How to Plan the Perfect Trip to Jasper National Park

Planning a trip to Jasper National Park

Planning a Trip to Jasper National Park? I can’t wait to help you create an itinerary!

I previously lived in Banff for 15 months and during that time I made sooo many trips to the beautiful Jasper National Park.

In this guide I’ll point out all my favourite things to do in Jasper, the best places to stay, the best Jasper eats, and I’ll give you a whole buncha tips for planning the perfect itinerary.

Don’t forget to check out these incredible places in the Rockies too:


Planning a trip to Jasper National Park

How to Get to Jasper

Jasper National Park is located in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains. The Park is situated 4 hours from the closest major city, which really gives the town that “wilderness” vibe.

As you plan your trip to Jasper, it’s important to factor in how you’ll get there. If you’re flying into Alberta, your best options are to:

If you have the time I’d totally recommend flying into Calgary and driving the Icefields Parkway to Jasper. The Parkway is actually rated as one of the most beautiful drives in the world! Along the way you’ll discover the bluest alpine lakes, countless glaciers, waterfalls, and so many mountains and hiking trails.

Rather than driving the Parkway from Banff, you could instead take a guided one-way tour from Banff to Jasper. These tours are led by a guide who will point out key stops and landmarks along the way. Plus, you can focus on the mountains rather than the road!

Make sure you grab a National Park Pass if you plan on driving. You’ll need a pass for each day you’re in the Park.


Planning a trip to Jasper National Park

Best Time to Visit Jasper

The most popular time of year to visit Jasper is undoubtedly summer, however each season in Jasper offers something a little different. I was fortunate enough to experience each season when I lived in the Rockies and I can confirm – there are incredible activities year round in Jasper you’ll love!

Plan a trip to Jasper National Park
Planning a trip to Jasper? Make sure you visit Maligne Lake!

There are a million factors that influence weather and temperature in Jasper, however here’s generally what you can expect month-by-month:

Summer Months in Jasper
  • June – snowcapped peaks, warming up in town, ice starts melting on lakes, hiking season begins for lower elevation trails.
  • July/August – most of the snow up in the mountains melts late July/early August. This is the best time of year for hiking, backpacking, and any type of water-based activity in Jasper. You can also find wildflowers in Jasper during these months; more on wildflowers here. The only downfall to visiting Jasper during the summer are the huge crowds of tourists. Things can get prettyyyy crowded; but nothing like how crowded Banff gets in the summer.
Fall in Jasper
  • September – September is typically still great for hiking (maybe not for big summits), and backpacking; although you’ll want to plan your trips earlier in September before temperatures drop at night. September is also Larch season (fall colours).
  • October – October is a bit of a mixed bag. If the Rockies experience a warm(er) season, you can expect lots of outdoor activities to still be “do-able.” However if the Rockies experience a cold(er) season, October sucks huge. It’s cold, grey, and semi-snowy. All you can do is wait for ski season to start.
Plan a trip to Jasper National Park
If you’re planning a trip to Jasper in winter, add the Maligne Canyon ice walk to your bucket list
Winter in Jasper
  • November/December – the start of Jasper’s 6 month ski season (yes 6 months)! Snow conditions are variable during the beginning of ski season, however Marmot Basin is typically suitable for riding at this time. December is also the best month to skate on Jasper’s frozen lakes before they’re covered in snow. 
  • January/February – These are the 2 coldest months in Jasper, but they feature the most pow (ideal for skiers) and the most whiteout days (not ideal for skiers). There’s also normally a 1-2 week cold snap in January where temperatures consistently drop to -30 and lower.
  • March/April/May – spring skiing! You can expect variable temperatures/conditions, however closer to May you’ll have consistent icy mornings and slushy afternoons up on the slopes. May marks the beginning of early hiking season. If you want to experience Jasper in winter but aren’t a skier or snowboarder, visit in March. Temperatures will be a bit warmer, but you’ll still see the sparkly snowcapped peaks of the Rocky Mountains.

Planning a trip to Jasper National Park

Things to do in Jasper

Jasper is a little more off-the-beaten path than the world famous Banff National Park. If you’re planning a trip to Jasper you can expect to find glaciers, vibrant alpine lakes, lots of trails, and beautiful places to explore. I’ve created this detailed guide outlining everything to do in Jasper, but here are my favourite things:

Plan a trip to Jasper National Park
Mount Edith Cavell is a MUST if you’re planning a trip to Jasper in the summer
Best Things to do
  • Hiking (more about this next)
  • Cliff jumping at Horseshoe Lake
  • Rent kayaks on Maligne Lake or Pyramid Lake
  • Multi-day canoe trip (my FAV jasper adventure)
  • Go on a wildlife watching tour
  • Watch sunset from Maligne Lookout point
My Favourite Places to Eat
  • Bear Paw Bakery (they make the BEST raspberry cheesecake scones)
  • Scoops & Loops ice cream
  • Jasper Pizza (great sangria)
  • Jasper Brew co (craft beer/pub food)
Must See
Winter Activities
  • Maligne Canyon ice walk
  • Skate on Jasper’s wild ice – you can rent skates at Pyramid Lake
  • Ski at Marmot Basin (see my list for the top 6 ski resorts in Alberta here).

