clean, comfortable, and great value for money.

For a little luxury or to spoil yourself, don’t miss the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. This is arguably the most beautiful hotel in Canada set in the most beautiful location (right on the lake!)

Related Read: Check out our road trip guide to driving from Lake Louise to Jasper!

12. Moraine Lake 

A lady sits on a rock wall at the Rockpile at Moraine Lake in Banff
Me, sitting at the Rockpile at Moraine Lake.

Just a short 14-kilometer (8.7 miles) drive from Lake Louise is Moraine Lake. Although technically one of the best places to check out while you’re visiting Lake Louise, I think it deserves a mention as a stop on its own – it’s just that stunning!

You’ve likely seen Moraine Lake photos on Instagram before, it is one of the most photographed places in all of Canada. The towering Ten Peaks are the backdrop for the brightest blue lake you’ve probably ever seen.

Besides just enjoying the view, there are actually lots of different things to do at Moraine Lake including hiking the Larch Valley Trail and Consolation Lakes Trail. It really is a special place, and if you can, spend an entire day exploring here and taking it all in!

The road to drive to Moraine Lake is only open from the end of May until mid-October depending on weather conditions due to avalanche risk. For this reason, visiting Moraine Lake is one of those summer-only activities in Lake Louise.

Important: Getting to Moraine Lake can be challenging as parking is limited. Read our blog about parking at Moraine Lake for info on snagging a spot or catching the shuttle.

13. Bow Valley Parkway 

Morants Curve on the Bow Valley Parkway
The stunning Morant’s Curve on the Bow Valley Parkway
  • Type of attraction: A scenic drive with a few different attractions
  • Time needed: 3+ hours. You can even spend a night at Baker Creek and do some of the hikes in the area!
  • Google Maps location link: Bow Valley Parkway location.

Once you’re ready to leave Lake Louise (just jokes, you’ll never be truly ready to leave), you can make your way to the Bow Valley Parkway for a day of epic viewpoints along a scenic drive.

The Bow Valley Parkway is a 50-kilometer-long (31-mile) stretch of road that runs parallel with Highway 1 that connects Lake Louise with Banff. Instead of driving on Highway 1, take the Bow Valley Parkway for a more scenic and relaxing drive.

There are lots of amazing places to check out on the Bow Valley Parkway. Some of my personal favorites include:

Morant’s Curve – This iconic viewpoint is located just on the side of the road and showcases train tracks weaving through the mountains. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a train here!

Castle Mountain Lookout – Castle Mountain is, you guessed it, a mountain that looked exactly like a castle! You can stop at a viewpoint, or choose to hike one of the many trails around here.

Johnston Canyon – Johnston Canyon is one of the most popular easy hikes you can do in the Canmore and Banff area. It is 2.4-kilometers-long and takes you along the edge of an impressive canyon before reaching waterfalls and caves. In the winter, you can do an ice trekking tour here!

Accommodation recommendation: If you want to spend a night in the peace and quiet of the Bow Valley Parkway, be sure to book a cabin at Baker Creek Mountain Resort. Every cabin has a fireplace and you can spend your evening under the stars (a top spot for anybody on a Banff honeymoon!)

Note: There will be some closures to vehicle traffic on sections of the Bow Valley Parkway this year (2022). From May 1-June 30 and then again from Sept 1-Sept 30 vehicles will NOT be able to drive the 17km/11mi stretch of road from the TransCanada-Highway junction to Johnston Canyon, it will be restricted to cyclists’ use only. This is the eastern part of the road. You will still be able to access Johnston Canyon and the Bow Valley Parkway via the intersection near Castle Mountain Chalets.

14. Sunshine Village

Sunshine Ski resort in Banff national Park
The epic views at Sunshine Ski Resort
  • Type of attraction: Ski resort in the winter, hiking and views in the summer
  • Time needed: A few hours to a full day.
  • Google Maps location link: Sunshine Village location here.

