Jasper National Park is often overshadowed by Banff National Park, but when visiting Alberta, Canada this incredible Rocky Mountain destination should be at the top of your list. There are so many things to do in Jasper you’ll understand why it is one of Canada’s most beautiful national parks. Nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, (A designated UNESCO World Heritage Site) Jasper National Park spans more than 11,000 square kilometers of pristine wilderness. This protected area is home to an incredible array of wildlife, from grizzly bears and elk to bald eagles and bighorn sheep. And we saw them all!
The Best Things to do in Jasper, Canada
There are so many places to visit in Jasper, you will want to spend at least 3 days in the area. If you have a week, it’s even better! We are going to highlight some of the best things to do in Jasper National Park, downtown Jasper, and along the Icefields Parkway.
Where is Jasper National Park?
The town of Jasper is located inside Jasper National Park in the Canadian Rockies. It is halfway between Edmonton, Alberta, and Calgary Alberta. The closest international airport to Jasper is Edmonton but you can also easily fly into Calgary. The best way to get to Jasper from one of the cities is to rent a car, but there are buses and tour operators that can take you as well. We highly suggest renting a car as you will definitely want wheels as this drive is beautiful and you’ll want to stop at all the scenic lookouts.
Jasper National Park is surprisingly accessible from quite a few places within Alberta. Jasper town is located just 4 hours (365 km / 226 miles) from Edmonton, 2 1/2 hours (288 km / 330 miles) from Banff, and 404 kilometers (251 miles) northwest of Calgary.
You will need to purchase a Parks Pass from Parks Canada here. It is $10 per person per day.
If you are going to stay longer, or visit Banff we suggest purchasing a Parks Canada Discovery Pass that costs $139 for a family or $69 per person. This gives unlimited access to Canada’s national parks from coast to coast to coast for 12 months! You can purchase this online here
Make a base in Jasper town and then get ready to explore all the things to do in Jasper National Park and beyond. Are you ready to explore the Canadian Rockies? Let’s go!
1. Maligne Canyon
Maligne Canyon is our favorite place to see in Jasper. It’s located just 15 minutes from downtown Jasper along the 46 km (miles) Maligne Lake Drive. This stop is one of the most popular places to visit in Jasper and for good reason. It is the deepest canyon in Jasper National Park.
The Maligne River winds through a 50-meter (154 feet) high gorge creating breathtaking scenery. A walking trail follows the gorge for 3.3 km (2.1 miles) offering gorgeous views as you snake along a path hugging the canyon walls.
If you aren’t driving, you can book this tour that will pick you up from your hotel. A Malign Canyon a guided hiking tour is a great way to explore the deepest canyon in Jasper National Park. This small group tour starts at Bridge 1 and finishes at Bridge 5. What’s awesome is that a shuttle will take you back so you don’t need to hike back up. It includes hotel pick up so you don’t even need a car. Details here.
It can get very busy, so go early in the morning to beat the crowds. There are five bridges that cross the canyon showing waterfalls, rapids, and spectacular views. Read more: 14 Best Hikes in Jasper National Park – Alberta Canada
2. Maligne Canyon Ice Walk
Jasper National Park is a year-round playground and you can visit the canyon in the winter to enjoy the frozen waterfalls on the Maligne Canyon ice walk. Just like the Johnston Canyon Icewalk in Banff, the Maligne Canyon ice walk takes you to the bottom of the deepest canyon in Jasper. On your tour, you’ll explore ice caves, frozen waterfalls and impressive ice formations. It is about a three-hour tour, so make sure to dress for the cold weather. Read our tips 5 Winter Layering Tips to Dress for Extreme Cold Weather
Book this highly-rated Maligne Canyon Ice Walk Tour with an experienced guide to the bottom of the most accessible canyon in Jasper National Park to see its frozen waterfalls, Ice formations, and ice caves.
Canyoning, also known as canyoneering, is an exhilarating outdoor adventure activity that involves descending into and navigating narrow, steep-walled canyons or gorges, often with the aid of ropes, harnesses, and other specialized equipment.
