Jasper National Park is found within the vast mountain range that comprises the Canadian Rockies, a place of tall peaks and spectacular outdoor scenery. This means there is no shortage of epic things to do in Jasper National Park and it’s surrounding areas.
Located in the province of Alberta, in the west of Canada, Jasper National Park is well known as an adventure playground. In summer, you can raft the wide rivers or road trip along beautiful, winding roads. In winter, you can ski on the snowfields, or warm yourself up by bathing in hot springs.
There are some great things to do in Jasper National Park, from hiking long-distance walking trails to exploring glaciers or riding the Sky Tram. To inspire your trip to the Canadian Rockies, here are our favorite things to do in Jasper National Park.
Don’t leave home without: Lonely Planet Banff, Jasper and Glacier National Parks (Travel Guide)
18 Things to Do in Jasper National Park, Canada
1. Go to the Columbia Icefields Discovery Center
If you’re looking to learn more about the area’s rich geological history, then head to the Columbia Icefields Discovery Center, which is one of the best things to do in Jasper National Park.
Found just off the Icefields Parkway road, the discovery center sits facing over the Columbia Icefields. Inside the visitor’s center, you can find out more about what there is to actually to do in the area.
You can also learn how the icefields and glaciers were formed over time, and how the Canadian Rockies were created by tectonic forces at play. The best way to see it is to take a Columbia Icefield tour, which will include a visit to the Skywalk and Athabasca Glacier.
2. Pump your adrenaline at the Columbia Icefield Skywalk
For a unique view of the Columbia Icefield, then from the Discovery Center head to the spectacular Skywalk, which can take you high above the ice and the ground far, far below you.
The Columbia Icefield Skywalk is found along a clifftop overlooking the beautiful Sunwapta Valley, and about a half mile (1-kilometer) long walkway leads along the cliffs.
While you’ll have expansive views of the region all along the walk, the real highlight is at the end of the walkway, where a dramatic, yet terrifying glass-bottomed viewing area allows you to stare directly into the void below.
It’s an exhilarating way to experience Jasper National Park.
3. Drive the Icefields Parkway
One of the best things to do in Jasper National Park is to drive the glorious Icefields Parkway. Part of Alberta’s long Highway 93, the Icefields Parkway stretches from Lake Louise in the south, for over 143 miles (230 kilometers) to Jasper in the north.
You can drive the whole segment of highway in around 3 hours, but that’s with few stops on the way. You’ll want longer to really experience all the natural on the way, as you can stop at the Columbia Icefields, take a tour onto the Athabasca Glacier and tackle the Skywalk.
Keep an eye out for wildlife while you’re driving the Icefields Parkway, as you might spot animals on the side of the highway, or even crossing the road.
4. Walk on the Athabasca Glacier
The Canadian Rockies are covered in a number of glaciers, and one of the most famous in Jasper National Park is the Athabasca Glacier, which forms an integral part of the Columbia Icefield.
Athabasca Glacier is around 3.7 miles (6 kilometers) in length, but unfortunately, it’s slowly receding every year. The glacier is easily reachable from the Icefields Parkway.
One of the most popular things to do in Jasper National Park is to join a specialized, heavy-duty Snow Coach, which transports visitors far across the surface of the ice. This can be done on an Athabasca Glacier tour.
5. Enjoy the mist at Athabasca Falls
Carrying the same name as the glacier in the Columbia Icefield, the Athabasca Falls are found an hour to the north, off of the Icefields Parkway.
This spectacular waterfall is one of the most impressive sights within Jasper National Park, as pure water rushes down from the mountains, to crash tremendously over tall cliffs. Athabasca Falls rises to a height of 75 feet (23 meters) and it’s one of the most powerful waterfalls in the national park.
6. Go on a Whitewater Rafting trip
Jasper National Park is home to many stretches of powerful, churning rivers, and one of the best ways to experience their full force is to join a whitewater rafting trip.
If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, then this is a great activity to join, as you’ll get to see the fantastic outdoor scenery of the national park, while also reaching secluded areas that are otherwise inaccessible.
There are many popular places to raft, and the national park has a variety of rafting courses that are suitable for all levels and abilities, be they beginners, or experienced rafters.
Our Top Recommended Tours:
- Athabasca Canyon Run Family Rafting
- Jasper Rafting Athabasca Canyon Run
- Whitewater Rafting on Jasper’s Fraser River
7. Hike in Maligne Canyon
Found along the Maligne River, a popular spot for whitewater rafting, Maligne Canyon is one of the deepest canyons to be found anywhere in Canada. At 164 feet (50 meters) in depth at its deepest point, the canyon is an excellent place for outdoor activities.
There’s a fantastic hiking trail which takes intrepid hikers for several kilometers along the rim of Maligne Canyon, with the chance to look far down into the canyon as you traverse the edge.
Several bridges lead across the canyon itself, and the hike can easily be walked as a loop. Exploring the canyon in the winter can be fun too. It is possible to take the Maligne Canyon Ice Walk once the river freezes.