Drive the Bow Valley Parkway until the end when it takes you back onto the highway. From here, you are only a short drive from the turnoff to Sunshine Village – the next stop on your road trip from Jasper to Banff!

Sunshine Village is a popular place for visitors in both the winter and the summer. Now I must admit, I’ve never actually been in the summer but I have heard amazing things. There are some very well-known hikes in the area.

Dan and I most recently visited Sunshine Village for a day on the slopes with our SkiBig3 Lift Ticket. In winter, Sunshine Village is one of Canada’s most impressive ski resorts. To start your day, you’ll ride a gondola for about 15 minutes up to the village. From here, you’ll have access to what feels like an endless number of chairlifts, runs, and even bars and restaurants.

For something extra special, book a night or two at the Sunshine Mountain Lodge and stay right up there!

15. Banff Town

Photo of Banff Ave in Banff Town howing how beautiful the street is wioth the surounding mountains
You don’t even have to leave the main street to get a great view!

From Sunshine Village, you only have a short 5-minute drive to Banff town. In Banff town, book yourself a hotel for a few nights as you’ll definitely need time to explore this vibrant mountain town!

Truthfully, there are tons of fun things to do in Banff, it can be hard to know even where to start. Some of my personal favorite activities in Banff include:

Visit Mt Norquay – The views from Mt Norquay are unlike any other. In the summer, ride the sightseeing gondola and visit the restaurant at the top for a beer with a view. In the winter, you can’t miss hitting the slopes or testing out their famous tube park (fun for the whole family!) If you buy the SkiBig3 Lift Ticket Mt Norquay is the third ski resort you’ll have access to.

Banff Upper Hot Springs – For only a few dollars you can relax in Banff’s very own hot springs with mountain views. The hot springs can get busy though.

Take the gondola up Sulphur Mountain – Ride the gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain to experience panoramic views of Banff National Park. If you want to skip paying for the ride, hike up instead!

Indulge in food and drinks – Banff has tons of tasty restaurants and bars. For beer, head to Baff Brewing Co – one of the best breweries in Banff. For a delicious meal with crafted cocktails, head to Parks Distillery. There are also a few amazing cafes in Banff where you can grab a barista-made coffee and delciious baked goods.

Go hiking – The hiking trails in and around Banff are almost endless. Even in the winter, there are tons of epic hikes to challenge you.

Related Read: Visiting Banff on a tight budget? Check out our blog about the 33 best free things to do in Banff!

Where to Stay in Banff

The views of the Rimrock Resort in Banff, Canada
Photo Credit: Rimrock Resort Hotel

There are lots of different places to stay in Banff National Park. If you’re looking for one of the best hotels in Banff town, my personal favorite is Moose Hotel & Suites which has a great location, is reasonably priced, and has all the amenities you could want including two rooftop hot tubs.

If you’re on a tight budget, consider checking out King Edward Hotel. It is easily the most affordable place to stay. Plus, it is located right in town on Banff Ave!

And for a little luxury, the Rimrock Resort Hotel is a must! With an onsite spa, balconies with amazing views, as well as a restaurant and bar this hotel is a must! Plus, it is located a couple of minutes from town in a quieter location.

Alternatively, there are a few Airbnbs to choose from in Banff.

Related read: For more detailed info on where to stay in Banff including info about all of the different areas, read our blog!

Tips for Driving from Jasper to Banff

A panoramic view of the Bow Lake on the Icefields Parkway
Not a bad view if you ask me!
  • Parks Canada Pass – To drive from Jasper to Banff you’re going to need a Parks Canada Pass. This pass costs $10 CAD per person per day, $20 per family per day, or $140 CAD per year for a vehicle. If you’re going to take your time driving from Jasper to Banff, then the yearly pass is probably the best bang for your buck.
  • Winter driving – The road from Jasper to Banff can be icy in the winter (trust us, we just drove it!) Be sure to have winter tires or snow chains and drive slowly. Also, allow yourself plenty of time and obey all road signs and closures. Keep in mind, wildlife isn’t just out in the summer either, the last time we drive from Jasper to Banff it was winter and there was a moose on the road!
  • Allow plenty of time – Many people try to drive from Jasper to Banff in one day, and while this is totally doable, I don’t recommend it. There is just so much to do and see! Spend a night on the Icefields Parkway, in Lake Louise, and maybe even Sunshine Village to space your trip out a bit!

