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13 BEST Stops on the Drive from Kamloops to Jasper

13 BEST Stops on the Drive from Kamloops to Jasper

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This is a road trip packed full of scenery, crossing two Canadian provinces and ending in the spectacular Rocky Mountains. The drive from Kamloops to Jasper is worth adding to your plans or at least your bucket list!

The drive from Kamloops to Jasper (or Jasper to Kamloops) should take just under five hours without stopping. However, there are so many fantastic places to pull over on this route. I narrowed it down to the 13 absolute BEST stops, but there are so many more. Along the drive, you’ll get to experience dramatic waterfalls, the tallest peak in the Rocky Mountains, whitewater rafting, a river safari, and more!  

I really encourage you to take this road trip over a couple of days if possible, staying overnight in one (or many) of the small towns along the way, or camping in a beautiful provincial park. 

The places on this drive are listed from Kamloops to Jasper, but you can easily reverse the route for a trip from Jasper to Kamloops. 

About the Drive from Kamloops to Jasper

The drive from Kamloops to Jasper is 441 kilometers (274 miles) and should roughly take just under five hours. Most of the journey will be spent on Highway 5 before turning off onto Highway 16 (The Yellowhead Highway) as you near Jasper. 

What’s particularly special about this drive is that most of the route follows the North Thompson River. It actually runs parallel to the road in sections which makes for a stunning backdrop! This also means that if you’re into outdoor activities, this is a perfect route to stop for fishing, biking, canoeing, hiking, and spotting wildlife. 

When you turn onto Highway 16 for the final leg of the journey, be prepared to have the grand and spectacular Mount Robson come into view. This peak is one of the most photographed spots on this drive, so have your camera ready! 

This road trip covers two provinces – BC and Alberta. Most of the drive takes place in British Columbia, but about 15 minutes from Jasper is where you’ll cross the border into Alberta. Make sure to plan for the time change here! Time will jump an hour ahead – so if you have any dinner plans, activities, or a hotel check-in, make sure to account for this. 

There aren’t any large service stations along this drive, but there are lots of small towns and communities along the way. This makes it relatively easy to find a place to fuel up with gas or food. 

Driving conditions on this route are better in the summer, but Jasper is an incredible winter destination, so the drive is totally possible in the colder months. Make sure you have winter tires for extra grip on snow and ice. Winter tires are mandatory on most BC highways in the winter, so you’ll need those anyway! 

When you arrive, Jasper National Park requires a Park Pass to enter. Daily passes are $10.50 CAD per adult. If you’re planning to stay awhile or visit multiple national parks, pick up a Discovery Pass. This will give you unlimited visits to all national parks for 12 months. The yearly pass can be ordered online in advance and mailed to you, or you can buy it when you arrive at the park.

13 BEST Stops on the Drive from Kamloops to Jasper

1. Kamloops

Bailey at Kamloops Lake View Point
The best way to enjoy both seasons in Kamloops is at Sun Peaks Resort!

Before you begin your road trip and leave Kamloops, be sure to explore the city! Kamloops is a great place in any season with winter activities like downhill skiing or snowshoeing.

The Sun Peaks ski resort which is 45 minutes outside of town one of the best spots in the area because it gets about 6 meters (20 feet) of snow annually.

Or, take advantage of long summers with nice weather and go hiking or paddling on the nearby lakes and rivers. There are more than 100 lakes within an hour of the city!

These are great for a canoe, kayak, or even to try stand-up paddleboarding. Go to the gorgeous Kamloops Lake and see it from out on the water. You’ll see old stone train bridges and tunnels, rock bluffs, and may even spot an eagle’s nest. 

The hiking opportunities in Kamloops are endless. You can explore wide-open grasslands, ponderosa pine forests, sandstone canyons, and steep valleys. Try the Kenna Cartwright Nature Park with 40 km (25 miles) of trails. It has breathtaking views of Kamloops and the Thompson Valley and several beaches and picnic areas. Head out at sunset or sunrise for a particularly beautiful view.  

The Thompson Valley area is also where you can find four wineries. Make sure to visit at least one while you’re here! I love spending an afternoon at a winery to sip great wine and savor the view. A couple of my favorites are Monte Creek Winery and Harper’s Trail Estate Winery.

