Walking on a glacier in the morning, hiking to the mountain top in the afternoon and watching bears at sunset. How does that sound? It’s just a small taste of what you can do in Jasper National Park. Read our Jasper bucket list and plan your dream trip to the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies.
Ever since we moved to Canada and started living in Banff National Park, we were drawn to explore its bigger neighbour. One of the reasons was the endless amount of biking trails. Because we love mountain biking and brought our mountain bikes across the world, we were ready to hit the trails from the 1st day in the Rockies. We found out very quickly that most trails in Banff are for hikers or horses only.
And so our regular trips to Jasper National Park began.
Not only the drive from Banff to Jasper is insanely picturesque and adventurous, Jasper offered us an infinite amount of outdoor possibilities. It lacks the intense crowds of Banff and maintains a cozy mountain town charm. Even though it’s true gems lie beyond the town’s boundary in the wilderness.
If you like adventurous trips, book a Smile Campervan from us. It’s a budget-friendly option to see the Canadian Rockies. You will save on accommodation by comfortably sleeping in the campervan and using campgrounds.
Planning to visit the Rockies? Read these:
With so many visits during the past 7 years, we like to return to our favourite places as well as find new activities and hidden spots that make every trip interesting.
Because we like to get off the beaten path and come up with new and unusual adventures, you will read about things you haven’t seen anywhere else before.
*In the spirit of full disclosure: Some links in this post are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase through them, we receive a small commission at no extra costs to you. We appreciate your support!
Do you like small mountain towns? Check out our travel guides for:
- Canmore, gate to the Rockies close to Banff
- Banff in Banff National Park, the oldest in the Rockies
- Fernie in British Columbia, a well kept secret of locals
65 adventurous things to do in Jasper National Park
1| Get a bird’s eye view of a giant glacier
Hike one of the most scenic trails in Jasper National Park to Wilcox Pass. If you’re driving from Banff to Jasper, this is the first hike right after the national park’s boundary.
It’s an 8km roundtrip to the pass or just 5 km roundtrip to the first viewpoint. The first kilometer is a bit steep through the forest but gets much easier when you get above the treeline. You will have stunning views of the Athabasca Glacier across the valley.
Read full blog post: Wilcox Pass Hike
- If driving from Banff, look for a road sign just after you will cross to Jasper National Park, 47 km from Saskatchewan River Crossing
- If driving from Jasper, it’s 107 km from town or 3 km past the Columbia Icefield Centre
- The trail starts at the kiosk
2| Drive the scenic Icefields Parkway
The Icefields Parkway is an enormously scenic road from Lake Louise in Banff National Park to Jasper. Along its 230 km, you will find endless glacier views, roaring waterfalls, turquoise lakes, hiking trails for all levels, and wildlife.
If you’re looking for adventurous activities or just scenic pull-off stops along the way, it has it all. No matter which park you came to visit – Banff or Jasper – set aside at least a day, or ideally 2 days, to make the most of it and take a drive along one of the world’s most scenic roads.
If you’re visiting without a car, you can book a one-way day tour from Banff or Lake Louise to Jasper and enjoy the beauty and all the scenic spots along the Icefields Parkway. Check out the tour for more info.
For more info, read our post: Icefields Parkway itinerary
3| Visit the largest icefield in the Rockies of North America
Columbia Icefield Discovery Centre is located on the Icefields Parkway. From there, a giantice truck will take you on the Athabasca Glacier where you can walk around the designated space and take pictures of the Columbia Icefield above. Take your water bottle and taste the freshwater from the glacier.
For this experience, you need to book a tour which includes the bus ride and a guide, and also a skywalk. Check out more info here.
- Columbia Icefield Discovery Centre is 103 south of Jasper, or 130 km north of Lake Louise
4| Walk on glacier
Unlike the Columbia Icefield Tour above (which is suitable for all and doesn’t require any equipment), if you want to make your trip more adventurous, book an Ice Walk on Athabasca Glacier. A mountain guide leads you on the surface of a glacier for several km where you walk on the ice waves and jump over the streams of glacier water.
