60 AWESOME Things To Do in Jasper (2024 Travel Guide)

One of the most beautiful places to visit in Canada, Jasper National Park offers impressive things to do all year round. The small alpine town of Jasper, home to 5,000 people, serves as a tremendous base for exploring the encompassing national park.

Days are spent adventuring amongst the mountains, and evenings can be spent enjoying the delicious Jasper restaurants before lying in a cozy cabin at night. The season doesn’t matter either, as every month of the year has plenty of ways to stay entertained.

In the summertime, you can rent a canoe and paddle your way around one of the many mountain lakes after driving the stunning Icefields Parkway. In the winter, you can enjoy a ski at Marmot Basin, followed by hot cocoa by the fire. If you’re wondering what to do in Jasper, we have you covered.


Our Top Recommended Jasper Tours


Where is Jasper?

Before reading about what to do in Jasper, let’s review where exactly it is. Jasper National Park is the largest park in the Canadian Rocky Mountains system. At 11,000 km2, it’s the size of some small countries. Jasper is located north of Banff and west of Edmonton.

Jasper’s townsite sits in the Athabasca River Valley, which is pretty much on the border of BC. Jasper National Park is located in Treaty 6 and Treaty 8, as well as the traditional lands of the Anishinabe, Aseniwuche Winewak, Dene-zaa, Nêhiyawak, Secwépemc, Stoney Nakoda, and Métis.


The Best Things to do in Jasper


Enjoy Downtown Jasper

downtown jasper

Honestly, one of my favorite things to do in Jasper, especially when I first arrive, is just to walk around town. The town of Jasper is charming and small, even smaller than nearby Banff (with far fewer people). There are plenty of restaurants, shops, and coffee shops to venture into and out of. I love the town vibe and enjoy coming here in the evening.

Recommended Lunch: Patricia Street Deli Recommended Coffee Shop: Snowdome


Take a Photo With Jasper the Bear

Take a Photo With Jasper the Bear

In 1948, the Canadian artist James Simpkins conceived Jasper the Bear as a tribute to environmental conservation, leading to the incorporation of Jasper-centric cartoons in Maclean’s magazine.

By 1962, Jasper National Park formally embraced the character, resulting in the installation of a statue in the townsite. Today, the original statue graces the apex of the Skytram, while a duplicate stands north of the Jasper Information Centre on Connaught Drive. See if you can spot both while in Jasper!


Visit the Historic Railway Station and Totem Pole

jasper totem pole

One of the best things to do in Downtown Jasper is visit the historic Train Station in the center of town. It has plenty of history on the inside, with some interesting photos from the early days in Jasper.

The Canadian National Railway constructed the station in 1926 and declared 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 in a historical way. You can read all about that story at the totem pole.


Go for a Hike in Jasper

on the valley of the five lakes trail
Valley of the Five Lakes Trail

Jasper is full of great hiking opportunities. You have hike options for families and kids and then some tremendous scrambling options for those more familiar with hiking in the Rockies.

  • Lake Annette Loop (Easy)
  • Valley of Five Lakes (Easy)
  • Edith Cavell Meadows (Moderate)
  • Bald Hills (Moderate)
  • Wilcox Pass (Moderate)

Pyramid Lake and Island

Things to do in Jasper The Bridge to Pyramid Island
Pyramid Island at sunset

Heading to Pyramid Lake is another fantastic thing to do in Jasper. Pyramid Lake is close to the town of Jasper and is another great lake to enjoy, especially in the summer. Bring the paddleboard, canoe, and kayak here and even take a jump in. I actually find Pyramid Lake much warmer than others in the Rockies.

Don’t miss Pyramid Island either, which is a small island with a bridge to it. Many photographers head here as it’s quite photogenic, but even if you’re not taking photos, it’s still a serene spot. Try and catch it at sunrise or sunset for a wicked view.


Catch Sunset at Patricia Lake

Things to do in Jasper Patricia Lake

Patricia Lake is next to Pyramid Lake and is another good one to head for your summer needs. Come here to enjoy the backdrop of Pyramid Mountain, or go for a swim! With a national park license, you can even go fishing here.


Horseshoe Lake

Natasha at Horseshoe Lake in Summer

Horseshoe Lake is just a 20-minute drive from Jasper along the Icefields Parkway. It’s a wonderful local lake that many visitors are unaware of, but it’s well worth stopping! The lake is massive and forms none other than a horseshoe shape, enclosed by cliffs where you can jump into the frigid Canadian waters.

There are numerous jump points, with the highest height rumored to reach 80 feet. Always check your landing and make sure it’s safe before jumping! Besides cliff jumping, you can enjoy a paddle on this beautiful lake in the summer.


Paddle on Lake Edith, Annette, and Beauvert 

Lake Edith

We spent many days in Jasper enjoying these three beautiful lakes. I would highly recommend bringing your own or renting a canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard to enjoy these three lakes because they are amazing!

Edith, Annette, and Beauvert are all very close together, and you can easily enjoy all three in one day. My absolute favorite lake in Jasper is Lake Beauvert. It has some of the most transparent water I’ve ever seen and is insanely blue. In the summer, you can rent stand-up paddleboards or canoes at Edith Lake and Lac Beauvert.