See wild animals up close at the BC Wildlife Park. It’s a rescue and rehabilitation center and most of the animals here are rescued. There are more than 60 different species including Clover the Spirit Bear, a rare white bear that is the only Kermode Bear in captivity in the world. There’s also a splash park, playground, and mini-train for the kids. Admission to the park is $17.95 CAD for adults.  

Where to stay in Kamloops:

As I mentioned, it’s a great idea to spend a few nights in Kamloops if you have time. There are plenty of hotels to choose from here. Personally, I love the Prestige Kamloops Hotel only a couple of minutes from town which is complete with a waterslide and brand new restaurants or if you’re on a budget, the Rodeway Inn & Suites which includes a continental breakfast.

For a more luxurious option, try the South Thompson Inn and Conference Centre. It’s located on 55 acres of green space surrounded by mountains and the South Thompson River. The rooms have great views, there’s a 24 hour hot-tub overlooking the river and nearby hiking trails.  

2. The Local of Louis Creek Artisan Market 

crafts for sale at The Local of Louis Creek Artisan Market 
Ready to shop?! Photo Credit: The Local of Louis Creek Artisan Market 

This is a fun little spot to stop and stretch your legs on the drive from Kamloops to Jasper, and maybe find a treasure or two while you’re at it. The Local of Louis Creek Artisan Market is an antique store full to bursting with history and unique items. Everything from fine china plates to locally-made jam and even old BC license plates. It’s a true treasure hunt!

The market is easy to access off the highway and is open from 10 am to 4 pm every day. New items are arriving all the time, so the store is constantly changing. 

3. Barriere 

the green golf course at Chinook Cove Golf Course
Chinook Cove Golf Course is a nice place to visit in Bairrere. Photo Credit: Chinook Cove Golf Course

This small town on the drive from Kamloops to Jasper is worth a stop for its great scenery and friendly atmosphere. There are 75 lakes within this area in a 40 km (25 miles) radius. That means it’s an excellent spot for fishing, canoeing, swimming, or boating on the calm, clear waters. 

One of the biggest events here is the North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo on the Labor Day weekend in September. The annual event has been a draw for over 70 years and sees around 10,000 people come to take in the fun. There’s everything from parades and dances to a rodeo with bull riding, heavy horse competitions, and chuckwagon racing to amusement rides, exhibits, and of course, fair food!  

If camping is on the agenda, Barriere and the surrounding North Thompson Valley are full of campgrounds (see activities #4 and #5!). North Barriere Lake is a nice spot for camping as the lake is great for fishing and swimming. There are also quite a few motels in Barriere if you want to stay in town, including the Monte Carlo Motel with an outdoor swimming pool. 

If you’re hungry, make sure to stop by Sam’s Pizza. It’s right off Highway 5, so a handy place to pop into for a bite to eat on this road trip. It’s a local favorite for its pizza, amazingly cheesy cheese bread, pasta, and homemade desserts. 

Just outside of town is the Chinook Cove Golf Course. It’s right along Highway 5 and has nine holes with breathtaking views. It’s a favorite among locals and tourists – so much so, the golf course now has an RV park! You can stay here with a view of the valley and mountains and then easily get in a round of golf or two before hitting the road. A round of golf here is $49 CAD, and the RV park ranges from $30-$50 CAD a night, depending on the site. 

4. North Thompson River Provincial Park 

the North Thompson River on a blue bird day with a mountain backdrop
The North Thompson River is gorgeous!

This park is a nice spot right off the highway to stretch your legs or plan to stay a night or two at the campground here. You’ll find four easy trails (under 30 minutes) within North Thompson River Provincial Park

The campground in the park is near where the Clearwater and North Thompson Rivers meet. There’s a viewpoint looking out over the rivers, so you can clearly see the green of the Clearwater joining up with the muddier brown of the North Thompson. 

This area was traditionally used by Shuswap First Nations, and there are historic sites in the park. You can also see remnants of kekuli (pit houses) and food cache pits on the riverbank. 

