The Canadian Rockies is a spectacular region of the Maple Leaf nation and anyone visiting here should savor every moment of spectacular scenery that you will stumble across. However, what if you only have a short time in this part of Canada? During our recent visit to Jasper and Banff, we had a couple of days in each national park so we wanted to share the best way to experience them. Let’s start by taking a look at our 48 hours in Jasper National Park and perhaps you will be inspired to follow a similar itinerary.
Our visit to Jasper National Park was action-packed and involved A LOT of driving. As you read through this post, there will be a couple of parts which you will likely question simply because we went back on ourselves but this was because of timing and some of the attractions that we had pre-booked.
Regardless of your desire to experience all of the amazing things to do in Jasper National Park, if you are looking to enjoy ultimate serenity, Jasper is definitely one of the best places to experience this!
Where is Jasper National Park?
If you are unfamiliar with Canadian geography, you could be forgiven for having no idea where Jasper National Park is located. It’s actually one of the easier national parks to visit, particularly given the vast size of Canada and how much remoteness can be found across this nation. Conveniently located in close proximity to both Edmonton and Calgary, this can easily be reached within a few hours.
For those of you opting to fly into Calgary like we did, you have a couple of choices to make. Do you want to take the breathtaking scenic route through Banff which is technically shorter and quicker but you will likely want to stop because of the many distractions along this route? Or alternatively, head north towards Edmonton before heading west across to Jasper?
Regardless of the route you choose, the beauty of Jasper National Park awaits and you will be raring to experience the myriad of natural landscapes when you arrive!
- Calgary to Jasper – 420km – Approximately 5 hours (without any stops) – Click Here for Directions using Google Maps
- Edmonton to Jasper – 365km – Approximately 4 hours (without any stops) – Click Here for Directions Using Google Maps
Where to Stay in Jasper?
Be prepared to book well in advance before your visit to Jasper National Park! There is limited availability in the town of Jasper, so unless you are planning on renting an RV or camper, or pitching a tent somewhere, you will likely have to follow our approach and drive 45 minutes to nearby Hinton. This was certainly not our preferred option but given that we didn’t book anything in advance, we didn’t have much choice.
It did give us the opportunity to admire the gorgeous scenery on the scenic route from the North-East entrance of Jasper National Park to the town of Jasper but as I indicated, this is not necessarily our recommended option.
Here are a few accommodation options in Jasper based on recommendations from some of our travel blogging friends that have stayed here, in addition to our preferred choice in Hinton.
- Pyramid Lake Resort – Looking for the perfect location with a gorgeous backdrop? We strongly recommend considering the Pyramid Lake Resort which is located away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Jasper but only a few minutes away if you want to visit shops or restaurants. Check out the latest prices and availability here.
- Best Western Jasper Inn & Suites – Frequently the Best Western brand is considering a “low-cost” option, especially in the United States. Although affordability is a positive aspect, we have found that the Best Western brand tends to have more lucrative options outside of the States and the location in Jasper is one that fits into this category. Check out the latest prices and availability here.
- Holiday Inn Hinton – Welcome to our choice of hotel during our 48 hours in Jasper National Park! Conveniently located on the highway close to the national park entrance, this is an affordable hotel which will meet all your needs, particularly if you are just looking for a place to put your head down for a few hours and enjoy a shower. Check out the latest prices and availability here.
Looking for more hotel options in the Jasper area? Check out the available options below but again, always try to book in advance when visiting this part of Canada.
48 Hours in Jasper National Park
48 hours…4,200 square miles to cover…surely that wouldn’t be a problem for expert weekend warriors like us? In hindsight, we made a few mistakes with our planning, specifically not being able to stay overnight in Jasper (having to drive 45 minutes to Hinton was more of an annoyance than anything!) and also enjoying the Athabasca Glacier the following morning before heading back north to take the Maligne Lake scenic drive.
But regardless, we accomplished what we set out to see and hopefully, this will inspire you to check out all of these amazing attractions on your next visit to Jasper…trust us, it’s worth it!
Day 1 Itinerary
8:00 AM – After picking up our rental car around at Calgary International Airport, we headed to Jasper National Park via Banff and along the Columbia Icefield. Although it was difficult, we only stopped on a couple of occasions to snap a few quick photos with the realization that we would be making this same trip a couple of days later.
2:00 PM – Arrived in Jasper to pay a quick visit to the tourist information center and collect some brochures on the national park and quickly outline our planned route.
2:30 PM – Our first stop was the Jasper SkyTram to the summit of Whistlers Mountain. We had the opportunity to admire the beauty of Jasper National Park while also peering down on the town of Jasper.
4:30 PM – Short drive back to Jasper town center and then just a couple of miles north of the downtown area is the gorgeous sight of Patricia Lake and Pyramid Lake. We spent quite a bit of time walking around exploring this area and capturing some pretty memorable shots.
7:00 PM – We headed back to Jasper to enjoy dinner at the Whistle Stop Pub before spending some time walking around and exploring the myriad of gift shops and other attractions in the downtown vicinity.
10:00 PM – Our evening entertainment was provided as the Jasper Planetarium where we were given an astronomy lesson and then enjoyed a late night viewing of stars, galaxies, and constellations. Given that we didn’t book our hotel well in advance, there was limited availability in Jasper so we opted to stay about 45 minutes outside in Hinton, which at that time of night wasn’t really the drive we wanted to take.
Day 2 Itinerary
7:00 AM – A two-hour drive saw us head back into Jasper National Park from Hinton and to the gorgeous Columbia Icefield. We stumbled across our first black bear sighting on this drive, but it certainly wasn’t the last! We had a tour booked to experience a walk on the Athabasca Glacier and also experience the Glacier Skywalk.
1:00 PM – Although it made very little sense to head back to Jasper, we really wanted to experience the scenic drive to Maligne Lake given that we heard this was a hotspot for wildlife.
We grabbed a quick lunch in Jasper at a convenience store that we quickly fell in love with both days in this town (the sausage rolls are to die for!), before heading along the scenic drive and first visiting Maligne Canyon.
5:00 PM – Our time in Jasper National Park was coming to an end but we still had plenty to experience en route to Banff. We certainly took advantage of the long daylight hours during this trip to the Canadian Rockies. Visits to Athabasca Falls and Sunwapta Falls were spectacular before the five-hour drive back to Banff saw us arrive around 11:00 PM.
As you can see, this was an incredibly busy itinerary but with a little extra planning, we could have avoided a couple of the longer stretches of driving. Jasper National Park can be seen in 48 hours, at least some of the iconic things to do, but we strongly encourage that you consider spending longer here to fully appreciate the beauty.
We wanted to give an overview of our experience visiting Jasper and we will be releasing a series of posts focused on highlighting the best things to do in Jasper National Park! If you haven’t already fallen in love with this part of Canada, we are convinced that you soon will.
Did I also mention that we experienced the spectacular scenery throughout Banff National Park also during this visit? Yes, we were well and truly spoiled on this holiday weekend getaway!
Have you visited Jasper? What are your favorite things to do in Jasper National Park?
DISCLAIMER – This post contains affiliate links. Should you choose to make a purchase via one of our links, we may receive a small commission. This income helps A Brit & A Southerner continue to explore and share inspiring stories. Although we have not personally stayed at all of the hotels included in this post, we used the recommendations of friends and family as well as detailed research to bring you the very best options possible.