Catch “From Jasper With Love”

From Jasper With Love Theatre Show

Once you’ve had all your outdoor adventure fun for the day, we have the perfect suggestion for you. Head to the Lobstick Lodge to enjoy the theatre. What, you didn’t think there was a theatre in Jasper? Think again!

Joost and Pieter are two enthusiastic Jasper locals with a fun story to tell. 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!

Their earnest yet amusing attempts to steer the audience clear of Jasper may work on you (or it may not!)The flagship performance, ‘From Jasper with Love,’ is designed for both visitors and residents, is one hour long, and runs during the summer months. You can book your tickets here!


Go on a Jasper Food Tour

Eating at Jasper Brewing Company

One of the best things to do in Jasper is cozy up at one of the many restaurants and bars in town. You could venture into them all independently, but I would highly recommend joining Estelle with Jasper Food Tours instead. You’ll have a much more local experience, complete with a walking history tour of Jasper as well.

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.


Peak Nic

things to do in jasper
©Tourism Jasper

Food tours are fun, but you know what’s even more fun? Peak Nic! This is a 4km intermediate hike up to a mountain summit in Jasper, followed by a backcountry cooking lesson. You’ll learn how to prepare beautiful gourmet meals in one of the prettiest areas of the world! Afterward, you get to eat it all up before heading back down. You can book this once-in-a-lifetime experience with Jasper Food Tours.


Bites and Bikes E-Bike Tour

Bites and Bikes E-Bike Tour  in jasper
On the Bites and Bikes Tour

Looking to work up an appetite and then dine? The all-new Bites and Bikes e-bike tour with Jasper Food Tours is sure to do that. Have a 3-course meal at different locations around the park, made easier with a little electric boost.

We won’t spoil any details, but on this tour, you’ll get to some famous sights and locations that are made possible with the assistance of an e-bike! Enjoying this half-day food tour was one of our favorite things to do in Jasper!


Enjoy a Drink at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge

Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge

The famous Fairmont Park Lodge sits right on Lake Beauvert and is ideal for enjoying a drink at sunset. It’s calming, quiet, and not crowded. Even if you’re not staying at the hotel, you should definitely stop for a drink!


Sulphur Skyline Summit

Sulphur Skyline Summit

The Sulphur Skyline is considered an awesome hike near Miette Hot Springs. This trail is roughly 8 km long and gains over 600 meters of elevation. The trail has some of the most expansive views in the area that end with a grand finale of 360-degree views. It’s a fantastic photography spot, and one of the best things to do in Jasper is soak in the Miette Hot Springs when you are finished with the trail.


Play a Round at Fairmont Jasper Park Golf Course

The Fairmont Jasper Park Golf Course is a great thing to do in Jasper for the eager golfer

Conceived by a famous Canadian golf course designer, the renowned 18-hole course at Fairmont Jasper Park Golf Course incorporates all the twists, turns, vistas, and changes in elevation that diehard golfers have come to expect from world-class courses. On the Jasper to-do list of golf enthusiasts from all over, it’s been rated the #1 golf resort in Canada in past years.

The Fairmont Jasper Park Golf Course is a great thing to do in Jasper for the eager golfer

Not surprisingly, the course isn’t open all year round; the greens fees also vary by season and day of the week. It’s not particularly expensive by exclusive course standards either, so check out their website for a visual tour, booking, fees, and tee-time information. It’s one of the things to do in Jasper that golfers should take advantage of.


Drive Maligne Lake Road

the view from maligne lake road

For a quick and beautiful road trip in Jasper, hop on Maligne Lake Rd, which ends right at Maligne Lake. This 46-kilometer drive winds through the mountains and lets you take in some impressive scenery. One of the best stops is Medicine Lake, but there are plenty of pull-off points along the way for enjoying a picnic. We frequently see wildlife along this road, so drive carefully!


Maligne Canyon

natasha at maligne canyon

While driving along Maligne Lake Road, the first major stop you’ll make is Maligne Canyon. Maligne Canyon is fantastic regardless of the season you visit. 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.

Though it freezes solid in winter, it provides recreation for brave ice climbers; there are guided tours of the area’s frozen waterfalls and ice caves. When the ice thaws in late spring and summer, the canyon area is a hot hiking spot 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 visit on your own. However, visiting in the winter without a guide isn’t recommended for those not equipped for Canadian winters, as you’ll need microspikes to walk on the ice safely.


Marvel at Medicine Lake

Medicine Lake With High Water Level in Jasper National Park

Continue on Maligne Lake Road, and you’ll come across this famous lake. Located about 26 km southeast of Jasper, it is a quick stop on your road trip, but it will leave a lasting impression. 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 takes place in late spring and summer.

Many people call Medicine Lake the “disappearing lake” because the water drains out through sinkholes in the bottom, travels through a cave system, and resurfaces downstream in the winter. We couldn’t believe it when we saw it either, but it’s truly a unique phenomenon.


