The ULTIMATE Jasper Itinerary You Should Follow

Jasper is the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies, and embodies the essence of an untouched alpine wilderness that is often hard to find. The park is over 11,000 square kilometers, and has some of the most stunning lakes, canyons, waterfalls, and hikes in all of Canada. We try and visit Jasper every year to uncover everything it has to offer, though truthfully, we would need a whole lifetime to explore!

If it were my first time visiting Jasper, this would be the exact itinerary I would follow to make the most of my time there. I’ve put together activities that stack together nicely so that no time is wasted, and I’ve included a few of my favorite places to eat and stay!


How Many Days Are Enough for Jasper?

Each time we visit Jasper, we stay anywhere for three to five days. Three days is adequate time to stay in Jasper, although many visitors just stay one night and try to see what they can. It’s up to you and your schedule to determine how long you can spare in Jasper. We recommend staying at least two nights and three days in Jasper. This itinerary will focus on three full days in Jasper with a focus on summer travel.


The Icefields Parkway

Jasper-to-Lake-Louise-Icefields-Parkway
Driving the Icefields Parkway

If you’re traveling from Banff, you’ll drive from Banff to Jasper along the famed Icefields Parkway. Hailed as one of the most beautiful drives in the world, you’ll want to spend a full day on the Parkway alone – trust me! There are sights along the Icefields Parkway, like Athabasca Falls and Sunwapta Falls that I have not included in this Jasper itinerary, as we think it’s best to see those when you are already driving the Icefields Parkway. You can see all the best stops along the Icefields Parkway here.

our-icefields-parkway-pdf-

Day 1

Arrive in Jasper

Downtown Jasper - Ultimate 3 day Jasper Itinerary
Downtown Jasper

Whether you have arrived from Banff, Calgary, or Edmonton, the most important thing is that you made it to beautiful Jasper. The first thing we recommend is getting acquainted with the town. If you’ve already visited Banff, you’ll likely notice that the city has a much more laid-back, less touristy, and less commercial vibe.

There’s no grand Main Street that looks up to a goliath mountain like in Banff; however, in Jasper, you get a much more down-to-earth community small Alberta mountain town feel, so do your best to soak it all up! One of the best things to do in Downtown Jasper is visit the historic Train Station. It has plenty of history inside, with some interesting photos from the early days in Jasper. The Canadian National Railway constructed the station in 1926 and declared it a heritage railway station in 1992.

Just outside the station is the Two Brothers Totem Pole, which replaced the famous Raven Totem Pole in 2011 and tells the story of the two brothers historically. You can’t miss these landmarks, and both are quick sites to see in town. If it’s early in the morning, pop into Bear’s Paw Bakery for a baked treat and coffee before moving on to your daily adventures.


Head to the Jasper Skytram

Jasper Skytram - Jasper Itinerary

Built in 1964, the Jasper Skytram is Canada’s highest and longest tram. With a starting elevation of over 4,000 feet, the 10-minute trip to the top in the enclosed gondola will take you to over 7,500 feet, where you’ll be surrounded by magnificent views of the largely undisturbed Canadian Rockies, the town of Jasper, and the Athabasca River below.

During the 10-minute ride up, your tram conductor will point out landmarks and tell you all about the area’s geology, history, and wildlife helping you forget the fact that you are sardined in with 20 other people! Don’t worry, the tight squeeze is more than worth it, which you’ll see when you get to the top. The Jasper SkyTram is open from March to October and is a great way to get acquainted with the area from up above!

Book Jasper Skytram tickets


Walk to Whistler’s Peak

Jasper Skytram Hike To Whistlers Peak
The hike to Whistler’s Peak

From the top of the Skytram, you can simply enjoy the views and restaurant, but you can also hike up the path to Whistler’s Mountain, one of Alberta’s best hikes.

If you walked from the valley floor, the hike up Whistlers Summit would be a long grueling day, but in this case, the Jasper Skytram assists you for most of the way. After unloading, another 20-30 minute walk will get you to the summit. It’s an easy and well-designated path that almost every able-bodied visitor can hike, and it’s well worth planning for and incorporating this into your Jasper itinerary. On a clear day, you can even see Mount Robson, the highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies!