A word of caution: If you’re not experienced, walking on the glacier without a guide is highly dangerous and not recommended as you can fall into crevasses that are covered in snow.
5| Explore ice caves along Icefields Parkway
This requires a bit of research as the ice caves are usually a secret guarded by the locals. As a local myself, we’ve found ice caves on the Athabasca Glacier a few years back. The trail started at the Toe of the Athabasca Glacier and ice caves were visible to the right. I’ve heard these caves have collapsed already.
Another option would be to hike or snowshoe to Stutfield Glacier. You can clearly see the ice caves without the need to climb on the glacier. This might only be a good idea in winter as otherwise the ice caves and glaciers are melting and are not safe to visit.
6| Go beyond the beaten path & have a glacier to yourself
Athabasca Glacier is the most popular along the Icefield Parkway because it’s commercialized and easy to visit. Therefore it’s also very crowded, especially in summer.
If you like to enjoy the solitude as much as we do, here’s our recommendation. In winter, you can cross country ski to Saskatchewan Glacier. Even though this exact spot is located in Banff National Park, it’s in the next valley from the Athabasca Glacier. The parking lot or trail is not marked and it’s located on the bottom of the hairpin just before you reach the famous Icefields Parkway lookout spot or Parker Ridge Trailhead. Do your research before you go as there is no cell coverage.
Another option is to visit Stutfield Glacier. The viewpoint is marked along the Icefields Parkway and you can either hike to the glacier in summer or cross country ski in winter. I can guarantee you that you will be there enjoying the beauty by yourself.
7| Take a hike to pristine Stanley Falls
A little known hike along the Icefields Parkway. The trail is 4,5 km roundtrip and easy enough for all levels. It leads through a forest and into the canyon with several cascading waterfalls. This very quiet trail is an ideal place to have a picnic during the day.
Read our recommendation: Hiking packing list for summer in the mountains
- The trailhead is located 89 km from Jasper
- If you’re driving from Lake Louise, the small unmarked parking lot will be on your right about 6 km from Stutfield Glacier viewpoint. Refer to the map above for easier navigation.
8| Admire Sunwapta Falls
Sunwapta Falls is a popular picnic spot along the Icefields Parkway. A short trail leads to a very powerful 18 meters high waterfall with mountain peaks in the background. If you take another trail, about 1 km long, you will arrive at the lower falls. You can make use of the picnic tables or visit Sunwapta Falls Lodge for lunch.
- 55 km south of Jasper, the sign along the road is hard to miss
9| Cliff jump at Horseshoe Lake
One of our favourite places in Jasper National Park is a little hidden gem Horseshoe Lake. The emerald water is crystal clear, usually very cold, and the lake is very scenic and quiet.
The rock walls around the lake have a different height so it’s easy to cliff jump even for beginners. If you don’t feel like cliff jumping, take a walk around and enjoy a picnic. Or bring a stand-up paddleboard and enjoy seeing the depth of the lake.
A word of caution: Be aware that cliff jumping is an activity you need to learn gradually. Don’t jump from the highest point just because you see others doing it. Start from small cliffs and work your way up.
- 28 km south of Jasper
- Due to the incidents, the sign along the road doesn’t say “Horseshoe Lake” but features icons for a picnic spot
10| Hike around emerald lakes at Valley of the Five Lakes
This is another hike available for all levels. From the parking lot, you will walk around 5 lakes, each one in a different shade of blue or green. You can see the amazing colours even if it’s raining. The whole loop is just less than 5 km and takes around 1,5 hours. Even though the trail is very easy and well-trodden, you will want to stop a lot and take pictures of the colour changing lakes.
Part of the trail can be also done on a mountain bike. And with Jasper close by, it makes a great half-day trip. As this is a popular area not only for people but for bears as well, make sure you carry a bear spray and make noise while hiking.
Read full blog post: Valley of the Five Lakes Hike
- 10 km south of Jasper, look for the sign along the Icefields Parkway
11| Stay overnight with an Icefield view
A lot of accommodations in Jasper National Park provide an exceptional mountain view. But very few have a view of the glacier and an icefield. Even fewer are truly budget-friendly. That’s why we recommend traveling in the Rockies in a campervan. Not only you have complete freedom over your day, but you can stay in many unforgettable campgrounds.