Enjoy Maligne Lake

Maligne Lake Frozen in the winter
Maligne Lake in the Winter

Maligne Lake is a glacial lake just a 45-minute drive from the town of Jasper at the end of Maligne Lake Road (so we recommend hitting Maligne Canyon, Medicine Lake, and Maligne Lake all in one day). It’s easily one of the best places to visit in Jasper at any time of year, one of the most serene lakes in the Canadian Rockies, and prized for its astounding natural splendor.

maligne lake

It’s well worth a visit for anyone visiting the Canadian Rockies and is a must-stop if you’re in Jasper for a few days. You can canoe, paddleboard, kayak, or even take a motorboat out on it in the summer. Of course, you can also camp overnight near the beautiful Spirit Island mentioned below.


Boat or Canoe to Spirit Island

Spirit Island in Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park

A great place to visit in Jasper is Spirit Island, which is on nearly everyone’s bucket list. As you may have guessed by its name, Spirit Island is a serene and revered place, especially for the area’s Indigenous people. Due to its sacredness, the island is off-limits, but boat tours are available, which will take you close enough to appreciate its splendor. Boat tours should be booked in advance, as they are a very popular activity during the summer months.

For those who need more exertion and adventure, there’s also an option to view the island by kayak or canoe. This option is only for the physically fit because the roundtrip is difficult to complete in a day and you must reserve your campsite well in advance. There are Jasper campsites nearby where you can book an overnight spot, breaking the trip into a day and a half and giving you a fantastic night in the wilderness.


Evening Wildlife Tour

Moose Cross the road on the Maligne Lake Road in Jasper National Park
Moose Cross the road on the Maligne Lake Road in Jasper National Park

A great Jasper activity is a wildlife tour! Like animals everywhere, many of Jasper’s non-human residents prefer to come out in the evening to hunt and forage. What could be better than watching them and all the exciting things they do on a guided tour?

Like the SS Minnow on Gilligan’s Island, it’s a three-hour tour, but instead of a skipper, this one will be guided by a local expert who knows pretty much all there is to know about the local fauna.

Though nothing is guaranteed, you may see grizzly bears, mountain goats, foxes, moose, and bobcats, to name a few. Tours are limited to 15 people, and as long as you’re staying in Jasper, they’ll even pick you up and drop you off after it’s done. The start times vary slightly depending on the season but are usually 4:30 or 5:30 PM.


Jasper Skytram

The Jasper Skytram is one of many things to do in Jasper
The Jasper Skytram

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.

During the ride, your tram conductor will point out landmarks and teach you about the area’s geology, history, and wildlife. The tram is open from March until October. Remember to dress accordingly and bring a hat and jacket, as the weather can change quickly at the top, even in the summer.


Hike to Whistlers Summit

Whistlers Summit view of Mount Robson in the distance
Check out Mount Robson in the background!

From the top of the Skytram, you can enjoy the views and restaurant, but you can also continue to summit Whistler’s Mountain, one of Alberta’s best hikes. The Jasper Skytram assists you for most of the way, but a 20-30 minute hike further will get you to the summit. On a clear day, you can even see Mount Robson—the highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies!


Scramble Indian Ridge

Reaching the top of the Indian Ridge. Easy Scrambling
The scramble section to the ridge

If Whistler’s Summit isn’t enough of a workout for you, then continue on to Indian Ridge. It’s one of our favorite Jasper scrambles! The Skytram Indian Ridge is another 12.7 km and 950+ meters of elevation gain, but it’s a beautiful hike with mild scrambling to reach the ridge.

Natasha Approached Indian Ridge in Jasper National Park an amazing thing to do in Jasper for views
Heading toward the ridge

If you have a few scrambles in the Rockies under your belt, reaching the ridge should be no problem. Bonus that the views of Mount Robson are even better from the ridge!


Canyoning

canyoning in jasper

While canyoning isn’t a popular activity in Banff, visitors can enjoy many incredible canyons in Jasper. Orge Canyon, Morro Canyon, Pleckaitis Canyon, and Two Valley Canyon are popular options varying in length and difficulty. You can book safe and fun canyoning excursions with Rocky Mountain Canyoning!


Warrior Women

Warrior Women
Courtesy of Warrior Women

Warrior Women comprises a mother-daughter duo, Matricia and Mackenzie Brown. They perform songs written in both English and their native language, Cree. Their songwriting is beautiful yet harrowing and will give you a glimpse into Jasper’s Indigenous culture.

Often, their performances are accompanied by fireside chats, drumming, medicine walks, and singing performances. If you are looking for one of the best Indenigeous things to do in Jasper, check out the Warrior Women website!


White Water Raft

white water raft jasper
© Tourism Jasper

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 seat 8 people including kids. Rafting is great for those who want to take in the beautiful scenery from the river. We went last year, and found it quite adventurous and scenic. It’s not just for the ultra-adventurous those, as there are different levels and routes for everyone to enjoy!


Float Tour

float tour in jasper
©Jasper Raft Tours Ltd

If whitewater rafting doesn’t sound exactly for you, consider hopping on a float tour with Jasper Raft Tours! With a float tour, you get all the awesome perks of rafting and canoeing, but without all the work and at a leisurely pace. There are even some dog-friendly scenic float trips, so you don’t have to leave your furry pal at the hotel.

The tour we recommend most is “The Original.” On this one, you float down the same route used by fur traders at the turn of the century.


