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12 Best Stops for a Banff to Jasper Road Trip

12 Best Stops for a Banff to Jasper Road Trip

Doing a Banff to Jasper road trip and looking for the best stops to make along the way?

The Canadian Rockies are an absolutely incredible sight to see, and it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Here are some of the best stops to make on your Banff to Jasper road trip!

Be sure to also follow me on Instagram and TikTok – I share a lot more content on those platforms that don’t make it to the blog!

Plan your Banff trip

If you’re planning a trip to Alberta, here are some other posts to help you plan your perfect trip:


Tips for your Banff to Jasper road trip


Plan your Banff to Jasper road trip ahead of time

If you visit Banff and Jasper during summer, it’ll be extremely busy, and if you visit during winter, some attractions and sights will be closed.

So it’s important to be prepared and plan your Banff to Jasper road trip ahead of time to make the most of it!

Here are a few fun tours and activities that are available in Banff and Jasper:

I’ve also got a blog post all about how to plan a travel itinerary if you’re interested!

If you’re traveling from afar, I’ve got a post on how to survive long-haul flights.

Rent a car for your Banff to Jasper road trip

If you’re doing a Banff to Jasper road trip, you’re probably renting a car, which is definitely the best way to see the Canadian Rockies.

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By having your own vehicle, you can stop along any stops you come across, and spend as much time as you want in each attraction.

Expedia is my go-to website for booking car rentals because you can collect points towards discounts and free rewards!

I’ve got a blog post all about road trip tips if you’re interested, as well as comfy road trip outfits you can wear.

If you do decide to visit Banff without a car, you can get a hop-on and hop-off bus ticket that takes you to a bunch of hotspots in Banff.

Download music or podcasts

Because of all the mountains, most of the Icefields Parkway has absolutely no service.

So, you’ll want to download music or podcasts to listen to on the drive!

If you’re looking for new podcasts to listen to, check out my fave road trip podcasts.


Best stops on your Banff to Jasper road trip


Johnston Canyon in Banff, Alberta
Beautiful Johnston Canyon.

Johnston Canyon

Johnston Canyon is an extremely popular and relatively easy hike in Banff, and you’ll see plenty of families and kids on the trail.

It’s a very safe trail with plenty of fencing, and you’ll get to see both the Lower and Upper Falls with plenty of gorgeous views along the canyon.

There are quite a few inclines, so put on a good pair of running or hiking shoes and get your leg workout on!

Lower Falls at Johnston Canyon in Banff, Alberta
The Lower Falls at Johnston Canyon.
Upper Falls at Johnston Canyon in Banff, Alberta
The Upper Falls at Johnston Canyon.

Some parts of the Johnston Canyon trail are extremely narrow, which makes it kinda difficult to social distance if you’re nervous about that.

Once you get to the Upper Falls, you have the option of turning back, or making your way over to the Ink Pots trail.

If you have the time (and physical energy), I would highly recommend doing the Ink Pots hike.

I believe the Johnston Canyon hike is around 2 hours roundtrip, and adding the Ink Pots hike makes it about 3.5 hours roundtrip (for someone relatively active).

Ink Pots mineral springs in Banff, Alberta
The Ink Pots is an epic spot well worth the hike from Johnston Canyon.

Please remember to exercise caution and keep yourself safe on any hikes you do in Banff – accidents can happen!

LOCATION: Bow Valley Pkwy, AB


Moraine Lake in Banff, Alberta

Moraine Lake

When you see Moraine Lake in person, you won’t even believe it’s real – that’s how marvellous it is.

It’s quite an uphill walk to get to the top of the rocks, but it’s so worth it for the epic views.

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Moraine Lake in Banff, Alberta

Many people arrive for 5 AM to catch the sunrise over the mountain peaks, so it’s extremely difficult to get any early morning parking.

Your best bet is to arrive around 7-8 AM when the early morning folks leave, or around 12 PM when people are heading off to lunch.

Canoes at Moraine Lake in Banff, Alberta
You can also rent a canoe at Moraine Lake.

Also be aware that the road to Moraine Lake is only open during the summer months!

If you’re up for a hike, the Consolation Lakes trailhead starts at Moraine Lake – it’s a nice 2-3 hour hike, but the views aren’t anything too crazy.

LOCATION: 622 Moraine Lake Rd, Field, AB


Snowy winter in Lake Louise, Alberta
Lake Louise is stunning year-round.

Lake Louise

Visitors come from all over the world to see the picturesque beauty of Lake Louise, with its crystal clear waters and mountain backdrop.

It’s lovely to go canoeing on during the spring and summer months, and it’s fun to go ice skating on it during the winter months!

Lake Louise, Banff, Alberta
You can go canoeing on Lake Louise during the spring and summer months.

Lake Louise is one of the few places in Banff with paid parking, and it’s $11.70 CAD for the day.

If you’re up for a hike, the Plain of the Six Glaciers hike is an epic trail that actually starts at Lake Louise (so you can get even more value out of the day parking fee).

