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16 BEST Stops on the Drive from Vancouver to Jasper

16 BEST Stops on the Drive from Vancouver to Jasper

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Two of the most stunning places in Western Canada are Vancouver and Jasper, and although both places are beautiful, they couldn’t be more different from each other. Vancouver is the beating heart of British Columbia, a bustling, hip city filled with awesome restaurants, lovely beaches, and loads of fun activities.

Jasper, on the other hand, is a charming mountain town nestled within Jasper National Park that is famed for its bright-blue lakes, awesome hikes, and small-town vibes.

It’s no wonder then that the drive between these two gorgeous destinations is one of the most popular road trips to take in Canada. In this blog, I’ve written all about the drive from Vancouver to Jasper, including a whopping 16 stops you just HAVE to stop at on the way.

Note: This road trip itinerary also works in reverse if you’re driving from Jasper to Vancouver.

About the Drive from Vancouver to Jasper

scenic road surrounded by mountains in JAsper National PArk
Just one of the views from the road!

It’s time to buckle up, as the drive from Vancouver to Jasper is a long one! At 797 kilometers (495 miles) long, driving without stops would take you about 9 hours and 12 minutes to drive.

You’ll be following the TransCanada Highway BC-1 as far as Hope and from there the route follows the Yellowhead South Highway for most of the journey, passing through super cute towns such as Kamloops, Clearwater, and Valemount. A little while after Valemount, you’ll be changing to Highway 16, which will take you the rest of the way to Jasper.

So while it’s a long one, it’s not a particularly tricky journey!

Of course, between Vancouver and Jasper, it’s inevitable that you are going to pass through some truly stunning locations. This IS British Columbia, after all. The drive from Mount Robson to Jasper is the prettiest part of the journey and a favorite of ours, so don’t be afraid to stop more regularly on this section to take photos – we’re guilty of this!

Doing your research before your drive (which is what you’re doing now, good on you!), will help you make the most of this incredible trip. But if we had to give one trip, it’s not to rush and take every moment as it comes.

Also, if you plan to drive between Vancouver and Jasper in winter, you will need winter tires, especially coming into Jasper National Park. If you take the Banff route, you’ll need them coming into Banff also.

Speaking of different routes, let’s take a look at the other alternatives now!

Different Driving Routes between Vancouver and Jasper

We should mention there are a few different routes you can choose from when driving between Vancouver and Jasper, but the one mentioned above is the shortest and most popular option (via Kamloops and Valemount). It’s also the route we will focus on in this blog post.

There are a couple of other routes you can take, but which one you choose will depend on how much time you have and what stops you really want to make along the way. The map above outlines the 3 different main routes you can take.

TransCanada Highway route (via Revelstoke, Golden, and Banff)

One of the other popular routes between Vancouver and Jasper is via the TransCanada Highway, which will take just over 12 hours and is 1,018 kilometers (633 miles) in total. This particular route passes through Revelstoke, Golden, and Banff, but it is a busier route.

It’s a little longer, but for those with Banff on their bucket list, it might be the best option. In this case, read our blog about the drive from Vancouver to Banff and then Banff to Jasper to curate your road trip itinerary.

The Okanagan Valley route

Alternatively, cut out Kamloops and go via the gorgeous Okanagan Valley, this will take about 10 hours without stops. For this particular route, you will need to travel from Merritt into the Okanagan via Highway 97.

You’ll meet back up with TransCanada Highway 1 at Sicamous and from there drive to Revelstoke and Banff before heading to Jasper town.

BEST Places to Stop on the Drive from Vancouver to Jasper

1. Vancouver

Vancouver City on a sunny day in False Creek
Vancouver is stunning!

While we’re sure you’re itching to get started on your journey, hold your horses! Vancouver is, after all, known as one of Canada’s most vibrant cities, and it attracts adventure enthusiasts, outdoor lovers, and foodies from all over the globe. So why not take a little time to explore the sights before setting off?

With Bailey being Canadian, we’ve both visited Vancouver numerous times and so we’ve come up with a must-do list of all the best things to do in Vancouver. Also, many see Vancouver as an expensive destination, but that’s not to say it can’t be enjoyed on a budget, in fact, there are heaps of awesome free things to do in Vancouver!

