Words and photos by the Road Trip Alberta team
Last updated: August 15, 2019
It may not be the easiest place to get to – the Edmonton to Jasper drive time is around four hours – but that is almost exactly what makes Jasper such an appealing destination. As we have found on most of our travels worldwide, our very best experiences are often in places that were a bit harder to get to. We often describe Jasper as the far-less-touristy Banff – it may attract a different kind of traveler and has fewer amenities to offer, but is none the less massively inviting.
We have made this drive many times, sometimes even in winter, and always without issue. The roads are well maintained but sometimes frequented by wildlife (so keep your eyes peeled and your camera ready). Whether you are driving yourself or arriving under the direction of another, there is a lot to see along the way, especially as you get closer to Jasper National Park.
About the Route
In good conditions, it will take just under four hours to travel the 366kms from Edmonton to Jasper on the Yellowhead highway (AB-16). Always account for extra traffic when leaving at peak times or driving in the winter!
IMPORTANT: Note that Jasper National Park requires a pass in order to enter. The current daily fees are:
- Adult: $9.80
- Senior: $8.30
- Youth (up to 17 yo): FREE
- Family/group (up to 7 people): $19.60
- Commercial group (per person): $8.30
The daily passes expire at 4 pm the following day. If you’re looking to enter multiple times – try the Discovery Pass! It gives you unlimited admission for a year. Fees are as follows:
- Adult: $67.70
- Senior: $57.90
- Family/group: $136.40
Note that in summer, the east gate into Jasper National Park has been known to be extremely busy, with wait times up to a half-hour. Improvements are in the works. The east gate is right on the Yellowhead highway, just past the town of Hinton. For more information, visit the Parks Canada website.
Edmonton to Jasper by Car
The closest airport to Jasper National Park is Edmonton International (YEG). While it is a long 4-hour drive from the airport, there are plenty of small towns to stop for a snack and stretch your legs. The road is straight and flat until Hinton when the Rocky Mountains become more apparent and the road starts to move with the terrain. We suggest checking 511 for the road report before making your trek to Jasper to see the current conditions and if there are any driving advisories. Also, learn more about Alberta’s road laws and driving guidelines.
There are several car rental agencies found in the Edmonton Airport. Book in advance to ensure less hassle:
- We recommend booking via Budget, as we use them regularly without issue, and their rates are always competitive.
- Other options: Enterprise, National.
If you are not interested in a traditional car rental through an agency, you can also rent cars through a website called Turo (think AirBnB for car rentals). The Edmonton International Airport is a frequent pick up/drop off point.
If your flight happens to get in late, it would be best to get a good night’s sleep before you start your drive to Jasper National Park. That way you can be well-rested, and more importantly, the scenery is best viewed during the day!
Although a hotel can be found in the airport, the convenience can be quite pricey. There are multiple hotels for a reasonable price just outside the airport. These two have good reviews and are close to the highway for easy access in the morning:
Alternatively, it is possible to fly into Calgary International Airport (YYC) and enjoy a scenic drive through Banff National Park on your way to Jasper on the Icefields Parkway. This route running north-south and connecting Jasper with the Trans-Canada Highway 1 near Lake Louise and Banff is considered one of the most scenic stretches of highway in the world. Although it will take longer, this route is just over 5 hours, the views are unparalleled. Keep in mind that this route is on mountainous roads so check driving conditions before your departure and ensure your vehicle is equipped with proper winter tires if driving this route anytime October through March. See our Banff to Jasper/Icefields Parkway guide for more information on this route.
Edmonton to Jasper by Bus
Taking the bus to Jasper can actually be a great idea for those who want to sit back and enjoy the scenery.
- SunDog Tours provides a daily connector year-round on the following route (and vice versa): Jasper – Hinton – Edson – Edmonton (West Edmonton Mall and the Edmonton International Airport).
- Cold Shot – has a Monday – Friday bus that follows the same route at SunDog but instead of picking up at the airport, you would leave from Cold Shot passenger terminal
Edmonton to Jasper by Private Transfer
Private transfers from Edmonton International Airport to Jasper National Park are a convenient and relaxing way to get to the Rocky Mountains without waiting in lines or making multiple shuttle stops. Some private transfer options are below:
- SunDog Tours offers a direct route in various sizes of transportation depending on the size of your group. There is also an option to add in a sightseeing portion to the journey with the driver acting as a guide during the drive.
