Drive from Calgary to Jasper

Apr 7th, 2004, 04:33 AM
Original Poster
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Drive from Calgary to Jasper

We're planning on flying in to Calgary, and renting a car to drive to Jasper. Does anyone have an estimate as to how long the drive will be? Is it doable in a day or is it better to stay over a night in Banff on the way?
wilband is offline  
Apr 7th, 2004, 04:52 AM
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While it could be done in a day, it would be very tiring and you wouldn't have time to stop and enjoy the magnificent scenery. There is a great lodge about half way between Banff and Jasper called Num-Ti-Jah Lodge which is a nice place to stay. Or stay in Banff and do some exploring one day and then a leisurely drive to Jasper the next day.
Cruiseryyc is offline  
Apr 7th, 2004, 06:06 AM
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Hello Wilband,

I agree 100% with what Cruiseryyc told you, but I'll add a couple of comments.

If you want relatively quick road access to Jasper, you'd be better off flying to Edmonton. Then you'd have a 3.5 hour drive to Jasper.

This website

gives the driving distance from Calgary to Jasper as 4.5 hours. I don't know what those people were smoking when they posted that. Perhaps they calculated that time on the most direct and least scenic route.

The nicest way to drive from Calgary to Jasper, in my opinion, is to go via Banff and Lake Louise. Calgary to Lake Louise is between 2 hours and 2.5 hours. Lake Louise to Jasper is 3 hours. So that's between 5 hours and 5.5 hours. And that's without stopping. But if you didn't stop you'd be by-passing some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. For example, the 14 km detour from Lake Louise to see Moraine Lake is a must, in my opinion.

Here's a thread in which I indicated to another poster some of the things there were to do between Jasper and Calgary (but that itinerary assumed the person was flying into Edmonton, driving to Jasper and then driving to Calgary via Lake Louise and Banff).

The poster in question had indicated what I thought was a generous travel budget, so I mentioned high end hotels. Although accommodation in the mountain parks generally tends to be more expensive than elsewhere, there are more affordable options than the ones mentioned in that thread.

Hope this helps.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Apr 7th, 2004, 06:10 AM
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Sorry, the link to the other discussion thread didn't come out properly. Here it is again.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Apr 7th, 2004, 06:17 AM
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P.S. Another thing to remember is that the speed limit is 70 mph on open highways (e.g., when you head westwards from Calgary on the TransCanada Highway).

The speed limit in the national parks, however, is 35 mph.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Apr 7th, 2004, 06:56 PM
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Judy - your calculator must have malfunctioned when you were converting km/h to mph ! The speed limit in the national parks is 90 km/h, which converts to 56 mph (somewhat faster than 35 mph!!).

By the way - we have driven Calgary to Lake Louise in less than 2 hours (at night after having dinner with friends in downtown Calgary) ;-) !! We regularly drive Calgary to Banff in about one hour. And if Banff to Jasper is 3 hours non-stop, theoretically you can do the whole trip in 4 hours.But that would really be pushing it. Realistically, plan for 5 hours.

So wilband - you can easily do the drive in one day (we have even driven the Edmonton-Jasper-Banff-Calgary-Edmonton loop all in one day!!). Even if you left Calgary at noon, stopped in Banff for a couple of hours, and then drove the Icefield Parkway to Jasper, you will arrive by 7 p.m. - and in the summer around here that seems like the middle of the day bacause the sun won't set till 10 p.m.)

Of course, you can always drive the "scenic" route - Calgary to Edmonton to Jasper in about 6.5 hours!!!
Borealis is offline  
Apr 7th, 2004, 08:31 PM
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>>>>>>Judy - your calculator must have malfunctioned when you were converting km/h to mph ! The speed limit in the national parks is 90 km/h, which converts to 56 mph (somewhat faster than 35 mph!!).<<<<<<

Thanks, Borealis. It wasn't my calculator that malfunctioned; it was my brain. I now see where I took a wrong turn, but it would be too lengthy to explain. Sorry about that, Wilband. Listen to Borealis on that point, for sure (and on many others too ).

>>>>>>we have even driven the Edmonton-Jasper-Banff-Calgary-Edmonton loop all in one day!!<<<<<<

Borealis, you guys are certifiably nuts! But then who am I to talk? We've done several stints of Calgary - Vancouver or Vancouver - Calgary in a day, as many, many people do.

But somehow a long day's drive seems worth it to me if one is going from Point A to Point B. Doing a long drive to get from Point A to Point A somehow has less appeal. Next time you might consider taking a shortcut and returning via Rocky Mountain House. (Just kidding. I'm sure you've done that route too.)

Anyway, it just goes to prove that tastes differ.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Apr 7th, 2004, 09:21 PM
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"""Borealis, you guys are certifiably nuts!"""
Actually Judy - not really, it only seems that way !!
We have done this when visitors from the other side of the continent express an interest in seeing the Rockies, but have time constraints. You rent a van with comfy seats and big windows, pack them in a 6 a.m., put some good music in the CD, and drive! At 10 a.m. you arrive in Jasper, spend a few hours walking around there (even take the Tramway up to the top of The Whistlers), leave Jasper after lunch and drive the Icefield Parkway (stopping for half an hour at the Columbia Icefields), stop at Lake Louise, stroll to the lake and back to the parking lot, drive to Banff for a quick dinner, then do the 4 hour drive back to Edmonton via Calgary (although we often bypass the city by driving through Cochrane and Airdrie), and get home at bedtime (11 p.m. or so).
In the summertime with lots of daylight it's an easy and pleasant drive all the way (as long as you don't have to go to work the next morning!!).
Rocky Mountain House isn't a shortcut - it actually takes longer to drive that way because you have to double back to Saskatchewan River Crossing (and if you look at a map you'll see that it's further west than Banff) before reaching highway 11, which curves north before travelling east and all of that adds to the distance.
Borealis is offline  
Apr 8th, 2004, 06:39 AM
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Well, Borealis, you've inspired me. Next time we have a situation like that (visitors who have only a day to spend in the mountains), I bet we could drive to Jasper and back in a day. (I think from our end it might make sense to take the same route through Banff and Lake Louise both ways. It wouldn't be boring because the scenery looks different when it's approached from the opposite direction.)

I still think I would check with the visitors ahead of time to find out if they wanted to see the maximum amount of scenery or if they preferred to see less scenery but fit in some hiking around Lake Louise or Moraine Lake.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
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