5. Clearwater 

Daniel and Bailey take a selfie with the moose in Clearwater, BC
Make sure you get a selfie with the moose!

Clearwater is a small town surrounded by big scenery! It’s an outdoor vacation paradise full of waterfalls (see activity #6 for the best recommendations!), forests, and rivers, all with a majestic mountain backdrop. This is a fantastic place to base yourself for a few days to explore the region. 

One of the most popular things to do here in Clearwater is whitewater rafting. It’s an exhilarating way to see the area and get an adrenaline rush at the same time. I recommend booking a whitewater rafting tour in the Clearwater River, full of exciting rapids, churning waves, and stunning scenery. 

All the equipment needed is included, and your guide will help you navigate unique features on the route, including the “Bear’s Den” and “Hawaii 5-0.” In the spring and early summer, this tour also includes a visit to Candle Creek Falls, where you can walk behind a waterfall and even jump from a 7.6-meter cliff (25 feet) cliff! 

If you happen to be in Clearwater on the weekend, stop at the Clearwater Farmers’ Market. It’s every Saturday morning from May until October. Head to the grassy field at the Dutch Lake Community Center to pick up everything from fruit and vegetables, to gourmet chocolates, local coffee, honey, and handmade items. 

The Clearwater Trout Hatchery stocks more than 300 lakes around BC and offers free tours by appointment. The trout here are raised throughout the winter and released in the spring, so winter is a great time to visit. 

Clearwater is beautiful in the summer, but there are lots of things to do here once the snow falls too! Cross-country skiing is popular here on the many trails, as well as snowmobiling, skating, and ice fishing. The waterfalls in the area also freeze over and are spectacular wintery wonders. 

If you’re hungry while in Clearwater, there are plenty of choices! Wild Flour Café and Bakery is a super cute place for breakfast and lunch. Everything here is handmade, and it’s great to pick up a freshly baked loaf of bread or cinnamon bun. 

For a hearty meal, head to Hop “N” Hog for a Canadian smokehouse experience. They specialize in birch-smoked beef and pork that is expertly smoked for hours! Pair it with a drink from one of their 10 draft taps with a rotating selection of local craft ale, lager, and cider. 

Where to stay in Clearwater

a log cabin at Cedar Haven Resort
Staying in a log cabin is a bucket-list experience. Photo Credit: Cedar Haven Resort

Spending a night or two in Clearwater is a great way to have extra time to explore this stunning area of BC. 

The Jasper Way Inn is located right on the shores of Dutch Lake. It’s a one-minute walk to the beach, and the hotel rents out canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards. 

If you’re just passing through and want a place close to the highway, try the Wells Gray Inn as a convenient road trip spot. 

For a unique experience, just outside of Clearwater is the beautiful Cedar Haven Resort. It’s located on 30 acres of cedar forest near the base of Raft Mountain. Stay in a hand-crafted log cabin or ultra-luxurious forest tents. These tents have hardwood floors, a private bathroom, and a plush queen-size bed! 

Or camp at one of the many nearby campgrounds like Birch Island Campground. It’s just off the highway and typically quieter. Sites are in the forest, and there are nice river and mountain views nearby.  

6. Wells Gray Provincial Park 

Helmcken Falls on a sunny day in Wells Gray Provincial Park
This area is famous for its stunning waterfalls! This is Helmcken Falls, one of the most beautiful.

This is a bit of a detour off Highway 5 on your way to Jasper, but honestly, it’s totally worth it. Wells Gray Provincial Park is known as the “Waterfall Park” with DOZENS of spectacular waterfalls (I’ll tell you a few of my favorites below), stunning glacier-fed lakes, mountains, and forest for a truly special escape into nature. It’s easy to see why it’s one of the best places to visit in BC.  

From Clearwater, the main park access is a 68-kilometer (42 miles) paved road known as the Wells Gray Corridor or the Clearwater Valley Road. Depending on where you’re coming from, there are also park entrances off Highway 97 at 100 Mile House or off Highway 5 at Blue River.  

There are 41 named waterfalls here and many others tucked into the surrounding forest. The incredible landscape here was formed by ancient volcanoes and slow-moving glaciers that created rivers and lakes that supply the waterfalls. One of my favorite parts of discovering the waterfalls here is that moment when you hear the roar of the falls just before it comes into view, and you know you’re in for an incredible sight! 