One of them is Wilcox Pass Campground, another is Columbia Icefield Campground (for tents only). The absolute winner is Icefields Centre (for vehicles only) which is basically a parking lot but with a view of Athabasca Glacier and Columbia Icefield. The fee of 15,70 CAD per night per vehicle can’t be beat either.
- Icefields Centre overnight camping is located right by the Columbia Icefield Centre at the far end of the huge parking lot
12| Visit the picturesque Pyramid Island
Undoubtedly the most iconic spot in Jasper is Pyramid Lake with a colourful and symmetrical Pyramid Mountain in the background. It’s easily accessible by car or a short ride on the biking trail. You first pass Patricia Lake and then reach Pyramid Lake with Pyramid Island.
The boardwalk leading to the island equipped with picnic shelters is a beautiful spot to relax but you need to arrive early in the day or before the sunset to enjoy it with fewer people.
- 7,5 km north of Jasper
- From Visitor’s Centre, head west. At the end of the road, go north on Pyramid Lake Road
13| Watch Northern Lights
Watching Northern Lights, also called Aurora Borealis, is a once in a lifetime experience. Even if you see the green lights dancing above you more than once, it still feels magical and out of this world. Check this website for Aurora forecast and if there’s a high possibility, head out of town, away from light pollution to see it without distractions.
14| Walk around Athabasca Falls
Another gorgeous waterfall together with Sunwapta Falls is Athabasca Falls. It’s about a 1 km walk to the falls with a mountainous background. It’s accessible all year round, and the water flow and water colour are different throughout the year.
- Look for a sign 32 km south of Jasper on the Icefields Parkway
15| Join events at Jasper Dark Sky Festival
Jasper being the 2nd largest dark sky reserve in the world, it’s not only a great place to see the Northern Lights but also Milky Way and star formations. Every year in October, Jasper hosts Dark Sky Festival with stargazing events, space talks, photography workshops, and concerts. Check more details here.
16| See Jasper from above at Whistlers Peak
Whistlers Peak is one of the most accessible summits in Jasper National Park. There are two options you can choose from to reach the summit:
- Take a gondola, and then hike a 1 km trail up to the Whistlers Mountain Summit (2,463m) or another 1 km further on the ridge for even more scenic panoramic views. Book your gondola tickets here.
- Hike up the trail from the bottom of the mountain. It’s an 18 km round trip to the Whistlers Mountain Summit with elevation gain 1,200 meters. Check at Visitor’s Centre for trail condition as this trail passes an avalanche zone and it’s usually safe from June.
- 6 km south-west of Jasper
- Take Highway 93 (Icefields Parkway) south and then turn right to Whistler’s Road
17| Enjoy a swim at Lake Annette
Most of the lakes in the Canadian Rockies are cold all year round. Lake Annette, however, is quite shallow and therefore it warms up from spring throughout the summer. There’s a diving platform in the lake and the beach has picnic tables and playground. You can sunbathe on the beach while being surrounded by beautiful mountain peaks.
- 7,5 km north of Jasper, the sign is located along Yellowhead Highway
18| Stand up paddleboarding on Lake Edith
A neighbour of Lake Annette is Lake Edith. Because Lake Edith is smaller and more sheltered with trees all around, the waters are calmer. It’s an ideal place for stand up paddleboarding. You can either rent an inflatable board in town or rent one on the shore during the summer.
- 7,5 km north-east of Jasper, the sign is located along Yellowhead Highway
19| Walk through all bridges at Maligne Canyon
Maligne Canyon is the deepest canyon in the Canadian Rockies. Similar to Johnston Canyon in Banff National Park, Maligne Canyon features more waterfalls. The whole loop across all 6 bridges is around 6 km long with very little elevation. It’s a great family-friendly hike even during the rain.