First up is a hike through Lighthouse Park in North Vancouver, which is incredibly scenic and offers the chance to see some of the largest Western Red Cedar and Douglas Fir Trees in Canada! It’s just a 10-minute walk to the lighthouse and as such, is considered one of the best easy hikes in Vancouver.

In our opinion, no trip to Vancouver is complete without checking out Granville Island – it’s a small island that you can drive or catch a ferry to from downtown Vancouver IslandOn Granville Island, there are lots of things to do, we especially love visiting the huge indoor market here – which is especially popular with local Vancouverites.

For one of the best Granville Island experiences, you can book a guided tour of the market for a true insight into the different stalls! This VIP access Granville Island Market tour is the perfect introduction to the best-hidden secrets to be found here. Lasting 2 hours, there’s lots of time to ask questions and get to know the local scene. With 20+ signature tastings, it’s best to go on an empty stomach!

Other things to do here on Granville Island include shopping, watching street performers, going to the Kid’s Markets, or even checking out the local brewery.

Bailey walks through Granville Island Public Market
Look at all this food!
The Capilano Suspension bridge above the river in Vancouver
The Capilano Suspension Bridge

Be sure to also explore Stanley Park! We recommend renting a bicycle and riding around the Seawall. Stop at different beaches to relax along the way.

Of course, no trip to Vancouver would be complete without whale watching! From out on the open water, you’ll have the opportunity to spot various types of whales, including Humpback whales and, our favorite, Orcas. But besides whales, you’ll also have the opportunity to spot other wildlife, including seabirds, seals, and otters.

You can expect to pay about $236 CAD for this half-day whale watching tour that includes tea and coffee, and you’ll be joined by expert naturalists to teach you all about the whales and places you’ll see. It’s tons of fun, no matter how old you are – there’s nothing more magical than seeing a whale in the wild!

Just a 20-minute drive from Vancouver city center, you’re not far from the towering Capilano Suspension Bridge which is 137 meters long (450 feet) and hangs 70 meters (230 feet) above the Capilano River. There are also various hiking trails here too, along with a treetop walk and a glass floor lookout! Admission costs $66 CAD per adult and can be booked online here.

Where to stay in Vancouver

HI Vancouver Downtown is perfect if you’re looking for a budget option! There are not as many hostel options in Vancouver, but this one that’s located downtown is a good option.

Or you can ball out at the Fairmont Pacific Rim if you’re searching for luxury. It has a full-service spa and rooftop swimming pool, on-site restaurants that have live music, and an outdoor terrace. The views from this hotel are phenomenal, as it’s right on the waterfront. 

There are literally hundreds of places to stay in Vancouver. Read our blog about where to stay in Vancouver for info about the best areas to base yourself and the top-rated hotels.

2. Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil Falls on the drive from Vancouver to Edmonton
The huge Bridal Veil Falls!

Leaving Vancouver behind, it’s time for the road trip to begin!

One of our very favorite stops on the drive from Vancouver to Jasper is Bridal Veil Falls. This huge 60-meter (197-foot) tall waterfall cascades over a large rock face, making it look just like a bridal veil. It’s beautiful and impressive. In fact, it is the 6th largest waterfall in all of Canada!

This is the perfect place to pull off the highway and go for a hike to a spectacular waterfall. From the parking lot, it’s a short hike of only 15 minutes on a relatively easy path to reach the Bridal Veil Falls waterfall. 

While you’re here, plan to stay a bit to enjoy the park. Bridal Veil Falls is located within a provincial park. There’s a great area here for a picnic, so bring lunch!

Note: The falls are only open during the summer months (May to October).

3. Hope

A lady poses for a photo at Kawkawa Lake in Hope, BC
How beautiful is this place!?

The small town of Hope is the next stop on your road trip. Although small in size, there are plenty of fun things to do in Hope.

Hope has an unusual nickname – it’s known as the ‘Chainsaw Capital of the World’ thanks to an International Chainsaw Carving Competition that is held here every year. In fact, you’re likely to see lots of unique wooden sculptures dotted throughout the town during your time in Hope!

In town, be sure to visit the Christ Church National Historic Site. Built in 1861, it is the oldest church on the BC mainland. You can do a guided tour of the Church during the summer months.

There are also plenty of unique artisan stores, cafés, and restaurants in Hope to refuel before continuing on your road trip. One of our favorite places to stop in for food and drinks is Mountainview Brewing Co. on the Old Hope Princeton Highway, which is the first craft beer brewery in town!