Must-see waterfalls in Wells Gray Provincial Park

A lady stands on the viewpoint and looks at Spahats Creek Falls, Wells Gray
Don’t underestimate the beauty of Wells Gray!

If you don’t have days to explore the park, these are the waterfalls you absolutely can’t miss out on seeing. These three are all just off the Clearwater Valley Road and each are only a few minutes away from the parking area. 

Spahats Creek Falls – This is one of the most dramatic waterfalls in the park, with a 76-meter (250 feet) straight drop and water cascading down from a break in the rocks. The layers of rock here are really on display, showcasing how it formed over many years with repeated lava flows. It’s a 10-minute drive from Clearwater with the turnoff just inside the park gates and then a short, five-minute walk through the cedar forest to get here. The close proximity to Clearwater makes this the perfect waterfall to check out if you’re short on time on the drive from Kamloops to Jasper.

Dawson Falls – This wide waterfall stretches 90 meters (295 feet) across and tumbles down into the Murtle River. There are two different viewpoints on the trail here – the first when it comes into view and then keep walking to get a different perspective at the top of the falls. Dawson Falls is 42 kilometers (26 miles) from Clearwater and about a 10-minute walk from where you park. 

Helmcken Falls – This is truly the centerpiece of the park! Helmcken Falls is the fourth largest waterfall in Canada, with water crashing down an impressive 141 meters (462 feet) drop. The viewing platform here juts out over the canyon, giving an almost panoramic view. In the winter, it’s equally spectacular when it freezes over and forms a 46-meter (150 feet) frozen cone of water in the canyon. This waterfall is about 47 kilometers (29 miles) from Clearwater and only a two-minute walk from the parking lot. 

7. Blue River 

view of the lake in Blue River, BC
The lake in the small town of Blue River, BC.

This tiny town (population 280) is a great stopover to explore the local area or just pop in to fuel up. Blue River is surrounded by lush cedar and spruce forests and is home to Murtle Lake – the largest lake in North America that only allows paddling (no motorized boats). 

In the summer, Murtle Lake is a popular destination to enjoy a peaceful paddle by kayak or canoe. Swimming and fishing are also popular in the nearby Eleanor Lake. In the winter, Eleanor Lake is known for great ice-fishing and cross-country skiing trails. 

For a once-in-a-lifetime luxury experience, there are heli-skiing tours offered. These tours literally take you up in a helicopter to snow-covered mountains to make your own trail. Quite the bucket list adventure! 

There’s a small park right on the edge of town called Blue River Pine Provincial Park. It’s a park protecting the dry lodgepole pine forest, which is a rare type of forest for this area. There are lots of wild berries in this park, so it’s a popular summer spot for black bears. 

There are a few choices of places to stay in Blue River if you’re looking for a quiet town to rest your head. There are lots of campgrounds in the parks nearby, or try out the Blue River Campground and RV Park right in town. Glacier Mountain Lodge is a European-style mountain lodge hotel with an indoor hot tub and a convenient location right off Highway 5. There’s also a Sandman Inn Blue River that is easy to find and only three blocks from the center of town. 

8. River Safari

a speed boat on a river
This speed boat tour comes highly rated. Photo Credit: River Safari

Try out a Canadian wilderness safari for a truly unique experience on the way from Kamloops to Jasper! River Safari is located just north of Blue River off of Highway 5 on your way towards Jasper – look for the giant bear and billboard at the main entrance. 

These trips explore the only inland temperate rainforest in the world via boat or jeep. The tours cover up to 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) of Grizzly Bear Valley to see the incredible scenery and wildlife (including bears!) that call this place home. Boats run every 60 minutes during their season that starts in May, and while you can purchase tickets online in advance, you’re welcome to just show up with no reservation.

In the summer, finish off your experience with River Safari’s floating restaurant, The Forest Table. It’s on a large, floating dock overlooking the river with live edge giant tables and solid wood carved seating. All the dishes are prepared fresh and feature local ingredients. 

