Are you planning a trip to Jasper, Alberta and wondering what to do and where to start exploring?
One of the things I love most about visiting Jasper is that when walk through downtown Jasper you can hear people speaking every language imaginable, it’s not hard to know that this place is one incredible oasis for visitors from all around the world.
Those that love the great outdoors will find a paradise in Jasper. The scenery goes on for miles and you can experience animal encounters just by drawing back your curtains every morning! I only have one problem: too many Canadians are passing up the opportunity to visit this beautiful Canadian destination, but 2024 is the year!
Are you looking for an amazing family vacation spot that has something for everyone? You’ve settled on the right spot choosing Jasper, Alberta. With its towering mountains, pristine lakes, and wealth of recreational opportunities, Jasper offers something for everyone.
Here are the 23 best things to do in Jasper in 2024:
1. Go Paparazzi Taking Pictures of The Locals
The local elk, deer, bears, and birds all are used to being photographed, and when you’re in Jasper, your odds of seeing all of the above are high! My only request is that you pack a zoom lens and give yourself and the animals lots of space to explore! Remember, we’re in their homes and if they feel threatened they will treat you like an intruder. Parks Canada has a lot of great signage and resources at their year-round visitor centre telling you best practices on wildlife viewing that are worth learning when visiting the park.
2. Take a Trip Out To The Iconic Maligne Lake
No matter what season you’re visiting in you can’t come to Jasper, Alberta without visiting Maligne Lake, a Canadian bucket list must! This scenic hour-long drive will take you past turquoise lakes and trees burnt by forest fires before arriving at the lake where there are many activities for everyone! You’ll be able to choose between hiking paths or boat tours with some even offering self-guided kayaking options so that they’re sure all guests have an amazing time exploring this beautiful place themselves.
3. Mellow Out at Miette Hot Springs
At least an hour drive out of Jasper will bring you to a windy road, with you potentially wondering if you’re on the right track. After approximately 20 kilometres, you’ll find yourself at the parking lot to the Miette Hot Springs. While this attraction is family-friendly, it’s more of a family sitting pool rather than a swimming pool. It has a cooler shallower pool, a deeper hotter pool, and a couple of small (hot-tub size) pools to cool down in. Whether you’re visiting after a day of exploring Jasper in the summer or wanting to warm up on a chilly winter day, a trip to the hot springs is the perfect stop year-round!
4. Pack A Picnic And Head To Pyramid Lake
Only a short drive from town is Pyramid Lake. Located at the foot of Pyramid Mountain, this small and beautiful lake is about 1.2 square km. The lake then flows into a 2km long creek that flows towards the Athabasca River with an island known as “Pyramid Lake Island”. There’s also a picnic shelter on it where you can enjoy your time under its branches; built-in 1933, it has been recognized as a federal heritage building since 2005. If you’re looking for a place to stay right on the lake, bringing you to the hub of outdoor adventures right at your doorstep be sure to book a stay at Pyramid Lake Resort.
5. Jump On The Jasper SkyTram
If you’re looking for world-renowned 360-degree views, picture-perfect scenery of turquoise lakes, visiting with the local mountain goats, and a hike that’s both easy and challenging at the same time, Jasper Sky Tram is the perfect family-friendly stop during your trip to Jasper. This year-round attraction has something for visitors during every season. This was one of our favourite stops in Jasper as the views were absolutely incredible so be sure to make time in your schedule to go!
6. Stroll The Jasper Village
After you’ve visited the Jasper Sky Tram, head down to stroll the Jasper Village. Whether you’re looking for a traditional souvenir or something more unique, the town of Jasper has it all. From restaurants that will make your taste buds happy and fashionable boutiques galore! My favourite part about visiting this small Canadian community? Listen closely because we can hear dozens – maybe even hundreds of different languages being spoken around us as soon as we step out onto Main Street. A quiet reminder of how many people travel from around the world to visit this stunning national park that Canadians have right here in our backyard!
Experience Jasper in the Summer
7. Jasper Rafting
My favourite experience of our Jasper road trip was river rafting down the Athabasca Tour. Class-one and two rapids were enough to give me a good thrill but safe enough that we knew that our children were in good hands all throughout the whole trip! Learn more about this amazing adventure here: Jasper River Rafting.