Mountain Bike

mountain biking in jasper
©Journey Bike Guides Inc.

Some excellent mountain biking can be had in Jasper with mountain biking trails for every level of rider here. The Water Tower, Mina Lake, and Loni’s are some of the most popular. Beginners to advanced riders will be sure to find something to ride in the park.

If you are a beginner, booking a guided tour is probably best. Journey Bike Guides offers private tours for those interested. Alternatively, you can bring your own bike or rent one if you want to venture out. Here’s a great resource for mountain biking around Jasper. We also like to check Trailforks to get an idea of fun trails in the area.

Bike rentals are available at Journey Bike, Vicious Cycle, and Jasper Source. You can also rent bikes at The Boathouse at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge to bike near the Lac Beauvert area.


Horseback Ride

Banff Trail Riders

Ever thought about hopping on a horse and gallivanting off into the mountains? We have! Jasper Park Stables and Jasper Riding Stables offer horseback rides in the valley by the hour. You can get acquainted with your horse on a one-hour ride or enjoy a three-hour ride through the mountains.


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 one of the best things to do in Jasper.

The planetarium’s trained guides will lead you on a virtual tour of the galaxy and explain a few of those mysteries of modern science, like the aurora borealis – or northern lights. Boasting one of the largest telescopes in North America, you’ll get to peer through its massive lenses and gaze into impossibly distant worlds after the planetarium show.

It’s also possible to book a Telescope and Planetarium combo tour, during which you’ll gaze out to the sky using one of the best and most powerful telescopes in Alberta!


Take a Soak in Miette Hot Springs

Miette Hot Springs
©Travel Alberta / Roth and Ramberg

About 60 km east of Jasper, Miette Hot Springs may not be the most accessible of all Jasper’s attractions. Still, if properly timed to coincide with other nearby activities, it’ll be the perfect place to soothe those bones weary from a long day of exercise and fresh air. Bubbling from the earth at a piping 130°F, the water cools to about 100° before making its way into the pool.

Not only will the water relax you, but the dissolved minerals within have long been thought to have curative powers for those with skin, bone, and muscle ailments. Though initially built in the ’30s, the facilities have been upgraded, and there’s a swimming pool and restaurant on-site if you’d like to make a day of it. Open from May to October – depending on the weather – the entrance fee is $17.50 for adults, making it a relatively cheap way to pamper yourself in one of Alberta’s best hot springs.


Have a Picnic in Front of Edith Cavell

things to do in jasper

Head to Lac Beauvert and set up a picnic in front of the famed Edith Cavell. You can find beautiful spots with panoramic views all around the lake!


Multi-Day Hike

tonquin valley

Jasper is a premier destination for some epic multi day backcountry trips. If your visit to Jasper allows you to enjoy a multi day hike, we highly recommend it. Though you’ll likely need to plan in advance as the campsites you’ll need to stay at book up fast in the high season. Two of the most famous backcountry trips in Jasper are the Tonquin Valley and The Skyline.

Tonquin Valley Trail

This is a 44-km relocation hike, with the highlight being the two Amethyst Lakes. The trip can take as little as 2 days, but 3 or 4 is recommended. You can complete it in one day if you are a trail runner. Try to aim for the months of August and September to complete this trip, as the mosquitos are terrible in June and July.

The Skyline Trail

Another 2-4 day backcountry trip that is 44km with plenty of glacial lakes and glaciers along the way. You can see more information about it here.


Have a Beer at Jasper Brewing Company

jasper brewing
We love the Halloumi Bowl – get it every time!

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 they are responsible for opening Banff Ave Brewing in Downtown Banff.

The three founders here are born and raised Jasper locals who created the space as a great community hub. Their beers are delicious, but I particularly love their food. I highly recommend trying their Halloumi Bowl.


Climb Pyramid Mountain

Hiking To The Summit of Pyramid Mountain is a great thing to do in Jasper

Pyramid Mountain towers over Jasper and is a beautiful sight to behold. If you’re up for a long day hiking, consider putting it on your list of things to do in Jasper! It’s a 31 km trail and over 1,580 meters of elevation gain – so it’s not for the faint of heart! If you attempt this one, you should be experienced with long day hikes in the Rockies. The good news is you can bike the first 11km, cutting out a significant portion of time there and back.


Drive Yellowhead Pass

Yellowhead Pass Jasper National Park

As one of the lowest—and therefore most easily crossed—passes in the Canadian Rockies, Yellowhead Pass has been taking travelers of all sorts across the Continental Divide for ages. At 3,700 feet above sea level and located in Jasper National Park and Mount Robson Provincial Park, this national historic site is worth checking out—especially since you’ll be in the two parks listed above visiting other places anyway.

According to legend, the pass was named after a golden-haired trapper who first crossed the pass in the early 19th Century, though the First Nation people were surely using it long before that. Though the pass’s traffic has steadily increased over the years, you’ll still get a glimpse of its original splendor, so check it out.


Drive The Icefields Parkway

The Icefields Parkway

It’s tough to think of a more iconic activity to do in Jasper than a drive or tour down the Icefields Parkway. The famed motorway is widely regarded as one of the most scenic roads in the world, and it has no shortage of jaw-dropping vistas, exciting stops, activities, and hikes. If you have driven to Jasper from Banff, you’ve already been on the Icefields Parkway, but if not, you are in for a real treat.

