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Fun Facts About Jasper National Park

Jasper National Park is the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies. Spread over a mountainous terrain of 4,200 square miles, the park has several notable geological features, such as glaciers, waterfalls, lakes, limestone caves, ice fields, and canyons. Dive into this article to explore some interesting Jasper National Park facts.

Visitors walk on the Columbia Icefield Skywalk's glass-floored cliff-edge walkway above the Sunwapta Valley in Jasper, Alberta

Canada is home to 37 national parks. National parks aim to protect biodiversity by conserving wildlife species and their ecological niches. Why visit one? Well, ecotourism is a growing industry these days. It not only boosts economic revenue but also increases conservation awareness.

Jasper National Park is home to thousands of native animals and birds, including mule deer, bighorn sheep, caribous, lynx, and cougars. You can also find several bird species, such as bald eagles, spruce grouses, and white-tailed ptarmigans. The park offers numerous recreational outdoor activities, such as rafting, hiking, skiing, and camping.

Canadian Train Vacations offers attractive packages to help you experience a memorable train journey. Our team of travel experts plan and book your entire trip based on your preferences. Enjoy a hassle-free journey to Jasper National Park and the Canadian Rockies. This article outlines 15 Jasper National Park fun facts you must know before undertaking a trip here.

1. Jasper is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

UNESCO declared Jasper National Park a World Heritage Site in 1984. The stunning and diverse mountain landscape has several glaciers, lakes, canyons, waterfalls, peaks, and fossils.

Scenic view of forests and Mount Edith Cavell reflected in Cavell Lake in Jasper National Park

2. It's the biggest national park in the Rockies

Jasper National Park is the largest national park in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. At 11,228 square kilometres (4,335 square miles), is the 12th largest national park in Canada. The park is known for its wildlife, mountains, alpine meadows, and other geological features. There are 20 kilometres (12 miles) of trails for biking and hiking in Jasper National Park. 

Highway with trees along both sides with view to picturesque snowcapped mountain

#1 Travel tip: Rise early for photos

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Sunrise is a great time to admire Jasper’s lakes and mountains. On a guided photo tour, learn to take the perfect picture as the morning light illuminates the park’s natural wonders.

Katherine Foxcroft
Product Manager, Tours and Vacations

3. It was named a national park in 1930

The government created the Jasper Forest Park reserve in 1907 to encompass 13,000 square kilometres (5019 square miles) of terrain along the transcontinental railway through the Athabasca Valley. It received the status of a national park later in 1930.

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4. It gets more than 2 million visitors a year

Jasper National Park is among the most-visited national parks in the Canadian Rockies. It sees over two million visitors annually. It appeared in Outside magazine's ranking of the top 30 national parks in the world.

A group of snowboarders walks through downtown Jasper in winter

5. There's almost 2,000 stunning lakes

One of the most interesting facts about Jasper National Park is that it is home to 1,762 lakes! Some are easily visible, while others inconspicuously lie behind the mountains. Only 107 of the lakes have been named. Famous lakes include Pyramid, Maligne, and Patricia Lakes.

Blue skies over a glassy Maligne Lake in the Canadian Rockies

6. It's home to the highest peak in Alberta

Mount Columbia is the tallest mountain peak in Alberta, Canada. Its highest point (3,747 metres) lies within Jasper National Park. This peak is the second highest among the Canadian Rockies and the 28th highest in Canada.

View of glacier mountain peaks and clear lake at sunset

7. You can walk on a glacier

The most visited glacier in North America, the Athabasca Glacier, lies in Jasper National Park. It is conveniently accessible and is part of the colossal Columbia Icefield. You can walk the trail to the glacier's base independently, book a guided hike, or hop onboard an Ice Explorer vehicle. The Glacier Discovery Centre is just across the road.