- 11 km north of Jasper, take Yellowhead Highway, then turn right and follow Maligne Lake Road
20| Hike to the hanging glacier at Edith Cavell Meadows
Spectacular hanging Angel Glacier with a pool underneath and chunks of glacier swimming in it is an absolute highlight of Jasper National Park. You can make it as easy or hard as you’d like. The trail to the viewpoint of the Angel Glacier is easy and paved. Then you can make your way up the hill for even more panoramic view and make an 8 km loop.
- 25 km south of Jasper
- Take Highway 93 (Icefields Parkway), then take 93A at the nearest exit and follow sign for Edith Cavell Trail
21| Watch a family of marmots
Wherever you go, listen closely to your surroundings. You can usually hear marmots first before you can see them. They make a very high pitched noise and due to their colour, it’s hard to spot them. We’ve had great luck seeing several marmots, including a young family, on our hike to Edith Cavell, and also many random meadows in Jasper.
22| Relax at Miette Hot Springs
The hottest hot springs in the Canadian Rockies with mineral water between 37-40 Celsius. I like to be surrounded by mountain peaks even while relaxing, and it’s the exact experience that Miette Hot Springs offer.
They are open daily from May 1 to October 14 (the long Thanksgiving weekend when a lot of businesses in the Rockies close for the season). The daily entrance fee is 7,05 CAD and you can also rent a towel and swimsuit. For a hot pool in the winter season, see #61.
- 60 km north-east of Jasper
- From Jasper, head north on Yellowhead Highway and follow signs for Miette Hot Springs
23| Multi-day trek through Skyline Trail
Jasper National Park has plenty of backcountry trails which usually take several days to complete. The most popular by far is the Skyline Trail, as the backcountry campgrounds being all booked months in advance confirm. You cross three mountain passes and hike above the treeline most of the time. The ideal time for this 44,5 km long trek is 2-3 days for most.
You can download detailed info and description of the trail and campgrounds through this link.In case you’re unable to book campgrounds, you can try another stunning multi-day trek Tonquin Valley.
- Recommended direction from Parks Canada is starting at Maligne Lake and finishing at Maligne Canyon
24| Mountain bike to the remote Snake Indian Falls
Get away from the crowds and visit Snake Indian Falls. Unlike some of the attractions which you can easily visit by car, you have to work for this one. It’s truly off the beaten path. The trail is 27 km one-way and worth the effort. All the info, timed dirt road access details, and more are covered in our post Biking to Snake Indian Falls.
- North of Jasper, take Yellowhead Highway and then Snaring Road (more info is in the post linked above)
25| Canoe around Maligne Lake
Rent a canoe, kayak or rowboat and paddle around Maligne Lake at your own pace. The panoramic views of the mountain peaks are spectacular. I’d recommend arriving early in the morning or late afternoon for calmer water conditions and better lighting for your photos.
You can either rent by the hour or by day, there are several campgrounds along the far end of the lake only accessible by water on a multi-day canoeing/kayaking adventure.
- 48 km from Jasper
- Head north on Yellowhead Highway, then turn right and follow Maligne Lake Road
26| Look for bighorn sheep
Same with all the wildlife in Jasper National Park and beyond – you can find them anywhere. But, there are certain places where bighorn sheep like to hang out. One of them is Wilcox Pass Hike described in #1 above, located along Icefields Parkway close to the border with Banff National Park.
Another spot is along Athabasca River/Yellowhead Highway north of Jasper where you can easily spot them by the road, licking the salt or causing a traffic jam.
27| Take a boat cruise to Spirit Island
Another way to explore glacier-fed Maligne Lake is by taking an interpretative boat cruise across the lake where you can see the famous Spirit Island. The price for the cruise starts at 72 CAD (when booked in advance) and takes about 1,5 hours.
- 48 km from Jasper
- Head north on Yellowhead Highway, then turn right and follow Maligne Lake Road
28| Camp under the stars
The best way to truly immerse yourself in nature is camping. With constantly increasing prices of hotels in Canada’s national parks, camping is a favourite choice for many travelers. You can rent our Smile Campervan and comfortably camp along the way. Jasper National Park has 11 official campgrounds, most of them opened seasonally from mid-May to mid-October. You can often camp by the lake or river with stunning views for as little as 15 CAD per night.
