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How to Visit Jasper National Park, Alberta

Jasper National Park in Alberta is located north of Banff National Park and is much larger in area. In addition, being further away it is less visited, something that favors to be able to observe bears, birds, deer... more easily.


On our 7-day route through the Canadian Rockies, Jasper was the perfect stop to disconnect, breathe and appreciate something so wonderful without the presence of hardly any people.


In this practical guide I explain how to visit Jasper National Park, what places you can't miss, where to stay, prices...


Parque Nacional Jasper, Alberta, Canadá

PRACTICAL GUIDE TO VISIT JASPER NATIONAL PARK, ALBERTA, CANADA


1. Information about Jasper National Park


Jasper National Park is located in the province of Alberta. 415 kilometers from Calgary and 370km from Edmonton. It is the perfect opportunity to get to know the wilder side of Canada, visiting its valleys, lakes, its lush forests and enjoying nature in its purest form.


Jasper is connected to Banff via the Icefields Parkway, a road of just over 200 kilometers. Which we use to make our route through the Canadian Rocky Mountains.


Jasper National Park is over 11,000 square km in area. Thus being the largest National Park in the Rocky Mountains. In addition, it is within the perimeter of Alberta considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.


Despite being a wonderful National Park, being further away from Calgary, it receives 2 million visitors a year, half that of the Calgary National Park.


Within the Park, in addition to having a wide variety of activities to do throughout the year, Jasper has been declared a Dark Sky Reserve, which means that they are areas where the skies do not have light pollution at night. That makes Jasper a perfect place for stargazing and enjoying the Northern Lights during the winter months.


2. What to see and do in Jasper National Park


In Jasper National Park you have a wide variety of things to do and places to visit. And you would spend days touring it and you would still be missing places to visit. So I will tell you the most beautiful places to see in the Park and which are essential for me:


2.1. Tour the Valley of the Five Lakes


A few kilometers from the entrance to the town of Jasper there is a path of about 3 hours (round trip) with almost 9km in total, in which you will find 5 beautiful lakes of blue and emerald fools. The path that leads through leafy forest paths is not very difficult and at all times you will find good road signs.


Parque Nacional Jasper, Alberta, Canadá


2.2. Visit the Athabasca Glacier


Coming from Banff it is one of the most popular stops as it is on the Icefields Parkway route. The Athabasca is one of the most accessible glaciers in the world, being the most visited within North America.


This is the largest glacial area in the northern hemisphere after the Arctic Circle. Three important rivers are born in addition to its meltwater: the Columbia, the Saskatchewan and the Athabasca. Most of the gacliar's more than 300 square km surface area is hidden behind mountains. The Athabasca Glacier is 6 km long and 1 km wide. Currently, you can see the marks on the ground where the glacier came from 20, 50 and 100 years ago, something sad, since we are facing a clear example of global warming.


The Glacier is one of the coldest and highest points on the Icefields Parkway within Jasper. Therefore, very warm clothing is essential, even in summer.


2.3. Don't miss the Athabasca and Sunwapta Falls


Also within Route 93 or Icefields Parkway you will find these two stops signposted. Both have easy access from the road and then you will only have to walk through small paths.


The two waterfalls are beautiful and if you visit Alberta in full snowmelt, the outflow is impressive. It won't take you long to stop and visit them. So don't miss them.

There are different viewpoints, some from which you will be able to appreciate the fall of the water well and in other points where you will be able to appreciate this "small canyon" between huge rocks where the water falls with great force.


The first waterfall they find from Banff on the way to jasper is the Sunwapta waterfall, it has a drop of about 18 meters and the most striking thing is its natural canyon that the water has formed, as well as the lush and wild forest that surrounds the area.


Once you get back on the highway, about 25 km later you will find the Athabasca Falls. There is a viewpoint very close to the fall so you will be able to appreciate the full force of the flow.


2.4. Marvel at Maligne Canyon


The Maligne Canyon is probably the main attraction of the Jasper National Park. The Canyon has a depth of 50 meters, different trails and impressive waterfalls. It is usually one of the most visited points in the Park throughout the year, but especially in spring and summer, so I advise you to get up early if you want to visit it (especially if you travel in high season).


2.5. Disconnect walking on the shores of Maligne Lake


Maligne Lake is one of the most beautiful places to see in Jasper (although they are all amazing), this navigable lake is one of the most photographed and visited places in Jasper National Park. It is a huge lake with an area of ​​19.71 square km and 22.5 km in length.