The park offers a variety of canyoning opportunities for all skill levels, ranging from gentle introductory routes to more advanced, technical descents. Canyoning adventures in Jasper may involve rappelling down waterfalls, jumping into crystal-clear pools, sliding down natural water slides, and swimming through narrow rock channels.
Canyoning in Jasper National Park is an adventure of a lifetime, offering a unique opportunity to explore and experience the park’s rugged natural beauty up close and personal.
4. Maligne Lake
After a stop at Maligne Canyon, hop in your car and drive another 35 minutes farther along the 46k km Maligne Lake Drive. It takes you to the end of the road at Maligne Lake which must not be missed when visiting Jasper. Maligne Lake is the longest natural lake in the Canadian Rockies. The lake stretches for over 22 kilometers and is surrounded by towering mountains, glacier-fed streams, and dense forests.
Spend the day here and take a boat cruise out to Spirit Island for one of the best photo opportunities in Alberta. Get here early to stay ahead of the crowds and save the scenic stops for the way back to Jasper Town.
Things to do at Maligne Lake
Maligne Lake Boat Cruise – One of the best ways to see Maligne Lake is to take a Maligne Lake Cruise. The Maligne Lake Cruise typically lasts around 90 minutes and takes visitors to some of the lake’s most picturesque spots, including Spirit Island, which is one of the park’s most iconic landmarks. Along the way, knowledgeable guides provide commentary on the area’s history, geology, and wildlife, including the elusive loons that call the lake home.
Spirit Island – The highlight of the cruise is undoubtedly Spirit Island, a small, tree-covered island that sits at the junction of Maligne Lake’s three glaciers. Visitors can disembark and explore the island, take photos, or simply take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and glaciers.
5. Medicine Lake
On our way back from Maligne Lake, a beautiful stop on the road is Medicine Lake. Located along Maligne Lake Drive, Medicine Lake is located 20 km (12 mi) from Jasper town center. It is an incredible scene in the autumn as the lake disappears as the water sinks into sinkholes creating a beautiful pattern of water and sand.
6. Helicopter Tour to Abraham Lake Ice Bubbles
Abraham Lake is famous for its ice bubbles and this helicopter tour takes you over the Canadian Rockies to see its frozen lakes and glaciers. The helicopter tour flies over 6 glaciers followed by a landing at Landslide Lake. You’ll then take a guided snowshoe tour to see views of the Rocky Mountains. Its then back on the helicopter to the next stop, Abraham Lake. Get ready to strap on crampons to walk to see the bubbles of Abraham Lake. The bubbles are formed by methane gas being trapped in the ice creating amazing photo opportunities that have graced social media for years.
Take a Helicopter tour of the Rocky Mountains. See the famous bubbles of Abraham Lake and take a walking tour on this bucket list trip in the Rockies. Details here.
7. Dark Sky Preserve
Jasper is known for its dark skies and each year it hosts the dark sky festival in October. It has the second-largest dark sky preserve in the entire world, and heading out to the lakes at night, is one of the best things to do in Jasper. While the Dark Sky Festival is an annual event, you can appreciate the night sky in Jasper any time of year. The dark sky preserve is so good because it is free from light pollution and the crisp mountain air makes for crystal clear skies.
The winter months are certainly the best time to enjoy the Jasper Dark Sky preserve due to the long nights. Make your way to one of the surrounding mountain lakes to enjoy the beauty of a night sky free from light pollution. It’s amazing because you can appreciate the night sky as early as 5pm.
What I love about going in October during the festival, is that not only does the night sky last for 15 hours, the weather isn’t freezing yet, so you aren’t dealing with a polar vortex. It is still cold, but not frigid. We found that getting up before sunrise was a great time to see the stars and Aurora Borealis as well. See more details about events and activities here.
8. Northern Lights
Since we just touched on the Dark Sky Preserve, we must talk a bit about dancing lights at night. Alberta is known for its vast skies that are free of light pollution, and as we said, Jasper is known for its dark sky festival. While staying at Jasper Park Lodge, we woke at 3 am to see the night skies and the milky way at Lake Edith.
We were surprised and delighted to see Northern Lights instead. But in fact, the Northern Lights are common to see in Jasper. You don’t need to go all the way to Iceland to see the aurora borealis, just fly into Edmonton and make your way to Jasper National Park for some of the best auroras on the planet.
