Jasper National Park

Top choice in Jasper Town & Around

Jasper is a rugged beauty; it's more raw and less tourist-pampering than its southern cousin Banff, and hence host to a more ambitious, adventurous visitor. Its tour de force is its extensive multipurpose trail network, much of it instantly accessible from the park’s compact townsite. 

Backing it up is abundant wildlife, colossal icefields and–for the brave–the kind of desolate backcountry that makes you feel as though you’re a good few miles (and centuries) from anything resembling civilization.

Unlike Banff, most of Jasper’s trails are multiuse, open to hikers, horseback riders and cyclists. Thanks to this liberal sharing policy, the park is able to offer the best network of off-road cycling trails in Canada–and they’re not just for daredevils. Rated green (easy), blue (moderate) or black (difficult), they cater to pretty much everyone, including kids or parents with trailers in tow.

An added bonus is that many of Jasper’s trails start directly from the townsite, meaning you don’t need to lug your bike around by car or bus. Using a special cycling trail map (free from the info office), numerous loops can be plotted from your hotel or campground, with time to incorporate hiking, swimming, canoeing or grabbing a cup of coffee along the way.

Visitors view a beautiful turquiose lake with mountains in the background.
Travelers view Spirit Island on Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park © i viewfinder / Shutterstock

Some of the most popular natural wonders, like Miette Hot Springs and Maligne Canyon, are easily accessible, and many more attractions are just a short hike away. Keep a little spare time in your itinerary to take advantage of the many diversions you stumble upon–a sparkling lake to admire, a snowshoe tour to explore or a moose to watch ambling by. As the largest of Canada's Rocky Mountain parks, Jasper will quickly captivate you with its beauty and serenity.

Admission fees and other practicalities

Jasper National Park and Banff National Park are connected by the Icefields Parkway–one of Canada’s most famous road trips

There are three main road entrances to Jasper National Park. The East Park Entrance is on Hwy 16 between Jasper and Hinton, just east of Pocahontas. The West Park Entrance is on the same highway, 24km (15 miles) west of Jasper Town, near Yellowhead Pass and the border with British Columbia and Mt Robson Provincial Park. The Icefields Parkway Entrance is 6km south of Jasper Town on Hwy 93, on the way to Lake Louise. You must either buy or show a park pass at all entry gates.

Park admission is C$10 for adults, C$8.70 for seniors, C$20 for families and free for kids under 17. There are additional fees for campground use, backcountry camping and fire permits. See the latest fees on the Jasper National Park website

Camping in Jasper National Park 

Three of Jasper's 10 campgrounds currently accept advance reservations: Wapiti, Wabasso and Pocahontas. Jasper's largest campground, Whistlers, is currently closed for renovation but will resume accepting reservations when it reopens in summer 2021. All other campgrounds operate on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations are also recommended for backcountry camping, as Parks Canada limits the number of hikers on each trail. Both frontcountry and backcountry sites can be reserved via the Parks Canada website starting in late January each year. 

Horsepackers water their horses in the remote Tonquin Valley.
Take a horsepacking trip through the remote Tonquin Valley © National Geographic Image Collection / Alamy Stock Photo

Jasper offers a handful of huts and lodges modeled on the European alpine tradition. All situated a good day’s hike from the nearest road, these venerable backcountry retreats offer a unique wilderness experience without the hassle of setting up your tent or listening to things that go bump in the night.

Hotels in Jasper National Park 

Aside from its venerable historic lodge, Jasper has a varied stash of hotels, motels, hostels, cabins, B&Bs and bungalows. Notwithstanding, in July and August you’d be wise to make reservations way in advance. 

Jasper gets seriously busy in July and August, and finding a room on the spur of the moment can be extremely difficult. Fortunately, aside from the standard clutch of hotels, motels and campgrounds, Jasper Town–which has a permanent population of 4500–has more than 100 B&Bs in private houses. The Jasper Home Accommodations Association maintains an excellent website of inspected B&Bs inside the park, complete with descriptions, contact details and web links. Prices range from C$75 to C$275 in high season and facilities often include kitchenettes, private entrances and cable TV.

HI Jasper

Patricia Lake Bungalows

Mt Edith Cavell Wilderness Hostel

Alpine Village

Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge

Tonquin Valley Backcountry Lodge


Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Jasper Town & Around attractions

1. Pocahontas

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A one-time mining community that produced heaps of poor-quality, smokeless coal for the Allied war effort during WWI, Pocahontas was once the largest…

2. Pyramid Lake

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Pyramid Lake is popular with canoers and kayakers in summer and ice-skaters in winter. From its eastern shore, a wooden pedestrian bridge leads out to…

3. Patricia Lake

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Patricia Lake offers abundant water activities, but its most curious feature (hidden deep below the lake's surface) is the wreck of a prototype ice-based…

4. Lake Edith

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On the east side of the highway opposite Jasper town, Lake Edith is a popular summer getaway, ringed by cycling and hiking trails and frequented by…

5. Lake Annette

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East across the main highway from Jasper town, Lake Annette is popular for water activities in the summer, with a small beach and numerous picnic spots…

6. Jasper-Yellowhead Museum & Archives

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Poke your head into this museum if it's raining, snowing or too hot. Even if the weather is nice, the museum does an excellent job of documenting Jasper's…

7. Jasper Train Station

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Jasper grew up as a railway town, and the train station (constructed by the Canadian National Railway) is one of its oldest and most attractive buildings…

8. Jasper Planetarium

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Relocated to the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge on a year-round basis in 2019, Jasper's planetarium screens multiple shows daily in its 40-seat dome theater,…