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Yellowhead Highway Itinerary: Jasper to Edson

What to See and do Jasper to Edson

You are driving east, away from the Rockies. You start by driving through wide, lake filled valleys of the Athabaseca River to the national park  gates and then drive up and down rolling foothills inlcuyding IObed Summit, and then they reduce is size and frequency as they move away from the mountains. The land yere is heavily forested, and starts to change to farmland as the land gets flatter.

Yellowhead Highway Overview: Jasper to Edson portion

The 166 km (1:50 hours) section of the Yellowhead Highway from  Jasper to Edsonruns along the upper Fraser River and showcases the rugged interior mountains of northeastern British Columbia.

The town of Jasper is located in the heart of the same-named national park. Jasper offers a range of amenities for visitors, including accommodations, gas, restaurants, and outdoor recreation opportunities.  Heading west, the Yellowhead Highway #16 heads  through the the Yellowhead Pass, toward Mount Robson. Travelers can detour south on the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93)  to pass by some of the most iconic natural attractions in Jasper National Park, such as Athabasca Falls, Columbia Icefield, and Sunwapta Falls. These sites offer opportunities for hiking, sightseeing, and exploring the beauty of the mountains.

As you drive easty from Jasper you are in very wide glacier-scoured valley with lakes turned a very pretty blue from the suspended glacial rock flour reflecting the sky’s blue. The first major attraction along the route eastward is the Miette Hot Springs,  The hot springs offer visitors the chance to soak in naturally heated mineral water, surrounded by the beautiful wilderness of the Rockies.

As the highway leaves the mountains, travelers will pass through the small community of Entrance just east of Jasper National Park gates. Then you pass the junction with Highway 40, which heads north to Grande Cache after crossing over (one last time)  the Athabasca River on its route to the Arctic Ocean, and William A. Switzer Provincial Park. Located just east of the park gates from Hinton, located in Alberta’s forested foothills. These are gentle folds in the earth’s crust that arehigher right close to the eastern edge of the rockies and gradually reduce hieght and amplitude as they move east twoard Canada’s vast Prairies.  The highway passes through a mix of rural and forested landscapes, with the occasional small community and ranch along the way.

Cost-saving recomendation: If heading west, Hinton is the last cheap gas before the mountain parks and BC. Fill up in Hinton. If heading eastbound, fill up in BC (Prince George, McBride, Tete Jaune Cache) enough to get here and then TOP UP your gas tank here.

One of the foothils  is at Obed Summit, between Hinton and Edson. which is the highest point of the Yellowhead Highway, at 1163 m (3819 ft) even 33 m (108 ft) higher than the Yellowhead Pass on the Continental Divide.

Edson is home to a diverse range of industries, including forestry, oil and gas, and agriculture. Edson is also a popular destination for outdoor recreation, with numerous parks, trails, and lakes located in the surrounding area.

Jasper-Athabasca River Canyon below falls-sliver
Jasper-Athabasca River Canyon below falls-sliver

History of the Yellowhead Highway:  Jasper to Edson portion

After World War One (“The Great War”, in those days) a  railway surveyor suggested that the abandoned railway grade would make a firm foundation for a highway. That idea was acopted by the  Edmonton Automobile and Good Roads Association, which l began to push for the Yellowhead Highway.  Charles Neiymer and Frank Silverthorne  began the first automobile journey (in an Overland Four) through the Yellowhead Pass in 1922, reaching Victoria 21 days later.

During the Second World War many Japanese-Canadians were removed from the residences on the coast and relocated in wartime  internment camps in other areas. Construction camps at Lucerne, Rainbow, Red Pass, Albreda, and Tete Jaune Cache housed over 1500 Japanese-Canadians, mostly single men. These were assigned to upgrade 30 kilometres of abandoned railroad grade into a truck road and constructed an additional 40 kilometres of new road over steep grades. A total of 19 bridges were built. By 1944 the road  between Edmonton and Jasper was open.

By 1969 the tote road had been more or less reconstructed and finally paved. In August of 1970, the Premier of British Columbia , W.A.C. Bennett, officially opened the Yellowhead Inter-provincial Highway.

Route Elevation Chart

Yellowhead Highway Elevation Chart AB: Jasper-Hinton-Edson
Yellowhead Highway Elevation Chart AB: Jasper-Hinton-Edson

Map of Yellowhead Highway from Jasper to Edson


Route Itinerary Details

Coming soon…