9. Valemount 

Valemount Swiss Bakery
The Valemount Swiss Bakery is a must visit in Valemount!

This small town of about 1,000 people is packed full of incredible scenery and epic things to do. Valemount isn’t as touristy as Banff, Whistler, or Revelstoke, so it’s a great place to escape the crowds in any season. 

In the summer, try out one of 45 mountain biking trails at the Valemount Bike Park. It’s huge and has trails for all skill levels. Didn’t bring a bike? Check out Bikes & Bites to rent one!

This area is also an excellent place to go fishing and reel in a prized rainbow trout. Try Yellowhead Lake or Kinbasket Lake or from the shores of the Fraser River between Tete Jaune and Mount Robson. Just remember to get a BC fishing license – a one-day license is only $20 CAD.

For a quick history lesson on the area, pop into the Valemount Museum. It’s inside the old railway station and has interesting exhibits on local war heroes, Japanese Internment camps, displays of old railway towns, and a recreated trapper’s cabin in the basement. Admission is based on an optional donation. 

Valemount is also an incredible winter destination! There’s a new ski resort planned that will have one of the largest vertical drops in North America and incredible views of Mount Robson (once it is open, that is.) In the meantime, try out snowmobiling on the powder in Valemount’s backcountry on an expert tour like this one from Alpine Country Rentals

Or, bring your skates and head out on Cranberry Marsh to go for a skate and maybe join in a local hockey game. The best access to the part of the pond where skating takes place is from the McKirdy Road parking lot, just off of 13th Avenue/Aspen road. 

I can’t pass through Valemount without stopping at Three Ranges Brewing for their craft beer. There is the word “ale” in Valemount, after all, my favorite is their Trail Slap IPA because of my love for hops! But there are 10 regular brews along with a rotation of seasonal and occasional beers. It’s cozy inside if the weather isn’t great or there’s a nice outdoor area to enjoy a cold drink in the sunshine. 

Another local spot that isn’t as well-known but is always on my list is the Valemount Swiss Bakery. Their fresh-baked pastries, sourdough bread (perfect for making sandwiches to take on a hike), and frothy cappuccinos are excellent. Check the website before you go, as their opening hours vary depending on the season. 

Where to stay in Valemount: 

Twin Peaks Resort, Valemount, BC
The Twin Peaks Resort!

This mountain town is an excellent base for exploring Mount Robson. 

My top pick is the amazing Twin Peaks Resort. It’s a family-run business with five log cabins and a large holiday home. It’s small enough that it feels like you have the place to yourself! It is really popular, though, so it can be hard to get reservations. 

Another home-away-from-home log cabin with a mountain view can be found at Mica Mountain Lodge & Log Cabins. It is more expensive than Twin Peaks, but it’s a great option. 

If budget is the main consideration, the Canadas Best Value Inn is the cheaper option located right in town on the main highway. 

10. Rearguard Falls 

Rearguard Falls in Rearguard Falls Provincial Park
How the salmon make it up this waterfall is beyond me!

As you leave Valemount and make your way towards you’ll pass a parking lot on the side of the road where you can access the stunning Rearguard Falls.

Rearguard Falls Provincial Park was set up to protect the furthest salmon spawning area up the Fraser River around 1,260 kilometers (783 miles) from the east coast of Canada. It’s located a 20-minute drive from Valemount and is without a doubt one of the most interesting places to visit in Valemount.

If you’re here in August you might be lucky enough to see salmon making their last jump up Rearguard Falls and finally into their spawning area. They must be so relieved to get there!

Even if it’s not August, this place is still worth a visit. It’s a short walk from the parking and there are information boards that tell you all about the massive migration.

Seriously, even I was blown away and am so glad I went!

11. Mount Robson Provincial Park and Visitor Center

Daniel and his friend run into Berg Lake taking a polar dip in Mount Robson Provincial Park
Taking a cold dip in Berg Lake!

Shortly after turning onto Highway 16, let the tallest peak in the Rocky Mountains welcome you to the final leg of your road trip from Kamloops to Jasper! The impressive Mount Robson is one of the best mountain views around here, so pause here to soak it in. 

