Located in the Canadian province of Alberta, Jasper National Park is one of the most spectacular natural settings in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. It is surrounded by a vast wilderness of pristine lakes, icy glaciers, high peaks and diverse wildlife. This makes Jasper an iconic destination for every nature and outdoor enthusiast. From hiking, biking and fishing to skiing and camping, the park offers countless opportunities to explore beautiful landscapes.
Travellers find it difficult to plan a holiday here. Browsing through different itineraries can get tedious at times. Therefore, experts at Canadian Train Vacations have forged a simple yet detailed catalogue of top things to do in Jasper National Park, Canada.
1. Take a joyride on the Jasper Skytram:
A thrilling 7-minute ride on the Jasper Skytram is one of the fun things to do in Jasper. The joyride is a cart that takes up to 24 people and mounts Whistler Mountain at an altitude of 2263 m. Along the way, you can catch the breathtaking scenes of the Canadian Rockies, the Athabasca River and Jasper town.
At the end of the ride, the tram touches down the mountain top at a platform where you can appreciate the view.
Timings: 10 AM to 5 PM are the average opening hours. During summer, they start operating the tram as early as 8 AM and stop at 9 PM.
Operational Months: April to October
Fees: An adult ticket can cost up to $ 57.30 and a youth ticket costs $ 30.35. You can also take your pet dog along at the price of $ 6.
You can find more information regarding the bookings on their official website.
2. Stroll on the Columbia Icefield Skywalk:
Find yourself walking on the cliff-edge glass platform suspended 280 m above the largest icefield in the Rockies, the Columbia Icefield. The Skywalk is one of the popular tourist attractions in Jasper National Park that offers unmatched views of the Athabasca Glacier and Sunwapta Valley.
It is about one km long. You can spot waterfalls and wild animals on a stroll.
How to reach here: To get to the Skywalk, you must visit the Columbia Icefield Discovery Centre. From here, shuttle buses will take you to and fro the Skywalk.
Operational Months: Mostly depends on the weather; it is usually open from May to October.
3. Catch the sight of Athabasca Falls:
It takes only a 1 km hike along the canyon to reach the picturesque Athabasca Falls. It falls from a height of 23 m, creating a stunning formation amid a backdrop of mountains and forests.
How to reach here: Drive south from the town of Jasper on Highway 93. After approximately 30 km, you will see a signed board of the falls on the right. A short drive from there will take you to the parking lot on the left.
Operational Months: It is open all year round.
4. Soak in Miette Hot Springs:
After all the hiking, what could be better than to soak up in the pool filled with natural hot mineral waters from the mountains? The water temperature from the hot springs is approximately 54 degrees C. But it is cooled down to 40 degrees C and is filtered, chlorinated and poured into the pools.
How to reach here: Take Highway 16 and drive east from the town of Jasper. It takes about an hour to reach the Miette hot springs.
Timings: It is open from 10:30 AM to 9 PM. During the summer, the pools are open till 11 PM.
Operational Months: From May to October
Fees: Single admission fees are $ 6.05 for adults and $ 5.15 for kids and senior citizens.
5. Explore the Maligne Canyon:
If you are looking for some cool things to do in Jasper, hike along to explore the Maligne Canyon. The unique trail through the deepest canyon in the Jasper National Park passes from the Rim to Fifth Bridge giving amazing views of the gorge. You can feel the mist of the waterfall and hear the roar while walking up the valley which ultimately takes you to Maligne Lake.
Average Time Required: This will depend on your pace but generally, it takes approximately two and a half to three hours out and back.
6. Visit the Jasper Planetarium and look up at the stars:
When an area has little to no light pollution, it is designated as a "Dark Sky Preserve" by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Out of only 17 dark sky preserves in Canada, Jasper is one of them, making it a perfect spot for uninterrupted stargazing.
There are multiple tours at Jasper Planetarium where you can learn to identify different constellations and planets, enjoy a show in the dome theatre or look at the stars through a telescope, all under the guidance of astrology experts.
Fees: The different combination of Planetarium tours starts from $ 29. Choose and book your adventure from the official website of Jasper Planetarium.
7. Marvel at the Pyramid and Patricia Lakes:
The picture-perfect Pyramid Lake is located at the foothills of Pyramid Mountain. You can either walk on an easy trail along the lakeshore or choose something more thrilling: canoeing, kayaking or paddle boarding.
Next to Pyramid Lake is the pristine Patricia Lake. This lake is a great spot to catch the sunset and unwind. Swimming in summer and snowshoeing in winter are popular Patricia Lake activities.
8. Admire the art at Mountain Galleries Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge:
If you are an art fanatic, you shouldn't miss visiting Mountain Galleries at the Fairmont Hotel in Jasper. Established in 1992, it is one of the largest commercial galleries in Western Canada and features artworks by Canadian major and mid-career artists. This beautiful gallery showcases collections of original paintings and limited editions of prints and stonework.
9. Take a look at the Jasper Art Gallery:
Relish the finest examples of landscape and abstract artworks at the Jasper Art Gallery. Being the cultural centre of the Jasper National Park, it is known for its rotating exhibits and musical performances.
Timings: It is open from 10 AM to 6 PM from Thursday to Saturday.
10. Check out Jasper's Historic Train Station:
If you are travelling to Jasper by train, its historic train station, built in 1925, will be the first thing you will come across. Even if you have other plans, take a moment to stop, learn about its history and marvel at the old photos of Jasper. Two Brothers Totem Pole, another historical site, is right outside the station.
