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10 Fun Things to Do in Jasper National Park

Located in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, Jasper National Park is one of the most beautiful places on earth. It has breathtaking mountains, crystal-clear lakes, and abundant wildlife. There is no shortage of things to do in Jasper National Park. Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline rush or a more relaxed adventure, there are plenty of activity options — camping, hiking, canoeing, wildlife viewing, and fishing. Don’t know where to start? This list of 10 fun things to do in Jasper National Park has something for everyone.

The travel experts at Canadian Train Vacations have spent lots of time in Jasper. We’ve compiled this list to help visitors make the most of their time in the area. Get in touch for more information. We specialize in creating custom trips in Canada.  

Here are some of our favorite sights and activities in Jasper.

  1. Old Fort Point Trail
  2. Maligne Lake Cruise
  3. Helicopter Ride
  4. Columbia Icefield Skywalk
  5. Jasper Skytram
  6. Sunwapta Falls
  7. Moose Lake
  8. Medicine Lake
  9. Wildflowers
  10. Athabasca River

1. Go Hiking on the Old Fort Point Trail 

One of the best things to do in Jasper National Park is hiking the Old Fort Point Trail. This trail begins near the Jasper townsite. It is about 3.4 kilometres (2.4 miles) long and offers stunning views of the Athabasca Valley and the Athabasca River. On this hike, you might see wildlife, including moose, elk, and deer. The trail is suitable for all levels of hikers, so it is an excellent option if you are visiting Jasper National Park with friends or family.

You could spend at least two to three days in Jasper National Park. When planning your trip, add the Old Fort Point Trail to your list of the top five things to do in Jasper National Park. You won’t regret it!

Other popular hiking trails include:

  • Whistlers Summit
  • Valley of Five Lakes
  • Pyramid Lake
  • Maligne Canyon
  • Athabasca Glacier Icewalk

#1 Travel Tip: Hike with a local

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Exploring the trails with a local expert is the best way to learn about the alpine flora and fauna. Choose a privately guided nature walk or small-group hiking tour.

Katherine Foxcroft
Product Manager, Tours and Vacations

2. Relaxing on a Maligne Lake Cruise

Maligne Lake is one of the best places to visit in Jasper National Park. The area has breathtaking views, making it the perfect place for hiking, canoeing, and fishing. A guided cruise on Maligne Lake is one of the top 5 things to do in Jasper National Park.

The glacier-fed lake’s crystal-clear waters are beautiful. If you’re lucky, you might spot wildlife on the shoreline, such as elk, deer, bears, and moose. Book a guided tour of the Maligne Valley including a cruise on Maligne Lake to the famous Spirit Island. An expert guide will tell you about the lake’s unique history.

After your cruise, there are other activities you can enjoy:

  1. Paddle a canoe on Maligne Lake
  2. Hike the Mary Schaffer loop around Maligne Lake
    Trees and mountains reflected in the clear water of Maligne Lake

    #2 Travel Tip: Take a motorcycle sidecar tour

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    Catch stunning mountain views on a guided Harley Davidson motorcycle sidecar tour. See Maligne Canyon and Medicine Lake, Athabasca Falls, or Mount Edith Cavell.

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

    3. Experience a helicopter ride with a bird's eye view

    A helicopter flight is one of the best things to do in Jasper National Park. On this awe-inspiring ride, soar above the majestic Rocky Mountains and catch stunning views of the area near Jasper. From the sky, spot glaciers, alpine lakes, and wildlife — an unforgettable experience.

    If you’re looking for the ultimate adventure during your visit to Jasper National Park, a helicopter tour should be on your list of top things to do. You can also go on a sightseeing tour along the Icefields Parkway (between Jasper, Banff, and Lake Louise) and include a helicopter flight. Take photos that will last a lifetime. A helicopter tour is one of the top five things to do in Jasper National Park. 

    A helicopter flys over the mountains in Jasper National Park

    4. Experience the Columbia Icefield Skywalk

    The Columbia Icefield Skywalk is one of the best things to do in Jasper National Park. Located at the Columbia Icefield, the Skywalk is a glass-floored observation platform that cantilevers out over the Sunwapta Valley for an unrivalled view of the Rocky Mountains.  

    Walk along the platform and look down at the rugged landscape almost 1,000 feet below. This top attraction near Jasper is a must-do for all visitors. Be sure to bring your camera and capture some unforgettable moments.

    Two people walk along the Columbia Icefield Skywalk in Jasper
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    5. Take a ride on the Jasper Skytram

    One of the best things to do in Jasper National Park is the Jasper SkyTram. The tram takes visitors up Whistlers Mountain for panoramic views of the park and surrounding areas. It is the longest and highest aerial tramway in Canada. Once you're at the top, take in the stunning views of six mountain ranges. See Mount Robson, the Canadian Rockies' highest mountain, and walk along the interpretive boardwalk.   

