We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Calgary to Jasper drive

seattle
Level Contributor
407 posts
130 reviews
Save Topic
Calgary to Jasper drive

What is the best (safest vs. shortest) route to drive from Calgary airport to Jasper? I get in around noon time at the beginning of July. Are there stops along the way for rest and food? I will be traveling to Lake Louise after 2 nights in Jasper so I would like to split up the views on Jasper Parkway coming and going. Anyone with personal experience with the Patricia Lake Bungalows? Restaurant recommendations for Jasper?

Many thanks.

Calgary, Alberta...
Level Contributor
3,855 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Calgary to Jasper drive

>>>>>>What is the best (safest vs. shortest) route to drive from Calgary airport to Jasper?<<<<<<

Once you reach Calgary's western city limit, there is only one route that is feasible for you to take. That is the TransCanada Highway (Hwy #1) from Calgary to Banff and on to Lake Louise. Just beyond Lake Louise, turn north onto the Icefields Parkway (Hwy #1) and drive to Jasper.

The simplest way to get from Calgary Airport to the western city limit is to follow the sign to City Centre as you exit the airport complex. This takes you south on Barlow Trail NE (Hwy #2A). When Barlow Trail NE intersects with 16th Avenue NE, turn right (west). When the TransCanada Highway passes through Calgary it is renamed 16th Avenue North.

So now that you've turned onto 16th Avenue North, you're on the TransCanada Highway. While it passes through Calgary, it has several traffic lights on it. Also you are slowed down by the fact that there is construction taking place while they widen 16th Avenue.

I used to suggest one or two alternative routes out of Calgary. However, those other routes now have acquired more traffic lights on them and also are slower during rush hour.

I've come to the conclusion that, while you have to be a little bit patient while you drive through some patches of 16th Avenue North, it's still the best way out of Calgary. The route is very simple. If you follow the very simple instructions, you cannot go wrong.

Remember, Barlow Trail south until 16th Avenue TransCanada Highway, then west until just past Lake Louise, then north on the Icefields Parkway until Jasper.

This entire route is safe. Between Calgary's western city limits and Banff National Park's east gate, the TransCanada Highway is a four-lane, divided highway. Some distance into the national park, it becomes a three-lane highway, with alternating passing lanes. However, as soon as you enter the national park, the speed limit is reduced from 110 km/h (69 MPH) to 90 km/h (56 MPH), which is a very safe speed at which to drive. It is not uncommon to find traffic cops enforcing the speed limit, so I recommend that folks observe it. All the way from Banff to Lake Louise and on to Jasper, the road is very manageable. The turns are not sharp, and the road has broad shoulders. Where possible, the original engineers followed river valleys when they built the railway and later the roads. So the railways and roads follow the "path of least resistance."

More in next post ..............

Calgary, Alberta...
Level Contributor
3,855 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Calgary to Jasper drive

>>>>>>Are there stops along the way for rest and food?<<<<<<

If you don't stop, it takes about half an hour to cross Calgary from the airport in the northeast quadrant to the western city limit. There are several restaurants and gas stations along 16th Avenue North / TransCanada Highway.

Once you leave the western city limit there is almost nothing for the next 1.25 hours. Then you reach Canmore, a town of 10,000, where there are numerous restaurants and gas stations. Canmore is just off the highway, so it doesn't slow you down if you have no interest in stopping there. However, if you want to buy something, you can just pull off the highway into Canmore.

A couple of minutes after Canmore you reach Banff National Park's east gate, where you have to pay a national park entry fee. If you don't already know about that, you can read about it on the relevant Inside Page here at TripAdvisor:

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g154910-c13975/Banff-…

About 10 - 12 minutes after the park entrance gate, you have an opportunity to turn into Banff townsite if you wish. It has a population of about 7,500, not counting visitors, but it has over 200 restaurants. No shortage of food there.

After another 45 minutes you have an opportunity to turn into Lake Louise Village. Although it has a population of only 1,000, not counting visitors, it has a few restaurants, some of them upscale and expensive. If you are looking for a reasonably priced restaurant that provides good value for money, you could consider Bill Peyto's next to the hostel in the village. You also can get take-away meals from Laggan's Bakery and Deli.

Once you get onto the Icefields Parkway (Hwy #93), the opportunities to eat good food are few and far between.

About 55 minutes out of Lake Louise you reach Saskatchewan River Crossing where there is a one-step-up-from-greasy-spoon restaurant. After about another 35 minutes you reach the Columbia Icefields where there also is an underwhelming cafeteria.