8. Jasper Raft Tours
What’s more relaxing than taking a river float with your loved ones? We loved our Jasper Raft Tour of the beautiful Athabasca River! This activity is perfect for the whole family from seniors aged 95+, to kids 2-11 years old (with an adult) who will have so much fun in their own splash zone. You’ll also learn about environmental awareness while floating down this pristine stretch of water – it doesn’t get any better than that! Learn more about our trip here!
9. Chase Waterfalls at Athabasca Falls
The Athabasca Falls are a must-see for anyone who loves nature. A popular stop along Highway 93, the Canadian Rockies’ most awe-inspiring feature has captivated thousands over centuries since they first discovered its beauty while travelling across Canada. Not only will you get up close and personal with this powerful waterfall, but there are also plenty of walking paths through the canyon that allows visitors to explore at their leisure! Should your vacation time not permit spending an entire day in one place – don’t worry because it is possible (and very enjoyable) to spend just fifteen minutes here too.
10. Make New Friends Around And Have a Campfire
The campgrounds are a great way to meet people from all around the world. Why not have an open fire and invite your neighbours over for some marshmallows? You’d be shocked at how many people have never had s’mores! On our last trip, we met someone who lives in New York, another group who had just visited Germany recently! It’s so awesome that you can experience such different cultures while camping too.
11. Stand 4 Stories Above the Canyon Floor At Maligne Falls
Have you ever stood on top of a bridge and looked 4 stories down at something that is so beautiful it takes your breath away? Well, I have good news for all those who love nature because Maligne Falls will make sure to do just this. The turquoise water crashes against the rocks in fascinating patterns making each layer look unique as well – like an artist’s palette exposed for everyone else to see!
12. Take a Hike
You could probably spend a year in Jasper and not cover all of their hiking trails! Depending on whether you’re looking for a kid-friendly half-day hike or a multi-day expedition, there’s something for every hiker in Jasper. There are two guaranteed elements though that you will encounter… one being amazing scenery and the other being animals! Be prepared!
13. Drive one of the World’s most Scenic Highways
The Icefields Parkway has been noted as one of the most scenic highways in the world, and there’s no questioning why. From up-close animal encounters to breathtaking views of Glaciers, to mountain vistas and rivers that go on as far as the eye can see, it’s hard to concentrate on the road when you’re surrounded by so much beauty (so if you see something of great interest, be sure to safely pull over and stop and take some photos!).
Experience Jasper in the Winter
14. Fire, Food & Winter Adventure
The perfect way for couples, friends and families to enjoy winter is with an activity on the mountain. There are so many options available! You can go ice walking or skating; if you want something more energetic there are snowshoe trips as well. For those who would rather stay near ground level (or even in your own backyard) cross country skiing will be just right while hiking provides yet another fun option – all equipment included, with fire, food, and hot drinks to keep you warm. Full-day and half-day guided tours are available, be sure to check out Wild Current Outfitters.
15. Maligne Canyon Ice Walk
Calling all outdoor adventurers! We invite you to take a guided tour deep into Maligne Canyon, one of the deepest river canyons in the Canadian Rockies. This easy downhill route will have you traversing past frozen waterfalls, ice caves, as well as discovering the mystery of the disappearing Medicine Lake. A guided tour is suitable for those with a moderate fitness level and children who can hike (or can be carried). This small group (max 12 people) adventure begins with a hotel pick up where your guide will start teaching you about the local region from the start to finish of your experience. To learn more and book your own adventure click here.
16. Hit the Ice with the Ice Explorer Glacier Tour and Glacier Skywalk
Two adventures are combined into one when you head out onto the glacier for a tour and then over to the Skywalk to see it all from above! Start off your adventure with a ride in a huge glacier ice explorer, listening to engaging commentary about the local ecosystem. Then, head over the glass-bottom Skywalk, with world-class views that have you hanging over the cliff’s edge.
Read more about Ice Explorer Glacier Tour and Glacier Skywalk 2024 and book your tour directly here.
17. Winter Wildlife Discovery Tour
If you’re here visiting Jasper to see the iconic Canadian wildlife, this is the tour for you. An educational and entertaining guide will introduce you to the wildlife that loves the Canadian cold. Capture photos of moose, caribou, sheep, wolves, and coyotes as you tour around to some of Jasper’s most famous spots including Maligne Valley, Lakline Lake, and Medicine Lake.