It is famous for its blue and polished color, the peaks that surround it and the 3 glaciers always dusted with white, visible from the lake.


You can do a lot of routes around the lake, there are several places to have picnics and the lake is also navigable. In high season there is the possibility of trips in larger boats or small boats. In addition, those who love fishing have the option of doing this activity from mid-spring to mid-autumn.


The water is frozen, but if you dare in summer there are several brave ones who enjoy a rejuvenating bath.


Jasper National Park

2.6. Visit the Town of Jasper and Where to Stay in Jasper National Park


Although the town of Jasper is not very cheap to stay, there are not many other options near the park. You have several cabins on the outskirts, but it is recommended to stay in the center. Thus, once you finish your day touring the park, after a hot shower, you can go for a walk in Jasper, eat something...


Jasper is not as developed or luxurious a town as Banff. And for that reason I think it has even more charm. It is much smaller and faster to travel.



2.7. Don't miss Medicine, Pyramid and Patricia Lakes


If you still have time to continue exploring the area, you cannot miss the Pyramid, Patricia and Medicine lakes.


Jasper's lakes are very calm and wilder than Banff's. You will have the opportunity to see more wild animals and meet a lot less people.


These 3 lakes are beautiful and easy to access. They are very well signposted and through leafy forest paths you will reach them without problem. It is worth getting to know them without rushing.



2.8. Annette, Beauvert and Edith Lakes


If you still have the desire to continue visiting lakes, these 3 lakes are located near the town of Jasper.


Beauvert Lake has a low intensity loop route to completely surround it. They are 5km and little bit of a pleasant walk along the shore of the lake.


It is very common to find bears and other wildlife in this area in the spring months, and the trail can even be closed if there are too many of them. You can find information at the tourist office, which is usually up to date on sightings of bears and other wild animals.


Annette and Edith lakes are a little further from the village. These two lakes have parking and easy access to the lake. There are picnic areas and various trails.


2.9. Jasper Skytram


The Jasper Skytram is a cable car over 2,200 meters above Whistlers Mountain in Jasper National Park, making it the highest cable car of its kind in all of Canada.

The views are incredible and it is worth enjoying a ride on it. At the top there is a restaurant if you feel like stopping for something to eat.


It is not a very cheap activity, its cost is $52 per person, there are discounts for children under 14 years of age and children under 5 years of age have the free activity.


Que ver en el Parque Nacional Jasper, Canadá

Another activity that you can do (we did not have time) is to go to the thermal waters of Miette Hot Spring. It is located away from the town, about 60 km. They have two hot water pools at around 40ºC and another 2 cold water pools. The price is cheap, about $7 per person. When we were short on time, we couldn't waste an afternoon enjoying them, but if you dare to do this activity on your trip, tell me about your experience.



3. What is the best time to visit Jasper National Park


If it is true that visiting Jasper National Park in hot weather has its advantages, it also has its cons, since it is the most visited time of the year. I explain by seasons the temperature details, advice...


We did our 2 week trip to Alberta in May. When we visited the city of Calgary and the Banff National Park we had incredible weather for these dates, during the day it was between 18-22 degrees and with very sunny days.


As we got closer to Jasper the temperatures dropped and we had some clouds, but in general (except the glacier) it was between 15-16 degrees during the hottest part of the day. At night it is cold and warm clothing is essential. In addition, since the mountains are still snowy or it is possible that it rains or snows even in early June, you should take this into account to prepare a well-varied backpack of types of clothing.


Although the temperature was not high, the weather was pleasant and we were practically alone during our entire route through the Rocky Mountains, a great advantage, from my point of view.


3.1. Traveling to Jasper National Park in summer


From the middle of June to the end of August, the days are longer and the temperatures are usually around 22-24 degrees, with some colder or hotter days. At night, temperatures drop a lot, so don't forget warm clothes, even if it's summer. However, this period is considered high season and therefore, you will find higher prices for accommodation and a lot more people.


IMPORTANT: Accommodations in Jasper are very scarce, so if you are going to travel during festivities or high summer season, you should make your reservation well in advance.


3.2. Traveling to Jasper National Park in Spring and Fall


Both in spring and autumn, temperatures are usually around 10-16 degrees during the hottest hours and 0 degrees at night. Rains and small snowfalls are frequent.


3.3. Traveling to Jasper National Park in winter


If you decide to travel in winter you can add some snow activities to your route such as Nordic Walking, snowshoe routes, skiing and even fat bike tours.

It must be taken into account that the trails that give access to the lakes may be covered with ice sheets and it is advisable to wear good footwear and do the routes with local guides.

