Keen on planning the ultimate Canada itinerary? Enjoying all the best things to do in Jasper will be one of the highlights of your trip.
The small town of Jasper is located in the Canadian Rockies in the province of Alberta. The town is the base for exploring Jasper National Park. The world-famous Rocky Mountain park sits among Canada’s most spellbinding natural destinations.
The top tourist attractions in Jasper National Park encompass Canada’s best outdoor activities. In Jasper, you’ll tread along hiking trails piercing through the Canadian Rockies. Along the way, you’ll experience Canada’s finest wildlife-viewing. Keep your eyes open to spot bighorn sheep, elk, and bears.
Perplexed at what to do in Jasper National Park? Plan your trip to this Rocky Mountain paradise with this guide to the best places to visit in Jasper, Canada…
Top tourist attractions in Jasper
Jasper National Park
Jasper Town wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for Jasper National Park. The colossal Jasper National Park sprawls over 11,000 square kilometres of wilderness. It’s the biggest park in the Canadian Rockies.
Jasper is contiguous with three other national parks—Banff, Yolo, and Kootenay. These parks also merge with three provincial parks in Alberta and British Columbia. Together, they form the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks.
Like other Albertan parks, Jasper National Park is world-renowned for its dense wilderness. It’s fringed with precipitous mountain peaks and breathtaking natural scenery.
The outdoor activities here are endless. But one of the most unique & best things to do in Jasper National Park is hopping on a wildlife-viewing tour. Plying through the park, you’ll encounter animals big & small. Stay alert to spot moose, bighorn sheep, bears, deer, elk, mountain goats, and wolves.
Be aware: Certain animals (like grizzly bears and wolves) can be dangerous in the wild. The safest way to experience the wildlife of Jasper is on a guided tour.
The second-largest lake in the Canadian Rockies, Maligne Lake is one of the must-see sights in Jasper National Park. It’s a highlight in any Western Canada road trip.
Like Lake Louise and Moraine Lake further south in Alberta, Maligne Lake presents one of Canada’s most iconic outdoor scenes. The lake’s shimmering azure waters reflect a backdrop of the Canadian Rockies. Set alongside the towering pines of Spirit Island, the scene adorns countless postcards. (And even a stock photo during a 2014 iPad launch campaign!)
To experience Maligne Lake at its best, check it out up close on a kayaking or boat tour to Spirit Island.
The area around the lake is also awash with superb hiking trails. Tackle the hike to Bald Hill and Opal Hill. Or, if you’re feeling more spry, take on the 44-kilometre-long Skyline Trail. The epic hiking trail runs between Maligne Lake and the Jasper townsite.
For the most breathtaking views of Jasper National Park, zip up the iconic Jasper SkyTram.
This popular aerial tramway scoots 2,263 metres up Whistlers Mountain. Along the way, it delivers epic 360-degree views over Jasper.
On the Jasper Skytram ride, you’ll learn about the unique geography of Jasper National Park. (And marvel at it firsthand!)
Once atop the mountain, breathe in some fresh mountain air. Enjoy the incredible views along the boardwalks. If the conditions are right (and your quads are warmed up), you can hike up to the peak of Whistlers Mountain.
The Jasper SkyTram runs between mid-March to late October or early November depending on conditions.
The Columbia Icefield is one of the largest non-polar icefields in the world. It’s among the unmissable top things to see in Jasper.
The icefield is about an hour south of Jasper. It’s perched along the Icefields Parkway, one of the world’s most scenic drives.
The Columbia Icefield lies between Banff National Park and Jasper National Park. The icefield feeds six glaciers on its journey. Among them is the most famous glacier in Alberta, the Athabasca Glacier.
Looking for the best way to experience the Columbia Icefield and the Athabasca Glacier? Join in on an Ice Explorer tour. On the tour, you’ll get to walk on the massive icefield. It’s an unforgettable experience for your Alberta trip!
Follow your Ice Explorer tour with a walk along the Columbia Icefield Skywalk. This one-kilometre-long walkway is perched 280 metres above the valley below. On the trek, you’ll marvel at breathtaking views of some of Canada’s most amazing natural scenery.
Originating from the Columbia River, the Athabasca River is one of Alberta’s most majestic rivers. See the Athabasca River at its mightiest with a trip to Athabasca Falls.
To be sure, the 23-metre-high Athabasca Falls aren’t the highest waterfalls in Western Canada. But they’re among the most magical in Jasper National Park.
They’re easily accessible, too. Athabasca Falls is 30 minutes from Jasper on the Icefields Parkway (Alberta Highway 93).
Miette Hot Springs
If you’re looking to spend one day in Jasper relaxing, a soothing soak in Miette Hot Springs may be due.
Miette Hot Spring is an hour northeast of Jasper in the heart of Jasper National Park. These natural hot springs are the hottest in the Canadian Rockies. They flow in at 54°C (129°F) before cooling to a more comfortable 40°C (104°F) in the hot springs pool.