Late Lunch at Patricia Street Deli

Lunch at Patricia Street Deli

The whole Jasper Skytram experience takes about 2-3 hours to complete. After your time up in the sky, you’ll likely be hungry. Head back to town and look for the tiny Patricia Street Deli Deli on Patricia Street. It’s unassuming, but we promise they make the best sandwiches and wraps in Jasper. The owners here have been running this shop for years, and you’ll likely meet them. Every time we pop in, we are greeted by the same owners who opened the shop 18 years ago. Bonus that it’s one of the most affordable places you can eat in Jasper!


Stand Up Paddleboard/Canoe at Lac Beauvert

Lac Beauvert - the best Jasper Itinerary

After lunch, head to one of the most beautiful lakes in Jasper. Edith, Annette, and Beauvert lakes are all very close together, and you can easily enjoy all three in one day. My absolute favorite lake in Jasper is Lake Beauvert, which has some of the most transparent water I’ve ever seen and is insanely blue.

If you have your own, I highly recommend bringing your canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard to Jasper! If you don’t have a watercraft, you can rent one at Lake Beauvert or from Lake Edith.


Head to Pyramid Lake for Sunset

pyramid-lake-jasper

We hope you are not laked out yet (though you’re in the Rockies, you must get used to beautiful lakes every 10 minutes). After paddleboarding on Lac Beauvert, drive up to Pyramid Lake, which is about a 10-minute drive outside town.

Here, you can simply enjoy the views or rent a canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard and get out on the water. We find Pyramid Lake warmer than the other alpine lakes in the area, so if you’ve wanted to jump into the water, now is your chance!


Walk to Pyramid Island

Walk to Pyramid Island

While you’re at Pyramid Lake, you cannot miss Pyramid Island. This small island has a bridge connecting visitors from the mainland. Our top tip is to try to catch it at sunrise or sunset for a wicked view.


Dinner Reservations at Aalto

Aalto Dinner

While at Pyramid Lake, you will likely notice a beautiful wooden building. This is Pyramid Lake Lodge, and although it’s a hotel and one of the best places to stay in Jasper, there is also a fantastic restaurant here called Aalto. In the summertime, you’ll need to make reservations here and be happy you did. Enjoy cocktails and a meal here while watching the sun set over Pyramid Lake.


End the Night at the Jasper Planetarium

Jasper Planetarium
©Jeff Bartlett

Due to its remoteness and overall lack of development, Jasper boasts impressive views of the stars, galaxies, and constellations, which are often tricky to see in more urban areas. If you’re an amateur stargazer or just prefer comfortable reclining seats to craning your neck or lying on the cold ground, the Jasper Planetarium is a great way to end your day in the park.

The planetarium’s trained guides will lead you on a virtual galaxy tour and explain a few of the mysteries of modern science, like seeing the northern lights in Alberta (note that it’s not likely you’ll see them in the summer in Jasper). The Planetarium also houses one of the largest telescopes in North America. After the planetarium show, you’ll get to peer through its massive lenses and gaze into impossibly distant worlds. You can book a Planetarium and Telescope combination tour here.


Day 2

Early Breakfast at Sunhouse Cafe

Sunhouse Cafe

Trust me, get up early, and go to Patricia Street again. This time for breakfast at Sunhouse Cafe. Sunhouse Cafe gets our nod for the best breakfast in Jasper. The bright, airy cafe with modern decor serves mouth-watering coffee and food. It’s located on the second floor of a small mall, and the outdoor patio provides a pleasant view over Patricia Street.

Coffee is a strong focus here, and they serve some great espresso-based drinks along with single-origin pour-overs. The drinks don’t stop there, either; there are several organic teas, kombucha drinks, and smoothies.

The food here is excellent and original, with fresh ingredients and healthy options. This is the kind of place you’ll find fancy avocado toast—and I mean that nicely. All drinks can be made with milk alternatives, like oat milk, for vegans.


Drive Maligne Lake Road

Maligne-Lake-Road

Get in the car and get ready to tackle the most beautiful drive in Jasper. Maligne Lake Road is a scenic 46-kilometer drive that starts near the town of Jasper and ends right at Maligne Lake. Along the way, you’ll stop at some of the most beautiful sights in the park. You’ll want to allocate at least 6 hours for this entire drive with all the stops, but honestly, you could spend the whole day on this road. You didn’t plan on resting much in Jasper, did you?