I like stopping for coffee at the Visitor Center in the park and walking around behind the building to the massive deck in the back. The deck directly faces the mountain and offers a jaw-dropping view to enjoy. TIP – There’s no cell service in Mount Robson Provincial Park, so use the WiFi at the Visitor Center or the public telephones here if you need to. 

There are lots of day hikes here of various lengths. The Berg Lake Trail is one of the best (it’s the most beautiful hike I’ve done in Canada), so it’s easy to see why this is one of the most popular trails in the Rockies. The highlights of this trail include Valley of a Thousand Falls and Emperor Falls. Berg Lake and the Berg Glacier. This is a long trail (41.5 kilometers/26 miles), so often, people will make this a multi-day hike and camp at one of the campgrounds along the way. 

A gentler and shorter hiking option is the Kinney Lake Trail which is 4.5 kilometers (2.8 miles) and should take about 2.5 hours to go there and back. The trail follows the Robson River to Kinney Lake winding through old cedar and hemlock forest on the way. This is a great trail to see wildlife! 

Flying above Berg Lake and Berg Glacier on a scenic flight
I just had to show you two photos of this activity! That’s Berg Lake and Berg Glacier as seen from a helicopter!

Or skip the hike altogether and take a helicopter! Robson HeliMagic flies to Berg Lake – offering an amazing view as the helicopter flies low over the mountainside showcasing Kinney Lake, the breathtaking Valley of a Thousand Falls, and overtop of the Mist and Berg Lake Glaciers. 

This is one of the most memorable experiences of my life and the best scenic flight I’ve done on the globe. There’s nothing quite like it! The flight is $995 CAD for an entire helicopter that holds 4 people. 

Camping is also great in this park! There are around 180 vehicle-accessible campsites in the park that are open for reservations from May until September. Reservations can be made in advance, although there will be a few first-come, first-serve sites. Campsites on the Berg Lake Trail can also be booked in advance because of their popularity. 

2023 Update: Berg Lake Trail is currently closed due to flooding that damaged the trail in 2021. A portion of the trail to the Kinney Lake Campground will reopen in 2023. Check for updates here before you go!

12. Overlander Falls 

Overlander Falls, BC
The beautiful Overlander Falls.

Those looking for a short trail to stretch their legs on this road trip should not pass on the opportunity to hike to Overlander Falls. Although not the most spectacular waterfall, the short walk through the pristine forest makes the trail all the more special.

The trail begins just past the Mt Robson Visitor Centre and leads you down to the Fraser River where you’ll be able to see Overlander Falls. All up, it only takes around 20 minutes each way.

If you want to hike a longer trail to the falls then there is another Overlander Falls trailhead on Hargreaves Road. From here, the trail is around 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) each way and follows the Fraser River.

13. Jasper

Bailey smiles while white water rafting in Jasper National Park, Canada
Whitewater rafting is a must while in Jasper!
Mount Edith Cavell Glacier in Jasper National Park
Mount Edith Glacier!

You’ve arrived! And what a fantastic place to be. Jasper is truly one of the most beautiful places in Alberta – and maybe even the whole world! It’s an amazing mountain town with stunning scenery and so many different activities to try. You won’t be bored here! 

Jasper is fantastic at all times of the year, but there’s something extra special about coming here in December. No matter when you come, you’ll find it’s not as busy and touristy as Banff and has a small-town charm to it, and is just a few miles away from all the skiing. Dan and I have been here many times and no matter when we visit, we always have a blast.  

While you’re here, these are just a few of our favorite spots and tours in Jasper:  

