The Ultimate 5-Day Canadian Rockies Road Trip: Banff and Jasper (Day #5)

The Ultimate 5-Day Canadian Rockies Road Trip: Banff and Jasper (Day #5)
Author’s trip to the Athabasca Glaciers

End to one of the best trips of my life! Join me onboard the Ice Explorer to walk on glaciers, and hear about pizza with apples!

The final day of the trip ended up being one of the best!

Little did I know when the day started that we will get sun, rain, and snow in a span of a few hours. More on that later. For now, let’s get started with the day.

As I slid out of my bed, against the will of every muscle in my body, I opened our Notion page on my iPad to look at the day’s agenda. We had the following spots to hit:

  • Breakfast at Jasper
  • Columbia Icefields Parkway
  • Glacier Skywalk
  • Canmore

Cool Breakfast Spot in Jasper

Unlike Banff, the food so far in Jasper had been underwhelming, to put it mildly.

That’s why, I put on my Yelp skills to find at least one good restaurant. It was 8 AM, so it had to be a breakfast or brunch place.

After shuffling on my phone for quite some time, we finally picked Sunhouse Cafe. Turns out, it was a fantastic decision!

The cafe had some of the widest windows and highest ceilings. It also had a beautiful view of the Jasper Mountains.

Inside of Sunhouse Cafe (taken by the author)

I ordered a hot chocolate and a Sunshine Bowl. Both were delicious! After some underwhelming food experiences at Jasper, this was definitely worth the wait.

The hot chocolate was generously served in a large cup, and the bowl had the perfect combination of all the nutrients you would need before a long drive back.

Brunch at Sunhouse Cafe (taken by the author)
Brunch at Sunhouse Cafe 2 (taken by the author)

After having the delicious food, we refueled our car and started our drive toward Columbia Icefield Glacier, which was about 1 hour and 20 minutes from Jasper.

Winter in June??!

Since the morning, the weather in Jasper was quite gloomy, to put it mildly. It was raining intermittently, and the sky was covered with ominous dark clouds.

When doing our research online before the trip, we knew June was typically the “wettest” month of the year, yet we took our chances.

However, what happened next, was nothing short of a surprise.

About 30 minutes into our drive back toward Banff, it started snowing. Not just snowing, but very heavily snowing, to the point where I was struggling to see out of my windshield.

My car started giving me “ice warnings” which was intimidating given the mountain road was challenging to navigate, and I knew the rental car did not come with winter tires.

It snowed for less than an hour, but in its wake, it left everything totally covered in snow. Everything looked so different now, than it looked when we drove from Banff to Jasper a few days ago.

After 40 more minutes of treacherous driving, we braved our way to Columbia Icefield Glacier.

Columbia Icefield

The Columbia Icefield Adventure was one of the most recommended activities for any Jasper trip. Even though it’s a little expensive, we decided to do it.

In this adventure, you hop inside a bus with monster truck wheels, called an Ice Explorer, and check out the Athabasca Glacier. You can even walk on the glacier!

The vehicle that takes you up to the glacier (taken by the author)
Walking around the Athabasca Glacier (taken by the author)

From the station to the glacier, it’s around a 30-minute drive. Be ready though, it’s 30 minutes of rolling around and vibrating inside the Ice Explorer, as the powerful vehicle tries to force its way toward the glacier.

Once at the glacier, we walked around for 20 minutes and took some photos. It was snowing already, so we got somewhat of a unique view from the glacier. Looking at photos on the internet, however, I wish we got better weather.


From the glacier, the tour directly takes you to the Skywalk.

The Skywalk is “a suspended platform where glass is all that separates you from rugged and wild terrain 918-foot below”.

If you are not a fan of heights, don’t do this. It’s frightening!

On a clear day, you get jaw-dropping views of the surrounding mountains. However, we weren’t so lucky. It was snowing the whole time we were there, greatly reducing our visibility.

Skywalk (taken by the author)

We spent 10–15 minutes on the Skywalk and then took the next shuttle back to the station where our car was parked.

Upon returning, we saw quite a few cars around us with dead batteries. We were lucky!

Drive to Canmore

From the Columbia Icefield, the drive to Canmore was around 2 hours.

We stopped at a few locations only:

  • The Big Bend
  • Saskatchewan River Crossing
  • Bow Lake

I already talked about these locations in my previous blog posts, so I won’t elaborate here.

After 2.5 hours of driving, exhausted, we reached Canmore. The drive was beautiful, however, I was sad that we didn’t see any more wildlife.

The hotel in Canmore, however, had some of the best views of the towering mountains.

Canmore Hotel (taken by the author)
View from the hotel room (taken by the author)

We checked into our hotel, left our bags, took a shower, and then were on the road again looking for a good dinner spot in town.

Downtown Canmore

Compared to Banff and Jasper, downtown Canmore is much quieter and there are fewer people on the streets. There’s also plenty of street parking, so if you are driving, you are in luck.

By the time we got out of our car, the rain had subsided, but the looming clouds still prevented us from seeing the true beauty of Canmore. Despite that, we walked around the town, check out some local stores, bought some souvenirs, and then went to one of the highest-rated restaurants in Canmore — Rocky Mountain Flatbread.

There was a 30-minute wait, but it was all worth it! The place had some of the best pizzas we have had in a very long time.

Apples on a pizza! (taken by the author)
Pizza from Rocky Mountain Flatbread (taken by the author)

One of their most popular pizzas has Apple on it, and I don’t care how weird it sounds, but I loved it! I always thought pineapple on pizza was weird, but the apple had me convinced to try that out as well.

The food was great, the people were awesome, and the service was excellent! This is a must-check-out place if you are in Canmore.

After dinner, I was just wandering around the city, when I came across Rocky Mountain Soap Co. While checking out some of the shampoo, conditioner, and soap samples, I fell in love. I thought back to the hotels we had stayed in, and turned out, all the products they had were also from this store.

I really wanted to buy a few, but with the return flight to Toronto the next day, my option was limited to travel size.

Because of that, instead of buying it right then and there, I came back to the hotel and placed an online delivery order. Spoiler alert: I loved it and use it regularly now!

Afterward, we drove around some more and then went back to the hotel.

Closing Thoughts

The next morning, so day 6, we had our return flight to Toronto. We left Canmore at 9 AM, returned our rental car, and took the 4-hour flight back to Toronto.

It was an absolutely awesome trip!

If you followed the series up to this point, thank you so much! I hope it was a good use of your time, and that you noted down all my recommendations.

If this is your first post in the series and you enjoyed it, please check out the other ones here: day 1, day 2, day 3, and day 4.

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