Stop at Maligne Canyon

Maligne Canyon

Maligne Canyon is the first major site you’ll come across. Carved slowly out of limestone over the years by the rushing waters within, the deep canyon walls reach nearly 200 feet in places, making it one of the most dramatic sights in Jasper National Park.

The canyon area is a hot hiking spot when the ice thaws in late spring and summer due to its natural beauty and the sheer number of amazing and unique geological features you’ll find. Guided tours are available, but you can also easily visit and hike around Maligne Canyon. We recommend “carving out” at least one hour to stop at Maligne Canyon.


Continue to Medicine Lake

Medicine Lake
Medicine Lake

Medicine Lake is a fantastic sight in Jasper and is your next major stop along Maligne Lake Road. It’s an easy pull-off stop where you can enjoy the views for 10-15 minutes. Though technically part of the Maligne River, it looks like a lake to the untrained eye, especially when it swells with water from the big thaw, which occurs in late spring and summer.

Fun fact – Medicine Lake is actually called the “disappearing lake” amongst Jasper locals as the water drains out through sinkholes at the bottom, travels through a cave system, and resurfaces downstream in the winter. We couldn’t believe it when we visited in the winter and saw it either, but it’s truly a unique phenomenon.


Continue to Maligne Lake

Maligne Lake

After Medicine Lake, continue driving, and keep your eyes open for wildlife. This area is teeming with it. Every time we travel Maligne Lake Road, we see moose, bears, and sheep. Eventually, you’ll come to a dead end, which is Maligne Lake. Maligne Lake is a premier destination in Jasper and is renowned worldwide for its scenic natural beauty. It’s the largest natural lake in the Canadian Rockies and a must for any visitor to Jasper National Park.

The lake’s grandeur, as countless glaciers run off into the lake below from the Hall of Gods, is beyond compare. On a sunny day, the waters of Maligne Lake sparkle a dazzling cerulean blue. You can enjoy the lake from the lakeshore, but you need to book a cruise to Spirit Island to see the area in all its splendor.


Book a Cruise to Spirit Island

Maligne Lake Spirit Island Landscape

The Maligne Lake Cruise is something nearly every visitor has on their Jasper bucket list. It’s one of the most popular things to do in the Rockies, so booking in advance is imperative. The classic cruise lasts 1.5 hours and will take you to Spirit Island, where you can get out on the shore and enjoy the famous view for 15 minutes. Along the way, a knowledgeable guide will share information about the area’s past, including its importance to the Stoney Nakoda people, all while you take in the glacial views.

If you think you’ll want more time at Spirit Island, make sure to book the Premium Cruise, which costs about $30 more and gives you an extra 15 minutes at the Spirit Island viewpoint.

Book Jasper Skytram tickets


Have Lunch on Maligne Lake

The Waffle Hut at Maligne Lake

After the cruise, you’re likely going to be hungry. Thankfully, there are a few restaurants right on the shores of Maligne Lake. The Lake House Café has both grab-and-go food and hot food service. There’s also the Waffle Hut, which is self-explanatory for the type of food they serve, and The View Restaurant, a sit-down experience. These dining options only operate from June to October, so it’s best to pack your own food if you’re visiting in the winter.


Optional Canoe

maligne-lake-boathouse

If you want to spend even more time in this beautiful setting, there’s a boathouse at Maligne Lake. Here, you can rent a canoe or kayak and get out on the water yourself!


Spot Wildlife on your Drive Back to Jasper

Jasper in winter
Spotting Moose on Maligne Lake Rd in the shoulder season

Once you’ve finished at Maligne Lake, it’s time to head back to the Town of Jasper. Take it easy and enjoy the beautiful road trip slowly. Again, keep your eye out for wildlife, which is most active early in the morning and evening before dark.


Downtime at Hotel

Drinks at the Jasper Park Lodge
Drinks at the Jasper Park Lodge

You’ve had a long day, and it’s not quite over. It’s time to relax at your hotel so you don’t burn yourself completely out. We highly recommend staying at the Jasper Park Lodge if you have the budget for it. It’s easily the best place to stay in Jasper and sits right along Lac Beauvert. There are plenty of places to relax here, and their patio is the best place to have a cocktail overlooking Mount Edith Cavell.