About 40 minutes beyond that, you reach Sunwapta Falls, where there is a respectable restaurant.

Finally, about 50 minutes from Sunwapta Falls you reach Jasper townsite, where there are many restaurants.

As important as food is the issue of gasoline. There are a couple of gas stations between Calgary and Canmore. There also are gas stations in Canmore, Banff townsite, Lake Louise Village and Jasper townsite. There is only one gas station between Lake Louise and Jasper, and that is at Saskatchewan River Crossing. The gas there is considerably more expensive than it is elsewhere.

More ........................

Calgary, Alberta...
Level Contributor
3,855 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Calgary to Jasper drive

>>>>>>I will be traveling to Lake Louise after 2 nights in Jasper so I would like to split up the views on Jasper Parkway coming and going.<<<<<<

You will not be able to do that. On the day that you drive from Calgary it will be all you can manage to drive to Jasper. Yes, you can stop somewhere along the way for a meal, but that's really about it.

You said you would land in Calgary at noon. It'll take about an hour to get through immigration and customs at the airport.

People say it takes 5 hours to drive from Calgary to Jasper but, by the time you've driven across Calgary, I think it takes more like 5.5 hours.

Add an hour for a meal.

You're looking at 7.5 hours to get to Jasper (1 hour for airport formalities, 5.5 hours for the drive, 1 hour for a meal).

The good news is that it is entirely feasible to stop at the major scenic lookout points along the Icefields Parkway on your return journey from Jasper to Lake Louise.

More ...........

Calgary, Alberta...
Level Contributor
3,855 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Calgary to Jasper drive

It will help your planning enormously if you contact Travel Alberta and Tourism British Columbia and request their F-R-E-E maps and travel guides, which are loaded with useful information.

Travel Alberta (for Banff and Jasper National Parks)

…travelalberta.com/cfforms/…index_ip.cfm

Tourism British Columbia (for Yoho and Kootenay National Parks)

https:/…request_start.asp

TripAdvisor’s “Inside Pages” and “Go Lists” also are in the process of being populated with information. There already is some good advice published in the sections related to Banff National Park, Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper.

Other “Inside Pages” that may be of interest to you are the ones pertaining to Calgary. Even if you are using Calgary only as an entry and exit point for the Rockies, there is information about how much time you need to allow for catching a flight to the US (in a page entitled “Departing for the USA”) and so on.

Still other pages that contain relevant information are the “Inside Canada” ones. They address issues like what documents you need for crossing the border, Canadian money, etc.

To find these pages, go to TripAdvisor’s search box, and type Inside Canada or whatever it is that you are looking for.

Okay, that’s it from me. Hope that helps.

Calgary, Alberta...
Level Contributor
3,855 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Calgary to Jasper drive

Postscript. I've just realized that I may have created the wrong impression about your drive along the Icefields Parkway on your way to Jasper. I said you would not have time to stop at scenic lookout points, and I believe that's true. However, keep in mind that the entire drive is highly -- from the time that the mountains come into view well before Canmore until you arrive in Jasper. It's just that you will not have time to stop, get out of your car, walk to a scenic lookout point, photograph the view, get back into your car, and so on. Or at least you'll have time to do that only a couple of times at most.

seattle
Level Contributor
407 posts
130 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Calgary to Jasper drive

Thanks Judy. You are an incredible resource!

Alabama
Level Contributor
264 posts
26 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Calgary to Jasper drive

aneckc - My husband & I just returned last night from our very first Canadian Rockies trip & I must say I'm ready to go back. We spent 3 nights at Patricia Lake Bungalows & we both really loved the place. As a matter of fact that is exactly where I would stay if we return. Restuarants where we had meals & I would definately recommend is Jasper Pizza (great thin crust pizza) & Tekarra Lodge Rest. (more upscale dining & excellent food) for dinner. Smitty's Rest., Black Sheep Cafe & Grill & Papa George's (in the Astoria Hotel) for breakfast. We also bought pastries at Bear's Paw Bakery which were great. If you will be staying in Lake Louise I highly recommend Paradaise Bungalows. We also stayed there for 3 nights. I have to add that all of my research for this trip came from Trip Advisor & that with the exception of a few posters most of the information we used came from Judy of Calgary. She is a wealth of info for this area & I feel if you follow her tips & recommendations you can't go wrong.

8. Re: Calgary to Jasper drive

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 7:19 pm, August 18, 2009