In winter temperatures during the day are around 0 and 10 degrees and at night -15 and -2 degrees.


IMPORTANT: During the compressed months between the end of October and the beginning of April, some of the activities are closed, such as the Miette Hot Spring and the boat trip on Maligne Lake. However, the trails and visits to the lakes, waterfalls etc... remain open all year.


Jasper National Park

4. How many days it takes to travel to tour Jasper National Park


The ideal is 4 days to get to know the most essential places in the Park. In our case, we stayed for 3 full days and we had to run a little to give us time to learn everything that was explained to you in the post. So if you can organize it to stay for 4 or 5 days, it would be perfect to get to know all the places calmly and enjoy the place more.


Although if you only have 2 days I recommend that you do not miss all the fast stops that you will find in the Icefields Parkway (waterfalls), the Maligne Canyon and Maligne Lake.


5. Jasper National Park Entrance Fees


5.1. Daily admission prices for Jasper National Park


  • Adult (Over 18 years old): $10

  • Senior (over 65 years): $8.40

  • Minors (Under 18 years): Free

  • Groups (Up to 7 people in a single vehicle): $20


5.2. Annual pass prices for all National Parks of Canada (Parks Canada Discovery Pass):


  • Adult (Over 18 years old): $69

  • Senior (over 65 years): $59

  • Minors (Under 18 years): Free

  • Groups (Up to 7 people in a single vehicle): $139


*All rates are in Canadian dollars. And they may have varied.



6. How to get to Jasper National Park


On our route we did a circular route starting in Calgary and ending in Edmonton. In Edmonton again we made the journey to Calgary to end our days in Alberta.


However, I will tell you how to get there from different points in Alberta, so that you can organize your tailor-made trip:


6.1. How to get to Jasper National Park from Calgary or Banff


If you come from the south, from Calgary or Banff, the journey is very easy and you have the possibility of making many interesting stops. This was the option we chose.


From Calgary to Banff there is a little less than 1 hour and a half by highway (127 km), you must take the Trans-Canada Hwy/AB-1 W highway towards Banff.


Once in Banff from this town to the town of Jasper you have about 290 km, approximately 3 and a half hours (which I warn you from now on will double if you want to make several essential stops to see some of the most impressive places in both Parks). The highway is the 93 or known as Icefields Parkway.


In this article I have already indicated to you which places are interesting to make a stop along the way. You will find them in What to see and do in Jasper National Park (above).


It is best to rent a car to do this little Road Trip through the Rocky Mountains of Alberta. However, if you do not want this option, there are transfer companies that leave from the Calgary airport or from the city center. You also have the option of hiring an organized circuit of several days, which, apart from transport, includes guided tours, accommodation... You can see all the information from this link.


6.2. How to get to Jasper National Park from Edmonton


If you want to get to the Park from the city of Edmonton, you must take highway 16 towards the town of Jasper. This journey is 365 km, almost 4 hours. And there aren't as many interesting places to stop, unlike the drive from Banff to Jasper.


If you do not decide to rent a car (something that I think is 100% essential to get to know all the places in the Park) you can also hire a Transfer service from the city of Edmonton or the public bus, although this last option has several stops and a duration of about 8 hours.


6.3. How to Get Around Jasper National Park


I 100% recommend renting a car in Calgary or Edmonton. You can pick it up at the airport or at offices in the city center. It is the most comfortable, fastest option that will give you greater freedom.



The roads are usually in very good condition, there are free parking lots in all places of interest and you can also make several stops at waterfalls, viewpoints... that the transfers or buses do not stop.


7. What fauna will you see in Jasper National Park


The best time to see wild animals in Jasper National Park is in the spring or early fall. In winter you will not be able to see bears, since they will have hibernated and in summer with tourists they tend to be seen much less.


It is a habitat with a great variety and quantity of wild animals, you will be able to see bears, moose, wolves, coyotes, pumas, moose and mountain goats, bighorn sheep, caribou, birds, squirrels...


A good time to see moose and ibex is first thing in the morning, when it's starting to get light and it's still quiet. Although you will be able to see all kinds of animals throughout the day.


You will be able to photograph them but remember, you are in their habitat, do not harass them, do not want to touch them, do not feed them... try to go as unnoticed as possible and enjoy this wonder of nature.



PLAN YOUR TRIP STEP BY STEP



I hope you enjoy your trip to Canada a lot and that this article has been useful to you. You can continue reading many more related articles on the blog.


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A hug and see you soon!



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