Dinner at Jasper Brewing

Dinner at Jasper Brewing
The Halloumi Bowl is delicious!

Hands down, our favorite place to eat when in Jasper is the Jasper Brewing Company. Jasper Brewing Company was the first National Park Brewery in Canada. It opened in 2005, and after that, they were even responsible for opening Banff Ave Brewing in Downtown Banff.

Three founders here were born and raised by Jasper locals and created the space as a great community hub. Their beers are delicious, but I love their food and the overall laid back vibe of the place. Everything here has been delicious. I highly recommend trying their Halloumi Bowl.


Day 3

Whitewater Raft the Athabasca River

white water raft jasper
© Tourism Jasper

You might guess what I’m going to say – wake up early – you have another fun-filled day in Jasper! If you want to get your heart pumping, one of the best things you can do in Jasper in the summer is hop on a raft and enjoy a thrilling excursion on the Athabasca River. These guided multi-rapid run tours that seat 8 people and are perfect for all visitors. When we rafted the Athabasca, young and old were on our raft.

Whitewater Raft in Jasper


Book a Jasper Food Tour for Lunch

On the E Bike and Bite Tour in Jasper
On the E Bike and Bite Tour

Now is your time to do a tour if you haven’t explored much of Jasper’s food scene. You could tackle them all independently, but I recommend joining Estelle with Jasper Food Tours instead. You’ll have a much more local experience, complete with a walking history tour of Jasper.

I love doing food tours, as you can sample many different restaurants in just a few short hours instead of having dinner at just one. The samplings with Jasper Food Tours are all paired with beer, wine, or a cocktail to make it even more fun. Come hungry—there is a lot of food on this one.

If you want a more active experience that allows you to burn off the calories you consume, you must book an e-bike and bite tour, also run by Estelle. Along this route, you’ll bike to all the beautiful destinations you’ll be dining at.

Book a Jasper Food Experience


Get Out on a Hike

The days are long in the summer, meaning after all the previous suggestions, you still have plenty of time to enjoy a hike in Jasper. Two very famous hikes in the area are relatively easy and can be accomplished in just a few hours.

Valley of the Five Lakes

Valley Of The Five Lakes Pier Jasper

The Valley of Five Lakes is a classic Jasper hike that’s the most popular in the park. It takes visitors to FIVE stunning Jasper lakes. The trail is pretty flat, well-developed, and easy to follow, so it’s easy for everyone to enjoy the lakes and their varying colors of blue and green.

It’s a great trail for those who visit the park but don’t want the challenge of climbing a mountain or steep pass. You’ll be hard-pressed to find many trails that cover the distance and don’t require large amounts of elevation gain. Since it’s a busy and easy trail, we recommend ending your day with this hike to avoid huge crowds. We suggest allocating 2-3 hours for this hike. Keep your eyes open for the famous Parks Canada red Adirondack chairs overlooking one of the lakes!

Edith Cavell Meadows

Edith Cavell Meadows

Edith Cavell Meadows is the most raved-about hike in Jasper. It offers hikers alpine meadows, glacial lakes, a huge hanging glacier, sweeping views, and the towering Mount Edith Cavell.

The hike starts with a paved trail called the Path of the Glacier, which brings hikers to a viewpoint of the Cavell Pond and a view of the Cavell Glacier. All while the north face of Mount Edith Cavell towers over the trail. After the first lookout point, the trail continues through the forest and into the meadows. The views of the Angel Glacier, a hanging glacier, are striking as you climb.


Catch From Jasper With Love

From Jasper With Love

Once you’ve had all your outdoor adventure fun for the day, we have the perfect evening suggestion for you. Head to the Lobstick Lodge to enjoy the theatre for something to do at night.

Joost and Pieter are two enthusiastic Jasper locals who put on this entire show nearly every night, and they have a very fun story to share. Crafted from the ground up and infused with playful wit, “From Jasper, With Love” stands apart from conventional theatrical productions. Instead of adhering to a traditional linear narrative, the play takes the form of a collection of sketches featuring an ever-changing ensemble of endearing and comical characters, including our favorite, Eddie the Elk!

The flagship performance, ‘From Jasper with Love,’ is designed for visitors and residents, is one hour long, and runs during summer. You can book your tickets here!