They serve up some yummy snacks and sandwiches as well as exceptional beers which are brewed in Hope with fresh mountain water! Taste the “Dark Side of Town” a classic dark German lager or “Main Squeeze” a sour ale brewed with organic peaches and plums. Grab your beers to go to enjoy once you’re done with your drive.

Outside of town, Kawkawa Lake is a nice spot to swim during the summer as the water is surprisingly warm for a glacier-fed lake. At all times of the year, it’s a popular spot with locals for waterskiing and stand-up paddleboarding. There’s also a beach, picnic area, and dock.

Consider spending the night in Hope because it has some great bed and breakfasts and hotels. Situated high up on Thacker Mountain, the High Hopes Bed and Breakfast boasts guest rooms with private balconies. The nightly rate also includes a delicious homemade breakfast.

4. Othello Tunnels

The Othello Tunnels in British Columbia
How cool are the tunnels!?

When driving from Vancouver to Jasper, a stop at the Othello Tunnels is a must! They are located east of Hope in Coquihalla Provincial Park.

These abandoned train tunnels and bridges were built by blasting through solid granite in 1914. The Canadian Pacific Railway needed a route to connect the Kootenay Region with the coast of B.C. and built the railway over three mountain ranges. It’s considered one of the world’s greatest engineering feats of the time.

It’s free to explore the tunnels and is a fun adventure for the whole family. The tunnels start only 10 minutes from the parking lot, and it takes about 20 minutes to walk through all five of them. It does get quite dark in some parts, so bring a flashlight (or your phone) as you wander through.

The scenery around the tunnels on the trail is beautiful too with the Coquihalla River, so make sure to have your camera on hand. This area has even appeared in several movies – look for the cliff above Tunnel #2 where the cliff jump scene was filmed for Rambo: First Blood.

5. Needle Peak

View from the top of the Needle Peak Hike  in British Columbia
Needle Peak has some amazing views!

If there’s one thing that we love, it’s challenging ourselves when epic views are on the line! And boy, does Needle Peak offer these and more.

This is a hike for the adventurous out there, with the trail to Needle Peak being about 8.7 km (5.4 mi) return. For those physically fit, it’s not a super challenging hike, but the elevation gain of 830 m (2,623 ft) means that some parts are pretty steep! There’s also a scramble involved for the final part of the hike, but if that’s not your thing, you can stop here to enjoy the views, which are still epic from this height.

We recommend parking at the Zopkios Rest Area, where you can then follow the signs marked for the beginning of the trail. Don’t forget to bring proper hiking boots, and there is usually snow towards the peak for the majority of the year, so bring along lots of layers to keep you warm.

6. Merritt

Breakfast sandwiches from Kekuli Café Coffee & Bannock- Merritt
Breakfast sandwiches from Kekuli Café Coffee & Bannock- Merritt

Merritt is a small community off the highway that is a great place to stop for food or fuel on the drive. It’s known as the “Country Music Capital of Canada” and you can easily see why while wandering through the town.

There are murals of country music legends throughout the town, including many that are tributes to artists who have performed here including Keith Urban, Leeann Rimes, Johnny Reid, and Aaron Pritchett.

If you’re in a hurry, there are a variety of fast-food restaurants here to choose from. If you have a bit more time, visit Kekuli Café. They serve yummy Indigenous food in a coffee shop environment. The fresh, handmade Bannock (including Bannock sandwiches) is raved about by locals and tourists alike!

To break up the trip, Merritt has some good hotel options. The Comfort Inn and Suites is the best place to stay with an indoor pool and hot tub, a fitness center, and free breakfast daily. If you stay here, the nearby Nicola Lake is another great area to explore to extend your road trip.

7. Kamloops

Views from Tower Trail Lookout in Kenna Cartwright Nature Park, Kamloops
Views from Tower Trail Lookout in Kenna Cartwright Nature Park, Kamloops

Kamloops is a great place in any season with winter activities like downhill skiing or snowshoeing. Or, take advantage of long summers with nice weather and go hiking or paddling on the nearby lakes and rivers. The truth is, there are lots of fun things to do in Kamloops!

Sun Peaks Ski Resort is our personal favorite place to go for skiing because it gets about 6 meters (20 feet) of snow every year, and it’s only 45 minutes from Kamloops!

