Jasper National ParkMajestic peaks meet wild backcountry.
Explore Jasper's diverse landscapes, from glaciers and peaks to wildlife-rich meadows and lakes, all beneath a star-filled Dark Sky Preserve.
Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada, is renowned for its vast wilderness, encompassing over 11,000 square kilometers of mountainous terrain. Home to the scenic Icefields Parkway, the park offers stunning glacier views, including the well-known Athabasca Glacier. Visitors often spot wildlife such as elk, bears, and moose. For astronomy enthusiasts, Jasper's designation as a Dark Sky Preserve ensures unobstructed stargazing opportunities. Maligne Lake and the Miette Hot Springs are among the attractions that draw nature lovers seeking both adventure and relaxation.
Wildlife Viewing Opportunities
Jasper National Park is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. As you travel through the park, keep your eyes peeled for the abundant wildlife. Elk frequent the grassy meadows, while moose can be found near marshy areas. Black and grizzly bears roam the park, and while sightings are exciting, it's important to maintain a safe distance and be bear aware. The park offers several official wildlife tours which provide education on the park's ecosystem and the chance to see animals in their natural habitat safely.
The park boasts a wide range of hiking trails suitable for all levels. For casual hikers, the Valley of the Five Lakes offers a relatively easy loop with picturesque views of crystal-clear lakes. More experienced hikers might tackle the challenging Skyline Trail, a multi-day backcountry hike offering panoramic vistas of the surrounding mountains. Always check trail conditions before heading out and be prepared for changing weather.
For an aerial view of Jasper's stunning landscapes, take a ride on the Jasper SkyTram. The longest and highest guided aerial tramway in Canada, it takes visitors up Whistlers Mountain where they can enjoy sweeping views of the Rockies. At the upper station, there are hiking trails that lead to the summit of Whistlers Mountain for an even higher perspective.
Columbia Icefield and Athabasca Glacier
Venture onto the Columbia Icefield and walk on the ancient ice of Athabasca Glacier. Tours are available that take you directly onto the glacier where you can learn about its formation and its importance to the local ecosystem. Just off the Icefields Parkway, visiting these iconic ice expanses is a highlight for many travelers.
Camping in Jasper
With numerous campgrounds spread throughout Jasper National Park, camping is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in nature. Options range from well-equipped sites with amenities to more rustic backcountry experiences. Reservations are recommended during peak season as sites fill up fast.
At Maligne Lake, visitors can embark on a boat cruise to Spirit Island, one of the most photographed locations in Canada. Kayaking and canoeing are also popular activities on this picturesque lake.
Star Gazing in the Dark Sky Preserve
As a Dark Sky Preserve, Jasper is free from light pollution, making it an excellent location for stargazing. The annual Jasper Dark Sky Festival is an event not to be missed by astronomy buffs, with workshops and opportunities to observe celestial events through high-powered telescopes.
While exploring Jasper, you have several options for transportation. The park can be navigated by car, with scenic drives like the Maligne Valley Road offering stunning views and frequent wildlife encounters. Alternatively, biking and public transportation are available within the town of Jasper and to some key attractions.
Safety in the Wilderness
When engaging in outdoor activities such as hiking or camping, safety should be a top priority. Stay informed about wildlife advisories, bring appropriate gear for varying weather conditions, and always let someone know your plans if headed into the backcountry.
Jasper National Park strives to be accessible to all visitors. Many facilities and attractions, including trails and viewpoints, are designed to accommodate people with disabilities. Information on accessible services can be found at visitor centers throughout the park.