Due to complexity of camping in Jasper, we cover all the rules, campgrounds, and also feature detailed photos in our comprehensive guide.
29| Hike above the Maligne Lake to Bald Hills
Maligne Lake is a very popular destination. While most people stick to the lake or cruise, only a few venture beyond. If you’d like to see the longest lake of the Canadian Rockies from above, hike to the Bald Hills. The moderate trail is 10 km roundtrip. You reach the top at 2,300 meters and get rewarded with views of the whole valley.
Make sure to check trail conditions before you go, especially in spring, and carry a bear spray. Another option is Opal Hills Hike just on the other side of the lake with similar views and trail difficulty.
Read full blog post: Bald Hills Hike
- 48 km from Jasper, head north on Yellowhead Highway, then turn right and follow Maligne Lake Road
- Once you arrive at Maligne Lake, go past the lodge and big parking lot and across the bridge. There’s another parking area and trailhead starts on the fire road by the kiosk
30| Test your braveness in ice-cold lakes
I’m sure some people reading this are as crazy as I am, like a good challenge, and seek not so common outdoor adventures. While most people are scared (I don’t know of what exactly), be the one who breaks through the crowd and takes home a truly memorable Canadian experience. Believe it or not, when you jump in an ice-cold lake, you will suddenly feel much warmer outdoors, boost your immunity and confidence! Any lake in spring is a challenge, Maligne Lake being the coldest most of the year.
31| Hike the beautiful Sulphur Skyline
Sulphur Skyline Trail is one of the most popular hikes in Jasper National Park due to its great effort to views ratio. If you start hiking in the morning, you can reach the summit and be back at your car by lunch. The 10 km roundtrip trail only takes around 4 hours to complete. Plan your hike for July if you’d like to see meadows filled with wildflowers. In any case, the views from the 2,050 meters high summit are out of this world.
- 60 km north-east of Jasper
- From Jasper, head north on Yellowhead Highway and follow signs for Miette Hot Springs
- Trailhead is located past the kiosk near the entrance to Miette Hot Springs
32| Watch mama bear play with cubs
Wildlife watching is probably the top reason why people visit the Canadian Rockies. From the experience, I can tell you that nothing compares to seeing mama bear playing with her cubs. To have the biggest chance of seeing them (even by the road), plan your visit to May or June.
Even though the bears move around and can be spotted anywhere, I recommend you drive the road to Maligne Lake in the morning or before sunset. Please keep in mind they are wild animals and need to be treated with respect, meaning no approaching or feeding, and carrying a bear spray (and learn how to use it) at all times. Visit the Parks Canada website for details on safe travel in bear country.
33| Get an adrenaline rush at white-water rapids
White water rafting, not surprisingly, is a very popular summer activity. It’s suitable for all levels as a river guide will explain everything you need to know and provide all the equipment. You can choose from several difficulty grades from a 2-hour family-friendly trip on Athabasca River to 5-hour adrenaline-inducing adventure on Sunwapta or Fraser River.
34| Stay in a rustic log cabin
While I recommend staying in the campgrounds, there are times when sleeping in a log cabin is a better idea, for example in winter. A small rustic cabin always delivers more authentic experience than hotels. The obvious benefit is being able to use a fireplace, get right outside from your door, and in some cases outdoor hot tub and sauna. These are our recommendations (click on each one to check prices): Bear Hill Lodge (best rated), Pocahontas Cabins, Tekarra Lodge,Pine Bungalows, Jasper House Bungalows.
35| Mountain bike around Jasper
Mountain biking options in Jasper are the reason we love this park so much. You can come for a week and still bike a new trail every day. For beginners or families, the best and easiest trails are east of Jasper/Yellowhead Highway. I recommend driving to Lake Annette parking lot and explore trails around the lakes.
For more technical rides, head west of town. However, most of these technical trails were closed in the 2019 season due to cutting down the forest because of the pine beetle. Check the closures at Visitor’s Centre and download a map here or use Trailforks app.