There are more than 100 lakes within an hour of the city! In the summer, 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. 

In addition, you can go on plenty of hikes, including the popular Kenna Cartwright Nature Park, which boasts more than 40 km (25 miles) of trails – some of which offer epic views of Kamloops and the Thompson Valley. There are even several beaches and picnic areas here. Our top tip is to come here for sunset to take some truly breathtaking photos. 

Speaking of Thompson Valley, this area is also home to four wineries. Make sure to visit at least one while you’re here! We love spending an afternoon at a winery to sip great wine and savor the view. A couple of our 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 $18.95 CAD for adults.

Where to stay in Kamloops:

As we’ve 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, we 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.

8. Clearwater

Daniel standing with the iconic moose in Clearwater, BC
Did you even visit Clearwater if you didn’t take a picture with the moose?!

Clearwater is a small town surrounded by big scenery! It’s an outdoor vacation paradise full of waterfalls, 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. We recommend booking this whitewater rafting tour on the Clearwater River, full of exciting rapids, churning waves, and stunning scenery. 

All the equipment needed is included, and your local 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 (25-foot) cliff! Tickets cost $149 CAD per person and can be booked online here with 24-hour free cancellation.

If you happen to be in Clearwater on the weekend, definitely stop by 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! We recommend pairing 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. 

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. You have the option of staying in a hand-crafted log cabin or an ultra-luxurious forest tent. These tents really are next-level, with hardwood floors, a private bathroom, and a plush queen-size bed! 

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

9. 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!

This is a bit of a detour off of 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, 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 in the park was formed by ancient volcanoes and slow-moving glaciers that created rivers and lakes that supply the waterfalls.

One of our 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! 

If you don’t have days to explore the park, these are the three waterfalls you absolutely can’t miss out on seeing. They are all just off Clearwater Valley Road and each is 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-foot) straight drop and water cascading down from a break in the rocks.
  • 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.
  • 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 meter-drop (462 feet). The viewing platform here juts out over the canyon, giving an almost panoramic view.

10. Blue River and Mud Lake

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

After a 107 km (66 mile) drive from Clearwater, you’ll find the super cute town of Blue River, a great spot to stretch your legs, refuel, and refresh for the drive ahead! If you’ve got the time to take things a little slowly, then why not stop by and get to know the town, one that often gets left aside as tourists rush off after Valemount and beyond?

One of our favorite things to do here (apart from the river safari, which is up next!), is to head out to the rather uniquely named ‘Mud Lake’, which really does a giant disservice to the amazing views here! Our tip is to hire out a canoe (or paddleboard) over at the Blue River Campground ($50 CAD for a full day’s use), then head out onto the lake for some fun out on the water.

You can actually reach the lake by car too – don’t let the gravel road fool you! Once you arrive, take in those epic views, and enjoy a spot that not too many people get to see.

11. River Safari

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

About an hour’s drive from Wells Gray Provincial Park, is what we find to be one of the most fun stops on the drive from Vancouver to Jasper. River Safari is a guided tour by jet boat or catamaran into the only inland temperate forest in the world, near Blue River.

Their most popular tour is their 1.5-hour long River Safari, which starts off with a catamaran trip before hopping into a jet boat to explore narrow, shallow river deltas in search of the elusive grizzly bear. This specific area is called Grizzly Bear Valley for good reason – it has one of the largest populations of grizzly bears in B.C!

The river safari tour runs in the summer months only, starting in early May, and costs $133 CAD per adult and $86 CAD per child (infants under 4 are free)!

The eco-tour, on the other hand, lasts for 1 hour and is essentially the first half of the full river safari. You’ll spend the entire time on the catamaran, and it’s a great budget alternative, costing just $84 CAD per adult. Plus, you still get to see a lot of the action (although it’s a lot more chilled out!).

To find the starting point for your tour – look for the giant bear and billboard at the main entrance. At busy times of the year (for example, July and August) it is recommended to book your chosen tour in advance. Otherwise, you can show up without a reservation and the staff will try to get you on the next tour.

Top Tip: After your tour, why not treat yourself to dinner at The Forest Table, their floating restaurant? Uniquely built on a floating dock that overlooks the river, the tables and seats are made from carved wood and their dishes are excellent, prioritizing local ingredients.