    This is one of the top 5 things to do in Jasper National Park and will be a highlight of your trip! Visitors usually spend 1-3 hours here. Riding the Jasper Skytram is one of the top things to do in Jasper National Park. You can easily fit this activity into any Canadian Rockies itinerary, no matter how much time you have in Jasper.

    6. View Sunwapta Falls

    One of the best things to do in Jasper National Park is to see Sunwapta Falls. Located on the Sunwapta River and fed by the Athabasca Glacier, the pair of waterfalls is one of the most popular attractions in the park, and for good reason. The upper waterfall has an impressive drop-off of about 59 feet. Icy waters plunge over the edge of a deep gorge into a pool below. 

    The best way to experience Sunwapta Falls' beauty is to walk along the nearby boardwalk trail. The views of the falls are absolutely breathtaking, and it’s easy to see why this is one of the top things to do in Jasper National Park. Most visitors spend between thirty minutes and a couple of hours here. No matter how long you stay, you're sure to be amazed by the natural beauty of this incredible waterfall.

    7. Check out the moose at Moose Lake

    One of the best things to do in Jasper National Park is to spot moose at Moose Lake. Moose Lake is near Maligne Lake. You can get to Moose Lake by walking along a short trail through the forest. While it is not guaranteed that you will see moose at the lake, you should keep an eye out. Moose are the largest members of the deer family and sometimes can be seen grazing on the lake's shoreline or swimming in the water.

    A visit to Moose Lake is one of the top things to do in Jasper National Park. Add it to your list of must-do activities when visiting Jasper National Park. 

    Close up of a male Moose

    8. Visit Medicine Lake

    Visiting Medicine Lake is another one of the best things to do in Jasper National Park. Located in the Maligne Valley area, the alpine lake is known for its shallow water that disappears during winter. Find Medicine Lake at the end of Highway 16, near Maligne Lake. Going to Medicine Lake is one of the top things to do in Jasper National Park during the summer months.

    Only a 20-minute drive from Jasper townsite, Medicine Lake can be visited as part of a guided sightseeing tour. Enjoy the stunning views from the road-side lookout, take a short hike to the shoreline, or relax in front of the lake. You can bring your binoculars and watch for wildlife and birds. Walking along the shoreline of Medicine Lake is one of the top five things to do in Jasper National Park.

    Sun shining through the clouds above Medicine Lake in Jasper National Park

    9. Delight in the Wildflowers

    Looking for wildflowers is one of the best things to do in Jasper National Park. As one of the largest national parks in Canada, Jasper boasts an incredible variety of flora, from delicate wild roses to vibrant alpine poppies. With over 600 species of wildflowers, it's easy to get lost in a world of beauty. To make the most of this spectacular landscape, visit in the summertime when the blooms are most colorful and plentiful.  

    Plan to spend several days in the park, as there's so much to explore. Even if you only have a few hours, make sure you find time to marvel at the brilliant wildflowers.

    10. Go whitewater rafting on the Athabasca river

    If you're looking for an exhilarating activity, whitewater rafting on the Athabasca River in Jasper National Park is definitely one of the top things to do. It's one of the best ways to take in the stunning views of the snow-capped mountains and glaciers that are so prominent in Jasper National Park.  

    As you journey down the river, you'll experience some thrilling rapids and some beautiful calm sections. A whitewater rafting trip usually takes around 3-4 hours. You should go whitewater rafting with an experienced guide who can show you all the best spots along the river. There are a variety of rafting adventures available, with some being suitable for families and beginners.

    Whether you're a thrill seeker looking for an adrenaline-filled ride, or a nature lover looking to take in the beauty of the landscape, whitewater rafting on the Athabasca River should definitely be on your list of things to do in Jasper National Park.

    How many days are needed to visit Jasper National Park? That's up to you! Some people just come for a weekend while others stay for longer. But if you want to experience all the top 5 things to do in Jasper National Park, then it is recommended that you plan to spend at least three days in the park. That way, you can have enough time to explore, enjoy activities, and make the most of your trip.

    Other recommended nature adventures in Jasper are: 

    • Float down a river 
    • Drive the icefields parkway 
    • Dogsledding (winter)
    • Snowboarding at Marmot Basin (winter)

    Facts About Jasper National Park 

    Jasper National Park is one of Canada's most stunning landscapes. It's home to the spectacular Rocky Mountains, rivers, glaciers, forests, and meadows. Located in Alberta, Jasper National Park has been an official national park since 1907 and is now part of UNESCO's Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site. With over 10,000 square kilometers of breathtaking scenery, it's no wonder that visitors flock to Jasper National Park to experience its wonders. From hiking the picturesque trails to enjoying a leisurely canoe ride, there are plenty of activities here. 