Besides Miette Hot Springs itself, the area is full of great activities. Several hiking trails, such as the popular Sulphur Skyline Trail, dot the area. Trekking along them, you’ll delve deeper into Jasper’s wilder surroundings.
The drive from Jasper through the Fiddle Valley also offers fantastic sightseeing opportunities.
Dark Sky Preserve
One of the most interesting features of Jasper National Park is that it’s designated as a Dark Sky Preserve. It’s actually the second-largest dark sky preserve in the world!
No matter what time of year you visit Jasper National Park, the star-gazing opportunities are among the best in the world. The ultra-dark sky springs to life billions of stars in the Milky Way. With no city lights to interfere, they shine brighter than you’ve ever imagined. Time your visit right and you might even get to see the Northern Lights are their finest!
If you’re visiting Jasper in fall, set aside some time to check out the Jasper Dark Sky Festival. The festival features a number of events including informative workshops for budding astrophotographers.
Of all the top activities in Jasper National Park, none is more memorable than Maligne Canyon. In the cool winter months, in particular, the canyon possesses a rare ethereal beauty. It’s graced with frozen waterfalls and hides ice caves in its midst.
The safest way to experience the canyon is on a guided Maligne Canyon Ice Walk Tour.
The moderately-challenging three-kilometre walk lasts about 3 hours. It pierces in to the heart of the canyon. Inside, you’ll see the majestic ice formations in their full unadulterated glory.
During winter, one of the most popular activities in Jasper is skiing. And there’s no better place to do it than at Marmot Basin.
At an elevation of 1,698 metres, Marmot Basin is the highest ski resort in Canada. And it’s one of the Canada’s favourite places to go skiing.
There’s plenty of that oh-so-sweet powdery natural snow here. On top of that, the resort is easily accessible. It’s only 30 minutes from Jasper Town by car.
Marmot Basin stretches out 1,702 acres over five different mountain face. There are seven ski lifts here to whisk skiers & snowboarders off to the pistes. The runs cover all skill levels from beginning to expert.
The ski season at Marmot Basin is longer than at most ski resorts in Canada. It runs from mid-November to early May.
Situated on the iconic Icefields Parkway, Sunwapta Falls is among the most impressive in the area.
Sunwapta Falls comprises a series of three waterfalls coursing down the Sunwapta River. The falls break down into upper and lower sections, falling 22 metres in total.
The most spellbinding section of Sunwapta Falls is the upper falls. Accessed from the main parking lot, the upper falls drop 18 metres into the lower section.
To see Sunwapta Falls at its best, visit in late spring and early summer. During this time of year, the post-winter melt Athabasca Glacier is at its absolute peak. With the extra water volume, the falls are at their mightiest.
Old Fort Point Loop
Although short & sweet, the Old Fort Point Loop is one of the best hiking trails in Jasper National Park. For active visitors, it’s one of the area’s must-do activities.
The 3.5-kilometre hike isn’t always easy. Prepare to power up some challenging steep terrain on your way to Old Fort Point. The hill is perched 130 metres above the Athabasca River.
The hill is named after an old trader’s cabin, built on the bedrock here in 1811. Although the cabin is no longer here, this Canadian National Historic Site still delights visitors.
Old Fort Point is famous for its sweeping views over the mountainside. From the top, you’ll see Mount Edith Cavell, Victoria Cross Range, Pyramid Mountain, and Lac Beauvert.
Atop the Old Fort Point Loop, you’ll often see a flock of bighorn sheep chillin’. For your safety, keep on the lookout for black bears. They’re known to roam the lower sections of the trail.
Where to stay in Jasper for sightseeing
Jasper is immensely popular with Canadians & international visitors alike. So, it’s no surprise that choosing where to stay in Jasper isn’t always easy!
The accommodations scene in Jasper National Park centres around the town of Jasper. There’s a good selection here for all budgets.
Be sure to book ahead during the summer tourist season and ski season. The best places to stay book up fast.
- Bear Hill Lodge: This lovely lodge is 10 minutes from the centre of town by foot. It offers rooms with a rustic country feel for an inviting & relaxing stay in the woods.
- Pyramid Lake Resort: This lakeside mountain resort is perched on the shores of Pyramid Lake. It charms guests with a superb array of activities & amenities. Along with gorgeous views of the lake and the Canadian Rockies, the resort features a private beach. For your relaxation pleasure, there’s also a hot tub.
- Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge: It’s not as iconic as its sister properties in Lake Louise or Banff. But staying this luxury resort in Jasper will prove no less satisfying. The hotel pulls out all the stops to ensure your stay is nothing short of epic. The hotel sits on the shores of Beauvert Lake. It’s home to a whopping eight on-site restaurants, a spa, and an award-winning golf course.