36| Observe bald eagles
The road to Maligne Lake hides yet another surprise. Along with all other wildlife you can see here, don’t forget to stop on a small pull out halfway around the Medicine Lake. You can observe a bald eagle right in the nest in front of you or male eagles flying above you. It helps if you have binoculars or zoom lens on your camera.
- Around 26 km from Jasper
- Head north on Yellowhead Highway, then turn right and follow Maligne Lake Road, the pullout is along the Medicine Lake
37| Learn about the history of the Totem Pole
When you walk in downtown Jasper, stop by the train station to admire the totem pole carved by Haida Nation. You learn about the connection between the islands of Haida Gwaii in Northern British Columbia and the Rocky Mountains. Watch this short movie to learn more.
38| Look for gorgeous Calypso orchids
Summer is the time when wildflowers come alive. Choose any of the hikes described here to see colourful meadows. You can spot pretty purple Calypso orchids or very common red Indian Paintbrush. For wildflower hikes especially, I recommend Parker Ridge, Edith Cavell Meadows, Sulphur Skyline and Valley of the Five Lakes.
39| Visit Planetarium Dome Theatre
Learn about the dark sky reserve and star constellations from the experts and then take a look through a large telescope to the moon or different galaxies. It all depends on what time of the day you visit the planetarium. Visit their website to learn more and book your spot.
- Dome theatre is located at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, 7 km ride from Jasper (outside the town’s light pollution for the best views)
40| Enjoy sunset at Medicine Lake
When you drive from the popular Maligne Lake back to town, stop at Medicine Lake for sunset. The light glowing on the lake and surrounding mountain peaks is a great spot for a break or picnic. There’s a parking lot right by the lake and even though it looks tempting, I wouldn’t recommend having a picnic by the lake as it’s often frequented by bears.
The last time we visited in June, there were three bears walking by the lake. They clearly weren’t friends with each other and kept a distance as they were munching on dandelions.
41| Play ice hockey ona frozen lake
Is there a more Canadian winter experience than wild ice skating? Visit one of the outdoor stores in Jasper to rent skates and head to Lake Mildred, Lac Beauvert or Pyramid Lake to enjoy the lakes from a different perspective. You can play ice hockey, warm up by the campfire or go snowshoeing instead. Carefully read these safety rules before you go.
If you’re heading to Banff as well, check out these lakes for ice skating.
42| Rappel over waterfalls on a canyoning tour
Canyoning is one of my favourite summer adventure activities. Canyoning refers to rappelling down the waterfalls while being tied by climbing rope to a guide (and you’re wearing wetsuit, boots and helmet, of course). What’s even more fun is all the free jumps and slides from the waterfalls. Definitely recommend this one when you visit Jasper! You can book your tour here.
43| Watch out for moose
Seeing moose is not as common as seeing elk or bears in Jasper. But if you drive the road to Maligne Lake, there’s a higher chance of spotting than elsewhere, especially later in the day before sunset. It is strongly recommended to stay in your vehicle when you see a moose and do not approach them. You will understand when you see one, they are really huge.
44| Mountain bike to the backcountry
One of the off the beaten path trails in Jasper National Park leads to Jacques Lakes. It’s ideal for backpackers and mountain bikers, especially beginners. The trail is 24 km long (roundtrip) with almost no elevation. It features four lakes and a backcountry campground for overnight hikers/bikers.
- 32 km east of Jasper, go north on Yellowhead Highway and then turn right onto Maligne Lake Road
- The parking lot is marked at the end of Medicine Lake and the trailhead is located by the kiosk
45| Take helicopter into a winter wonderland
While this activity is not located in Jasper National Park, it’s on the way to Jasper when you drive from Banff and you see Jasper’s mountainous peaks from above. Seeing the Rockies from the air is a wonderful experience and when you join a helicopter tour with a guide, you will be dropped off mid-way for a hike or snowshoe tour. If that’s not totally off the beaten path then I don’t know what is. You can choose from the snowshoe heli tour in winter or hike heli tour in summer.
