Located only 24km 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!
Ended up on Icefields Parkway at sunset by accident since all the campsites in Banff were full, and I had to keep driving north. Had I been in a car with a tent to set up, I'd probably be freaking out with nowhere to stay. Instead, I enjoyed the solitude on this otherwise very busy highway and eventually found a little pullout to hide at for the night. I don't usually prefer sleeping where I'm not supposed to, especially when I'm solo. I'm always so worried about getting busted and paranoid about creeps. But this night it was going to have to do, and happy to say I survived 🤘🏼
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 marvellous 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.
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.
Also, check out the best restaurants in Jasper to enjoy while you’re there.
- Distance from Canmore to Jasper: 311 km (one way)
- Approximate driving time from Canmore to Jasper: 4 hours (one way)
PLANNING A TRIP TO CANMORE?
We have a variety of Canmore vacation rentals to suit a variety of needs. Call our highly knowledgeable Destination Experts who can answer any questions you may have about a day trip from Canmore to Jasper, or our selection of Canmore accommodations. You can also browse our selection of Canmore vacation rentals online, or our Jasper accommodations.