9. Jasper Planetarium
If you really want to delve into the dark sky preserve, book a tour with the Jasper Planetarium. It operates all around Jasper National Park offering different experiences from an outdoor telescope experience to a dinner and stargazing package. Or spend an evening inside the Planetarium Dome to see and learn more about the Auroras, hear Indigenous stories and their constellations, and watch the starry skies over the Canadian Rockies. Jasper Planetarium is located at the main Lodge at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge.
10. Sidecar Motorcycle Tour
One of our favourite things to do in Jasper was to take a sidecar motorcycle. It’s one of the most unique activities as you tour the Rocky Mountains and Banff National Park on a Harley Davidson. Get geared up in full leather Harley Gear and enjoy the views as you take a tour of all the top Jasper attractions with Jasper Motorcycle Tours.
There are different durations and destinations from going to the Icefields Parkway, Marmot Basin, the Miette Hot Springs, or Maligne Lake, Medicine Lake, and Maligne Canyon. The possibilities are endless. Choose your motorcycle tour of Jasper here.
You can create your own motorcycle tour to see anything from Maligne Lake to Athabasca Falls with 1, 2 or, 3-hour ride options. You can even create shorter tours to get a feel for the open road in a side car to explore the turquoise lakes and viewpoints close to Jasper town center. Drivers are professional and know the area well. Book it here
11. Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge
Staying at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is an attraction unto itself. The rustic setting of luxurious and chic log cabins is set on the shores of Lac Beauvert with options to stay in log cabins, huge lake houses, and main building hotel rooms. There are elk and whitetail deer walking through the grounds and you feel as if you are in the middle of the wilderness while enjoying pure luxury. Check rates and availability here.
Even if you are not staying at Jasper Park Lodge, it is worth stopping to see this historic site. You can dine on its terrace, play a round of golf at its award-winning golf course or simply marvel at its 700 acres of sprawling property along the lake.
12. Athabasca Falls
Jasper has some beautiful waterfalls to explore, and Athabasca Falls is an impressive flow of water over a 23-meter (75 feet) waterfall. The narrow gorge forces the Athabasca River creating a huge volume of water cascading over the falls. There is a hiking trail to various lookouts and a bridge for a better view of the falls.
13. Explore the Icefields Parkway
No trip to Jasper would be complete without driving the Icefield Parkway. This 293 km (182 miles) road trip stretches from Jasper National Park to Banff National Park with amazing stops along the way. The Icefields Parkway is considered one of the most beautiful road trips in the world and it starts right in Jasper. You can explore a portion or the entire drive that weaves through the most stunning scenery of the Canadian Rockies.
It can easily be done in a few hours, but we suggested a couple of days to see all of its attractions. So, let’s take a look at some of the places not to be missed on Icefield’s Parkway. Highlights include: Read our full post about the Icefields Parkway drive here.
One Way Icefields Parkway Tour
Book this tour to Banff – If you flew into Edmonton and took the bus to Jasper, you can travel to Banff on this tour. Get picked up from your hotel to enjoy a full day tour to Banff to see its top attractions such as Athabasca Falls, Bow Lake and the Weeping Wall. You can enjoy the Athabasca Glacier on a guided tour or choose the Glacier Skywalk at the Columbia Icefields Centre. This is a great highlight tour for those without a car. Details here.
14. Columbia Icefield Discovery Center
Located at the halfway point between Banff and Jasper the Columbia Icefield Discovery Center is a must-stop. From here you can book tours to see the Athabasca Glacier and the Columbia Icefield Skywalk. Even if you don’t venture out on these adventures, there are great views from the terrace of the discovery center. There is a museum and two restaurants
15. Columbia Icefield Skywalk
We highly suggest doing some of the activities at the Discovery Centre though. The Columbia Icefield Skywalk is an incredible glass-floor skywalk that juts out into the Sunwapta Valley. Dangling 280m (918 feet) above the valley floor visitors can walk over the abyss for extraordinary views of the mountains.