To learn more and book this tour visit Winter Wildlife Discovery Tour 2024
18. Go Ice Climbing in Maligne Canyon, Jasper
The Maligne Canyon offers some of the best ice-climbing conditions in Jasper— on this beginner-friendly tour, you can try your hand at ice-climbing under the watchful guidance of your trained instructor. You’ll be surprised at how technical and challenging it is (but worthwhile and fun too!) With all technical gear included, climb the ice to the top of a frozen waterfall and reach corners of the Maligne Canyon inaccessible to most park visitors. To learn more about this uniquely Canadian experience click here.
New Things To Do In Jasper
19. Experience Nostalgia, Elegance, and Adventure in the classic 1939 “Jammer
There’s nothing like an open-air sightseeing bus to take you back in time. With its beautiful design and luxurious amenities, the SunDog Tour Co.’s 12 passenger, 1939 Jammer’ is perfect for guided tours, sightseeing, weddings, corporate and special events and VIP services.
20. Take The Family On a Peak Nik
The ultimate outdoor experience awaits you at the Peak Nic. After a 3 km hike to an altitude view, take part in one of our cooking lessons and enjoy gourmet food overlooking the Athabasca Valley! This tour lasts three hours with departures every day from May to September (except Mondays & Tuesdays which are only available between 10 am-12 noon). Here’s a link to learn more visit their website here.
Things To Do In Jasper For Free
21. Head Over to the Jasper Visitor Centre
Take your family on an outdoor adventure to the Jasper Visitor Centre. Nestled in the Rocky Mountains, this visitor centre has something for everyone in your family. The kids will love the interactive exhibits and playground. Be sure to stop by the gift shop for souvenirs before you head home. When you’re there take a look around and check out the history of the building. When you start your investigations you’ll see a unique mix of an old and new building that has been re-purposed over the years (I won’t ruin it all for you, go and check it out yourself).
22. Play Eye Spy In One Of The World’s Largest Dark Sky Reserves
You’ll be able to see the stars like never before when you visit Jasper National Park. The second-largest natural sky preserve in all of Canada, this park has made advanced efforts for reducing light pollution and giving visitors an incredible experience staring at distant worlds!
23. Parks Canada Xplorers Program
Hands down one of the best programs my children have ever been a part of! This free Parks Canada program awards children for completing their Xplorer book, but in order to complete it, you have to explore a variety of areas and activities throughout Jasper National Park. It’s the perfect combination of arts, culture, history, and geography all wrapped up into one program. Learn more about the program and our experience here.
24. What NOT to do in Jasper – Feed The Animals… “A Fed Animal Is a Dead Animal”
Be a good guest and don’t feed the squirrels, or any animals you may encounter – We stopped along the highway in one of the picnic spots for a quick lunch and quickly found ourselves surrounded by chipmunks. My son quickly reminded me, “We don’t feed the animals” knowing that, as the Parks Department says, “A Fed Animal is a Dead Animal.” Whether it’s human food, or something natural, animals who learn to eat from humans are immediately endangered as they stop learning how to forage for themselves. So if you must engage with the chipmunks, keep your distance (and your food) away from them and snap as many pictures as you can! A zoom lens is always the best accessory when visiting Jasper!
Is Jasper Worth Visiting?
Jasper National Park is the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies with 11,228 square kilometers to explore. It’s known for its vast wilderness, majestic peaks, abundant wildlife and outstanding natural beauty. Visitors from all over Canada and around the world travel here to experience this very special place.
Where To Stay In Jasper National Park
1. Go Glamping in Jasper National Park
The oTENTik is the perfect opportunity for people who love camping but don’t want to put up with all of its hassles. It’s similar to an A-frame cabin without any set-up! You can stay warm and dry inside, enjoy cooked meals on your private deck or lounge on a chair outside while listening to nature sing at night time. Whatever type of camping personality you have, a stay in an oTENTik will be a great experience in this eco-friendly getaway.
The benefits keep going even after guests leave: There are no generators running so less noise pollution around campfire areas; The structure itself produces little energy waste due mostly because most materials used were recycled. Check out our oTENTik experience here!
2. New Family-Friendly Hostel in Jaspe
The new HI Jasper Hostel on Sleepy Hollow Road is a short walk from downtown Jasper and is designed for today’s backpacker, with shared rooms of four. It also has private queen ensuites and family rooms, making for the ultimate Jasper family adventure! Travellers will love the shared common space including the large kitchen, spacious common room, outdoor BBQ, fireplace lounge, games room, and more. To learn more or book this hostel experience click here.