It’s about a 4-6 hour hike depending on your physical abilities (it’s quite strenuous) and if you make a lunch stop at the Plain of the Six Glaciers Teahouse.

LOCATION: 111 Lake Louise Dr, Lake Louise, AB

Wildflowers along the Plain of the Six Glaciers hiking trail in Lake Louise, Alberta
View of Lake Louise from the Plain of the Six Glaciers trail.
Lunch at the Plain of the Six Glaciers Teahouse in Lake Louise, Alberta
Our lunch of Italian Soup, PB&J, Chocolate Mousse, and Lemonade at the Plain of the Six Glaciers Teahouse.

Takakkaw Falls in Yoho National Park, British Columbia

Takakkaw Falls

Takakkaw Falls is one of the most stunning waterfalls in the Canadian Rockies, and it’s actually the second tallest waterfall in Canada!

It’s also only about a 10 minute walk from the parking lot, which makes it a super easy and family-friendly spot to visit.

There are plenty of lovely viewpoints along the walk, and you can walk right up to the waterfall if you’re in the mood to get a lil’ rained on.

Takakkaw Falls in Yoho National Park, British Columbia

Takakkaw Falls is also located in Yoho National Park, which is in British Columbia, but right outside of Banff!

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You’ll likely cross provinces once or twice during your Canadian Rockies trip between Alberta and BC.

The road to get to Takakkaw Falls is quite long and has a few switchbacks, so definitely take care while driving up to it.

Also, a fun fact: “takkakaw” means “wonderful” in Cree!

LOCATION: Yoho National Park, BC


Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park, British Columbia

Emerald Lake

Another gorgeous lake in the Canadian Rockies is Emerald Lake, which is literally an emerald colour.

It’s a super popular spot for canoeing during the summer months, and it’s also located in Yoho National Park in BC!

EVT Bikes SUP boards at Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park, British Columbia
We brought our own SUP boards to go stand-up paddle boarding at Emerald Lake.

While it’s definitely nice to do water activities here during the summer, I think Emerald Lake is even prettier during the winter.

LOCATION: 1 Emerald Lake Rd, Field, BC

Emerald Lake in Field, British Columbia

Mistaya Canyon in Banff, Alberta

Mistaya Canyon

Mistaya Canyon is a really cool canyon with a river rushing right through it, and you can walk along the rocks lining the river.

Be super careful when walking along the rocks, because you can easily fall over the edge if you’re not careful!

It’s not a far walk from the parking lot, and you can expect to spend around 30 minutes to an hour exploring here.

LOCATION: Saskatchewan River Crossing, AB

Mistaya Canyon in Banff, Alberta

Athabasca Glacier at Columbia Icefield Glacier Adventure in Jasper National Park, Alberta

Athabasca Glacier

The Athabasca Glacier is an epic spot in Jasper, but you really have to experience it through the Columbia Icefield Glacier Adventure.

You can walk a little bit around the bottom of the glacier for free, but the tour experience takes you right up the glacier to get the full experience.

Columbia Icefield in Banff, Alberta
Standing at the bottom of the glacier several years ago.

It starts off at the Columbia Icefield Discovery Centre, where you get transported via bus to the base of the mountain.

You then hop aboard the epic Ice Explorer, which takes you up the Athabasca Glacier.

Icefield Explorer at Columbia Icefield Glacier Adventure in Jasper National Park, Alberta
The Ice Explorer takes you up to the Athabasca Glacier.
Athabasca Glacier at Columbia Icefield Glacier Adventure in Jasper National Park, Alberta
Columbia Icefield Glacier Adventure in Jasper National Park, Alberta

After about 20-30 minutes of free time exploring the glacier, you get taken back down to the base and transported via bus to the SkyWalk.

The SkyWalk is an exhilarating experience that takes you along the side of a cliff while walking along a glass floor.

Glacier SkyWalk at Columbia Icefield Glacier Adventure in Jasper National Park, Alberta
Dare to walk on the glass floors of the Glacier SkyWalk?

Once you’re done at the SkyWalk, you can take any of the shuttles back to the visitor centre, and they come every 15 minutes.

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The whole experience takes around 2.5 to 3 hours, depending on how long you choose to spend at the SkyWalk.

If you don’t want to do the whole experience, you can also just get tickets to the Glacier SkyWalk on its own.

LOCATION: AB-93, Jasper, AB


Sunwapta Falls in Jasper National Park, Alberta

Sunwapta Falls

Upper Sunwapta Falls is an incredible waterfall and one of my favourite spots in Jasper.

It’s a short walk from the parking lot, and you can peep it out from the bridge.

If you’re up for a little hike, you can also hike over to Lower Sunwapta Falls, which I think took us about an hour roundtrip.

There are plenty of viewpoints along the trail where you can see the rushing river.

You can also do a guided 4-hour rafting experience on the Sunwapta River if you really want to get your feet wet!

