Located only 24 km from Banff and sitting on the doorstep of Kananaskis Country and several spectacular national parks, the beautiful town of Canmore is an ideal “home base” for a Rocky Mountain getaway. From Canmore, enjoy an extraordinary and unforgettable day trip to the stunning Athabasca Glacier and the charming mountain town of Jasper!
Driving from Canmore to Jasper
The drive from Canmore to Jasper along the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93) is an awe-inspiring journey that is guaranteed to be one of the most amazing trips of your lifetime. The beauty here is unparalleled!
Spanning 232km (141 miles), the Icefields Parkway boasts an awesome landscape consisting of untouched mountain lakes, expansive wilderness, alpine meadows and brilliant glaciers, as it leads you through Banff and Jasper National Parks. Expect a breathtaking vista of endless Rocky Mountain peaks! Stop at Athabasca Falls to admire this impressive, powerful waterfall. There is also a good chance that you will spot wildlife during your drive. Keep your eyes open for bighorn sheep, mountain goats, black bears, grizzly bears, elk and moose!
The drive from Canmore along the Icefields Parkway to the Athabasca Glacier takes about 2.5 hours. From the Columbia Icefields, you can reach Jasper in 90 minutes. The total distance from Canmore to Jasper is 311 km (one way), which takes approximately four hours (one way). We recommend departing Canmore early in the morning and watching the sun rise, bathing the dynamic Rockies with a marvelous pink light. Return “home” to Canmore in the evening while watching the sun set behind majestic mountain peaks.
Tour the ancient Athabasca Glacier and Columbia Icefield on board a jumbo “Ice Explorer” — an over-sized bus with gigantic tires and powerful treads. Learn about glaciers and icefields from an experienced guide. Surround yourself in the magic of nature by stepping out of the Ice Explorer and putting your feet on the glacier.
Details about Columbia Icefield Glacier Tours:
Ice Explorers depart every 15 to 30 minutes (weather permitting);
Tours depart from the Columbia Icefield Discovery Centre on the Icefields Parkway;
For individuals, reservations are not required; and
Excursions last about 1.5 hours.
For more information, please visit www.explorerockies.com/
Jasper as a Destination
With a population of about 5,200 residents, Jasper has a laid-back small town vibe. This charismatic and quiet town is circled by magnificent mountains — the Victoria Cross Ranges (northwest), Pyramid Mountain (north), Maligne Range (southeast) and Indian Range (southwest). For a privileged bird’s eye view of these breathtaking mountain ranges, the Jasper Tramway escorts guests up Whistler’s Mountain (2,277 meters; 7,472 feet). A hiking trail leads you to the summit.
Jasper is a popular destination for biking, hiking, horseback riding and more.
Our top places to visit in Jasper while there for a day trip:
Jasper Park Lodge — Enjoy a drink or lunch on the lakeside patio while breathing in the fabulous view of Edith Cavell Mountain. After lunch, take a walk around the beautiful, green-tinged lake.
Lake Annette — Relax on the beach and soak in the serene setting.
Maligne Canyon — On this walk, six bridges lead you across this beautiful, narrow canyon, offering you a breathtaking view of a deep gorge that extends several hundred feet beneath below you. In the winter, watch ice climbers scale the stunning frozen waterfalls.
Pyramid Lake — Located at the base of magnificent Pyramid Mountain and only a 10-minute drive from Jasper, this pristine lake is perfect for a picnic or exploring via kayak.
For dining in Jasper, we recommend the following establishments:
Fiddle River, an intimate restaurant located in a wood loft, offers gorgeous mountain views and exceptional food, including Alberta-raised beef, wild game, seafood and fish.
620 Connaught Drive, Jasper
Jasper Brewing Company offers six signature beers made with premium hops, superb malts and filtered Rocky Mountain water. Visit the sports pub or dine with your family in the restaurant.
624 Connaught Drive, Jasper
Famoso uses only the best, imported ingredients to make its authentically Italian pizzas. Hand-stretched, tossed and baked in an Italian fire-roasting oven, these crispy thin-crust pizzas taste just as amazing as they do in Naples!
607 Patricia Street, Jasper
Distance from Canmore to Jasper: 311 km (one way)
Approximate driving time from Canmore to Jasper: 4 hours (one way)