12. Valemount

The view from the top of 5 Mile Road, Valemount
The view of Valemount from the top of 5 Mile Road!

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 BanffWhistler, 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 $22 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 donations, so it’s a fantastic option for a cheap activity in Valemount.

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.)

For now, 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 to 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. 

We couldn’t pass through Valemount without stopping at Three Ranges Brewing for their craft beer. There is the word “ale” in Valemount, after all! Bailey’s favorite is their Trail Slap IPA because of her 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 our 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. 

Our 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. 

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

13. 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 toward Jasper, you’ll pass a parking lot on the side of the road where you can access the stunning Rearguard Falls. Located a 20-minute drive from Valemount and is without a doubt one of the most interesting places to visit on your road trip from Vancouver to Jasper.

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. 

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. It’s such an interesting sight to see – 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.

Related Read: Rearguard Falls is also one of the best stops on the drive from Vancouver to Edmonton.

14. Mount Robson Visitor Center

Daniel poses for a photo in Mount Robson Provincial Park
What a place!
View from the helicopter of Mount Robson in Mount Robson Provincial Park, Canada
Our scenic flight over Mount Robson Provincial Park was epic!

Less than a 10-minute drive from Rearguard Falls is a must-stop on your Vancouver to Jasper adventure.

Mount Robson is the tallest mountain in the Canadian Rockies, standing tall at a huge 3,454 meters (11,332 ft), and the visitor center is a great place to grab a coffee (the views from the café here are jaw-dropping!) and learn about Mount Robson Provincial Park. There’s also free WiFi!

If you have the time, We highly recommend spending longer in the park to go hiking! There are lots of day hikes here of various lengths. The Berg Lake Trail is one of the best (in fact, 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, Emperor Falls, Berg Lake, and the Berg Glacier. This is a long trail at 41.5 kilometers (26 miles), so people often 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! 

You can book a helicopter tour of Mount Robson with Robson HeliMagic if you’re after a bucket-list-worthy experience! It’s a short journey (about 36 minutes total) but the views are pretty sweet!

From your prime vantage point, you will see Kinney Lake, the Valley of a Thousand Falls, and even two glaciers – Mist Glacier and Berg Lake Glacier. This particular tour costs $995 CAD per helicopter and holds up to 4 people.

If you want to spend the night in the park, your only option is to go camping! Around 180 vehicle-accessible campsites in the park 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. 

2024 Update: Due to planned maintenance work, Berg Lake Trail will close after April 30th. Starting May 1, the trail to Kinney Lake will be available for day hikes. Check for updates here before you go!

15. Yellowhead Lake

By now, we’re sure you’re itching to get to Jasper and explore all the amazing things to do there. But before you do, there’s one more stop we wanted to recommend you make, and it can be a short or a long one, depending on how you feel!

Yellowhead Lake is a beautiful spot that perfectly reflects the mountains in the distance, making it an ideal spot to snap a photo (or five) before you make the final half-hour drive to Jasper. There are also public toilets here, if anyone feels like they’re about to burst before you make it to town.

Of course, you can also go canoeing and paddleboarding here too!

Not only is there a pretty little campground here, but if you fancy taking things up a notch, there’s also the trail to Mount Fitzwilliam, which is a bit of an epic one! At 25.1 km (15.6 mi) out and back, this will likely be a multi-day hike depending on how much time you want to commit, and we say if you have the chance, give this one a go!

16. Jasper

Bailey skiing at Marmot Basin in Jasper National Park
Not a bad view while skiing in Marmot Basin!
Bailey walks out onto a dock at the Valley of the 5 Lakes in Jasper
The 5 Lakes in Jasper

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 and tours to experience. 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, though, you’ll find it’s not as busy and touristy as Banff, with a small-town charm to it. We’ve been here many times and no matter when we visit, we always have a blast.

As we’ve mentioned, there are loads to do in this small town, and one of the most popular things to do here is the SkyTram, a large mountain gondola that can carry up to 24 people. On this, you can get a birds-eye view of Jasper from the peak of Whistlers Mountain.

At the top of the Jasper SkyTram, you can explore an indoor area, gift shop, and eat at a restaurant with amazing views. It’s open from late March 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.