Several of the activities and spots on the list below all occur off the Icefields Parkway. It would be a good idea to familiarize yourself with a map and study the Icefields Parkway before you arrive.

The road connects Jasper with Lake Louise and has many hikes, waterfalls, and stunning vistas. The Columbia Icefields Discovery Center and Athabasca Glacier are along the route, which is possibly the most accessible glacier in North America.

Icefields Parkway Winter Snowy Road
The Icefields Parkway in Winter

The Icefields Parkway is open all year round, except in cases of extreme weather that will cause avalanche closures. Come prepared for winter driving between November and April, as the road can be arduous and is often covered in ice. That said, it may be our favorite time to drive along the Parkway as the mountains look far more dramatic and the road is much quieter.


Columbia Icefield Adventures

drinking water from the athabasca glacier

Located along the Icefields Parkway – straddling the Continental Divide and border between British Columbia and Alberta – the Columbia Icefield is the largest in the Rocky Mountains. Part of the ice field is located in the southernmost portion of Jasper National Park. Each year, nearly 300 inches of snow replenish its base, which then turns into rock-hard ice through the thawing and compression processes.

walking on the athabasca glacier
Walking on the toe of the glacier

The ice field covers nearly 125 square miles and can reach a depth of 1,000 feet in places. As you can imagine, it’s a treacherous place, but tours are offered – some of which are given in massive, six-wheel-drive behemoths that look like they’re out of a James Bond movie.

This is the best way for most visitors to experience a glacier and can be arranged at the Glacier Discovery Center, but we do recommend booking in advance. It all takes place on the Athabasca Glacier’s terminal end, but reaching its true center requires mountaineering experience or a helicopter tour. The Glacier Discovery Center has a restaurant, cafeteria, gift shop, exhibits, and lodging at the stunning Glacier View Lodge.

However if you want to stretch your legs and work a bit for your glacier views, we highly recommend booking a walking tour that allows you to actually walk on the glacier. Several tour operators offer this experience, such as Rockaboo and IceWalks. They’ll provide you with microspikes and poles to experience the glacial terrain and travel with you to make sure you do so safely!


Columbia Icefield Skywalk

Columbia Icefield Skywalk from the road
Jasper Skywalk

The Columbia Discovery Center offers several activities from its base, which includes the Icefield Skywalk. The Skywalk is a massive glass-floored walkway that sits 1,000 feet above the valley floor down below. The view straight down through the glass floor to the Sunwapta River valley below might make you wish you’d brought your parachute.

Once you’ve bought your ticket, head to Glacier Discovery Center and hop on the shuttle bus, which will take you right to the Skywalk unless you’ve bought the Columbia Icefields Adventure ticket that includes the Ice Explorer Experience. The Skywalk is open from May to October.

We’re a bit mixed on whether it’s worth the price of a ticket as it’s pretty easy to achieve the same views on a simple hike (try Parker Ridge nearby!). However, it is included if you have the larger Pursuit Ultimate Explorer Pass.


Climb Mount Athabasca

Enjoy Lunch on the Summit of Mount Athabasca
At the summit of Mount Athabasca

Maybe not everyone’s idea of fun things to do in Jasper, but for those seeking extra adventure. Mount Athabasca looms over one of the most popular attractions on the famed Icefields Parkway (Athabasca Glacier), but only a few get to see the view from the top.

To reach the summit requires a long hike to a technical glacier crossing and then up an exposed face or couloir. The views are breathtaking in more ways than one. You can spot countless glaciers, icefields, and many of Alberta’s highest peaks from the top.

The peak is one of many in the Canadian Rockies, famous for reaching 11,000 feet. Many climbers in the Rockies have the lifetime goal of summiting all 54 (58) peaks, which are considered classic mountaineering objectives. At 11,453 feet in elevation with a massive glacier and convenient location, Athabasca is a tremendous first “11,000er.”

You cannot attempt this on your own without mountaineering experience. It is a serious mountain. We did a three-day mountaineering course with Yamnuska and summited on the third day – the adventure was epic. This is probably not for everyone, but definitely one of the more adventurous things to do in Jasper if you have time on your side.


Sunwapta Falls

Sunwapta Falls

If you like getting two for the price of one, then visiting Jasper’s Sunwapta Falls is one of those things to do in Jasper that should be on your itinerary because it’s not just one, but a pair of waterfalls. Located inside Jasper National Park, you can reach them by an access road leading from the Icefields Parkway.

Due to the massive ice melt-off that occurs in spring, this is when the falls are at their most dramatic. But no matter when you go, you’ll be impressed by the falls, which drop over 60 feet. Of the two falls, the upper one is the more easily accessible of the two.


Athabasca Falls

Athabasca Falls in the winter

A great thing to do in Jasper along the Parkway is to check out Athabasca Falls. Located about 32 km southeast of Downtown Jasper- with a drop of about 23 meters – Athabasca Falls isn’t a giant by waterfall standards, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t dramatic and majestic in its own right.

