Updated: Jun 12
Table of Contents
1. Pyramid Lake
Pyramid Lake is located a short, 10-minute drive from downtown Jasper and offers stunning views of a scenic lake and mountainous backdrop. Some of the top things to do at Pyramid Lake include swimming at the public beach, picnicking, and exploring the picturesque Pyramid Island.
Also Read: Banff National Park Complete Guide
Trail & Parking Information
Completing the entire Pyramid Island Trail is 0.4 miles round-trip with 32 feet in elevation gain. The trail is out and back and is rated as "easy" difficulty. Plan at least 15 minutes to complete the entire trail. For more information and to download the trail offline on your mobile device, visit AllTrails.
2. Maligne Canyon
Maligne Canyon is one of the most popular things to do in Jasper National Park. Follow along the nature trail for 1.5 miles (one way) in order to cross all five scenic bridges throughout the Maligne Canyon. If you only have time for one activity in Jasper National Park, Maligne Canyon is a great option for a variety of natural wonders, such as carved canyons, cascading waterfalls, and a network of underground streams.
Trail & Parking Information
Completing the entire Maligne Canyon Loop Trail is 2.3 miles round-trip with 429 feet in elevation gain. The trail is a loop and is rated as "moderate" difficulty. Plan at least 1 hour and 15 minutes to complete the entire trail. For more information and to download the trail offline on your mobile device, visit AllTrails.
Parking for this trail is free with a Jasper National Park Pass and can be found here. Overflow parking is available here. We recommend arriving at Maligne Canyon in the morning to avoid the large number of crowds.
3. Medicine Lake Lookout
Medicine Lake is an expansive lake providing a breathtaking lookout along the way to Maligne Lake. The parking lot at Medicine Lake provides an ideal place to picnic, swim, or spot wildlife across this glacier-fed body of water.
4. Maligne Lake
Continuing down Maligne Lake Road from Medicine Lake leads to the one and only Maligne Lake. This popular lake in Jasper National Park is known for its abundance of hiking trails, backpacking trails, and lake cruises. One of the top things to do at Maligne Lake is to take a boat tour to the renowned Spirit Island located on the southern side of Maligne Lake.
Did you know? Maligne Lake is the most photographed lake in all of Canada! The iconic picture includes the majestic Spirit Island.
Getting to Spirit Island
There are two ways to get to the photogenic Spirit Island. The first is to book a classic cruise by Pursuit that starts at $60 CAD/Adult (2022 pricing). This sightseeing tour includes stories and history from a knowledgeable guide, as well as a visit to Spirit Island all within an hour and a half cruise.
The second way to reach Spirit Island is by renting a boat. However, it is not recommended to canoe/kayak to Spirit Island and back in one day. For those who are looking for an adventure, visiting Spirit Island and backcountry camping for the night would be your best option.
Trails & Parking Information
One of the most popular hiking trails at Maligne Lake is the Bald Hills trail. Completing the entire Bald Hills trail is 9.3 miles round-trip with 2,559 feet in elevation gain. The trail is a "moderate" difficulty loop. Plan at least 5 hours and 30 minutes to complete the entire trail. To minimize the mileage in this trail, you can hike 3 miles out to the Maligne Lake Overlook to reach the turnaround from there. For more information and to download the trail offline on your mobile device, visit AllTrails. Parking for this trail is free with a Jasper National Park Pass and can be found here.
With less time, you may consider the Lake Maligne Viewpoint Trail. Completing the entire Lake Maligne Viewpoint Trail is 4.3 miles round-trip with 2,063 feet in elevation gain. The trail is out & back and is rated as "moderate" difficulty. Plan at least 3 hours and 30 minutes to complete the entire trail. For more information and to download the trail offline on your mobile device, visit AllTrails. Parking for this trail is free with a Jasper National Park Pass and can be found here.
5. Lake Edith and Lake Annette
Lake Edith and Lake Annette provide the ideal spot to cool off after a long day of hiking. Located only a 10-minute drive from downtown Jasper, Lake Annette Beach is the perfect place to relax, swim in pristine waters, and witness wildlife.
9. Miette Hot Springs & Sulphur Skyline
Have you ever had the chance to bathe in a large, natural hot tub? Miette Hot Springs offers a unique opportunity within Jasper National Park to swim in a pool fed with 100% natural mineral water. The average temperatures of the pool are between 98- and 104-degrees Fahrenheit.
Admission to the hot springs starts at $16.5 CAD/Adult (2022 pricing)
Sulphur Skyline Trail Information
One of the top hikes in Jasper National Park is the Sulpher Skyline Trail due to its breathtaking panoramic views. The trail starts at the Miette Hot Springs and is 4.9 miles round-trip with 2,142 feet in elevation gain. The trail is an out & back and is rated as "hard" difficulty. Plan at least 3 hours and 30 minutes to complete the entire trail. For more information and to download the trail offline on your mobile device, visit AllTrails.
10. Valley of the Five Lakes
Located only 15 minutes from downtown Jasper is the Valley of the Five Lakes Trail. This trail allows you to hike past five different lakes via a 3-mile loop trail. On a beautiful day, bring your swimsuit and take a dip at one of the swimming holes located at the fourth and fifth lakes.
Trail & Parking Information
Completing the entire Valley of the Five Lakes Trail is 3 miles round-trip with 534 feet in elevation gain. The trail is a loop and is rated as "moderate" difficulty. Plan at least 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete the entire trail. For more information and to download the trail offline on your mobile device, visit AllTrails.
