Trip and Wellness

10 Best Things to Do in Jasper, Alberta

10 Best Things to Do in Jasper, Alberta

When it comes to exploring the Canadian Rocky Mountains, Jasper National Park stands out as the ultimate destination. With the charming town of Jasper as your hub and a diverse range of accommodations, you can enjoy evenings filled with delicious food and a cozy bed, complemented by days brimming with outdoor adventures.

Regardless of the season of your visit, Jasper offers numerous ways to immerse yourself in its enchanting beauty, as highlighted in the top activities outlined below.

If you are visiting in the winter, consider snowboarding in the Rockies, taking an ice walk through Maligne Canyon, or embarking on a dogsledding tour. For those traveling in the summer, exploring local hiking trails, rafting down the Athabasca River, or embarking on a wildlife viewing adventure are enticing options.

Whether you seek high-adrenaline activities or a more leisurely approach to savoring the Rockies’ beauty, explore our list of the best things to do in Jasper.

1. Columbia Icefield

Columbia Icefield

If you are seeking a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, a tour of the Columbia Icefield is an absolute must. This activity checks off multiple bucket list items in one incredible expedition.

Firstly, you’ll have the opportunity to experience the magnificent Icefields Parkway firsthand. The best part: someone else will be driving, allowing you to sit back and marvel at the mountains, glaciers, and wildlife along the way.

During the journey, a stop will be made at Athabasca Falls, a truly awe-inspiring Class 5 waterfall that is a worthy destination.

Upon reaching the Columbia Icefield, you’ll board the Ice Explorer, a rugged bus-like vehicle equipped with the largest winter tires you’ve ever seen. The tour will take you into the Athabasca Glacier, providing the chance to safely explore the glacier on foot.

If you are yearning for one final thrill before the drive back to Jasper, be sure to check out the Skywalk—a one-kilometer-long walkway leading to an entire glass platform with breathtaking views all around and below you. While the glass platform is completely safe, the view of the drop beneath your feet might give you goosebumps.

The Columbia Icefield ranks among the top tourist attractions in Alberta, but tours are only available from spring to fall. Since the glacier remains frozen year-round, dress warmly and ensure you have sturdy footwear.

2. Athabasca River

Athabasca River

You do not require any prior whitewater rafting experience to savor a rafting expedition along the picturesque Athabasca River in Jasper National Park. Your guides will impart all the necessary knowledge for an enjoyable and memorable float.

Beginner tours are suitable for children as young as six years old, navigating Class 2 rapids—large enough to provide excitement while remaining manageable. Do not dismiss this activity if you think you’re too old for it; individuals in their eighties have been known to joyfully navigate their way down the river.

Although white water rafting is a summer activity, running from May to September, the glacier-fed river remains super chilly. Your outfitter will supply the gear to keep you warm and safe—wet suits, neoprene booties, life jackets, and paddle jackets—so just bring a bathing suit or clothing you don’t mind getting wet.

3. Cross-country ski through Jasper National Park

Cross-country ski through Jasper National Park

Cross-country skiers, celebrate: Jasper National Park boasts five distinct cross-country ski areas, offering a range of terrains.

Pyramid Mountain presents an uncomplicated 4.4-kilometer loop with minimal elevation change, ideal for beginners, while advanced skiers can take on the challenging 15-kilometer Pyramid Fire Road, featuring a demanding 533-meter climb. Additional easy trails are available at Pipeline Trail, Wabasso Campground, and Athabasca Falls, while Whirlpool Winter Hub provides excellent options for intermediate skiers.

If you lack your cross-country skis, you can conveniently rent a pair in town. Remember to dress in layers; winters in Jasper are cold, but it’s easy to generate a good sweat on the trails.

4. Majesty of Athabasca Falls

Majesty of Athabasca Falls

The mighty Athabasca River embarks on its journey at the Columbia Icefield and flows gently until it reaches a precipice where it cascades into a narrow chasm. At this point, this seemingly calm river reveals its true nature by thundering and churning in an unrestrained torrent, creating clouds of mist.

Athabasca Falls considered one of the finest waterfalls in Canada, stands at 23 meters tall and showcases its most impressive display in the summer when the mountain snow melts. Fortunately, this aligns with the peak visitation period. Accessing the falls is straightforward, with a short, relatively level trail leading you directly to the edge, where you can experience the ground shaking beneath your feet.

5. Travel by Dogsled

Travel by Dogsled

Several Jasper-area companies provide dogsledding tours, each with different itineraries and terrain coverage. However, all of them offer the chance to explore Jasper while bonding with an adorable team of huskies.

Dogsledding, one of the oldest forms of winter transportation, surprises riders with its smoothness and the dogs’ ability to cover significant ground. Positioned in the sled, passengers experience the musher directing the dogs from the back, signaling when to speed up or slow down. Most tours even allow passengers to try their hand at mushing the sled.

Tours vary in duration, ranging from a short hour-long trip to an overnight expedition that includes staying in a log cabin deep in the woods. This Jasper activity is available throughout the winter, so dressing warmly is essential.

6. Explore Maligne Canyon on an Ice Walk

Explore Maligne Canyon on an Ice Walk

You might have seen images of the iconic Maligne Canyon, but have you ever ventured through it on foot? When the canyon freezes during the winter, layer up and secure a pair of ice cleats—it’s time for exploration.

