Park is the largest and most northerly of the four Canadian Rocky
Mountain Parks that comprise the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its scenery
is rugged, including deeply gouged Maligne Canyon and picturesque
Maligne Lake. Thrill to the thunder of Sunwapta Falls; enjoy the serene
beauty of glacier-covered Mount Edith Cavell; hike along any of the
1,200 km of trails; have a relaxing soak in Miette Hot Springs, or
embark on a number of spectacular mountain drives.
Lake near Jasper
Photo: Door Somers
10,878 square kilometres (4,200 square miles) of broad valleys,
rugged mountains, glaciers, forests, alpine meadows and wild rivers
along the eastern slopes of the Rockies in western Alberta. Jasper
joins Banff National Park to the south via the Icefields Parkway.
This parkway offers unparalleled beauty as you travel alongside
a chain of massive icefields straddling the Continental Divide.
The Columbia Icefield borders the parkway in the southern end of
of elk, bighorn sheep, mule deer and other large animals, as well
as their predators make Jasper National Park one of the great protected
ecosystems remaining in the Rocky Mountains. This vast wilderness
is one of the few remaining places in southern Canada that is home
to a full range of carnivores, including grizzly bears, mountain
lions, wolves and wolverines.
You are in
bear country wherever you are in the mountain national parks! Bears
are naturally wary of humans, and generally choose to avoid us.
However, bears may threaten and even attack people when they become
accustomed to humans, when they are surprised, or when they are
forced to defend themselves, their young or their food. You can
substantially reduce your risk and enhance your park experience
by taking a few precautions, including making noise when you hike,
travelling in groups, and properly storing food.
of wildlife, startlingly blue-green mountain lakes, soaring peaks
and broad forested valleys ranks it as one of the world’s premiere
national parks. The park’s distance from large urban centres and
its relatively intact ecology create a special sense of "early days
in the Rockies." Today, over 3 million pass through the gates and
more than 1.8 million people a year visit the park to experience
this unique wilderness and World Heritage Site.
In such a large
and spectacular area, there are many sights to see and plenty of
stories to be told. A few of the highlights include:
The highest mountain in Alberta (Mt. Columbia, 3747 metres)
apex of North America (the Columbia Icefield)
from the Columbia Icefield to three different oceans
underground drainage system known in Canada (the Maligne Valley
The only sand-dune
ecosystem in the 4 mountain parks (Jasper Lake dunes)
limit in Alberta of Douglas-fir trees (Brûlé Lake)
The last fully
protected range in the Rocky Mountains for caribou (Maligne herd)
The most accessible
glacier in North America (the Athabasca)
- Fiddle Valley, 44 km from Jasper townsite
and Maligne Lake in Maligne Valley, 2 outstanding natural features
and the Jasper Tramway (also called the Sky Tram)
Mt Edith Cavell
- Monarch of Jasper's mountain skyline
The main service
centre in Jasper National Park is the friendly and picturesque community
of Jasper. The Jasper townsite
offers a variety of hotels, restaurants, shops, gas stations and grocery
and convenience stores welcome visitors, mostly along Connaught Drive
and in the downtown core of Jasper.
Information Centre, managed by Parks Canada and located at 500
Connaught Drive, is a handy reference point for visitors to the
townsite. Parking for large vehicles is available on Connaught Drive
one block to the east and one block to the west of the Jasper Information
for the unnaturally high numbers of elk in Jasper townsite. They
are attracted by easy access to food sources (lawns and gardens)
and an absence of predators. Elk can be aggressive and may attack
without warning. People have been kicked, knocked down and seriously
injured. Elk have attacked vehicles. In September and October, during
the rut (the mating season), males are particularly aggressive.
In May and June, during the calving season, females aggressively
defend their young. Whatever the season, do not approach elk. Always
maintain a distance of at least 30 metres from elk and other large
animals (100 metres away from bears).
and Backpacking: There are more than 1,200 kilometres (660
miles) of hiking trails - both overnight and day trips. Backpacking
trips range from 1-night trips to outdoor adventures of 10 days
Parks Canada operates 10 campgrounds in Jasper National Park, offering
1772 campsites during peak season, with a variety of services. Reservations
are not accepted, and campsites are available on a first come first
serve basis only. Demand is heaviest from June through September,
with July and August being the busiest. Serviced (hook up) sites
are very limited in Jasper National Park and are only available
at Whistler’s and Wapiti campgrounds. Campgrounds are listed below:
riding: The park has a long history of horse use. Many areas
of the park are accessible by horse and invite exploration. Through
the park guidelines the operators are able to protect the park’s
ecological integrity while still allowing visitors the freedom to
discover Jasper National Park on horseback. There is no restriction
on party size for day riding, but a maximum group size of ten people
and twenty horses is permitted for horse groups using backcountry
camping facilities. Horse camping is allowed only at designated
backcountry horse or horse/hiker campsites.
Whether it's skiing, skating, scenic driving, snowshoeing or ice
climbing, Jasper National Park gives everyone a chance to combine
exploring the park with the magic of a winter wilderness experience.
Groomed trails are maintained for Cross-country Skiing and
Snowshoeing, the traditional means of winter travel. Marmot
Basin is the only Downhill Ski resort in Jasper, boasting
more than 1,000 acres of ski terrain, including wide open bowls
and groomed trails through the trees. The challenging sport of Telemarking
can be practiced at Marmot Basin, or on steep slopes during cross-country
ski trips. Skating on a mountain lake is an exhilarating
experience when conditions are right. Outdoor rinks are maintained
all winter in Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper. Make sure you have
solid ice at least 6 inches (10cm) thick. Natural ice conditions
in Jasper are not monitored or signed. Skating In Jasper is available
at Pyramid Lake and Lac Beauvert/Mildred Lake.
and Ice Climbing require special equipment and knowledge
of route finding and avalanche safety. Ice climbing is popular in
select areas near Banff, Jasper, Field and Lake Louise. Commercial
operations offer Dog Sledding, Sleigh Riding, ski
and snowshoe trips, and canyon hikes. Winter photography is excellent
almost anywhere in the park, or visitors can soak in Miette Hotsprings.
Wapiti Campground is the only campground open during the winter,
located 4 km south of the Jasper townsite on the Icefields Parkway.
Parkway travels in the shadow of the Great Divide. Following
the headwaters of three major river systems among the rugged mountains
of the Eastern Main Ranges, this route will take you through scenes
and experiences you'll never forget. It is one of the world's greatest
mountain highroads, named for the chain of huge icefields that roofs
the Rockies. Not long ago, only packtrains travelled here, and a
fast trip from Jasper to Lake Louise took almost two weeks. Today's
parkway lets everyone visit areas once seen by only the hardiest
Park is situated 192 miles (370 km) west of Edmonton, 256 miles
(404 km) northwest of Calgary and 500 miles (805 km) northeast of
Vancouver. Commercial airlines service the major centres of Edmonton,
Calgary and Vancouver.
and Edmonton have regular bus and train service to Jasper. There
are tour buses that travel to and from Jasper via Banff. There are
several car rental agencies located in the Jasper and Banff townsites.
on Jasper National Park is available at Parks