The volume of water that rushes over the edge is very high, making the upper Athabasca River roar – especially during the height of the thaw in late spring. There are ample walking trails to get you to viewing areas, allowing you to ogle the river and fall in all its glory. Please stick to the trail and don’t try to get closer to take a good picture. The ground and rocks are treacherous and slippery, and a fall into the frigid water and rocky canyon wouldn’t end well.


Take a Motorcycle Tour

mount temple in the distance on the icefields parkway
Driving down the Icefields Parkway toward Mount Temple

When a company is endorsed by the Canadian Tourism Commission, you know they’ve been doing something right. Such is the case with Jasper Motorcycle Tours, which provides a unique experience unlike any other you’ll probably ever experience. If you’ve only ever driven vehicles with four wheels, don’t worry because you won’t be the one driving.

The cost of your motorcycle tour includes a safe, experienced, and professional driver. From the relative safety of the sidecar or rear seat, you’ll enjoy the Canadian wind and breathtaking scenery.

You can book multiple tours of varying lengths. One of our favorites is the 3-hour tour. It will take you on nearly 100 kilometers of the Icefields Parkway, named one of the world’s 10 best drives by National Geographic. See here for pricing and booking information.


Berg Lake Trail

Berg Lake Trail at Berg Lake
Looking up at Mount Robson from Berg Lake

Although not technically in Jasper, it’s pretty darn close! If mountains had resumes, you’d swear that Mount Robson’s was embellished. One of the best things to do near Jasper in the summer is a hike around Mount Robson. Towering to just a tick shy of 13,000 feet, it’s the tallest mountain in the Canadian Rockies, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and resides in one of Canada’s oldest parks – Mount Robson Provincial Park.

Paired with those statistics and its natural majesty, it’s impossible to miss the icon of Jasper that finds its way onto photographs and artists’ canvases more than the average mountain.

What’s the best way to see Mount Robson? The Berg Lake Trail! This is open to multi-day campers, trail runners, and day hikers (long day hike) in the summer who want to hike the 20km (one way) to Berg Lake. Consisting of nearly 600 stunning, wildlife-packed acres, the park isn’t open all year, so check out their website for specifics. ** The Berg Lake Trail is currently under maintenance, check updates here.

For experienced, fearless, and adequately equipped mountaineers, Emperor Face is the most challenging way to reach the summit on the mountain’s north side. Robson is well known in the mountaineering community here as a proving ground.


Take in the Views Via Helicopter

helicopter ride in jasper

Jasper National Park is fabulous from all angles, but it’s imposing from the air. Book a helicopter tour with glaciers, blue lakes, and mountains from a new perspective. Popular heli routes include Folding Mountain, the Valley of the Five Lakes, and Pyramid Mountain.

You can also go to the Miette Mountain Ranges. Jasper Heli Tours runs heli tours around Jasper and starts at $300 per person for a non private experience. For a bit cheaper of an experience you can check out Rockies Heli in David Thompson Country near Nordegg.


Winter Ideas

If you’re looking for things to do in Jasper during the winter months we highly recommend you check out our dedicated winter guide. These are just a few ideas to get you started.


Ski at Marmot Basin

Snowboarding at Marmot Basin in Jasper National Park is an awesome winter activity
Spending a day at Marmot Basin

One of the best things to do in Jasper in the winter is ski at Marmot Basin! Marmot Basin is an alpine ski area less than 30 minutes drive away from Jasper. With 91 named runs on four mountain faces and 3,000 vertical feet of drop, it’s definitely one of the best ski resorts in all of Western Canada!


Wild Ice Skate

Pyramid Lake in jasper in winter

One of the best things to do in Jasper in winter is strap on a pair of skates for some ice skating and hockey on frozen lakes. I highly recommend renting a pair of skates and enjoying the beautiful wild ice setting.

Pyramid Lake and Patricia Lake are Jasper’s best lakes to skate on. It’s best to wait until December to ensure the ice is frozen over enough to skate on. Ice should be at least 4 inches thick and can be measured with an ice screw. You can rent ice skates in town at Source for Sports!


Enjoy Dog Sledding

dog sledding across a frozen lake in jasper
Courtesy of Tourism Jasper

When visiting Jasper in the winter, you won’t regret going dog sledding with Cold Fire Creek. Their team of dogs will effortlessly take you through the forest near the park. They have different tour routes geared for every visitor. They recommend their 60-minute musher tour for families, while others may want to enjoy the Moonshiners of Whiskey Creek or the Ghost of Cold Fire Creek.


Ice Climb at Maligne Canyon, Tangle Falls, or Edge of the World

Ice Climb at Maligne Canyon, Tangle Falls, or Edge of the World
©Rockaboo Mountain Adventures

Rockaboo Mountain Adventures offers beginners with no experience the opportunity to ice climb in the winter. This fun, safe, thrilling adventure is great for anyone 12 and up. Ice climbing sites are either Tangle Falls, Edge of the World, or Maligne Canyon. If you have a preference, you can suggest it when you book, but they typically decide on the site based on weather. Often, it’s the stunning Maligne Canyon.

This six-hour tour is excellent for those who have been around town for a few days in Jasper and looking for something unique to do in this winter mountain wonderland. All gear (boots, crampons, harnesses, axes, helmet) is included in the tour!