  • Jasper SkyTram – Get a bird’s eye view of Jasper from the peak of Whistlers Mountain aboard the SkyTram. It’s a large mountain gondola that can carry up to 24 people. At the top, you can explore an indoor area, gift shop, and eat at a restaurant with some pretty amazing views. The Jasper SkyTram is open from April to October and it’s best to book ahead as there are only two trams. It’s also one of the most popular summer activities in Jasper.
  • Maligne Lake – I’ve been here several times and keep coming back – it’s a stunning turquoise-blue lake surrounded by mountain peaks, pine trees, and glaciers. It’s like a photograph coming to life and one of the best places to visit in Alberta! I recommend taking the famous Maligne Lake Cruise that showcases the beauty of the lake including the spectacular Spirit Island that is one of the most photographed places in Jasper National Park. There’s so much to do at Maligne Lake, set aside a day or at least a few hours to explore here.  
  • Athabasca Falls/Glacier – If you’re going to see one waterfall while you’re here, make it this one! The popular trail, about 30 minutes from Jasper town on the Icefields Parkway, is only one km long. The scenery along the hike is impressive, but the falls themselves are next level. The power of the water cascading down in the summer is breathtaking. In the winter, Athabasca Falls freezes and transforms into something magical – you have to see it in person! Nearby at Athabasca Glacier, you can conveniently take a guided tour like this one in a specially adapted vehicle that will take you out onto the glacier for an up-close look! It costs $104 CAD and books out quickly due to its popularity.
  • Marmot Basin – this is easily one of the most epic things to do in Jasper during the winter! Hit the slopes here, only 20 minutes outside of Jasper, to try out 91 different runs for beginners all the way through to advanced. What’s nice is the variety of runs for all levels from each lift – meaning I can grab a green or blue run to ski down while Dan takes a more challenging black one on his snowboard, but we still can go up the lift together. Marmot Basin is open from mid-November until early May and gets over 400 centimeters (more than 13 feet!) of snow every year.  
  • Downtown Jasper – Connaught Street is the busiest street in town and a lot of fun to wander around. You’ll probably notice the big train along here and the historic train station behind it that is still used today. Stopping at some of the unique shops along here to pick up souvenirs or grab a bite to eat is another great thing to do in Jasper. I love having supper at the rooftop patio at Jasper Pizza Place. The views are incredible (especially at sunset) and the pizza is delicious! Be sure to check out the best restaurants and coffee shops in Jasper while you’re here!
  • Whitewater Rafting – While you may think this is only for adventure-seekers, this is a great activity for the whole family! When you sign-up for a whitewater rafting tour, you’ll be taken to a beautiful stretch of river behind Athabasca Falls. It’s full of Class II rapids (exciting, but not scary!) with towering limestone cliffs all around you. I loved this unique and thrilling way to see Jasper. The rafting lasts about an hour and 15 minutes and bring a towel with you to dry off after!  
  • Pyramid Island Boardwalk – this spot is stunningly beautiful with mountains reflected in the glass-like waters of Pyramid Lake. It’s a really romantic spot for a walk or picnic if you’re planning your honeymoon in Jasper! The boardwalk out to Pyramid Island is picture-perfect and you’ll get 360-degree views of the mountains.  

Once you’re done in Jasper, keep the road trip going by heading to Banff! The drive from Jasper to Banff is incredible as you’ll pass through gorgeous valleys and next to waterfalls along the famous Icefields Parkway (Highway 93).  

Related Read: Heading to see some Edmonton attractions next? Read our blog about the drive from Jasper to Edmonton or our guide on the drive from Kamloops to Edmonton!

Where to Stay in Jasper

The spa at the Whistler Inn in jasper
What a view! This photo is taken from the gorgeous Whistlers Inn.

When compared to Banff (and the dozens of hotels in Banff), there actually aren’t that many to choose from in Jasper. That’s right, accommodation in Jasper is limited, and therefore it’s important to book your stay as far in advance as possible!

Here, I’ve handpicked some of my personal favorite hotels in Jasper suitable for any type of traveler with any type of budget!

Jasper Downtown Hostel (Budget Backpackers)

Jasper Downtown Hostel is the best place to stay for those on a tight budget. The central location just a couple blocks from shops and restaurants, shared facilities, and a friendly atmosphere make it a great place to stay. They offer budget dorm beds as well as affordable private rooms ranging from $45 – $179 CAD.

You can book Jasper Downtown Hostel on either or Hostelworld.

Whistlers Inn (Moderate Budget)

Whistlers Inn is the perfect place to stay if you are looking for a nice escape right in town and only a short walk from popular bars, restaurants, and attractions in Jasper. They also have a rooftop hot tub (pictured above) – need I say more? Because of its reasonable price of $300 CAD or less, it books up quickly so make sure to try and reserve as soon as you can!