16. Athabasca Glacier
The Athabasca Glacier is the most visited glacier in all of North America and it is spectacular. This massive glacier is one of six toes of the Columbia Icefield which is the largest nonpolar ice field in the world. So, do not miss getting a chance to see the Athabasca Glacier up close. It is when you are out on a snowcat or guided tour that you really feel how massive it is. Tours are offered on the Athabasca Glacier taking you out on an Arctic Cat to walk on the glacier admiring its deep crevasses and ice caves. Read more here.
17. Sunwapta Falls
Located on the Icefields Parkway Sunwapta Falls consists of Lower Sunwapta and Upper falls. Upper Sunwapta Falls is located close to the parking area, and the lower falls is a 2 km hike across the bridge. The upper falls are the best views of the falls, so you really don’t have to hike further than the bridge, but if you are looking for a nice day in nature, keep following the path to the lower Sunwapta Falls.
18. Sunwapta Whitewater Rafting Tour
When visiting the Canadian Rockies, you must get the adrenaline pumping with a whitewater rafting tour. One of the best places to do that in Alberta is along the Sunwapta River. The Sunwapta River takes you through a narrow canyon of class 3 rapids with gorgeous views of the Rocky Mountains.
This glacial fed river makes for a great day trip where you’ll practice your paddling techniques before hitting the rapids. As long as the weather stays good, the tours keep going giving everyone the soaker they are looking for on a hot summer’s day.
Once the rapids start it is still important to look at the 360-degree mountain views. The river follows the jagged ridge of the Endless Chain. Book this highly-rated tour here.
19. Whitewater Rafting the Athabasca River
Jasper Raft Tours is a popular rafting company that offers rafting tours along the Athabasca River. Rafting the Athabasca River is great for the whole family as the rapids are a class two offering a gentle run while still offering amazing views of the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
You can choose from a scenic Athabasca River Rafting experience, The Athabasca River Mile 5 run or the Athabasca Canyon run that starts at Jasper’s Athabasca Falls and goes through Class 2+ rapids along a 12km stretch of the Athabasca River.
Here are places to book your own Athabasca River Rafting Experience
Athabasca Falls Run – The Athabasca Falls run is a moderate run in an 8 person raft down the Athabasca River Canyon..
20. Ski Marmot Basin
Alberta is blessed with amazing ski hills and Marmot Basin has a longer ski season than most resorts, it has the highest ski elevation in all of Canada. With 914 meters (3000) feet of vertical terrain spanning 1720 acres, Marmot is an amazing day on the ski hill for all levels. Plus Marmot Basin was voted the most affordable ski resort in North America. There are shuttles from downtown Jasper with the hill only 20 minutes away.
21. Sunrise Pyramid Lake
One of our favorite places in Jasper for sunrise is Pyramid Lake. Pyramid Lake is a stunning lake with a pyramid-shaped mountain, aptly names Pyramid Mountain, reflecting in the still waters. Take a hike around the lake, and be sure to walk across the bridge to Pyramid Island. Pyramid Lake is one of the most photographed and picturesque lakes in Jasper National Park and the best time to visit is at sunrise.
In the summertime, you can hike up Pyramid Mountain.
22. Lake Annette and Lake Edith
Lake Annette and Lake Edith are near Jasper Park Lodge and are beautiful morning strolls or places to photograph postcard-perfect views of the Rocky Mountains and night skies. There are hiking and biking trails, canoeing and kayaking with some sandy beaches and picnic areas.
23. Sunset at Patricia Lake
Another beautiful lake in Jasper Canada is Patricia Lake. Patricia Lake is located near Pyramid Lake and is another photo stop on your trip to Jasper Canada.
24. Hike the Valley of the Five Lakes
As the name suggests, the Valley Of The Five Lakes trail leads you to five different alpine lakes. The five lakes trail starts at Icefields Parkway and takes you through a lush forest before crossing over the Wabasso Creek Bridge. Most hikers follow this route in a clockwise direction following the path to the five lakes. There are some steep uphills along the hiking route.
The great thing about this route is the fact you can swim, so remember to bring your bathing suit along for a quick dip. (but be warned, the water is cold and is at your own risk!) Nothing beats witnessing the crystal clear deep jade and blue lakes of Jasper.
