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 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.
Select a trip which best suits your party’s abilities and experience, interests, equipment and the time you have available. Download our backcountry trail guides to help with planning your trip.
Familiarize yourself with the trail you have selected. This includes using additional reference guides and topographic maps.
Obtain a Backcountry Camping Permit online at pc.gc.ca/bookjasperbackcountry, or by calling: 1-877-RESERVE (1-877-737-3783).
Check trail conditions and weather prior to departure.
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.
Check the trailhead kiosk prior to your hike. It contains valuable information about closures and warnings.
When to go
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.
Hammocks are permitted at some backcountry campgrounds provided you us webbing straps on the support ropes to protect the trees from which the hammock is hung. Hammocks are not permitted in campgrounds where the trees are not suitable for hammocks. Do NOT hang hammocks from food storage poles. You may damage the poles, or attract wildlife. Choose the trees from which you hang the hammock carefully. An old or rotten tree may fall over when a hammock is hung from it. You are responsible for your own safety.
Hammocks are NOT permitted at:
- Athabasca Island
- All Skyline trail campgrounds
- Jonas Cutoff
- All Fryatt Valley campgrounds
- Second Geraldine Lake
- Tonquin Valley
- Big Bend
Parks Canada Trail Office
Jasper Townsite Information Centre
Trail information, random camping and horse grazing permits.
500 Connaught Dr.
P.O. Box 10, Jasper, AB ,T0E 1E0
Ph: (780) 852-6177; Fax: (780) 852-6152
Parks Canada Information, Icefield Centre
(Mid-May to early-September)
103 km south of Jasper on the Icefields Parkway
Ph: (780) 852-6288; Fax: (780) 852-6287
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.
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
The Canadian Rockies Trail Guide by Brian Patton and Bart Robinson
Classic Hikes in the Canadian Rockies by Graeme Pole
Hiking Jasper and Mount Robson by Rob Bryce
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.
To find local transportation services, visit Tourism Jasper.