3. Newly Renovated Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge
Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is a picturesque village of heritage log cabins connected by paths. The 442 superbly-appointed guest rooms and luxurious signature cabins offer the perfect romantic getaway or family vacation in Alberta’s Jasper National Park. Surround yourself with incredible views at the luxury accommodations near Lac Beauvert!
In 2021 the Jasper Park Lodge went under extensive property-wide updates that included renovated Ridgeline Cabins, 139 full bathroom renovations, new furniture and air conditioning was installed in the Signature Cabins, two new parking areas, new wayfinding signage, refurbished meeting spaces, ongoing WiFi upgrades, and complete LED bulb adoption through the Planet 21 program. To learn more about the Jasper Park Lodge or book your stay, click here.
How To Get To Jasper
The stunning town in the middle of the Canadian Rockies ensures that your adventure to the destination is part of your overall Jasper experience. Stunning landscapes offer you all the entertainment you need while you crank the road trip tunes and head into one of Canada’s most beautiful National Parks.
How to Get to Jasper by Air
Edmonton Airport is the closest airport and many Canadian cities offer routes to Edmonton.
How to Get to Jasper by Bus
The most environmentally friendly route which also helps reduce traffic in the park is to take a bus. You can also sit back and soak in the view while someone else does the driving!
SunDog Tours can pick you up at the Calgary airport and bring you to Jasper via Banff and the spectacular Icefields Parkway. Or, they can pick you up at the Edmonton airport and bring you to Jasper via Highway 16. Here are SunDog Tours schedules and reservations.
How to Get to Jasper by Train
Often referred to as a classic Canadian experience, sit back and relax and soak in the scenery that can only be seen from the railroad tracks. There are two providers that service Jasper: VIA Rail Canada and Rocky Mountaineer.
How to Get to Jasper by Car
Trans-Canada Highway 16, also known as the Yellowhead, runs through the park and is the main East-West route to and from Jasper. Be sure to loop the Icefields Parkway, which runs north-south connecting Jasper with the Trans-Canada highway into your travel plans. It’s one of the most scenic stretches of highway in the world and a great way for you to add Banff to your Canadian Rockies visit.
If you don’t have a car to drive to Jasper, try these car rental agencies. They have offices both in Jasper and throughout Canada and the U.S.
National Car Rental
Jasper National Park: Frequently Asked Questions
How Many Days Do I Need in Jasper?
The minimum I would recommend visitors staying in Jasper would be 3 days… but if you really want to explore the area 7 days should be in your calendar. If you’re going to combine that with a visit to Lake Louise or Banff, add on more days. There is no shortage of things to do, places to explore, and you’ll be left wishing you had more time if you try to speed through your stay.
Is Jasper Better Than Banff?
Jasper offers guests a more remote experience in a smaller village compared to Banff, but to say I have a favourite over the other just isn’t true. Banff is more accessible from Calgary, making it a great first stop on your way up to Jasper. My best recommendation for anyone planning a trip to the region is to visit both places and splurge on an overnight stay at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.
When is the Best Time to Visit?
The best time to visit Jasper or any other major tourist destination is during off season. That’ll secure you better rates and access to less crowed spaces for main attractions. So if you can, I’d visit during shoulder seasons, which for Jasper are the Spring and the Fall. If you do plan to visit during the peak of Summer or the Winter, be sure to plan ahead, book longer stays to receive discounts, and book any important activities ahead of time to get the best selection.
How Far is Jasper From Banff?
If you were to drive straight from Jasper to Banff it would be 288 kilometers. But with so much to see in between the two locations, most visitors opt to take the day to make the commute and plan picnics and visits at destinations along the way.
Does it Cost Money to Visit Jasper?
One of the things I love the most about Jasper National Park and all of our National Parks is the number of things you can do in the park that are absolutely free. From the Xplorers program to hiking and exploring, you can spend your days doing free activities in one of the most iconic parks on earth!
Conclusion: Add Jasper to your Bucket List!
Jasper is a renowned tourist destination on the top of many people’s bucket lists for good reason. With its towering mountains, pristine lakes, and wealth of recreational opportunities, there’s something for everyone in this charming mountain town. Whether you’re looking to hike or bike the trails, paddle the waterways, or simply take in the stunning scenery, Jasper has something for you. So start planning your trip now—you won’t regret it!
Is this a sponsored post?: Yes, however, our words reflect our experience and we’re excited to share Jasper with all of our followers.
Some links in this post are affiliate links—at no extra cost to you, I earn a small commission if you purchase products through these links.