25. Jasper Sky Tram
Located just 10 minutes from downtown Jasper, the Jasper Sky tram is a gondola that takes you 2,263 meters (7,425 feet) to a series of boardwalks and wooden platforms offering the best panoramic views in Jasper. You can hike up to the Marmot Summit just a little higher to the viewpoint and Whistlers Mountain summit at 2463 meters (8077 feet). There’s the Summit Restaurant at Upper Station where you can grab some lunch too!
With an elevation of 2,463 meters (8,081 feet), Whistlers Mountain is the highest peak in the vicinity of the town of Jasper and offers visitors panoramic views of the surrounding mountain ranges, including the Columbia Icefield to the south and the Athabasca River valley to the east.
Besides riding the scenic gondola from the base of the mountain to the summit, you can hike to the summit. The most popular hiking trail is the Whistlers Summit Trail, which is approximately 7.6 kilometers (4.7 miles) round trip and offers hikers spectacular views of the park’s rugged landscape.
26. Miette Hot Springs
The Miette Hot Springs are Jasper’s answer to the Banff Hot Springs. Like Banff, you can even rent old-timer swimsuits! The hottest hot springs in the Rocky Mountains, the Miette Hot Springs are a good place for a day trip from Jasper. The water is a whopping 54°C (129°F), but don’t worry, it is cooled to a respectable 40°C (104°F)
The hot springs are located approximately 60 kilometers (37 miles) northeast of the Jasper townsite, the Miette Hot Springs can be accessed by a scenic drive through the Fiddle Valley. These historic hot springs were used by fur traders of Hudson Bay, back in the day. There are hiking trails and the Fiddle Valley Cafe.
27. Jasper Skyline Trail
The Sulphur Skyline Trail is one of Jasper’s signature hikes. It starts off at a steady pace that seems to never stop. but the good news is that you can combine your hiking with a dip in the Miette Hot Springs. The effort is worth it as you soak in the natural hot springs. The hike itself offers many viewpoints overlooking the Fiddle Valley. Once at the summit, the views open up to a beautiful 360-degree scene all around. This trail is open from Mid-May to Mid-October. Be sure to go in the morning to avoid the crowds.
28. Hike to the viewpoint of Edith Cavell
The hike to the viewpoint of Edith Cavell in Jasper National Park is a spectacular and challenging trail that takes visitors on a scenic journey to the base of one of the park’s most iconic peaks. Mount Edith Cavell is the most prominent peak that is located entirely in Alberta. It is a stunning mountain named after a British nurse who served in World War I and was later executed for her role in aiding allied soldiers.
The trailhead is located off Cavell Road. The hike itself is a challenging 3.4-kilometer (2.1-mile) round-trip trek, with a steep incline that gains 385 meters (1,263 feet) in elevation.
It’s worth noting that the trail to the viewpoint of Edith Cavell is only open from late June to early October, and visitors must purchase a Parks Canada pass to access the area. Additionally, due to the steep incline and rocky terrain, the trail is recommended for experienced hikers with proper footwear and gear.
29. Hike the Old Fort Point Trail
The Old Fort Point Trail in Jasper National Park is a popular hiking trail that offers stunning views of the park’s mountainous terrain and wildlife. The trail is a relatively easy and family-friendly hike, with a gradual incline that takes visitors up to the summit of Old Fort Point, which sits at an elevation of 2,280 feet (695 meters).
The trailhead is located just a short drive from Jasper townsite, making it easily accessible for visitors. The trail is well-marked and maintained, and takes approximately 2-3 hours round-trip to complete.
Along the trail, hikers are treated to beautiful views of the Athabasca River valley, as well as sightings of local wildlife such as elk, deer, and bighorn sheep. The summit of Old Fort Point offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, including the Miette Range, the Whistler Range, and the Athabasca River valley.
30. Jasper Wildlife
Jasper is in the middle of a wild and open national park and when you visit Jasper, be prepared to see a lot of wildlife. We saw more wildlife in Jasper than on any of our visits to Banff. Chances are you will encounter grizzly bears at some point, and you’ll definitely see elk, which roam freely on the grounds of Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. During our drives we saw whitetail deer run through the street, bighorn sheep sip water in the turquoise lakes by the side of the road and mountain goats high in the hills. . Take your time to go wildlife spotting.