Getting to Jasper

icefields-parkway
  • Banff to Jasper: The drive between Jasper and Banff is 288 km (179 miles) along the Icefields Parkway. It would take around 3.5 hours without stops, but it 100% take you all day because there’s so much to see.
  • Edmonton to Jasper: The route from Edmonton to Jasper will take around 3 full hours (365.0 km) via AB-16.
  • Vancouver to Jasper: This is a long stretch that will take about 10 hours (868.8 km) via BC-5 N.
  • Calgary to Jasper: There are a few ways to get from Calgary to Jasper, but the most direct will take 5 hours (413.3 km) via Trans-Canada Hwy/AB-1 W and AB-93 N.

Train to Jasper

Unlike other Rockies destinations, taking the train in Jasper is possible! You can get to Jasper via train from both Edmonton and Vancouver.

  • Via Rail: The trail from Edmonton to Jasper runs almost daily and takes 6.5 hours with a few stops. Though the schedule isn’t super convenient as most trains depart at midnight. This train is not a scenic train.
  • Rocky Mountaineer: The Rocky Mountaineer runs scenic train journeys from Vancouver to Jasper. These routes are best for those looking for a multiple-day tour rather than those looking to get to Jasper quickly.

Bus to Jasper

maligne lake road in jasper

There are a few bus options driving from Calgary to Jasper, Banff to Jasper, and Edmonton to Jasper.

  • Brewster Express offers a pickup service from any hotel in Banff, Jasper, Lake Louise, Kananaskis, or Calgary. They can help you conveniently plan your trip between the two destinations. Prices start at $38.50 CAD, but the price between Jasper and Banff is currently $120. Return tickets provide a discount.
  • SunDog Tours also operates a one-way tour that begin at Banff, Lake Louise, or even Edmonton and drops off in Jasper. It’s a full-day tour with many stops along the way and includes a four-hour stop at the Athabasca Glacier. They also operate a direct route from Jasper to Banff, which is part of their Calgary Connector service. It’s a daily service that operates in the winter between October and April.
  • Discover Banff Tours provides a coach shuttle service between Banff, Canmore, Lake Louise and Jasper. There are pick up points at certain hotels within each destination.

Getting Around Jasper

patricia lake

Downtown Jasper is small and completely walkable, meaning once you get there it’s possible to not have to drive anywhere at all. That said, getting to sights like Maligne Lake would be difficult without a car or organized tour.

To get around downtown or even up to Pyramid Lake, you can rent a bike from The Bench Bike Shop. If you want to call a taxi, there are only two options – Caribou Cabs and Jasper Cabs.


Parking in Jasper

parking in jasper

Unlike Banff, Parking in Jasper is rarely an issue, even during the summer. There are plenty of places downtown to park. Though, like Banff, paid parking is now in effect in Jasper.

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. You have three payment options: scan the QR code on signs (no app download required), use a payment kiosk, or download the HotSpot app. There are plenty of lots to park around the town, which you can see here.


Is Jasper Worth Visiting?

things to do in jasper national park
Hanging out on Lac Beauvert

Jasper is worth visiting both in the summer and winter! If you are already making a memorable trip to the Rockies to visit Banff, it’s well worth it to add a few days to your Banff itinerary and visit Jasper. The lakes here are stunningly blue, the mammoth mountain peaks are inspiring, and there are plenty of fun Jasper attractions to enjoy, like the Jasper Skytram and Spirit Island Boat Cruise.

In the winter, great skiing and snowboarding can be had at Marmot Basin. You can’t go wrong with a sleigh ride on Pyramid Lake during Christmas.

If you want to see exactly how to map out your time in Jasper, make sure to read our example Jasper itinerary


How Far is Jasper From Banff?

natasha at mistaya canyon along the icefields parkway
Mistaya Canyon on the Icefields Parkway

The drive between Jasper and Banff is 288 km (179 miles) and takes around 3.5 hrs. Two highways connect the small mountain towns, the Icefields Parkway (AB-93) and Trans Canada Highway (AB-1). Of course, when I say 3.5, that is without stopping, and you will definitely be stopping on one of the most beautiful drives in the world. I would plan for the drive to take you at least 5 hours, but plan for a full day if you decide to hit all the photo points and hikes along the way.


Do I Need a Parks Pass to Visit Jasper?

snowshoeing in jasper in the winter

All visitors to Jasper need a Parks Canada Pass. You can get one at the park gates as you enter Jasper or buy one online beforehand. If you are visiting Banff and Jasper, getting a Parks Canada Discovery Pass is best.

Parks Canada Day Pass Rates
Pass TypeRate
Adult$11.00
Senior$9.50
Youth (up to 17)Free
Family/Group (7 Persons)$22.00
Day passes expire at 4 pm the following day.

A Parks Canada Discovery Pass grants you entrance to all Parks Canada destinations for a year. For many visitors, purchasing an annual pass makes more sense, as an adult’s day pass is $11.00 per day. The pass also grants access to historic sites such as Cave & Basin along with any other national park in the country.