Renting a Car in Alberta

The Icefields Parkway, Banff National Park
The Icefields Parkway, Banff National Park

If you’re arriving in Alberta via plane then I can’t recommend getting a rental car enough. Canada is a large country and traveling between cities and even just getting out to some of the best places to visit in Alberta requires transport. Although you can use public transport, on some occasions, it means your trip will not only require more time but more planning.

Car rental in Canada is relatively cheap, especially if you get a budget car. The cheapest car with pickup and drop-off in different locations is around $100 CAD per day. The price does vary though depending on the time of year and the type of car that you rent. For car rentals, I use the website DiscoverCars.com. It’s a search engine with lots of deals with good customer service. In fact, I’ve used them all over the world including in Chile, New Zealand, and Australia.

Another popular option is to rent a campervan or motorhome (only for the brave in winter.) Using Motorhome Republic you can search hundreds of deals across multiple companies to pick a great vehicle and the cheapest price. Having a motorhome is a stunning way to see Canada, and using crown land and campsites, you can often camp for free or very cheap in the most beautiful places imaginable!

Canada Travel Essentials

Bailey stands on a mountain in essential gear for the Canadian Rockies
A windproof jacket and Buff will save you in the mountains!

Before you decide to head off and explore the gorgeous mountains, lakes, towns, and cities around Canada it’s important to have the right equipment. Of course, it’s likely you’ll have most of the basics already but there are some common items people forget that I never travel without.

Crampons: In winter, crampons are super handy, but what people don’t realize is that they come in handy in summer too. In fact, up until mid-July, you can still expect icy conditions in the mountains. The pair I use is only $37 CAD and they have lasted me 3 seasons so far!

Waterproof shell: Most people will have this item but I thought I’d include it anyway since it’s so handy in Canada. The Columbia waterproof jacket is a lightweight windproof jacket that will seriously save you in many situations. The best part, though? It comes in pink!

Bear bells: These are a must, and for the price, you shouldn’t hike without them. The bear bells I use are only $9 CAD and they come with a silencer (a must) so you can easily travel with them.

Scent-proof bag (for bears): Most people think you only need to keep the smell of food away from you when you’re overnight camping. However, bears can smell the food in your bag while you’re hiking and the best way to avoid an encounter is to use a scent-proof bear bag. Basically, you put your food in the bag and the bear cannot smell it while you’re hiking. This is one item most people never have (I never hike without it) but it could save you and the bear.

Buff: I love my buff! Seriously, I go nowhere without it both in winter and summer. There are a few brands around but I always buy the original Buff (you know, the one from Survivor!) They’re a little more expensive but the material is good quality and both breathable and quick drying.

Dry bag: I have expensive camera equipment, so I always travel with a dry bag large enough to fit some of my equipment. It can be a camera, book, binoculars, or even my keys. Regardless, a dry bag gives me peace of mind! The MARCHWAY bag is really good quality, and when not in use, takes up only a small amount of room.

Binoculars: I love my binoculars! Seriously they have come in handy so many times, especially when I’m looking for wildlife. The best part is, I use a set that only costs $25 CAD and they serve my basic needs without any issues!

Before you go…

Bailey at Lake Louise Ski Resort
Thanks for reading!

And there you have it, an epic road trip from Jasper to Banff. If you follow my recommendations in the blog, I’m sure you’ll have a road trip to remember!

I hope you’ve learned a few things here or at least got inspired, and thanks for reading!

If you found this blog helpful, then be sure to check out some of our other most popular blogs about Canada including:

25 Things to do in Canmore in Winter

How to Enjoy Fall in Banff

15 MOST Instagrammable Places in Banff

Happy road tripping!

-Bailey

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