LOCATION: Alberta 93A, Jasper, AB

Sunwapta Falls in Jasper National Park, Alberta

Athabasca Falls in Jasper National Park, Alberta

Athabasca Falls

Athabasca Falls sits on top of the Upper Athabasca River, and it’s one of the most popular spots to visit on a Banff to Jasper road trip.

It’s much more of a touristy area with lots of viewpoints than an actual hike, and there are plenty of nice viewpoints along the way.

Athabasca Falls in Jasper National Park, Alberta
Athabasca Falls in Jasper National Park, Alberta
A cool staircase along the Athabasca Falls hike.

You can even walk down to the super clear water and dip your toes in on a hot summer day.

If you want to really experience Athabasca River in all its glory, you can do a family-friendly 3.5 hour rafting excursion through Athabasca Canyon, and you can choose between the morning or afternoon.

LOCATION: Alberta 93A, Jasper, AB

Athabasca Falls, Banff, Alberta

Valley of the Five Lakes hike in Jasper, Alberta
The First Lake at Valley of the Five Lakes.

Valley of the Five Lakes

If you’re looking for the perfect swimming spot in the Canadian Rockies, the Valley of the Five Lakes is it.

You can jump into most of the popular lakes in Banff and Jasper, but because they’re mostly glacier-fed, you’ll be freezing your booty off.

The nice thing about the Valley of the Five Lakes is that the beginning is actually a tough uphill hike (lol), so it’s well worth it when you finally dive into the cool waters.

There are 5 different lakes along the trail, and they’re all pretty much right next to each other.

We saw many families and young kids also hiking on the trail, and many people without actual hiking attire.

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While you’ll be totally fine with just running shoes, hiking shoes always give you better traction, especially going uphill or downhill!

The Columbia Newton Hiking Shoes are my absolute favourite hiking shoes – they’re so comfortable and they give great support for your ankles and feet.

Valley of the Five Lakes hike in Jasper, Alberta
The Second Lake.
Valley of the Five Lakes hike in Jasper, Alberta
The Third Lake.
Valley of the Five Lakes hike in Jasper, Alberta
The Fourth Lake.

You can swim in all of the lakes, though the 5th lake has a dock and is the most popular to swim in.

Oh, and there are no change rooms, so you’ll either have to wear a swimsuit under your clothes or change in the woods like we did.

If you’re in need of a new bather, check out my posts on the best swimsuits on Amazon or the best Canadian swimwear brands (support local!)

LOCATION: Jasper, AB

Valley of the Five Lakes hike in Jasper, Alberta
The Fifth Lake.

Pyramid Island in Jasper National Park, Alberta

Pyramid Island

Pyramid Island is a small forested island in Jasper with plenty of nice picnic spots.

The bridge to get to the island is one of the most Instagrammable photo opps in Jasper.

Pyramid Island in Jasper, Alberta

There are only 5 parking spots at Pyramid Island, so I’d highly recommend going as early as possible to ensure you get a spot.

LOCATION: Jasper, AB

Pyramid Island in Jasper, Alberta
Pyramid Island in Jasper National Park, Alberta
Pyramid Island in Jasper, Alberta
Pyramid Island in Jasper, Alberta
There are some nice benches on the island, perfect for picnicking or just enjoying the views.

Maligne Canyon in Jasper National Park, Alberta

Maligne Canyon

Maligne Canyon is a pretty easy and family-friendly hike, and it’s mostly fenced around to make it safer for everyone to visit.

There are 6 different bridges you can see along the hike, but we decided to just see 5 of them when we visited.

Maligne Canyon in Jasper National Park, Alberta
The Fifth Bridge on the Maligne Canyon trail.

The first 5 bridges are somewhat close to one another, but the 6th takes an extra hour or two to hike.

It takes about 2 to 3 hours to hike the whole thing, and you can start from either end of the trail!

If you’re visiting during winter, you can also do an epic Maligne Canyon Icewalk Tour, where you can see frozen waterfalls and ice caves.

LOCATION: Jasper, AB

Maligne Canyon in Jasper, Alberta
Maligne Canyon in Jasper National Park, Alberta
Maligne Canyon in Jasper National Park, Alberta
A cool waterfall along the way.
Maligne Canyon in Jasper National Park, Alberta

Best stops on your Banff to Jasper road trip:

  1. Johnston Canyon
  2. Moraine Lake
  3. Lake Louise
  4. Takakkaw Falls
  5. Emerald Lake
  6. Mistaya Canyon
  7. Columbia Icefield
  8. Sunwapta Falls
  9. Athabasca Falls
  10. Valley of the Five Lakes
  11. Pyramid Lake
  12. Maligne Canyon

These were some of the best stops to make on your Banff to Jasper road trip, whether you’re visiting in summer or winter!

Have you been to the Canadian Rockies? What are the best stops to see on a Banff to Jasper road trip? Let me know on Twitter or Instagram!

Plan your Banff trip

If you’re planning a trip to Alberta, here are some other posts to help you plan your perfect trip:

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Jessica Lam | Toronto lifestyle, fashion, beauty, and travel blogger | Diary of a Toronto Girl, a Canadian lifestyle blog