Driving from Whistler to Jasper takes you from the spectacular Coast Mountains, through the arid British Columbia wine country to the towering Rocky Mountains on the British Columbia/Alberta border.
Along the way you’ll see beautiful and diverse scenery as well as waterfalls, glaciers, wineries and more!
A few highlights along the drive include:
Seton Lake Lookout
Historic Hat Creek Ranch
The city of Kamloops
Spahats Creek Falls (Wells Gray Provincial Park)
How long does it take to drive from Whistler to Jasper?
The drive from Whistler to Jasper is 740 km (460 miles). Allow at least 9 hours of driving time (more in winter), not including stops.
I recommend spending two days on this drive so you can enjoy the scenery and stop at some wonderful places.
Is the road from Whistler to Jasper open all year?
Yes. You can drive from Whistler to Jasper anytime of year. This itinerary follows major highways that are cleared of snow in the winter. There are times when roads may be temporarily closed due to storms or crashes during winter.
Summer is the busiest time with lots of summer visitors enjoying the legendary views as well as pursuing lots of outdoor adventures like hiking, rafting and biking.
Winter is also quite busy as your journey takes you from one world famous ski area to another! There is also plenty of opportunity for cross country skiing along the way. If you are doing a winter trip, plan on driving time being much longer and be ready for winter driving conditions. Roads may be closed for a period of time during heavy snowstorms.
Fall is gorgeous in British Columbia with fall colors everywhere. Be aware that fall is a very crowded and popular time to visit the Canadian Rockies, so be ready for summer level crowds.
Spring can be a wonderful time to visit. The weather is extra unpredictable in the spring and mountain areas are likely to still have deep snow (though probably not on the road).
Make sure to arrange your lodging along the way and especially in Whistler and Jasper well in advance no matter what time of year it is.
Whistler to Jasper Road Trip Itinerary – 2 days
Day 1 – Whistler to Kamloops
Driving Distance: 300 km (185 miles)
Driving time: 4.25 hours (plus stops)
Today you’ll drive from the rugged, perpetually snowy and icy Coast Mountains of British Columbia, down to the arid farms, lakes and wine country of BC’s Interior.
Morning – Choose a hike or walk between Whistler and Lillooet
Enjoy breakfast and coffee in Whistler before heading out on the road. If you’re a hiker or walker, Nairn Falls Provincial Park is one of the best mellow hikes along this walk. It’s a 3 km (just under 2 miles) walk along the river to the falls. While there is minimal elevation gain along this route, there are some rocks and roots along the trail. The last section once you arrive at the falls involves scrambling around on some rocks to get a good view. It’s the perfect leg stretch along this route!
Just down the road, the historic Lillooet Bridge is a beautiful retired train bridge that is now open to pedestrians. The bridge was built in 1913 and is very photogenic.
If you’re a hiker, Joffre Lakes is a gorgeous, classic British Columbia hike to multiple lakes with glaciers hanging above them. This beautiful spot is extremely busy and parking requires a permit. Make sure to get this in Whistler or Pemberton because there is no service to get one from your phone when you get to the trailhead! The permit is free but required to park to keep crowds under control. The hike to the second lake is 8 km (5 miles) with 500 meters (1600 feet) of elevation gain. The first lake is a very short distance from the parking area.
Seton Lake Overlook offers a very short (1 km) walk to a stunning overlook of Seton Lake.
Afternoon – Hat Creek Ranch and Kamloops Lake
If you’re driving from Whistler to Jasper between May and September, stop and have lunch at Historic Hat Creek on their lovely patio! You can also explore the historic ranch and learn about the Gold Rush history of British Columbia in the 19th century and even see one of the original stretches of the Caribou Wagon Road.
You can also stop for lunch in Lillooet if you prefer or if you’re driving in the fall, winter or early spring.
As you head toward Kamloops, you’ll be along the shores of Kamloops Lake, with plenty of opportunity for lake fun! Steelhead Provincial Park and Savona Lakeshore Park are good places to stop and enjoy the lake. Steelhead has a wonderful campground with great views (although it is near a train track so if you are sensitive to noise this might not be a great choice).
Evening in Kamloops
Kamloops has many terrific hotels and restaurants, and there is camping both at Steelhead Provincial Park (mentioned above) as well as Paul Lake Provincial Park.
The golf course (back towards Savona) has wonderful food and a gorgeous patio facing the lake and the hills and another favorite restaurant of mine for a more townie Canadian gastropub vibe is the Noble Pig.
Take a walk along the river before bed if you want to stretch your legs a bit more in a beautiful setting.
There are several wineries in the Kamloops area, so if you get in early enough to fit in a tasting, you won’t regret it!
Day 2 – Kamloops to Jasper
Driving Distance: 445 km (275 miles)
Driving time: 5 hours (plus stops
Morning – Breakfast and a hike or walk in Kamloops
The most important thing about mornings in Kamloops is to run not walk to the life changing Kekuli Cafe (near the hospital) for incredible coffee (maybe the best I’ve had in BC!) and a bannock breakfast sandwich (trust me you’re going to thank me!).
Kamloops has a number of mellow trails to explore if you want to get some exercise before hitting the road.
Afternoon – Returning to the mountains
Leaving Kamloops, you’re heading north and you’ll be getting back into mountains again, this time the Canadian Rockies!
Near the small community of Clearwater, a short detour off the highway near Wells Gray Provincial Park takes you to lovely Spahats Creek Falls, a beautiful waterfall. If you love waterfalls, you might want to spend a bit more time in Wells Gray Provincial Park, which is known for its many waterfalls and beautiful mountains.
About three hours up the road, the small community of Blue River is a good place to get lunch. Try the Grizzly Food Shack or the Rocky Mountain Deli.
Between Blue River and Valemount, you’ll be getting deep into the mountains with impressive glacier and mountain views! Valemount is another good place to get gas or food if you need it before moving on to Jasper.
In Valemount, you’ll head east on the Yellowhead Highway and pass by stunning Mt Robson before arriving in Jasper. The Valemount/Mt Robson area has many wonderful hikes if you have time to do some hiking before arriving for the night in Jasper!
Electric Vehicle Charging between Whistler and Jasper
Fast charging is available in Whistler, Lillooet, Cache Creek, Kamloops, a couple of rest areas between Kamloops and Blue River, Blue River, Valemount, Mt Robson and Jasper.
Make sure to use Plugshare to determine the latest as new chargers are being built all the time!
Things to do if you have more time
If you have more time for this drive, you can easily spend several days in the Kamloops area exploring the wineries and trails, or you could spend some time in Wells Gray Provincial Park taking in even more incredible waterfalls. Valemount and Mt Robson is another area you could easily spend several days hiking and taking in amazing glacier and rocky mountain scenery.
If you have a longer trip in general, I definitely recommend going through the Canadian Rockies and connecting to Banff to drive back to the Vancouver area in a loop.
Hi! I'm Jennie. I’m a fourth generation Seattleite who lived in Alaska for 7 years. I've been a tour guide in both Alaska and Washington and I love to share the places I love with visitors, newcomers and my fellow locals. I’m so glad to have you along on the journey to experience your best low key adventure in Washington, Alaska and Western Canada!
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