- RideBooker.com has luxury sedans to luxury mini-busses and all the sizes of transportation in between to choose from depending on the size of your group.
Edmonton to Jasper by Train
Being able to enjoy the scenery on the trip from Jasper from Edmonton is easy to do via rail! This route on VIA Rail Canada takes six and a half hours, but you will be able to relax and plan your adventures with a Jasper National Park map in hand.
Fares vary depending on the time of year and how far in advance you are booking. The cheapest average price of a train ticket from Edmonton to Jasper National Park is $91.40 as of 2019.
Due to the distance from Edmonton to Jasper, most taxis and Uber drivers will not make the trek and if they did, it would be very expensive (close to $700 each way)!
The best rideshare option between Edmonton and Jasper would be Poparide.com. There are options to select your driver based on your luggage and equipment requirements if you are traveling with skis, bikes, etc. Poparide charges per seat so you have an opportunity to meet other visitors if you are traveling solo to Jasper National Park. Currently, no seat appears to cost more than $30 for the trip.
Fun Things to do Along the Way
If you decide to travel from Edmonton to Jasper by car, there are several things you can do to break up the long drive and make it a little more fun:
- Edson Galloway Station Museum – Just two hours into your drive you’ll come across the cute town of Edson. This is a great spot to get out, stretch your legs, and explore a former Canadian Northern Station! You’ll get a true glimpse into the regions wild-west past with a life-sized trapper’s cabin, mine shaft and more. The museum is open seven days a week and is an affordable stop on the way to Jasper.
- Hinton – The town of Hinton is known as the “Gateway to the Rockies”. Closer to Jasper, Hinton has a must-see 3km ‘Beaver Boardwalk’ around Maxwell Lake. It is the world’s largest freshwater boardwalk and a great way to see Beavers! This is also a great spot to stop and eat. The iconic restaurant, The Old Grind, has delicious food, is vegetarian-friendly, and has vegan options.
- Miette Hot Springs – Just inside the park boundary are the Miette Hot Springs which feature the hottest hot springs in the Canadian Rockies (the water is kept between 37 and 40 degrees celsius)! After stopping in Hinton, head west on highway 16 for 34km to Pocahontas Bungalows and the Miette Road junction. Turn onto Miette Road, drive for 17km and you’re there!
Upon Arrival in Jasper
You made it!
If you would like to get some useful information on Jasper attractions, hiking trails, and much more, check out our Jasper Destination Guide, but also pay a visit to their Visitor Information Centre run by Jasper Tourism in downtown Jasper at 500 Connaught Dr.
Where to Stay
- Luxury – The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is an exemplary property with amenities for days. With impressive lakefront views of Beauvert Lake, 8 on-site restaurants, a spa, an array of on-site winter activities like skating and snow-shoeing, plus an award-winning golf course, this resort is very worth the splurge (which we’ve done twice ourselves)!
- Mid-Range – For a unique accommodation experience in Jasper National Park, we recommend renting a cabin at Jasper East Cabins. Enjoy your very own wood cabin that has all the amenities like a fireplace and kitchenette.
- Budget – Jasper is a year-round camping destination with options for every level of camper from rugged backcountry to family-friendly, all with easy access to amenities. Parks Canada allows you to book a site online to reserve your spot ahead of time. And if camping is not your cup of tea, Maligne Lodge is a Jasper hotel that won’t break the bank.
- Home away from home. There are lots of Airbnb options available in Jasper. If you haven’t signed up for Airbnb yet, use this link to get a discount on your first stay!
Need some help planning your itinerary? Check out our guide for all the things to do while visiting Jasper.
And if you plan to enjoy Alberta’s capital city as well, check out our complete guide of fun things to do in Edmonton.
ALSO, don’t forget that while you’re on the road, you can download our FREE Road Trip Alberta bingo cards, to make it just that much more fun!