Things to do in Jasper

Things to do in  Jasper

Sharp peaks and shimmering lakes

The alpine town of Jasper is surprisingly placid, given the immensity and drama of the surrounding landscapes. A key hub for those exploring UNESCO-listed Jasper National Park—the largest park in the Canadian Rockies—Jasper sits on the precipice of some of Canada’s wildest terrain. Things to do in Jasper for outdoorsy adventurers include cruising the turquoise water of Maligne Lake; backcountry hiking among snowy peaks; exploring the Columbia Icefield; seeing the Milky Way in all its splendor in this Dark Sky Preserve; and spotting wildlife ranging from bighorn sheep to moose and grizzly bears.

Top 15 attractions in Jasper

Maligne Canyon

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Carved out of the limestone bedrock by a rushing river, this narrow and steep canyon—which reaches depths of up to 160 feet (50 meters)—is one of the most striking geological features of Jasper National Park. In summer, hikers flock here to follow trails that span the gorge, while in winter, the canyon freezes into an icy wonderland.More

Medicine Lake

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An alpine lake surrounded by the rugged mountains of Jasper National Park, Medicine Lake is not only a wildlife watching and recreation destination, it is also a geological anomaly. In summer, the pristine lake is brimming with glacial water. Come fall, sinkholes at the bottom of the lake drain the water, leaving nothing but mudflats.More

Maligne Lake

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With its vivid aquamarine waters and impressive backdrop of jagged, glacier-studded peaks, Maligne Lake has visitors to the Canadian Rockies reaching for their cameras. The glacier-fed lake is the largest in Jasper National Park. Tiny tree-topped Spirit Island stands in the middle of the lake and is the subject of countless postcards.More

Columbia Icefield Skywalk

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Jutting out from the side of a Jasper National Park cliff, the elevated, glass-bottomed Columbia Icefield Skywalk, also known as Glacier Skywalk, is an exhilarating—if somewhat unnerving—way to experience the epic, untouched landscapes of the Canadian Rockies. From this vantage point, the view of the park’s ice-hatted peaks and glacial valleys is nothing short of spectacular.More

Sunwapta Falls

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Originating from the Athabasca Glacier, this pair of waterfalls are among the most picturesque in Jasper National Park, with easy access for those driving along the Icefields Parkway. The falls’ icy glacial water sprays a fine white mist up in the air as it drops, while pine forests and mountain peaks serve as the backdrop. More

Mount Robson Provincial Park and Protected Area

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Home to the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, Mount Robson Provincial Park and Protected Area draws in mountaineers, photographers, and sightseers. The 12,972-foot (3,954-meter) Mount Robson stands out both because of its size and dramatic geological rings that spiral up the mountain. Visitors frequently spot moose, elk, bear, and caribou.More

Athabasca Glacier

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Part of the vast Columbia Icefield that straddles the border between Alberta’s Banff and Jasper National Parks, the Athabasca Glacier—a huge swath of moving ice—is one of the most accessible and awe-inspiring glaciers in North America. Like most glaciers, Athabasca is shrinking, though the slowly moving ice mass is still impressively large: It covers an area of about 2.3 square miles (six square kilometers) and measures up to 980 feet (300 meters) at its thickest point.More

Athabasca River

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This magnificent river flows 765 miles (1,231 kilometers from Jasper National Park’s Columbia Glacier to Lake Athabasca. Along the way, it passes boreal forest, rocky summits, and national parks. Fishing, white-water rafting, and riverside trails make the river a top destination for outdoor recreation in Alberta.More

Jasper Planetarium

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Designated a Dark Sky Preserve by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Jasper is a stargazing paradise. Come to the 40-seat Jasper Planetarium for a glimpse at the area’s star-studded skies, with interactive planetarium shows and powerful outdoor telescopes.More

Jasper SkyTram

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Travel up Whistlers Mountain on the Jasper SkyTram, Canada’s longest and highest aerial tramway, to see Jasper National Park from a brand-new perspective. The enclosed gondola takes you from 4,279 feet (1,304 meters) to 7,472 feet (2,277 meters) above sea level. From the top, enjoy stunning views of Jasper, the Rockies, and the Athabasca River.More

Spirit Island

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Situated in Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park, Spirit Island is—for most of the year, at least—not actually an island at all, but rather a pint-sized peninsula connected to the mainland by a thin strip of land. A long-standing symbol of the Canadian Rockies, the tree-topped islet has featured on countless postcards and images of the park.More

