Spotlight on: Jasper National Park
It’s all about timing!
Want to avoid the crowds, see more wildlife and feel the true awe of nature away from selfie sticks and chatter? Get up before dawn or drop by at dusk to enjoy places like Maligne Lake, Maligne Canyon, Pyramid Island, and the Columbia Icefield.
Jasper is just as great in the spring or fall, and most of your favourite summer attractions will still be open! Situated under the world’s second largest dark sky preserve, look up 365 days a year and enjoy billions of stars dancing overhead. Visit in October for dark sky month and the Annual Jasper Dark Sky Festival (October 13 – 22, 2017). Wintertime brings an endless variety of amazing adventures from snowshoeing, skiing and skating to biking and winter walking. Needless to say, Jasper is a special place to visit year-round!
Be road aware
This summer, construction will be taking place throughout the park. Expect delays during your travels, check AB511 before venturing to Jasper. One of Jasper National Park’s most visited regions, Edith Cavell, will be receiving an expansion to the Cavell parking lot and at the end of the Mount Edith Cavell Road to provide safer access and additional parking. You’ll need a free permit to visit throughout the season (June 19 – September 18) which needs to be collected in person.
Reserve now to avoid missing out on your dream vacation in one of Parks Canada’s most beautiful sites. You can make a booking for everything you need whether it’s an overnight stay in an oTENTik, a permit for overnight camping in the pristine backcountry, paddling protected waters to a family-friendly canoe camp or an evening on a moon-lit hike learning about the stars from a knowledgeable guide.
It’s going to be a busy summer, if you are not able to secure a campsite, try Jasper’s hotel or private home accommodations. If you are still really keen on camping, look for an available spot in the Overflow campground, 14km east of Jasper on the Snaring Road.
Use your smartphone!
Parks Canada’s latest app gives you easy one-touch access to Camping Registration, GPS-triggered interactive maps, and all the latest information about special events happening in 2017. Download it now on the App Store or get it on Google Play.
Be parks smart
If possible, avoid peak visiting times and travel during the week days. Best times to visit Jasper’s popular day-use areas are between sunrise and 10:00 a.m. and after 6:00 p.m. Be alert for wildlife and give them lots of space. Please do not feed the animals. When on the trails, make lots of noise and bring your bear spray. Check for updates on seasonal and safety closures, make sure you pay attention to guidelines so everyone can enjoy the beauty of our National Parks and National Historic Sites and don't forget your Discovery Pass!
Avoid the crowds by heading to these beautiful (but less discovered) spots to enjoy that sense of wonder in nature in one of Canada’s most popular National Parks.
Lake Edith and Lake Annette
Perfect for a bike ride from the Jasper town centre, pedal to Lake Edith and Lake Annette, adjoining beaches where you can take a swim and soak up those incredible mountain views. Walk along the newly paved stroller and wheelchair accessible trail around gorgeous Lake Annette. Bring a picnic and take advantage of the shelters, tables and fire pits on hand.
Explore the Icefields Parkway but steer clear of its hot spots; sure Sunwapta Falls has pretty epic views but so does Lower Sunwapta. Earn your selfie with a 2.6km round-trip hike to Lower Sunwapta and you’ll see fewer people but dazzling views.
Miette Hot Springs
Despite boasting the hottest hot springs in the Canadian Rockies, the Miette Hot Springs are rarely at full capacity and offer the perfect place to unwind, enjoy nature and relax those tired muscles after a hike. Take the scenic drive along Fiddle Valley to get there and enjoy a 1.2 km hike to the Source of the Springs or an 8 km grueling but very rewarding hike along the Sulphur Skyline. Bring a lunch as there is a large picnic area at the hot springs.
Nigel Pass Hike
Beat the crowds and escape for a day of wilderness hiking from the Sunwapta Pass climbing a gentle 7 km above the tree line to the vast wide open spaces of the Jasper-Banff border along the lightly visited Nigel Pass.
If your visit has you going west to British Columbia, Fort St. James is a little over five hours from Jasper National Park (but well worth the drive). Step back in time to explore the world of the European fur traders and Carrier First Nations in 1896 amongst Canada’s largest collection of restored fur trade era wooden buildings. Beat the ‘Escape the Fort’ challenge to score 20% off lunch! Looking for a place to sleep? Stay in the luxurious Murray House and have a whole national historic site to yourself for the night.
Advice on the best times to visit, peak hours, parking, traffic conditions and more.