It was in Jasper that we saw grizzly bears just hanging out on the side of the road. During our motorcycle tour, a grizzly bear mom and cub were hanging out near Lac Beauvert. We were careful to keep our distance. Grizzly bears are wild animals, and you should never approach them. During this encounter, Parks Canada came out to make sure that people didn’t get to close to the mom and cub letting them have their privacy.
31. Wildlife Tour
There are wildlife tours offered as well. This wildlife tour lets you see a lot of Jasper’s top attractions in one stop with a stop at Maligne Canyon and Medicine Lake as you search for mountain goats, moose, bears, and elk. Or book this Wildlife Discovery Tour. Wildlife is abundant in Jasper, you will see a lot.
32. Mountain Biking
Besides hiking, mountain biking is one of the top outdoor activities in Jasper National Park. There are several designated mountain biking trails around the area and some of the most popular are The Maligne Canyon Route, The Athabasca River Trail, and the Valley of the Five Lakes.
33. Horseback Ride
One of our favorite ways to enjoy the rocky mountains is by horseback. There are plenty of horseback riding opportunities in Jasper. Tourism Jasper recommends Jasper Riding Stables on Pyramid Lake Road take you on a scenic ride around Pyramid Lake to enjoy the extraordinary views of Pyramid Mountain and other areas throughout the park. We trust Tourism Jasper as they have booked other horseback rides throughout Alberta for us and they’ve been fabulous! Details here.
34. Enjoy Dog Sledding
One of the best things to do in Jasper in winter is to go dog sledding. There is nothing more magical than being pulled through the snow as the dogs are in their element running with glee through the low mountain ranges.
There are several tour operators in Jasper that offer dog sledding experiences, ranging from short rides to multi-day expeditions. Visitors can choose to sit back and enjoy the ride as a passenger or learn how to mush their own team of dogs under the guidance of an experienced guide. During the dog sledding adventure, visitors are typically taken on a scenic tour through the park’s snowy forests and valleys, with stops along the way to take in the breathtaking views and snap some memorable photos.
The dogs used for dog sledding in Jasper are typically breeds such as Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes, which are bred for their strength, endurance, and love of running. The dogs are well-trained and cared for, and visitors are often given the opportunity to meet and interact with them before and after the ride. Read more: The Misconceptions of Dogsledding
35. Jasper Food Tours
If you are spending some time in downtown Jasper, book a food tour to sample some of the town’s best eateries. Jasper food tours are a fun and delicious way to explore the culinary scene of downtown. Led by knowledgeable and passionate local guides, these tours take visitors on a culinary journey through Jasper, showcasing the best local food and drink that the area has to offer.
You can book this tour to experience the food of downtown Jasper. Learn about the history of Jasper as you visit four local restaurants. You’ll try its top dish paired with an alcoholic drink. Details Here.
The tours typically include visits to a variety of local eateries, such as cafes, bistros, restaurants, and pubs. The food served on the tours often features regional specialties, such as bison burgers, Alberta beef, fresh trout, and locally brewed beer. Vegetarian and vegan options are also available, ensuring that there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Some of the popular food tours in Jasper include the Downtown Foodie Tour, which explores the town’s vibrant culinary scene, the Jasper Craft Beer Tour, which features local breweries and pubs, and the Jasper Food & History Tour, which combines food tastings with fascinating insights into the town’s history.
36. Get Your Coffee at Bear’s Paw Bakery
We looked forward to stopping at Bear’s Paw Bakery every morning for our morning cappuccino and delicious pastry.
37. Jasper Brewing Company
The Jasper Brewing Company is a popular brewery and pub located in the heart of the town of Jasper, Alberta, in Jasper National Park. Established in 2005, the brewery is known for its award-winning craft beers and delicious pub-style food.
The brewery produces a variety of beers, including lagers, ales, stouts, and seasonal brews. Some of their most popular beers include the Rockhopper IPA, the Jasper the Bear Ale, and the Snowblind Belgian-Style IPA.
The brewery itself is housed in a historic building that dates back to 1928, and features a spacious, rustic interior with plenty of seating and a warm, welcoming atmosphere. There’s also a patio outside that’s perfect for enjoying a beer on a sunny day.