Prefer a Guided Tour?
11. Icefields Parkway
The Icefields Parkway is one of the most scenic drives in the world. Stretching roughly 145 miles, the Icefields Parkway is filled with breathtaking lookouts, glaciers, lakes, wildlife, and surreal hiking opportunities. Traveling the Icefields Parkway is most commonly done as you journey from Banff National Park to Jasper National Park. We have pinned all of the top stops along this highway on our Canada Mobile Guide.
12. Mt Edith Cavell
Located 40 minutes from Jasper and roughly 25 minutes off of the Icefield Parkway via Edith Cavell Rd (closed October - April), is the parking lot for several extraordinary hikes. The most popular trail is Path of The Glacier (1 mile, easy), which leads to Angel Glacier on Mount Edith Cavell.
If you prefer to add more mileage, you may choose Edith Cavell Meadows Trail (5 miles, moderate), which takes you through more breathtaking scenery in addition to witnessing Angel Glacier. This trail is best completed clockwise for an easier descent.
J&L Tip: Check the road closures for Cavell Rd prior to departing for your hike!
Noms & Brews
Jasper is not just a gorgeous place to visit, but also a delicious place to visit. With a variety of cafés, coffee shops, breweries, and fine dining, we think Jasper gives the town of Banff a run for its money in terms of providing restaurants that fit every appetite. See the below favorites to add to your list!
$ SnowDome Coffee Bar (no frills coffeeshop in a laundromat with impressive latte art)
$$ Sunhouse Cafe (unique glass-domed café)
$$ Bear's Paw Bakery (pastries, breakfast & coffee)
$$ The Spice Joint Lounge (Jamaican restaurant serving the best grilled cheese)
$$ Jasper Brewing Company (first brewery in a Canadian National Park and uses glacier water to brew its ales; try the Rockhopper IPA or Bear Honey Beer)
$$ Folding Mountain Brewery (10-minute drive past the turn-off for Miette Hot Springs; try the Moraine West Coast IPA or Parkway Porter)
Planning Your Trip
How many days do you need for Jasper?
In order to have enough time to complete the top things to do in Jasper National Park, we recommend spending at least two full days. If you want to add Icefields Parkway or Banff National Park, you may consider staying in the area for a full week.
J&L Recommended: 2-3 Full Days
What month is the best to visit Jasper?
If you are in search of summer weather that is pleasant for outdoor camping, swimming, and boating, there is a narrow window in the Canadian Rockies with low chance of snowfall. That window is July and August, which to no surprise, are also the busiest months (with the most expensive lodging). Although the chance of snowfall increases in September, we recommend visiting late August to early September in order to avoid the crowds and higher prices.
J&L Recommended: July - September
Do I need to pay to enter Jasper National Park?
A pass is required for entry to Jasper National Park. Daily admission is CAD $10.50 / Adult (2022 pricing), however, you can purchase a Discovery Pass at a value for groups and longer stays.
J&L Recommended: Use this calculator to determine what pass you should get.
Where is the best area to stay in Jasper?
We recommend camping at Whistlers Campground in an oTENTik (canvas A-frame cabin). The oTENTiks offer the perfect mix of camping and comfort, with room to sleep six, a complimentary propane grill, and an indoor heater for cold nights. Whistlers Campground is the ideal location for exploring Jasper National Park that is close to downtown, as well as, many of the top sights.
How to Book
Availability is very limited with only 21 oTENTiks at Whistlers and a lottery system opening at the beginning of the year to reserve all bookings for the summer season (May onward). Check here for the upcoming season's reservation launch date and mark your calendars!
On the launch date, you will be selected at random to enter the portal and select your campsite. We recommend having several backup campsites given the low availability of oTENTiks. Our top choices (in order) of oTENKTik sites at Whistlers are #4E, #4D, and #4F.
If you do not prefer camping or glamping, there are several additional affordable options for lodging near Jasper. Our recommendation would be booking a queen room at Jasper Downtown Hostel, which offers mixed bunk bedrooms and private rooms with ensuite bathrooms.
Use the search box below to select your travel dates and find great deals on hotels in Jasper.
Getting Around Jasper
What is the best way to get around in Jasper?
In order to cover the vast territory of Jasper National Park efficiently, you will want to have a car. If you do not have your own car to explore, Jasper offers several shuttle options to get you where you need to go. Additionally, there are a lot of backpacking trails that will allow you to explore certain sections of the park if you are looking for more seclusion.
What airport do you fly into to get to Jasper?
From the Calgary International Airport [YYC], Jasper is about five hours by car if traveling via Banff National Park and the Icefields Parkway. You can also take the Brewster Express from Calgary Airport to downtown Jasper (roughly CAD $183 [2022 pricing] and an eight-hour duration).
If Jasper is your only destination in the Canadian Rockies, you may also consider flying into Edmonton International Airport [YEG]. From Edmonton, Jasper is about a four-hour drive by car.
J&L Recommended: Use Rome2Rio to select your route in real-time.
Looking for affordable International Data?
Want to avoid roaming charges and $10/day (2022 pricing) international data fees? Airalo allows you to download an eSIM to your phone and activate while in Canada for a very affordable price. We bought 1 GB of data which was valid for 30 days from activation for only $7.50 (2022 pricing). It worked great throughout our entire trip and was very easy to install. Airalo offers eSIMs all around the world and we can validate that it works with ease in multiple countries.