    When planning a trip to Jasper National Park, it's important to keep in mind that the park is huge! Depending on your schedule and the activities you want to do, you may need anywhere from a couple of days to a week to fully explore the park. It helps to know the best things to do in Jasper National Park so that you can make the most out of your visit.  

    Consider taking a ride on the Jasper Skytram or walking along the Columbia Icefield Skywalk for a bird's eye view of the area. Go white water rafting on the Athabasca River or marvel at summer wildflowers while on a hike. No matter what activities you decide to enjoy while visiting Jasper National Park, you’ll be sure to make amazing memories and take beautiful photos.

    How to Reach Jasper National Park? 

    Jasper National Park is a stunning landscape of rugged peaks, vibrant meadows, and sparkling lakes that can be explored via several transportation options. Located in Alberta, Canada, the park is easily accessible by car, bus, train, or air. 

    If traveling by car, the scenic Icefields Parkway (Highway 93) connects Jasper with Banff National Park to the south and is one of the most popular ways to access the area. The drive takes approximately 3 hours. However, you should allow extra time for this drive so you can stop and explore some of the breathtaking sights along the way. 

    For those who prefer to leave the driving to someone else, there are some limited coach services from Calgary and Edmonton. If you are travelling from Vancouver, you could take the overnight VIA Rail train.

    Alternatively, for a more luxurious experience, the Rocky Mountaineer offers an incredible rail journey that takes travelers through the heart of the Canadian Rockies. This route is a great option for those short on time that want to maximize their experience. 

    Finally, travelers who plan on flying can get to Jasper via flights into Calgary or Edmonton International Airports. Both airports have daily flights arriving from major cities across North America, making Jasper National Park accessible for those looking to get away. 

    Overall, no matter what mode of transportation you choose, you can enjoy all the best things to do in Jasper National Park once you're there. With so many different activities and attractions, it’s possible to visit Jasper in as little as 2-3 days or extend your stay for weeks.

    Best Time to Visit Jasper National Park

    Jasper National Park is one of the most spectacular national parks in Canada. With its beautiful mountain ranges, turquoise lakes, and diverse wildlife, it's easy to see why people from all over the world come to experience the beauty of this park. So when is the best time to visit? 

    The best time to visit Jasper National Park depends on what you want to do. If you're looking to experience some of the best things to do in Jasper National Park, like skiing and snowshoeing, then the winter months are your best bet. The snowy scenery during these months provides a stunning backdrop for outdoor activities. 

    If you want to see the lakes and waterfalls of Jasper National Park, then the summer months are ideal. During this time, you can take a canoe out onto Maligne Lake or visit Sunwapta Falls. You can also spot some of the area's iconic wildlife, like elk, bighorn sheep, and moose.

    No matter what time of year you choose to visit Jasper National Park, you'll want to think about how much time to spend here. Stay for a week if you want to experience all the top things to do in Jasper National Park, including the top 5 things to do. Hike the Old Fort Point Trail, cruise on Maligne Lake, take a helicopter flight, walk along the Columbia Icefield Skywalk, and ride the Jasper SkyTram. 

    Most Frequently Asked Questions

    How many days do you need in Jasper National Park?

    Two to three days is enough time to enjoy the beauty of Jasper National Park. That gives you time to explore the town, and take a couple of day trips to the lakes and mountains in the park.

    Is three days in Jasper enough?

    Yes, three days is enough time in Jasper National Park

    Which is the best month to go to Jasper?

    September is the best month to visit Jasper National Park. It is not as crowded as in the summer months, the weather is still mild, and most activities are still available.

    When can you see the northern lights in Jasper National Park?

    You may see the Northern Lights in Jasper National Park from September through mid-May. The best nights for viewing are cold and clear, without a full moon.

    When can you see bears in Jasper?

    The best time of day to see bears in Jasper is during the early mornings or evenings, especially during spring. These mammals are commonly spotted in the fall when they feed and prepare for hibernation.

    Is Jasper a good place to see the northern lights?

    Jasper is a good place to see the Northern Lights. It is a Dark Sky preserve. There are limited lights at night, improving your chances of seeing the aurora borealis.

    About the author: Hannah Poaros-McDermott is the Senior Content Coordinator at Fresh Tracks Canada. She has previously written for and shared her local knowledge in Where Vancouver, Where Whistler, and Essential Vancouver magazines. Originally from the UK, Hannah travelled... Read more

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