38. Rocky Mountaineer
The Rocky Mountaineer is an extraordinary train journey through the Rocky Mountains from Alberta to British Columbia. One of the routes leaves (or arrives) from Jasper. It’s a one-way ticket, so if you want to move on to Vancouver, this is an amazing journey. Watch our video here.
When coming into Jasper by train you’ll arrive at the Jasper Historic Railway Station which has been designated as a Canadian heritage railway for its historical significance.
Where to Stay in Jasper
We stayed at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, but there are many other places to stay in Jasper to suit your budget. This luxurious hotel offers beautiful lakefront views, a spa, several restaurants, and a variety of outdoor activities such as golfing, kayaking, and mountain biking.
Whistlers Inn: This hotel is located in the heart of downtown Jasper and offers comfortable rooms, a restaurant, and a lounge with live music. It’s a great option for those who want to be close to the town’s attractions and nightlife.
Forest Park Lodge – Formerly Sawridge Inn and Conference Center. Enjoy the Mountain Wellness Day Spa, dine in their restaurant Canadian Rockies cuisine and explore downtown Jasper with many restaurants and shops within walking distance.
Becker’s Chalets: This cozy accommodation is located on the Icefields Parkway, offering stunning mountain views and a peaceful setting. They offer a variety of cabins and suites with full kitchens and fireplaces.
Check out vacation rentals and hotels in Jasper here.
Camping in Jasper National Park
There is plenty of camping in Jasper, you can check with Park’s Canada for availability. Wapiti Campground is located just outside of Jasper townsite and offers tent and RV sites with beautiful mountain views.
It’s a great option for those who want a more rustic camping experience. Sites can be booked ahead of time and there is a front country and backcountry camping. If you don’t have a lot of camping experience, but want to camp in the Rockies, try an oTentik at Whistler’s Campground.
How to Get to Jasper
There is no airport in Jasper. We flew into Edmonton and rented a car to drive to Jasper which is 365 km (226 miles). You can also drive from Banff Lake Louise up the Icefield’s Parkway. If you fly into Calgary, this is the way to go.
Located in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, Jasper National Park was officially established in 1907, after a group of Canadian Pacific Railway employees petitioned the Canadian government to protect the area. The park was named after Jasper Hawes, who was a trader with the Hudson’s Bay Company and one of the first Europeans to explore the region.
Today, it is a mecca for tourists wanting to enjoy the beauty of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, incredible hiking trails, stunning lakes, and waterfalls you won’t soon forget. All of this with a fraction of the number of tourists that visit Banff. So, if you are looking for a great outdoor escape, then add these 25 best things to do in Jasper National Park to your bucket list.
How Far is Jasper From Banff?
Jasper is easily accessible by car or trains from major cities such as Calgary and Edmonton, and the townsite offers a variety of amenities and accommodations, from cozy cabins to luxury resorts.
Jasper is 288 km (179 miles) from Banff along the Icefields Parkway. To drive directly from Banff to Jasper is about 3 1/2 hours, but to stop at all the attractions, especially at the Columbia Icefield Discovery Center, you’ll want at least a full day.
How Far is Jasper From Edmonton?
Jasper National Park is 363 kilometers (225 miles) west of Edmonton and takes approximately 4 hours and 30 minutes non-stop. You can travel to Jasper by car, bus or train. The nearest airport is Edmonton International Airport. From the airport, visitors can rent a car or take a bus to Jasper.
The most direct route to Jasper from Edmonton is via the Yellowhead Highway (Highway 16), which takes approximately 4 hours and 30 minutes. The route is well-maintained and offers stunning views of the Alberta countryside.
Several bus companies offer daily service between Edmonton and Jasper, with a travel time of approximately 5 hours. Greyhound and Sundog Tours are two popular options.
Via Rail Canada offers a daily train service between Edmonton and Jasper, with a travel time of approximately 5 hours. The train offers stunning views of the Canadian Rockies and is a popular option for visitors looking to experience the scenery in a unique way.
How Far is Jasper from Calgary?
