The Jasper Skytram (or the “Jasper Gondola”) is one of the best things to do in Jasper, and offers visitors amazing views of the Canadian Rockies, all of Jasper, and Mt Robson. We’ve been up all the scenic gondolas, trams, and lifts in the area and the Jasper Skytram might have the best views, especially if you choose to hike to the true summit of Whistlers Peak.
The Jasper Skytram (Jasper Gondola) Experience
The Jasper Skytram was constructed in 1964 and it is the highest and longest tram in Canada. 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.
In the summer the Jasper Skytram is one of the most popular things to do in Jasper, so it’s best to book tickets in advance. Tickets are sold on the Jasper Skytram website and they correspond to a scheduled time in order to avoid lines. We recommend booking as far in advance as possible, but it does help to leave a little flexibility that way you can maximize your experience and select a fair weather day.
The Skytram is located next to the ski resort Marmot Basin at the base of Whistlers Peak. To reach the base station plan for a 10-15 minute drive. We recommend you arrive around 30 minutes before your time slot as they board a little early and you’ll need to pick up your tickets.
Once you load on to the Jasper Gondola you’ll begin the thrilling ride up to the Summit Station at 2,263 meters (7,425 ft) in elevation. The two trams are cozy and hold around 20 people for the 10-minute ride to the top. On the way up the views become expansive as you leave the tree line and enter the alpine.
The Summit Station is not nearly as extensive as what you’ll find at Banff Gondola, but there are a small gift shop and restaurant. There are plans for a full renovation that includes moving the tram to the true summit of Whistlers Peak. However, there are no concrete plans as to when the renovation will happen.
Views from the Summit Station are very impressive, but the best view requires some work to reach the true summit. More on that below. Views from Whistlers Peak are truly breathtaking, but the exploration does not need to stop there. Experienced hikers can continue the journey on to Indian Ridge an easy scramble that offers a gorgeous ridge walk.
To return there are no scheduled return times. This means you can spend as long as you would like on the top at least until the last cable car which is at 6:00 p.m.. Unless you feel like hiking all the way down in the dark. Return trams operate on a first-come-first-serve basis so be prepared to wait a little if you choose to wait until the last hour of the day.
Hike to Whistlers Peak
From the top of the Jasper Skytram, you can enjoy the views and restaurant, but everyone should try to climb up to Whistlers Peak. The Skytram assists you for most of the way, but a 20-30 minute hike further will get you to the summit. From the summit station, it’s a 1.4 km hike, and 200 meters of elevation gain to 2,463 meters (8,081 ft).
From the top of the peak, hikers will be treated to amazing views of the distant mountains that include the glacier-clad Mt. Robson to the North, the tallest mountain in the Rockies, and Mount Edith Cavell to the South.
It’s a pretty short journey to the top, but for the uninitiated prepare for a workout. If you’re wondering where the name Whistlers Peak came from you simply need to listen. You’ll hear the sharp whistle from hoary marmots who call the alpine region home.
Scramble Indian Ridge
If Whistler’s Summit isn’t enough of a workout for you then continue on to Indian Ridge. From the Skytram Indian Ridge is another 12.7 km and 950+ meters of elevation gain, but it’s a beautiful hike and isn’t too difficult. A fraction of the wheezing visitors continue the journey up to Indian Ridge so don’t be deterred by the crowds at the start.
The entire hike occurs above the tree line so you’re treated to some amazing views of the surrounding peaks and lakes. We thought the views of Robson and the surrounding alpine got even better from the ridge. It’s about 2.5 km from Whistlers Peak to the highest point on Indian Ridge.
The trail to the ridge is a pleasant trail that moves cross the Alpine Tundra and not until the last few meters will you be required to use your hands. They’re pretty simple moves, but it did deter two groups on our day up the ridge.
Once at the highest point you have a beautiful ridge to wander along. The trail here is very simple and requires very technicalities until the end. The Northwest corner at the end of the ridge requires a brief detour and scramble along with a cliff band before you can descend the shale back to Whistlers Peak. If this section proves to be too much head back the way you came for an easier route.
For those who have the Alan Kane book, Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies, Indian Ridge makes the book. So, if you’re looking to check off all the scrambles you’ll want to cross this one off the list.
Jasper Skytram Ticket Prices
To take a scenic ride of the historical Jasper Skytram does not come cheap. You can see the prices below for full price tickets. There are also a number of options to receive a discount.
- Adults (16+ years) — $52.00
- Youth (6-15 years) — $27.50
- Child (Under 6 years) — Free
- Family Package (2 Adult + 2 Youth) — $131.50
Jasper Skytram Discounts and Deals
There are a number of discounts and deals that you can receive for the Jasper Skytram. The first and best deal is a free ticket on your birthday and a 15% discount on your companions’ tickets. Marmot Baisn season pass holders, AMA members, locals, Snow Valley Aerial Park members, and HI members all receive discounts on their tickets that range from 15% to 30%.
Is the Jasper Skytram Worth the Price?
While there is a lot to love about taking the Jasper Skytram up to the top of Whistlers Peak, the price tag is a deterrent. At over $50 on average per adult, it’s a very expensive ordeal, especially if you go for Pursuit’s Ultimate Explorer Combo Ticket. The high prices don’t stop there as even the restaurant and gift shop feel overpriced when compared to the rest of Jasper.
If you compare the ticket price with the other gondolas or chairlifts operating in the region the value is decent. We find the views at Lake Louise to be better and Sunshine Village to have better hiking opportunities. They also come in at $40 and are far less crowded. Then, of course, there is a strong argument that many many hikes in Banff offer far better views than any of these operations for free.
However, the Jasper Skytram is easily accessible from the town of Jasper. If you’re of limited mobility it would be worth it to spend a bit more and visit the Banff Gondola.
If heading to Banff and want the gondola experience, the Banff Gondola has far superior facilities that include a nice restaurant boardwalk, elevators, and viewpoints accessible by a wheelchair.
Competitor Prices in the Area
- Banff Gondola – Adult $65 (surge price avg), Child $30
- Mt. Norquay – Adult $39, Child $25, Family $115
- Sunshine Village – Adult $44, Youth $40, Child $30
- Lake Louise – Adult $40, Child $19
- Kicking Horse – Adult $45, Youth $38
Weather For the Jasper Skytram
The downside to an advanced ticket purchase is you could be scheduled during bad weather. Don’t worry if it’s cloudy as it’s possible the cloud coverage is high enough to not affect the views over the mountains. However, it’s possible that cloud coverage may obscure the mountain top in a cloud.
If the weather is truly bad you may be offered an opportunity to reschedule your date and time – no refunds are provided. To check on the views on top of the mountain, the Jasper Skytram website operates a webcam so you can see the visibility.
Jasper Skytram Tips
- If you have a fear of heights the Skytram may not be for you as the cable cars can be a bit unnerving for those afraid of heights.
- Make sure to dress in layers and be prepared for a cool summit even in the summer months, we’ve seen snow on the peak in August. Temperatures at the base are no vindictive of the temperatures on the summit. On average it’s 12C colder at the summit than in town.
- Plan for at least two hours for the full experience. This includes enough time to walk along the boardwalk and enjoy the views.
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