Featuring frozen waterfalls, ice caves, and captivating ice formations, the landscape resembles scenes from the movie Frozen. The guided Maligne Canyon Ice Walk Tour spans approximately 3.5 kilometers and lasts around three hours, providing a deep immersion into the canyon to marvel at the ice.

While the route is mostly downhill, with steep sections, participants should be comfortable with moderate physical activity. Throughout the tour, your guide will share fascinating details about Maligne Canyon and the Maligne Valley.

Visitors are responsible for most of their snow gear, but the tour operator supplies ultra-warm winter boots (to keep your feet warm), ice cleats (to prevent slipping), and a helmet.

7. Jasper SkyTram

Jasper SkyTram

For an unparalleled experience of the breathtaking views in Jasper National Park, consider ascending on the Jasper SkyTram.

This aerial tramway accommodates up to 26 people and ascends 2,263 meters in approximately 7.5 minutes. With stunning 360-degree panoramas, there’s a wealth of sights to behold. Fortunately, each tram car is equipped with an operator who provides insights into the landscape and points out features you might overlook. A helpful tip: remember to look down, as you might spot some wildlife.

To board the SkyTram, you’ll need to purchase a ticket, and cabins depart approximately every nine minutes. Once at the summit, you’re free to explore at your leisure before descending.

What awaits you at the top? Beyond enjoying the vistas, you can hike to the summit of Whistlers Mountain for even more spectacular views. If you prefer a more leisurely experience, you can stroll along the boardwalks near the Upper Station. During non-summer months, you can venture on foot with snowshoes—rentals are available on-site.

After working up an appetite, the Summit Restaurant, offering delectable food and awe-inspiring views, is a must-visit.

The SkyTram operates seasonally from mid-March to late October/early November. Regardless of when you visit, bring layers, as it’s generally about 12 degrees Celsius colder at the summit than in town.

8. Miette Hot Springs

Miette Hot Springs

For a tranquil soak in mineral-infused natural hot springs, embark on the 60-kilometer journey to Miette Hot Springs, distinguished as the hottest hot springs in the Canadian Rockies.

Emerging at a scorching 54 degrees Celsius (129 degrees Fahrenheit) directly from the mountain, the water is tempered to a still-warm 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in the pools where bathers come to relax. Several pool options are available, including a couple of super-cold pools for those seeking a hot-and-cold contrast.

Beyond the therapeutic water rich in sulfate, calcium, bicarbonate, magnesium, and sodium, the pool offers outstanding views. The combination creates an optimal setting for a thoroughly relaxing experience.

The pools are accessible from early May to mid-October, with closure during the winter and early spring months. On-site amenities include lockers and showers, and it’s advisable to bring a pair of sandals.

9. Mount Edith Cavell

Mount Edith Cavell

One of the most breathtaking sights near Jasper is the magnificent Mount Edith Cavell. Honoring a heroic nurse who assisted in treating injured Allied soldiers during World War I, this massive Rocky Mountain marvel is a must-visit when in town.

A winding and narrow road ascends sharply from Jasper, leading to a parking area near the mountain’s base. Follow the easy 1.6-kilometer (round trip) Path of the Glacier trail across a rocky open area to Cavell Pond.

Along the way, interpretive signs elucidate the surrounding environment. Keep a keen eye on the rock piles — you might catch a glimpse of an incredibly charming pika going about its activities. Eventually, you’ll reach a series of viewpoints overlooking the pond. You may be fortunate enough to spot a few icebergs that have descended from the Angel Glacier high above you.

10. Marmot Basin

Marmot Basin

If you have always envisioned skiing in the Rocky Mountains, Marmot Basin is the ideal destination. Boasting a base elevation of 1,698 meters, Marmot Basin holds the highest base elevation among all ski resorts in Canada, ensuring abundant fresh, powdery snow. Situated just under a half-hour drive from town, it stands as one of the premier ski resorts in Alberta, perfect for a convenient day trip.

The mountain encompasses 1,702 acres of wonderfully skiable terrain, spanning five distinct mountain faces. Seven ski lifts offer convenient access throughout the mountain, catering to skiers of all levels, from beginners to experts. Whether your preference is for groomers, trees, bowls, or terrain parks, Marmot has it all.

Marmot Basin typically opens in mid-November, featuring a lengthy ski season that extends into early May. If you plan to ski between December and February, be prepared for extremely cold on-mountain conditions: dress warmly and take breaks indoors as needed.


Q: What is the best time to visit Jasper, Alberta?

A: The best time to visit is during the summer months (June to August) for outdoor activities and the winter months (December to February) for a snowy wonderland.

Q: Are there any safety tips for encountering wildlife in Jasper National Park?

A: Yes, it’s crucial to maintain a safe distance, avoid feeding wildlife, and follow park guidelines for a respectful and secure wildlife experience.

Q: Which hiking trail is recommended for beginners in Jasper?

A: The Valley of the Five Lakes Hike is perfect for beginners, offering a scenic and manageable trail.

Q: Can I capture the Northern Lights in Jasper?

A: Yes, Jasper is known for its dark skies, providing an excellent opportunity to witness the Northern Lights, especially during winter.

Q: How can I contribute to sustainability efforts in Jasper?

A: You can support ecotourism initiatives, practice responsible tourism, and participate in local conservation programs to contribute to preserving Jasper’s natural beauty.