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Jasper National Park

Planning your trip

What to expect

Jasper National Park offers a range of backcountry experiences.

View or download a list of backcountry campgrounds and usage type (PDF 115 KB)

Semi-primitive campground
Semi-primitive campsite
© J. Nadeau

In areas designated as semi-primitive, you will find regularly maintained trails and campsites with amenities like pit toilets, tent pads, food storage cables, rustic picnic tables, and metal fire grates at sites where campfires are allowed. You are very likely to meet others on the trail.

In primitive areas of the park, trails are not as well maintained and campsites will have only a pit privy, fire grate and bear pole. These areas see much less human traffic.

In wildland areas, trails receive no maintenance, and travellers must be prepared for the rigours of remote travel including river fords, basic route finding and random camping.

Note: Weather, rockfall, high water and other natural events can change trail and campsite conditions instantly. Jasper is a big park and it takes time for trail crews to respond. Self-reliance in all backcountry areas is essential.

Checklist

  • Select a trip which best suits your party’s abilities and experience, interests, equipment and the time you have available.
  • Familiarize yourself with the trail you have selected. This includes using additional reference guides and topographic maps.
  • Obtain a Backcountry Camping Permit from a Park Information Centre.
  • Check trail conditions and weather prior to departure. (link)
  • Be prepared to be self-sufficient during inclement and rapidly changing mountain conditions by packing the right clothing and camping gear.
  • Let a friend or family member know about your travel plans – or use Parks Canada’s safety registration service.
  • Check the trailhead kiosk prior to your hike. It contains valuable information about closures and warnings.

When to go

Mountain weather can turn nasty
Always be prepared for freezing temperatures, even in mid-summer... © J. Nadeau

The summer season usually begins in May, but, from mid-May to late-June, most alpine areas are still snow-bound. At this time of year low elevation trails are the best option. Be prepared for mud in this early summer season.

The best time for an alpine trip is late-June to mid-September, although snow often persists in high passes until the middle of July. Even in summer, mountain weather can turn nasty. Always be prepared for rain. Freezing temperatures and snow are not uncommon above 1500 metres, even in mid-summer. Trails are the busiest at this time of year.

Mid-September though October can be a lovely time of year on the trails, the bugs are dead and the crowds have died down. But temperatures are much colder with a greater chance of snowfall, and the days are much shorter.

November to April is winter in the mountains. Cold temperatures, short days, deep snow, and avalanche danger are conditions that winter travelers need to be prepared to cope with. Winter guidelines are in effect at this time of year.

Information Sources

Main Contact
Parks Canada Trail Office
Jasper Townsite Information Centre
Backcountry reservations and backcountry camping permits, grazing permits, safety registrations (in person only), trail information.
500 Connaught Dr.
P.O. Box 10, Jasper, AB ,T0E 1E0
Ph: (780) 852-6177; Fax: (780) 852-6152
E-mail: jnp.info@pc.gc.ca

Additional Contacts
Parks Canada Information, Icefield Centre
(Mid-May to early-September)
Backcountry camping permits, safety registrations (in person only), trail information.
103 km south of Jasper on the Icefields Parkway
Ph: (780) 852-6288; Fax: (780) 852-6287
E-mail: jasper.icefields@pc.gc.ca

Public Safety Office
Information on mountaineering, ice climbing, public safety.
Ph: (780) 852-6155; Fax: (780) 852-4775

Maps and Guidebooks

The following maps and guidebooks are available through the Friends of Jasper National Park.

Maps:
Government of Canada NTS topographic maps 1:50,000
Gemtrek Jasper and Maligne Lake, 1:100,000
Gemtrek Columbia Icefield 1:75,000
Gemtrek Best of Jasper 1:35,000
GoTrekkers Jasper and Maligne Lake 1:125,000
GoTrekkers Jasper and Area 1:50,000
GoTrekkers Jasper Mount Robson 1:50,000
GoTrekkers Miette Pass 1:50,000
GoTrekkers Willmore Jasper area 1:125,000
National Geographic Trails Illustrated series T903, Jasper North, 1:100,000
National Geographic Trails Illustrated series T902, Jasper South, 1:100,000
Map-it-First: mapitfirst.ca

Guidebooks:
The Canadian Rockies Trail Guide by Brian Patton and Bart Robinson
Classic Hikes in the Canadian Rockies by Graeme Pole
Jasper-Robson: A Taste of Heaven by Don Beers
Hiking Jasper and Mount Robson by Rob Bryce

Weather

The most predictable thing about mountain weather is its unpredictability. Rain or snow can fall at any time of the year and freezing temperatures are possible even during the summer. The best way to deal with the weather is to prepare for all conditions.
Weather forecast

Transportation

To find local transportation services, contact Jasper Tourism.