If you’re more adventurous, you could also try Ice Climbing in Maligne Canyon.
8. Visit Maligne Lake
The Maligne River makes its way through Jasper National Park and towards Maligne Lake, which is easily one of the most photogenic places in the Canadian Rockies.
Maligne Lake is over 12 miles (20 kilometers) long, and in places, it’s almost a mile wide.
Maligne Lake is surrounded by tall mountain peaks, while the dazzling blue of the fresh, alpine water reflects marvelously off the nearby glaciers.
You can hike around the edge of the lake, and camp out in designated areas overnight. It is also possible to rent kayaks from the Maligne Lake boathouse and explore the lake from the water level.
9. Cruise to Spirit Island
One of the most popular things to do in Jasper National Park is to take a boat ride across the lake to Spirit Island, an iconic islet resting in the middle of the water.
The boat trip is well worth the money spent, as the lake is gorgeous to explore.
Once you reach the far side of Maligne Lake, you actually get to disembark the boat and set foot on Spirit Island.
There are some well-groomed hiking trails that lead to a viewing platform that provides the famous view pictured above.
10. Skip Rocks at Medicine Lake
This is a great stop when you are headed either in to or out from Maligne Lake. The shores of this lake are beautiful offering long reflections and the perfect beach for skipping rocks.
There are some picnic tables set up and when we stopped, a Canada Parks Ranger had a booth set up to chat with people about local wildlife.
11. Have a Meal at the Wilderness Kitchen
If you plan your day along this route properly, you can finish your day of exploring all things Maligne with dinner at the Wilderness Kitchen. This new restaurant is located at the entrance to Maligne Canyon.
It offers Canada-Esque cuisine in a cozy lodge setting. You can expect to see things like a bison burger on the menu. The whole setting is the perfect end to a day of exploring in Jasper National Park.
12. Catch Sunrise at Pyramid or Patricia Lake
Another beautiful lake to visit in Jasper National Park is Pyramid Lake. Found close to the town of Jasper, Pyramid Lake sits in the shadow of tall mountains, including the iconic peak of Pyramid Mountain.
Pyramid Lake is a few kilometers long, and there are hiking trails leading around its edge and into the surrounding wilderness.
Right next door is the equally beautiful Patricia Lake. Both are great locations for catching a sunrise.
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13. Soak in the Miette Hot Springs
One of the best things to do in Jasper National Park is to pay a visit to Miette Hot Springs. Found on the eastern edge of the park, it’s easy to spend the whole day enjoying the delights of these natural hot springs, and the surrounding landscapes.
The water is rich in minerals, and it’s cooled to 40 degrees celsius at the bathing pools. The Miette Hot Springs are the perfect place to relax after an adventurous trip through the Canadian Rockies.
14. Hike the Skyline Trail
If you’d prefer a more strenuous undertaking when you’re in the park, then one of the best things to do in Jasper National Park is to hike the Skyline Trail.
This long, multi-day hike takes you for 27 miles (44 kilometers) through the mountains, and it’s not a hike for the inexperienced. Hikers have to tackle difficult mountain passes and camp out unsupported, but the views and the scenery are worth every challenging step.
15. Marvel at Mount Robson
Mount Robson is the tallest mountain in Jasper National Park, and at 3954 meters in height in rises high above the Canadian Rockies. It’s an imposing sight, and one of the most photographed spots in the park, as it can be seen from miles around.
It’s not an easy mountain to summit though, and very few mountaineers make it to the top each season.
16. Go skiing at Marmot Basin
Jasper National Park isn’t just a summer destination though, because in winter you can enjoy the excellent skiing and snowboarding in the area.
One of the best places to ski is Marmot Basin, close to Jasper, where you can find ski lodges, ski lifts and plenty of runs for all levels of ability.
17. Hang Out in Jasper Town
Often overlooked by all the incredible outdoor scenery that surrounds it, one of the best things to do in Jasper National Park is to actually explore the park’s namesake town, Jasper.
It is possible to take a Jasper City Sightseeing Tour or just explore on your own.
While the mountain town makes for a great base for visiting the park, you can also take the time to visit the Jasper Museum, where you’ll learn all about the region’s culture and history.
Jasper has a great selection of cafes, restaurants, and breweries too, which are the perfect places to enjoy downtime after hiking excursions into the wilderness.
If you have time, we recommend taking a Jasper Food Tour to fully explore all the great options in town.
18. Take the Jasper Sky Tram
One of the most popular things to do in Jasper National Park is to ride the Jasper Sky Tram.
This is the longest aerial tramway to be found anywhere in Canada, and the Jasper Sky Tram takes visitors along a lengthy route up into the mountains, on a ride that will bring you to well over 2000 meters in altitude.
The Jasper Sky Tram takes you towards the Whistlers Mountains, and on the way up to the viewing station, you have the chance to enjoy the best views of Jasper National Park.
The cable is located just a few kilometers outside of the town of Jasper, making this a convenient way to experience the national park, especially if you are short on time.
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