Top 9 Attractions in Jasper National Park

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Jasper National Park covers a sprawling 11,000 square kilometers filled with pristine natural wonders. It would be impossible to see everything in a single trip so we have drawn up a list of the top attractions (in our opinion!) which you simply have to see during your trip.

Read more about each of these attractions so that you can draw up a short-list of things to see and do, according to your specific interests and how many days you have at your disposal. 

Distances between attractions can be quite significant so remember to factor in travel time when planning your itinerary. The town of Jasper is located in the heart of the National Park and provides a good base for exploring many of the northern park attractions.

1. Maligne Lake and Spirit Island

Maligne Lake is famous for its legendary turquoise waters which perfectly reflect the surrounding mountain peaks. The lake is the second-largest glacier-fed lake on the planet and is located in the southern part of the park.

You can easily reach Maligne Lake in your own car or you can join a bus or motor-cycle tour from Jasper town. Once you arrive at the lake you can explore the perimeter on foot, go on a cruise or rent non-motorized boats to get you out on the tranquil water.

The lake is free to visit but rentals can be pricey. Maligne Lake and beautiful Spirit Island offer sensational photo opportunities and are rumored to be the most photographed locations in the park.

2. The Icefields Parkway

Often cited as one of the most beautiful scenic drives in the world, the 232km Icefields Parkway joins Jasper and Lake Louise in Banff National Park.
The easy-to-drive double highway winds its way along through some of the most scenic parts of Jasper and Banff National Parks, dotted with glaciers, ice-fields, waterfalls, soaring Rocky Mountain Peaks, verdant forests and dazzling lakes.
Along the way you will find a variety of must-see attractions including the Athabasca and Sunwapta Falls, the Columbia Icefield, Athabasca Glacier and the Glacier Sky Walk.

3. Columbia Icefield, Athabasca Glacier and the Glacier Skywalk

Columbia Icefield

The massive Columbia Icefield is one of the largest non-polar ice fields in the world, and the largest in the Rocky Mountains.
The ice field covers over 320 square kilometers in the south of Jasper National Park and extends into the north of Banff National Park. Parts of the ice field can be seen from the Icefield Parkway.

Athabasca Glacier

The famous Athabasca Glacier forms part of the vast Columbia Icefield which divides southern Jasper and Banff. The glacier is formed from accumulated ice which slowly flows away from the ice field.
The Athabasca Glacier is probably the most famous glacier in Canada and is also the most easily accessible. The glacier is currently around 6 kilometers long but it is receding at a shocking rate of nearly 5 meters per year due to global warming.
Fortunately you still have time to come and see this natural wonder for yourself. Guided tours are available, generally from April to October. They do get booked up early though so be sure to book your glacier adventure well in advance.

Glacier Skywalk

The highlight of any visit to the ice field is the chance to step out onto the amazing (and scary!) Glacier Skywalk. If you are brave enough and have a good head for heights you can venture out onto the glass-bottomed bridge which is suspended 60 m above a canyon.

4. Jasper Skytram

The Jasper Skytram is the longest and highest cable car (or aerial tramway) in Canada. It opened in 1964 and has carried over 6 million visitors since then.
The tramway rises nearly 7,500 feet and offers panoramic views of 6 mountain ranges, alpine valleys, forests, rivers, lakes and the town of Jasper.
Taking the 7 minute ride to the Whistlers Mountain summit is a marvelous way of getting an overview of the park. Each of the tram cars has a “flight attendant” to point out all the landmarks and to answer any questions you may have. If possible, choose a clear sunny day for your ride to enhance the views.
From the tramway station at the summit it is possible to go on a hike or snowshoe expedition or even more stunning views.

5. Maligne Canyon

This easily-accessible canyon is located just 7 miles north of Jasper town.
Although Jasper National Park boasts many canyons, Maligne Canyon is the deepest one in the Rocky Mountains.
Carved out of the rock by centuries of churning water and ice, the canyon reaches 55m deep in places and is pretty spectacular at any time of the year.
In summer you can follow a fairly gentle trail around the rim of the canyon. The trail is suitable to hikers of all abilities, and leads you across 6 separate bridges, each offering amazing views of the swirling waters below and a brilliant waterfall.
In winter the waters freeze over completely and you can explore the floor of the canyon on foot – wrap up warmly and enjoy a unique Jasper experience.

6. Lake Annette and Lake Edith

Towards the end of the Ice Age (about 12,000 years ago) the entire Athabasca Valley was covered by an enormous lake. Gradually the waters receded leaving behind Lake Annette and Lake Edith, two kettle lakes which are fed by an enormous underground river.
These two pretty lakes are popular with hikers, picnickers and even swimmers and waders in summer. There is also a boat launch, parking area, picnic tables and shelters, and a children’s playground.
There is a paved interpretive trail around Lake Annette which is suitable for buggies and wheelchairs and a 4.2 mile hiking trail which connects the lakes to Jasper town.

7. Athabasca Falls

You will find the must-see Athabasca Falls on the upper Athabasca River, about 30km south of Jasper town. The class-5 falls are accessible all year round via the scenic Icefields Parkway.
An amazing backdrop of forests, mountains and river make this 75-ft waterfall even more impressive, and there are multiple view-points where you can take lots of photos.
The falls are reached on foot via an easy 1km trail from the parking area and it is possible to descend down into the canyon via a stairway which has been carved into the rock.

8. Marmot Basin Ski Resort

This Jasper National Park attraction beckons all winter-sport enthusiasts!. Offering skiers and snow-boarders 91 runs served by 7 lifts, the resort is a winter wonderland from around October to May each year.

9. Sunwapta Falls

Easily accessible along the Icefields Parkway, the Sunwapta Falls are a pair of very pretty waterfalls which are fed by the Athabasca glacier ice melt.
The falls were formed by receding glacier ice more than 8000 years ago. Sunwapta Falls are divided into an upper and lower waterfall.
The Upper fall has an impressive 18 meter-high cascade. From the upper lookout point you can follow a 1.3km trail through the forest to the lower falls.
The Sunwapta Falls are at their best during the peak of the ice melt in late spring or summer.
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