- When driving from Banff to Jasper on Icefields Parkway, take an exit at Saskatchewan River Crossing to David Thompson Highway and look for sign Rockies Heli
46| Take an ice walk through Maligne Canyon
Looking into the canyon on the bustling water is one thing, but actually walking on ice while being deep in the canyon is a very different experience. There are plenty of frozen waterfalls and ice caves to admire and photograph. Check out the Icewalk tour here and ask about the ice conditions before booking, it must be cold for quite some time for the whole canyon freezes.
A similar activity is also in Banff National Park in Johnston Canyon.
47| Walk up the Tangle Creek Falls
One of the stops along the scenic drive on Icefields Parkway is Tangle Creek Falls. While it may look like a quick pit stop, you can actually hike up to the base of the falls. The trail is steep but well-trodden and visible.
- When driving on Icefields Parkway (Highway 93), it’s 96 km from Jasper or 137 km from Lake Louise
- There’s a big marked parking lot just by the highway
48| Play darts at Jasper Legion
A great evening activity all year long is visiting Legion, have a beer and enjoy a game of darts with friends. Check out their drop-in calendar for games and more events. Or play table football instead. Even if it’s raining or gets dark outside too soon in winter, you can have a lot of fun here.
- The STAND EASY, Jasper Royal Canadian Legion is located in downtown Jasper at 400 Geikie Street
49| Go horseback riding
How early settlers traveled through Jasper National Park is now an experience available for travelers with no previous horseback riding experience. Choose from different trails around Jasper and enjoy with your whole family. Visit Jasper’s website to choose from six different trips.
50| Shred some powder at Marmot Basin
The ski resort at Marmot Basin is usually open mid-November to the end of April with conditions being the best December-March. You can choose from daily or multi-day ski pass and even rent all the gear for skiing or snowboarding.
- 21 km south of Jasper, take Icefields Parkway (Highway 93), exit to 93A and follow signs
51| Watch mountain goats at Goat Lick
You can usually spot mountain goats high on the cliffs along the Icefields Parkway. But there’s one spot where they hang out closer to the road and it’s almost guaranteed to see them. Mountain goats are attracted by the mineral-rich deposits which they like to lick because of the sulphur and calcium particles.
- A small parking lot (on the right side when driving from Jasper) is located along Icefields Parkway, about 54 km south of Jasper (before you reach Sunwapta Falls). Watch for sings with mountain goats.
52| Go fatbiking
This is the activity I’m most excited about to try this winter. Did you know you can mountain bike on snow? That’s called fat biking due to the wider and bigger tires than on a regular mountain bike. Hit the outdoor stores in Jasper to rent a fat bike and try four different trails in length and difficulty around Jasper. More info is here.
53| Learn to take breathtaking photos
Photography opportunities in the Canadian Rockies are endless. And to be honest, you’ll have amazing photos from your trip even when using a phone camera. But if you’d like to go a bit further and have the best lighting possible in Jasper’s iconic spots, consider a workshop with a professional photographer.
54| Take a ride on a dogsled
If you’re not up to shredding the powder by yourself, leave it to the pros. Alaskan Huskies and their musher (guide) will take you on a dog sled ride around the snowy Canadian Rockies and you can even try to lead the team by yourself. Choose from different tours on this website.
- The tour starts 120 km west of Jasper, you can find directions on their website linked above
55| Paddle in a canoe on Pyramid Lake
A unique way to explore the surroundings of Pyramid Island on Pyramid Lake is on a canoe. Don’t forget to look for wildlife around you – in the forest, in the sky, and even in the water. You can either rent a canoe on the shore at Pyramid Lake resort or take a guided small size tour. The tour is available from May to November; check out this website for availability.
56| Learn ice climbing on a frozen waterfall
Experience frozen waterfalls from a different perspective – with an ice axe and crampons. You’ll be tied to a guide who will teach you how to climb ice. This is a full-day adventure with a local Jasper company Rockaboo available daily from December to March.
57| Learn about the Rockies on a guided hike
Not ready to venture out on your own or want some hiking buddies? You can take a day hike or backcountry trip with a guide who will take care of the camping permits, food and camping equipment. You learn about the fauna and flora of the Rockies, the importance of leave-no-trace principles, and common rules of the backcountry from experts.