Columbia Icefield

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Step onto the Athabasca Glacier in the Columbia Icefield and imagine what it was like during the last ice age. Located midway along the scenic Icefields Parkway connecting Canada’s Banff and Jasper national parks, the Columbia Icefield gives visitors a chance to experience how the landscape may have looked when glaciers covered the land.More

Mt. Edith Cavell

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Mt. Edith Cavell exemplifies the grandeur of the Rockies in Jasper National Park, Alberta. This prominent mountain, named after the heroic British nurse Edith Cavell, captivates visitors with its rugged beauty. On the north face of the mountain lies the Angel Glacier, a soft blue monolith that resembles an angel with outstretched wings.More

Miette Hot Springs

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Miette Hot Springs in Jasper National Park are a gorgeous spot to soak your bones after a hike in the Rocky Mountains. Known as the hottest springs in the Canadian Rockies, the mineral-rich water gushes out of the mountainside at a steamy 129°F (54°C) before being cooled to 104°F (40°C) for a comfortable dip in the pool.More

Jasper Discovery Trail

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Easily accessible from nearly anywhere in Jasper, the Jasper Discovery Trail is a 5-mile (8-kilometer) loop trail that rises above the mountain town, offering views of the town and the Rocky Mountains. The route is a convenient way to get out into the mountains and can be used to travel from one part of town to another.More
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All about Jasper

When to visit

Located amidst the UNESCO-listed splendor of the Canadian Rockies, Jasper is an ideal destination for those after a winter wonderland experience. The ski season at its key resort, Marmot Basin, runs from mid-November to mid-May, which means plenty of opportunity to hit the perfect powder. That said, if hiking, rafting, or climbing through Jasper National Park is your aim, visit in July (Canada Day is celebrated on July 1) or August for peak sun and ideal conditions.

Getting around

The town of Jasper itself is largely walkable, while inexpensive shuttle buses run between hotels in Jasper and the Marmot Basin ski resort, as well as Maligne Lake. However, if you have plans to explore Jasper National Park more widely, a car is essential (though local taxi companies can help in a pinch). Otherwise, half- and full-day car, coach, and even motorcycle tours offer a fun-filled way to sightsee.

Traveler tips

If you plan on hiking or going on excursions in the great outdoors, come prepared: Pack durable hiking boots and trousers, lots of layers, and plenty of water. Another local essential: bear spray. Get acquainted with how to use it before hitting the trail, and learn to spot droppings and keep alert for signs of bear activity. (Many of the outdoor suppliers in town also rent bear spray to visitors.)

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People Also Ask

What is Jasper known for?

Jasper is known as a hub for exploring Jasper National Park in the Canadian Rockies. This mountain town is known for outdoor activities including hiking, boating, and skiing. Many travelers plan a visit to Jasper to see wildlife like moose and to stargaze in this Dark Sky Preserve.

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How can I spend one day in Jasper?

That depends on the time of year. During the winter, spend the day skiing or snowshoeing. During the summer, go hiking, climb aboard a boat for a scenic ride on Maligne Lake, or join a tour of the Maligne Valley to spot wildlife like moose, elk, coyotes, and bears.

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What’s the best way to explore Jasper National Park?

One of the best ways to explore Jasper is to travel up Whistlers Mountain on the Jasper SkyTram and see the national park from a new perspective. Other options include scenic tours focused on wildlife, waterfalls, and hiking. A rental car is also a good way to explore at your leisure.

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What is there to do in Jasper if you don’t ski?

If you don’t ski, there is plenty to do in Jasper including a ride on the scenic aerial SkyTram, stargazing in this Dark Sky Country, and visiting hot springs in Jasper National Park. Jasper itself is also home to a variety of spas, shops, and restaurants.

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Is Jasper fun in the winter?

Yes, Jasper is fun in the winter. Many visitors plan a trip to Jasper to ski, but this mountain town also offers hot springs for soaking, spas for relaxing, and dark skies for stargazing. Don’t miss a ride on the SkyTram to see Jasper National Park from above.

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Is Banff or Jasper better?

Banff and Jasper are both beautiful mountain destinations, each with unique advantages. Jasper is less developed and tourist-y, but is farther from the Calgary airport. Banff has more options for short, scenic hikes, while Jasper’s trails are less crowded. Banff is better for travelers flying into Calgary with limited time.

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