You can check prices and availability on

Forest Park Hotel (Moderate to High Budget)

Forest Park Hotel is a great place to stay if you want a comfortable stay for a reasonable price right in town. There are some standard rooms, as well as some units with kitchenettes.

The rate for a queen room with two beds averages around $400 CAD. The hotel has an indoor pool and spa on-site as well as a gym and two restaurants. One is for breakfast and another for dinner and drinks – be sure to order their Detriot-style deep-dish pizza!

You can check prices and book Forest Park Hotel on

Pyramid Lake Resort (Luxury)

This place is beautiful, and it is set in an even more beautiful location! Pyramid Lake is the perfect place for hiking, swimming, kayaking, or even skating in the winter.

Pyramid Lake Resort doesn’t cut any corners and it’s a highly-rated hotel. It’s also a popular place to stay for couples – some rooms have a cozy fireplace to snuggle up around.

There is also a gym and hot tub to make use of! Prices vary based on the time of year but expect a room during the summer to run around $400 CAD a night.

You can check availability and book on

For more detailed info on the best hotels and areas to stay in Jasper, read our blog!

Essential tips for driving from Kamloops to Jasper

bright blue North Thompson River with pine trees along the drive from Kamloops to Jasper
The drive from Kamloops to Jasper follows the North Thompson River most of the way.

The drive from Kamloops to Jasper should take just under five hours without stopping. But this is not an area of the country you’re going to want to see just from a car window. Make sure to leave yourself lots of time by leaving early in the morning or, better yet, plan to stay a night or two along the route. 

If you’re driving in the winter, remember that winter tires are mandatory on most BC highways and are useful to have once you get to Jasper too.  

This road trip covers two provinces, so plan ahead for the time change when you enter Alberta (or enter BC if you’re doing this trip in reverse). 

Jasper National Park requires a Park Pass. You can buy ahead of time or purchase once you get there. The pass is $10.50 CAD per day per person, $21 CAD per day per family, or $145.25 CAD per year per car. The annual pass is the best value if you’re planning a long stay or hoping to visit more than one national park-like heading to Banff! 

Parks Canada Pass Quick Info

If you plan on spending time in Canada’s national parks (including Banff, Jasper, Yoho, Mount Revelstoke, Glacier, Kootenay, and more) 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 a couple of days.

  • Adult (ages 18-64) is $11 CAD
  • Senior (65+) is $9.50 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.)

  • $22.00 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) – $75.25 CAD
  • Senior (65+) – $64.50 CAD
  • Group/Family (up to 7 people in one vehicle) – $151.25 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 or booths at the entrance to many national parks.

Renting a Car in British Columbia

A rural road with Mt Currie in the background
Road trips are the best way to explore Canada!

If you’re arriving in British Columbia via plane, then I can’t recommend getting a rental car enough. British Columbia is a large province, and traveling between the best places to visit in BC requires transport. Although you can use public transport on some occasions, this means your trip will not only require more time but more planning.

Car rental in Canada isn’t relatively cheap, but it’s not that expensive either, especially if you get a budget car. The cheapest car with a pick-up and drop-off in different locations is around $100 CAD per day. The price does vary though, depending on the time of year. For car rentals, I use the website Discover Cars. It’s a search engine with lots of deals with good customer service. In fact, I’ve used Discover Cars all over the world, including in Chile, New Zealand, and Australia. Read my honest review of Discover Cars here for more details!

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!

Thanks for reading!

Bailey and Daniel take a selfie at their campsite in Jasper National Park after driving the Icefields parkway!
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the drive from Kamloops to Jasper as much as we did!

Jasper is one of the most beautiful places in Canada in any season, and the drive here from Kamloops is an amazing adventure. Whether you’re hoping to see incredible waterfalls, thinking about a once-in-lifetime helicopter ride to see the mountains or finding some great eats in small towns, this drive has something special to offer.

I hope you have lots of ideas to plan your own Rocky Mountain road trip! If it did, then check out more of our Canadian road trip blogs or these related articles below:

Guide to driving the Icefields Parkway

EPIC things to do in Jasper

Things to do in West Edmonton Mall (other than shopping!)