Here are some tips to make the experience of driving in Jasper National Park and the Canadian Rockies a great experience that benefits the driving, the passengers, the wildlife and the environment.
1. Plan the right itinerary to prevent too much driving in one day
First off, you do not have to tackle the entire Canadian Rockies in one vacation. It’ll be here when you want to return in the future.
With that in mind, plan an itinerary that balances driving with sightseeing and relaxation. Maybe one day will have 3 hours of driving but the next only 30-60 minutes. This arrangement benefits both the driver and the passengers and should keep everyone happy.
Be sure to explore the rest of Jasper National Park Journal for travel ideas.
2. Pay attention while driving.
Again, pay attention while driving. Of course, pedestrians will be wandering about near attractions, in parking lots and walking across streets in Jasper townsite.
Wildlife comes out unexpectedly. Being the person who reduced the wildlife population through carelessness is less than rewarding.
Be careful of the people in front of you who will stop unexpectedly for wildlife. Other cars and RVs pull into and out of look-out points without notice too. Driving with headlights on during the day will make it easier for others to notice you, especially during rain.
If you are stopping for wildlife, be careful of the cars behind you.
And if that fails to be enough to convince you, police have been known to have speed traps to help keep the speeding down.
3. Take enough breaks while driving
Driving 2 hours straight is tough. Take breaks. There are plenty of places to stop throughout Jasper National Park and the Canadian Rockies and greater Alberta and British Columbia.
Get out and stretch.
4. Remember that driving in the Canadian Rockies is a reward in itself
In the Jasper National Park, the Icefields Parkway, Highway 16/Yellowhead Highway and other roads are all plenty scenic, amongst the most scenic in the world. Be on the look-out for wildlife. Maybe you’ll see elk, bighorn sheep, caribou, mountain goat, a moose or a bear.
5. Bring snacks and water
Bringing snacks will prevent the anxiety that occurs when needing to find something to eat urgently when a long distance from any restaurant.
Drink water throughout the day to prevent dehydration.
6. Take bathroom breaks when to opportunity arises
Being in a rush to go to the bathroom can be avoided by making the use of facilities at attractions.
7. Pack some ‘just in case’ stuff in your car
The day will be more enjoyable if you have what you need to make it through the day. This means bringing extra layers of clothing in case it gets colder. Pack some ibuprofen and antacid – common solutions to most issues that will keep you and your passengers enjoying the scenery.
8. Drive green, be green
When renting a car, consider an economy or smaller sized car versus renting an SUV or large car. Less gas is better for the environment and saves you lots of money too. Also, make sure your tires have the right air pressure in the tires. Tires low on air reduce gas mileage significantly.
With all of the driving, consider some sort of carbon offset donation to a certified provider. Or, consider Friends of Jasper National Park.
9. Turn off the cell phone
It should be obvious, but if you do get cell phone coverage out here, wait until you’re at a rest area to use your phone. You are on vacation and so are other people. Don’t ruin it. The conversation or text message can wait. Really.
That’s it. 9 tips for driving in Jasper National Park and the Canadian Rockies. Follow them and you should be alright.