Chances are you have scrolled through Instagram and have seen a picture of a crystal clear blue lake with beautiful mountain peaks and a glistening glacier. Almost any picture taken in the iconic Jasper and Banff National Parks in Alberta, Canada will depict this. I recommend that everyone should take a road trip to the Canadian Rockies at some point because it blew me away. Here are some tips on how to make the most out of a trip to Banff and Jasper National Parks.
Devote as much time as possible to Banff and Jasper
Banff and Jasper national park are a lot larger than you might think. It’s not feasible to visit both parks in one day. I would dedicate at the minimum, one day for each park (the more time the better). When you enter Jasper or Banff, you will notice you may have to go a ways to get out of the park, I suggest camping in the park at least one night to cut down on traveling time.
Stay at a park campground
The campgrounds in the park are available for reservations, but you can also camp in overflow lots. There is an overflow lot in Jasper and in Banff. Each lot is about $10-15 CAN a night and is self-regulated. These campgrounds are essentially a place to sleep with some outhouses, but no other amenities. The campgrounds with more amenities can cost you more than double per night.
The first night of my trip, I stayed at Wapiti Campground in Jasper National Park and I was able to get a spot without a reservation. It was $28 CAN, but the hot showers and good cell connection were worth it! The second night, I stayed at the Lake Louise overflow lot, there were several other camper vans and RVs there. It was a great way to be in close proximity to Lake Louise and Lake Moraine.
Get up early and stay up late
If you have the park’s iconic sites, such as Lake Louise and Maligne Lake, on your itinerary, then you’ll need to get up early. It’s worth it! Banff and Jasper National Parks are some of the most beautiful parks in the world and people come from all over to visit. In the summer, the crowds can be insane. The best way to beat the crowds is to get a head start or go late — before 9am and after 5pm is a good rule to follow.
I attempted to go to Lake Louise at 2pm and had to turn back, I went back at 7pm and there was almost no one in the parking lot. If you do go to Lake Louise during prime time, take advantage of the Lake Louise overflow lot and shuttle. The shuttles run regularly and it’s free! Check out the other shuttles that the park offers here.
Take a hike
Banff and Jasper have so many beautiful sights that can be seen from pull-offs on the highway. Chances are if you take a mile or so hike from these highways, you will find yourself with an even more beautiful view, with barely any people around. One of my favorite hikes was Consolation Lake, an easy 2KM hike from Moraine Lake. Some other recommended hikes are Cavell Meadows and Maligne Canyon in Jasper and Sulphur Mountain and Johnston Canyon in Banff.
Make the trip
As soon as I found out that I would be driving to Alaska, I knew that Banff and Jasper would be must-see stops! The Canadian Rockies are like no other and the beauty of these places blew me away. The best way to truly experience this place is on the road in an RV! Make Banff and Jasper a priority, and get ready for one of the most epic road trips of your life!
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