An Epic Canadian Rockies Road Trip: From Jasper to Yoho to Banff National Park

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Advisor - Alexandra Duhl
Curated By

Alexandra Duhl

  • Canada

  • Banff

  • Active Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • Nature Escapes

  • National Park

  • Sightseeing

  • Outdoors

Fairmont Château Lake Louise has a stunning mountain setting.
Curator’s statement

Welcome to the adventure of a lifetime! An amazing journey from the rugged beauty of Jasper National Park, to the nature of Yoho National Park, to the iconic landscapes of Banff, this road trip is your ticket to breathtaking vistas, pristine lakes, and encounters with wildlife in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. Whether you're an outdoor enthusiast, a photography buff or simply seeking a scenic escape, our guide is your trusted companion. Let's hit the open road and explore the enchanting wonders of Jasper and Banff on this unforgettable journey.

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Day 1: Arrive in Jasper

The Valley of the Five Lakes hike is a moderate hike.

If flying into Edmonton, it makes sense to start in Jasper! It's a four-hour drive and the last hour is in the national park. After a long travel day, we checked into our hotel and walked around the charming town. Spots we recommend for day one:

  • Jasper Brewing: A great spot for a cold brew and some great poutine. They also have fun cocktails

  • Valley of 5 Lakes: If you're up for a hike and want to stretch your legs after a day of travel, this is a great one. It's a three-mile loop.

  • Shopping: Jasper's downtown is very quaint and there are quite a few spots for souvenirs and any travel needs.

Day 2: Explore Jasper's beauty

Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park.

We started the day with a great bakery sandwich and coffee from Bear's Paw Bakery and then headed out to explore our first lake!

Maligne Lake Tour - Getting out on the water was an incredible introduction to Jasper. On the drive there, we spotted some wildlife: elk, mountain goats and bears! The tour itself was very informative and seeing Spirit Island was breathtaking.

Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen - After our boat tour, we were ready for some lunch and opted to sit on the patio in the sun. The food was amazing and we recommend trying the smoked onion dip and the smoked wings to stat. We loved the Chicken Sandwich as a main dish!

Maligne Canyon - Maligne Canyon was the next stop and was beautiful. This is a moderate hike around five bridges and many overlooks into the powerful canyon.

Jasper Downtown - After exploring all morning, we hit downtown again for more shopping and exploring.

The Raven Bistro - This is a must-do restaurant while in Jasper. Our server was very knowledgeable about all of the food and we sampled many different types of Canadian dishes like elk with a Mediterranean flair!

Day 3: The Icefields Parkway & Lake Louise

View of Icefields Parkway, one of the most beautiful drives in Canada.

One of the most iconic mountain drives in the world is the Icefields Parkway, and after our drive from Jasper to Banff, we agree!

Pro tip: We highly recommend downloading the GuideAlong App. This works with your GPS and narrates your whole trek, telling you worthwhile places to stop and the history of many spots along the way. It was the highlight of our trip!

Our Favorite Icefields Parkway Stops:

There were so many great stop-offs that weren't major landmarks that the GuideAlong App told us about and we loved them too!

Afternoon: Lake Louise

Lunch at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise: We decided to splurge and stay at the Fairmont here and did not regret it. We had priority access to the restaurants and ate an incredible lunch overlooking the iconic Lake Louise.

Hike to Agnes Tea House

The next adventure was the uphill hike to Lake Agnes Tea House. We enjoyed views of Lake Louise below, but also other lakes along the way! Dipping our feet in the water at the tea house after a long climb was an amazing experience!

Dinner at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise: We enjoyed staying at the hotel so that after all the crowds left for the day we could enjoy sunset and a wonderful dinner overlooking the lake!

Day 4: Yoho National Park & Banff

Takakkaw Falls is a waterfall located in Yoho National Park.

There are so many sites to see in the Canadian Rockies, but Yoho is not to be missed.


Early morning, we recommend taking the first shuttle to Lake Morraine for the sunrise. This is the the most iconic Lake in Banff National Park: Morraine Lake!

Explore Yoho: After Morraine, head to Yoho to check out these key sites:

  • Emerald Lake (If you have extra time, we would have loved to canoe here or even stay a night at the Emerald Lake Lodge)

  • Natural Bridge Falls

  • Takakkaw Falls: The most impressive waterfall I have ever seen!

Afternoon & Evening: Explore Banff Town

We loved shopping in the cute town of Banff and especially loved having a beer at Three Bears Brewery.

Dinner at Bluebird Woodfired Steakhouse was an amazing end to the day!

Day 5: Banff Options

Banff gondola ride to a mountaintop.

We had one last day in Banff and chose to do something a little less touristy.

Sunshine Village - In the summer, this ski resort has some amazing hiking trails to see wildflowers and more beautiful lakes. We took the gondola to the top and then hiked around. It was breathtaking and we barely saw another person!

Other options in Banff would be:

We took in the town a little bit more, had a cocktail at Park Distillery and thought about the wonderful memories we made on our road trip through the Canadian Rockies before an early flight out of Calgary!

Advisor - Alexandra Duhl

Travel Advisor

Alexandra Duhl

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This itinerary is part of our ongoing series on travel to Canada. Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my guide, Your Family Escape to Catalina Island: Top 5 Adventures.