Parks Canada Discovery Pass Fees
Pass TypeRate
Adult$75.25
Senior$64.50
Youth (up to 17)Free
Family/Group (7 Persons)$151.25

Our ultimate guide to purchasing a Canadian Parks Pass


How Many Days Should You Stay in Jasper?

pyramid island in jasper

No visit to Jasper would be complete without spending at least three days in the park. Many readers tell us they visited for one day and felt it was too short. Of course, if you only have one spare day, it’s still worth driving on the Icefields Parkway and taking in the area’s beauty.

maligne-lake-boathouse
Enjoying Maligne Lake

You’ll be able to get the general gist of Jasper and see plenty of places in three days, but for a good mix of seeing many sights and not feeling too rushed, I recommend 5 days.


Which is Better – Banff or Jasper?

jasper vs banff

Saying one is better than the other would not be fair to either park. Banff and Jasper provide different experiences, depending on what you are looking for in a trip. Banff is generally more touristy, with more accessible things to do, better restaurants, and more iconic hotels.

Jasper is less busy, with plenty of things to do in nature, and more opportunities for wildlife spotting. The downtown core of Jasper isn’t as exciting or picturesque as Banff, but it’s certainly far from ugly. We break down both towns in this article, but it’s best to visit both yourself!


Study Our Map!


The Best Places to Eat in Jasper

The Best Places to Eat in Jasper
Breakfast at Harvest

For Breakfast in Jasper Try These Restaurants:

  • Coco’s Cafe:  They’ve got all of the classics of a relaxed cafe such as bagels, oatmeal cinnamon waffles, breakfast burritos, breakfast bowls, and huevos rancheros.
  • Harvest: Harvest Food & Drink serves breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner. It’s one of the newer restaurants in Jasper with a healthy menu.
  • Bear’s Paw Bakery: Bear’s Paw Bakery is an institution in Jasper and just about every visitor to Jasper should pay the bakery a visit in the morning.
  • Sunhouse Cafe: The bright and airy cafe with modern decor serves some mouth-watering coffee and food.

Dinner in Jasper Recommendations

Dinner at Aalto
  • Jasper Brewing Company: They have fantastic craft beers and dinners that pair well with those beers. One of the best restaurants in Jasper
  • Downstream: A downstairs bar with varying sandwiches, steaks, and chicken meals on the menu.
  • The Raven: A small and intimate bistro perfect for special dinners from around the world.
  • Aalto: Set on scenic Pyramid Lake, head here around sunset for delicious cocktails followed by delicious food.

Where to Stay in Jasper National Park

One of the best places to stay in Jasper is the Fairmont Park Lodge. We enjoyed one of their Lakeview rooms for three nights and had a fantastic time. The Fairmont sits right on Lake Beauvert, which in my opinion, is one of the most stunning lakes I have seen in Jasper.

The Fairmont is comfortable and spread out. It’s not your standard hotel, but instead, there are plenty of individual cabins, so you can easily keep your distance from other guests. There’s a heated pool to enjoy in the winter and summer. They also have a boathouse where you can rent kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards. There are a few restaurants on-site, which are all delicious! Make sure to try Orso Trattoria for a nice night out.


Other Fantastic Places to Stay in Jasper

pyramid lake lodge
mount robson inn

When is the Best Time to Visit Jasper?

Driving Maligne Lake Rd in Winter
Driving Maligne Lake Rd in Winter

If you’re looking for beautiful summer weather, the best time to visit Jasper is July and August. However, this is also the busiest time of the year (though nowhere near as busy as Banff), and you may have to deal with mosquitos, which are particularly bad around Jasper in June and July.

If crowds and high prices are not your thing, consider visiting in the shoulder seasons. Early June and Late September are great times to visit. If you want to ski at Marmot Basin, enjoy the snow, and go snowshoeing, the best time to visit Jasper is between December and February!


Hopefully this helped you determine which of these best things to do in Jasper is right for your vacation! If you have any other questions leave a comment or see our Canadian Rockies travel guide for more articles about photography spots, lakes, hikes, and everything else.


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Plan Your Trip to the Canadian Rockies

  • 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 camper prices on Outdoorsy.
  • Cheaper Airfare: We also use Going to watch for cheap airfare deals and like to use travel credit cards to hack our way into free flights and hotels! Our favorite cards are the Capital One Venture X and Chase Sapphire, which both work well in Canada and have no foreign transaction fees.
  • 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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3 thoughts on “60 AWESOME Things To Do in Jasper (2024 Travel Guide)”

  1. Hi there, thank you so much about putting this information together. It’s been brilliant to read in preparation for a 4 night stay in October – from the 11th starting and ending in Jasper (as part of an overall months vacation). I realise that I don’t have nearly enough time, but it is what it is! That said, this is probably impossible to answer, but given my time here (also a solo traveller) – what would you consider the optimum things to see/do? I’m not into winter sports but I love a helicopter ride, glacier walking (which looks like it might be closed literally the day before), I love nature/animals and hiking but this might not be advisable whilst on my own. I have a hire car already. Do you have any strong recommendations as to what I should aim for. If only I had more time! Thank you so much

  2. Wow, this travel guide looks amazing! I can’t wait to explore all the awesome things to do in Jasper when I visit next year. Thanks for sharing!

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