Couple walking down an icy glacier in the Canadian Rockies

8. You can hike deep in a rocky canyon

Maligne Canyon Is the deepest accessible canyon in the Canadian Rockies. Parts of the canyon are 50 metres deep. There is a hiking trail that follows the canyon. It takes about 2-4 hours to complete the entire loop, though visitors can walk to lookouts at bridges 1 and 2 for a shorter adventure. In the winter, you can discover the canyon's frozen waterfalls.

Three people standing in the icy Maligne canyon cave in Jasper

9. It's home to a huge range of biodiversity

The three distinct eco-zones in Jasper National Park are alpine, sub-alpine, and montane. The climate and altitude is different in each zone which affects the biodiversity. 

View of turquoise water rushing through lush limestone canyon from trail

10. It was named after a voyageur

One of the Jasper National Park fun facts is the story of how it got its name. The park takes its name from Jasper Haws, an ardent voyageur. In 1817, he took charge of a fur-trading post called Jasper House near the Athabasca River. In 1907, Jasper Forest Park was created. In 1930, the park received national park status and became Jasper National Park.

kayaks on dock near Pyramid Lake in Jasper

11. You can ride the longest aerial tramway

The Jasper Skytram is the longest guided aerial tramway in Canada and is a must-try here. Enjoy panoramic views of six mountain ranges from an elevation of 2,263 metres (7,424 feet)! 

A small red tram car floats above the clouds over Jasper National Park

12. It's very festive at Christmas

If you plan to visit Jasper National Park in December, do not miss the vibrant Christmas cheer. The snow-covered mountain ranges and warm lights create a feel-good ambiance in line with a classic white Christmas. Jasper Park Lodge loves the festive season so much that it hosts Christmas in November, an annual event if you'd like to celebrate early.

Mountains frame emerald lake surrounding island after snow in Alberta's Jasper National Park

13. It's the second-largest Dark Sky Preserve

Dark Sky Preserves are often areas, like national parks, that provide fantastic conditions for viewing the stars and night sky. In these protected areas, there is a continuous effort to reduce light pollution. Jasper National Park is the second-largest dark sky preserve in the world. You can often witness the magical Aurora Borealis from September through mid-May.

A man looks through a telescope at the Jasper Dark Sky Festival

#2 Travel tip: Attend a starry festival

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If you’re an avid stargazer, head to Jasper in October for the annual Dark Sky Festival.

Blog Author - Hannah Poaros-Mcdermott
Hannah Poaros-McDermott
Travel Writer and Senior Content Coordinator

14. It's a significant water basin

Some significant river systems, such as the Athabasca and Smoky rivers, originate from Jasper National Park. The park also houses the Miette Hot Springs, the warmest springs (at 54°C) in the Canadian Rockies.

People soaking in Miette Hot Spings with a view of mountains and dense forest on a bright day

15. There are extensive efforts at conservation

There is a caribou conservation and breeding program in Jasper National Park which aims to prevent further decline of these native species. About 82 species of songbirds exist in Jasper and some are listed as endangered or threatened. The park rangers monitor the birds and protect their nesting sites.

An elk buck running in the snow in the Canadian Rockies

Frequently Asked Questions

How did Jasper, Canada get its name?

Long ago, when the place was not yet famous as Jasper, it was only a small trading post surrounded by wilderness. The town and the park both got their names from Jasper Haws, one of the post managers and an eminent voyageur.

How big is Jasper National Park?

Jasper National Park spreads over an area of about 4,200 square miles. It is home to 1300 species of plants, 53 species of mammals, 40 species of fish, 277 species of birds, and 20,000 species of spiders and insects.

Does Jasper National Park have bears?

Yes, Jasper National Park has black and grizzly bears. These bears are omnivores and scavengers and can live up to 30 years. Bears hibernate during winter. Visit the park in spring or summer to spot a bear.

About the author: Katherine is Product Manager with Fresh Tracks Canada. Having worked in the Canadian travel industry for almost 20 years, she enjoys sharing her local expertise with visitors. She is based in Calgary and one of her favourite Canadian destination is the... Read more

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