Jasper is approximately 412 kilometers (256 miles) northwest of Calgary and takes approximately 5 hours and 30 minutes to get there. Visitors can also fly into Calgary International Airport and from the airport, can rent a car to drive to Jasper.
The most direct route to Jasper from Calgary is via the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1) and the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93), which takes approximately 5 hours and 30 minutes. The route is well-maintained and offers stunning views of the Canadian Rockies.
Several bus companies offer daily service between Calgary and Jasper, with a travel time of approximately 6 hours. Greyhound and Sundog Tours are two popular options.
Via Rail Canada offers a daily train service between Calgary and Jasper, with a travel time of approximately 6 hours. The train offers stunning views of the Alberta countryside and is a popular option for visitors looking to experience the scenery in a unique way.
Is Jasper Worth Visiting?
Jasper National Park is definitely worth visiting. We enjoy Jasper more than Banff as it sees fewer crowds and offers a more authentic experience without having to go into the backcountry. The park is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including elk, deer, grizzly bears, bighorn sheep, and wolves, making it an ideal destination for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts.
Jasper National Park is home to some of the most stunning natural landscapes in the world, with towering mountain peaks, sparkling lakes, glaciers, and dense forests that provide a truly immersive outdoor experience. There’s no shortage of outdoor adventure in Jasper, with activities such as hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, kayaking, whitewater rafting, skiing, snowboarding, and dog sledding available for visitors to enjoy.
Unique experiences: Jasper offers a variety of unique experiences that can’t be found anywhere else, such as the Maligne Lake cruise, the Columbia Icefield Skywalk, and the Jasper Food Tour.
Overall, Jasper National Park offers a truly unforgettable experience for visitors, with its unparalleled natural beauty, abundant wildlife, outdoor adventure, unique experiences, and convenient accessibility making it a must-visit destination for anyone looking to explore the best of Canada’s wilderness.
Jasper National Park Pass
When visiting Jasper, you must obtain a Jasper National Park Pass issued by Parks Canada. It allows visitors to access and enjoy the various attractions, activities, and services offered within Jasper National Park.
The Park Pass is valid for one year from the date of purchase and allows unlimited access to Jasper National Park during that time. There are several types of passes available, including individual, family/group, and commercial passes.
The cost of the pass varies depending on the type of pass and the duration of the visit. Prices can be found on the Parks Canada website and can be purchased online or at park entrances.
In addition to allowing access to the park, the Jasper National Park Pass provides various benefits, including access to interpretive programs, hiking trails, and day-use areas. The pass also supports conservation efforts and helps maintain and improve park facilities.
Best Time to Visit Jasper
The best time to visit Jasper National Park depends on your interests and preferences. Consider what activities you want to do, your budget, and your tolerance for crowds and weather conditions to decide which season would be the best fit for your trip.
Here is a breakdown of what to expect during each season:
- Spring (March – May): This is a great time to visit Jasper National Park for those looking for fewer crowds, as the peak tourist season hasn’t started yet. The weather can be unpredictable, with snow still present in some areas, but there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking and wildlife viewing.
- Summer (June – August): This is the peak season for Jasper National Park, with warm temperatures, long days, and plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy. Popular activities during the summer months include hiking, camping, fishing, wildlife viewing, and scenic drives along the Icefields Parkway. However, it can be crowded, so be prepared to book accommodations and activities in advance.
- Fall (September – November): This is a beautiful time to visit Jasper National Park, with the fall colors creating a stunning backdrop for hiking, photography, and wildlife viewing. The weather is cooler but still pleasant, and crowds start to thin out toward the end of the season.
- Winter (December – February): Jasper National Park transforms into a winter wonderland during the colder months, with snow-covered landscapes and opportunities for winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, and snowshoeing. The Northern Lights can also be visible during the winter months, adding to the park’s already spectacular scenery.
We have visited Jasper on four occasions. Once courtesy of Tourism Jasper, Once with Tourism Alberta, once with the Rocky Mountaineer, and once on our own. Having been to Alberta in all four seasons, we know that it can be just as special no matter what time of year you visit.
We look forward to going back to Jasper again and again, so let us know if you have more ideas for the best things to do in Jasper and we’ll add them to our list!