Another MUST-do summer activity is whitewater rafting. It’s a refreshing and thrilling way to enjoy the scenery and bond with your fellow travelers. There are many different types of tours that work for all types of preferences:

  • This family-friendly tour is ideal for all ages as you’ll travel down less intense rapids, while still having an epic time exploring!
  • For the adventurous out there, this extreme rafting tour is all about the thrills, definitely an activity you’ll remember for a long time.
View of Maligne Lake, Canada
Maligne Lake Jasper!

The breathtaking Maligne Lake is a short drive from Jasper, we’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 Alberta’s most popular places to visit!

We recommend taking this famous Maligne Lake Cruise that showcases the beauty of the lake, including the spectacular Spirit Island, which is one of the most photographed places in Jasper National Park. It lasts about an hour and a half and really is such a fun way to learn about the lake (including a few not-so-well-kept secrets too!). You can read our full review of the Maligne Lake Cruise for more details!

There’s so much more to do at Maligne Lake – you can easily set aside a day or at least a few hours to explore here. But if you’re a little short on time, then we highly recommend at least hopping aboard the lake cruise. Tickets cost $90 CAD per person and can be booked online here.

And if you’re going to see one waterfall while you’re in Jasper, make it Athabasca Falls! The popular trail, about 30 minutes from downtown on the Icefields Parkway, is only 1 km (0.6 mi) 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 must see it in person!

Specifically, 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 $119 CAD and books out quickly due to its popularity.

If you plan to drive between Kamloops and Edmonton in the winter, be sure to spend a few hours at Marmot Basin, just 20 minutes from Jasper. This is easily one of the most epic things to do in Jasper during the winter!

You can hit the slopes here to try out 91 different runs for beginners through to advanced. What’s nice is the variety of runs for all levels from each lift! Marmot Basin is open from mid-November until early May and gets over 400 centimeters (13 feet!) of snow yearly.

Related Read: Heading to explore the top things to do in Edmonton next? Read our blog about the drive from Jasper to Edmonton!

Where to Stay in Jasper

The spa at the Whistler Inn in jasper
What a view! This photo was taken at 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 our personal favorite hotels in Jasper, suitable for any type of traveler with any type of budget!

Pyramid Lake Resort – $$$

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.

As a highly-rated hotel, Pyramid Lake Resort doesn’t cut any corners. It’s also a popular place to stay for couples – some rooms have a cozy fireplace to snuggle up around! There is also a fully-equipped gym and hot tub to make use of, and then there are all the fun activities you can get up to outside too.

Prices vary based on the time of year but expect a room during the summer to run around $600 CAD a night, so it’s not the cheapest option on this list! However, if you’re looking to end your road trip with a bang, or are celebrating a special occasion, then this might just be the option for you. You can check availability and book online on Booking.com.

Whistlers Inn – $$

The 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 we 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 here on Booking.com.

Forest Park Hotel – $$

The 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 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!

The rate for a queen room with two beds averages around $200 – $400 CAD per night, depending on the season, so make sure to check availability and book your room in advance for the best rates.

Jasper Downtown Hostel – $

Jasper Downtown Hostel is the best place to stay for those on a tight budget. The central location just a couple of 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 Booking.com or Hostelworld.

For more detailed info on the best hotels and areas to stay in Jasper, don’t forget to read our blog!

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.

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!

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.

Thanks for reading!

Bailey and Daniel take a selfie in Jasper National Park
Thanks for reading!

We’re so glad you’re considering a road trip between Vancouver and Jasper, two of our favorite places in the world! The route we’ve detailed above is our preference as it’s the quickest but includes some awesome stops along the way. We hope after reading this blog, you’re just itching to get out on the open road, and we’re certain you will love the drive between Vancouver and Jasper as much as we do!

If you enjoyed this blog post, you may also enjoy some of our other posts about B.C. and Alberta or our blog detailing the best road trips from Vancouver. Or some of our other favorites include:

20 BEST Stops on the Drive from Calgary to Jasper (via Icefields Parkway)

15 Stops on the Icefields Parkway You Can Visit in 1 DAY

5 Absolute BEST Restaurants in Jasper with epic views & food!

Valentina

Thursday 8th of June 2023

Dear Dan and Bailey , thank you very much for this wonderful post. I am planning my road trip from Colorado to Canada this summer. I can't stop reading and studding all the wonderful places you mentioned. This is the information I was looking for. Thank you for all your beautiful photos. Wishing you good luck on your destinationless travel, good weather and easy roads. Valentina.