Where We Recommend Staying in Jasper

As mentioned, we highly recommend booking the Jasper Park Lodge if your budget allows. Be forewarned, it’s the most expensive place to stay in Jasper, but we don’t think you’ll regret it! Our other favorite places to stay are Pyramid Lake Lodge, which sits right on Pyramid Lake, and we also love the Forest Park Hotel and Mount Robson Inn, both close to Downtown Jasper. If you are looking for a cabin experience, Patricia Lake Bungalows has some of the best lakeside cabins in Jasper.

jasper park lodge

If we had an unlimited budget, we would spend all our nights at the Jasper Park Lodge. They have stunning grounds and sit right on one of the most beautiful lakes.

pyramid lake lodge

Pyramid Lake Lodge is another fantastic property on Pyramid Lake. It operates more like a rustic cabin with modern amenities. If you want direct access to Pyramid Lake, this is a winner.

mount robson inn

If you want a central hotel right on Connaught Drive, we recommend Mount Robson Inn as a great mid range option in Jasper.


You’ll Likely Want a Rental Car

Driving in Jasper
Driving in Jasper

As you can probably tell, this is a pretty extensive, jam-packed Jasper itinerary. To get to all these places mentioned, you’re going to want your own set of wheels. Jasper does not have great public transportation (yet!), and you’ll find it hard to do all these things on a schedule without a vehicle. We recommend picking one up in either Calgary or Edmonton.

If you don’t have a rental car, a few tours offer pick-up and drop-off services from Downtown Jasper. If you don’t have a rental car, you will definitely want to base yourself in Downtown Jasper. We recommend checking Expedia to compare rental car prices.


Tips for Visiting Jasper

Patricia Lake
Patricia Lake
  • You Need a Parks Pass: Jasper is a national park, you’ll need a Parks Canada pass to visit. This is the same pass you need to visit Banff.
  • You’ll Want Bear Spray for Hiking: Jasper has more bears than Banff. If you are doing any hiking it’s recommended to always carry bear spray.
  • Prepare to Pay for Parking: It’s not free to park in Downtown Jasper anymore and paid parking is in effect from May 1 until October 31. If you’re staying in Downtown Jasper it’s best to leave the car parked and walk around town. Parking isn’t cheap either, expect to pay $4.50 per hour for on-street parking, and $2.50 to $3.50 per hour for off-street parking.
  • It’s Expensive: It’s pretty apparent that Banff is expensive, and sometimes we find Jasper even more expensive. A smaller town that doesn’t have quite as much tourism dollars flowing in means fewer hotels. There are also strict laws around Airbnbs in Jasper. Fewer accommodation options and high demand in the summer means even basic hotel rooms can go for $400+ a night. Book in advance to help save on costs.
  • This itinerary focuses on summer travel. Activities like the Maligne Lake Cruise, white water raft tours,and theatre show all ramp up in the summer months. Though outside of paid attractions mentioned, many of these sights are accessible year-round. If you are visiting in the winter, you can see our Jasper winter guide.
  • Still in debate between spending time in Banff or Jasper? We have an entire article as it gets asked often!

Plan Your Trip to the Canadian Rockies

  • Tours (New in 2024): The Banff Blog is partnering with one of the leading tour companies in Western Canada so readers can experience the magic of the Rockies with other travelers – without having to think about a thing. See all our 2024 tour offerings here!
  • Get to Banff or Canmore Without a Car: The Banff Airporter provides fantastic service connecting you from the Calgary International Airport (YYC) to Banff or Canmore.
  • Get Around: We suggest renting a car to get around. You can search for rental cars on Rentalcars.com. Or embark on an epic campervan trip. We like to compare prices on Motorhome Republic and Outdoorsy.
  • Cheaper Airfare: We also use Going to watch for cheap airfare deals!
  • Hop On, Hop Off: This tour is taking Banff by storm. It’s exactly what it sounds like, hop on and off a bus bound for all the best attractions at your own pace!
About Natasha

Natasha calls Canmore, Alberta home. After traveling across seven continents and 90 countries with Cameron, she settled down in the stunning Canadian Rockies. She loves to help others travel and make their planning easier. She is a winter enthusiast and loves to snowboard, ice skate, and snowshoe and enjoy all the fantastic summer opportunities in Banff like hiking, scrambling, and biking. You can find her in the mountains or enjoying a coffee by the river. Learn more on the about us page!

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