58| Relax in downtown with delicious pastry
After all your activities, find some time to relax in between. The best spot in downtown Jasper is right in front of the Visitor’s Centre on the big lawn or on one of the benches. Grab some pastry at Bear’s Paw Bakery (5 minutes walking from the Visitor Centre), pick up a map at the Visitor’s Centre and plan your next adventure.
- When entering the town from Icefields Parkway, you will see the Visitor’s Centre on the left side of Connaught Drive (the main street)
- If you drive a bit further and take next left onto Pyramid Lake Road, you will see Bear’s Paw Bakery
59| Enjoy a scenic picnic from the mountain top
A new activity in Jasper is called Peak Nic. It consists of a hike to the Old Fort Point with a backcountry cooking lesson on top. You learn to cook a delicious dish for your next backcountry trip while enjoying views on the Pyramid Mountain and surrounding peaks.
Another option is joining a Foodie Tour where you visit the best four restaurants in Jasper, enjoy a meal and drink at each while learning about the history of Jasper. You can book the tour here.
60| Hike in Maligne Lake area to get away from the crowds
While Maligne Lake is a beautiful location that you should definitely experience from the water, it can also become overwhelming very quickly. The crowds in the summer are insane. To get away from them, hike one of the easy trails in the area with almost no elevation but beautiful views of mountains or small lakes – Mary Schaffer Loop, Moose Lake Loop, Mona Lake & Lorraine Lake. Grab a day hiking map from Visitor’s Centre for the details or follow the signs at Maligne Lake.
- 48 km from Jasper
- Head north on Yellowhead Highway, then turn right and follow Maligne Lake Road
- The trailhead for Mary Schaffer is at the first parking lot for Maligne Lake, and those other two start at a parking lot at the end of the road (same parking lot as for Bald Hills described above)
61| Relax under the stars in outdoor heated pool
If you’re visiting Jasper in winter when the Miette Hot Springs is closed, you can visit Hotel Fairmont and swim in the outdoor heated pool. It’s a great idea especially if you are skiing, ice skating, cross country skiing or doing anything active during the day. Your muscles will be grateful, I know that feeling.
- The pool is at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, 7 km ride from Jasper
62| Take a photo in the iconic red chairs
Have you seen the iconic red chairs at different viewpoints? They are popular photo spots located in Banff and Jasper National Parks. None of the Jasper maps I’ve seen features all of them. Luckily, I’m here to save you a research and list them all here, all you have to do is go there yourself and find the special view: Wilcox Pass, Whistlers Peak, Valley of the Five Lakes, Overlook Loop, Old Fort Point, Lake Edith, Maligne River picnic area (along the road to Medicine/Maligne Lake).
63| Hike off the beaten path to Geraldine Lakes
One of the most underrated hikes in Jasper National Park is Geraldine Lakes. A moderate trail leads up to the first lake (3,5 km roundtrip), continue hiking along the lake to a waterfall. The next part towards the second lake is more difficult and there’s another waterfall to keep the trail interesting (download the map here). The second lake at the end will leave you speechless (12,5 km roundtrip). You can stay at a backcountry camp at the second lake and enjoy the solitude.
- 30 km south of Jasper, take Icefields Parkway (Highway 93) and exit to Athabasca Falls
- Follow the 93A and down the Geraldine Fire Road for 5,5 km to the trailhead
64| Climb to the iconic peak of Pyramid Mountain
This is the most adventurous way to enjoy the iconic peak of Jasper.You can bike the first 12 km of the trail and then hike up the last 3 km with a little scrambling involved. This is #1 on my Jasper bucket list. For photos and trail description visit this website.
65| See the highest mountain of the Canadian Rockies
Just outside of Jasper’s boundary is Mount Robson Provincial Park with the highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies – Mount Robson (3,954m). You can see it while driving from Jasper towards Mount Robson Visitor Centre but can be easily missed so watch for the signs.
From the Visitor Centre, you can hike to Berg Lake, a widely popular multi-day backpacking trip. If you’re short on time, try the stunning day hike to Kinney Lake.
- Head west on Yellowhead Highway and look for signs
- The Visitor Centre from where hikes start is 87 km from Jasper
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