11. Hike the Opal Hills Loop Trail:
Challenge yourself to hike Opal Peak starting at Maligne Lake behind the historic Curly Phillips boathouse. It is a 12 km trek which goes up through the forests to the alpine meadows. The elevation gain is 1100 m and could be a difficult trek; however, the views from the summit are beautiful and worth the effort.
12. Discover the wildlife of Jasper at The Den:
The Den Wildlife Museum is one of the major tourist attractions in Jasper National Park. You can get close to the Grizzly Bears, watch the taxidermy mounts and learn about the wildlife including birds found in the Jasper area. It is located in the basement of the Whistlers Inn in Jasper town and is considered a great activity to indulge in on a rainy day.
Timings: The museum is open daily all year round from 9 AM to 9:30 PM.
Fees: The entrance fee is $ 3 for an adult and $ 6 for a family.
13. Bike or Walk through the Jasper Discovery Trail:
The Discovery Trail is nothing but a looped trail surrounding the town of Jasper and probably the best way to explore the downtown. Biking on this beautiful trail is a good way to get around the wonderful quaint town. The loop is 8.3 km long with a slight gain and loss of elevation of 120 m. The route has benches for those who wish to take breaks.
Average Time Required: Two to three hours are adequate to complete the looped trail.
14. Try Golfing at the Jasper Park Golf Course:
The 18-Hole Golf Course at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge tops the list of Canada's best resort golf courses. The dramatic backdrop of the stunning mountains makes golfing here a truly one-of-a-kind experience in Jasper.
15. Go Snowboarding at Marmot Basin:
With a varied terrain of 1720 acres, Marmot Basin is a paradise for snowboarders and skiers. Situated only 20 minutes away from Jasper downtown, it offers plenty of runs for all levels. So, even if you are a beginner, trying snowboarding can count as an adventure in winter in Jasper.
Operational Months: Depending on the weather, Marmot Basin is operational from mid-November until May.
Fees: An adult pass costs around $ 99 for a half day and $ 125 for a full day. Seasonal passes are available on their official website.
16. Experience the sport of Canyoning:
Canyoning includes jumping, walking, scrambling, sliding, wading and travelling through other means to explore steep gorges and mountain valleys.
Jasper National Park is home to many canyons, such as Two-Valley, Ogre, Morro and Pleckaitis.
The list of things to do in Jasper is endless. Here are some other popular and fun activities you may engage in:
17. Drive through the scenic route of The Icefields Parkway:
It is a 232 km super-scenic stretch of highway connecting Lake Louise and Jasper with scores of breathtaking viewing points.
18. Scramble Indian Ridge:
It is a short and easy hike in Jasper. The trail traverses Whistlers Mountain and is 8 km return with around 800 m of elevation gain.
19. Stop by the Jasper Yellowhead Museum and Archives:
Located in Jasper town, this museum is dedicated to collecting and preserving documents and artefacts illustrating the human history of the Jasper National Park.
20. Relax or Swim at the Lake Annette:
It is a stunning trees-lined lake; you can catch a breath by taking a dip in the calm waters and hanging out at the shore during a warm sunny day at Jasper.
Famous Food Spots in Jasper:
You can discover a medley of cafes, fine-dining restaurants, pubs and take-out places in Jasper.
Start your day with breakfast at The Crazy Elk Cafe with a sandwich, Coco's Cafe with a breakfast burrito or the Sunhouse Cafe to have piping hot coffee.
Tekarra Lodge is a fine-dining restaurant and is popular among couples who wish to plan a romantic dinner. Hearthstone Lounge is another popular place that serves local and mountain-inspired cuisine.
Pair your dinner with mouth-watering craft beers at the Jasper Brewing Company or have a drink at the local's favourite quirky bar, The Dead Dog.
Most Frequently Asked Questions
How to reach Jasper?
By Road: Jasper is connected to all major cities of Canada such as Banff, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver through highways.
By Train: Trains run towards Jasper from both Edmonton and Vancouver. Booking a train vacation is probably the best way to reach the silent town of Jasper.
By Bus: Many tour operators offer bus services from Banff, Calgary and Edmonton to Jasper.
What is the fees to enter Jasper National Park?
You need to have a valid Parks Canada Pass to enter Jasper that can be bought online. You may get one at a park gate.
An adult pass costs $ 10.50, a senior citizen pass costs $ 9 and a family pass of up to 7 costs $ 21.
Remember that the day pass expires at 4 PM the following day. Before you plan your vacation, we would recommend checking the website of Jasper National Park to get all the related information.
Where to stay in Jasper?
From luxurious to affordable, there are several options when it comes to choosing hotels in Jasper.
Sitting right next to Lake Beauvert, Fairmont Park Lodge is undoubtedly the best stay when it comes to experiencing the best of Jasper National Park.
Another top-rated accommodation with authentic log cabins is the Alpine Village Resort. It is, however, open only in summer.
And if you are looking to have a reasonable and comfortable stay, Patricia Lake Bungalows is a great place to stay.
You can also choose from the historic Athabasca Hotel, the rustic Forest Park Hotel, or the affordable Marmot Lodge.
What is the best month to visit Jasper?
July and August are the best but busiest times of the year in Jasper because of the summer. However, if you are looking to avoid crowds, you may plan a visit in early June or late September. December to February are the best months to enjoy winters in Jasper.
When can I see Northern Lights in Jasper?
Northern Lights cannot usually be seen in Jasper. You may get lucky if you visit during the winter months, but don't get your hopes too high.
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