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 beautiful sights like this. Road trips aren’t just for America; if you ever get a chance, make your way to the Canadian Rockies if you want to really be blown away. But with so much to do in the parks and surrounding areas, it can be hard to fit everything in one trip.
5 Tips for Visiting Banff National Park and Jasper National Park
Whether you’re staying one day or ten, here are some tips on how to make the most out of a trip to Banff and Jasper National Parks. You’ll make some amazing memories like Brian Sue did in the video below.
Tip #1: Devote as much time as possible to Banff and Jasper.
Banff and Jasper National Parks are a lot larger than you might think. It’s not feasible to visit both parks in one day. It is wise to dedicate at the minimum, one day for each park, but the more time the better. Many people make these two parks the destination of their entire vacation, choosing to spend a week or so between the two. Of course, not everyone has this kind of time. It’s a good idea to stay close to the park that you’re exploring— which brings us to our next point: camping in the parks.
Tip #2: Stay at a park campground.
Let’s talk a little bit more about camping in the parks. 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 that 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 well 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.
Tip #3: Get up early and stay up late.
Not only do you want to devote enough time to the parks, but you also want to make sure you’re devoting a good portion of your day to exploring! 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! Jasper and Banff 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, but 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.
Tip #4: 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.
Tip #5: Just 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.
Check out our RV rentals on Outdoorsy and start planning your trip today.