More: 9 Best Things to do in Jasper National Park


Drive the Icefields Parkway

The Icefields Parkway is the highway that connects Banff and Jasper. This stretch of road is an absolute mecca for outdoor adventurers looking for hiking trails, alpine lakes, wildlife, and beautiful views. If you’re visiting the Canadian Rockies, the Icefields Parkway is a bucket-list MUST!

Chances are if you’re visiting Jasper you’re also visiting Banff, SO you might as well plan to take a day (or two or three) exploring all the sights, hiking trails, glaciers, and beauty that exists between these two National Parks. After all, this drive is rated as one of the most beautiful drives in the world.

In this guide I go over literally everything you can do along the Parkway. This post is 7000+ words of recommendations, driving tips, must-see pitstops, accommodation recommendations, and so much more.


Planning a trip to Jasper National Park

Explore Tours in Jasper

Tour companies in Jasper offer some pretty incredible adventures. You can walk on glaciers, raft down gushing alpine rivers, bike through the mountains or spot elusive Rocky Mountain wildlife.


Planning a trip to Jasper National Park

Hiking in Jasper

Jasper offers plenty of world class hiking from big summits to relaxing nature walks. Here are my 3 favourite hikes in Jasper National Park:

More: Hiking in Jasper National Park

Plan a trip to Jasper National Park

1. Maligne Canyon

If you’re planning a trip to Jasper, make sure Maligne Canyon is on your bucket list. This is the most popular hike in Jasper that features gushing rapids during the summer and massive frozen waterfalls in the winter. The hike itself is short and is suitable for all ability levels.

More: Maligne Canyon Trail Guide

Plan a trip to Jasper National Park

2. Sulphur Skyline

Sulphur Skyline is my favourite hike in Jasper. It’s a moderate hike that features dramatic views of the surrounding mountain peaks and valleys. It’s definitely a bit of a challenge, but worth the effort and then some!

More: Sulphur Skyline Trail Guide

Planning a trip to Jasper National Park

3. Valley of the Five Lakes

Valley of the Five Lakes is located just off the Icefields Parkway right before the town of Jasper. This is an easy hike suitable for all ability levels and families that features 5 sparkling blue alpine lakes.

More: Valley of the Five Lakes

More: Hiking in Jasper National Park


Planning a trip to Jasper National Park

Where to Stay in Jasper

If you’re planning a trip to Jasper, you have lots of accommodations to choose from. Ranging from luxury cabins to campgrounds, here are the best accommodations in Jasper for every budget:

Booking.com

Planning a trip to Jasper National Park

Packing Guide for Jasper

Jasper is located in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains. If you’ve been to the mountains before, you know mountain weather can change on a dime. For this reason, it’s imperative that you’re prepared for the elements. This is especially true if you’re planning to hike.

The best piece of advice I can give you is to pack layers: always. bring. a. jacket.

I’m going to break down what to pack for Jasper into 3 categories: hiking, summer and winter. Honestly the seasons you get in between summer and winter are so short, I’m not even considering them seasons.

Planning a trip to Jasper National Park
Jasper Packing List: Hiking 

I’ve created a few guides that outline everything you need to know for hiking in The Rockies. The following posts outline the best clothes for hiking, the best gear for hiking, and allllll the gear you need for a multi-night backcountry camping trip:

A few of my favourite items for hiking in the Rockies are:

Jasper Packing List: Summer

Packing for summer in Jasper can be a tricky one. I spent 2 summers in Banff (Jasper’s southern neighbour); one summer was freezing and I wore shorts maybe twice. The second summer I spent in Banff was HOT. I wore shorts and tank tops for months.

I’d recommend packing:

Always check the weather before your trip and plan accordingly.

Plan a trip to Jasper National Park
Jasper Packing List: Winter

Winter in Jasper is obviously cold (but dry cold). I’d recommend bringing a full winter set up (warm coat/snow pants), boots, as well as merino base layers and a warm toque. Additionally, a few of my favourite winter accessories and pieces of gear for Banff are:

If you’re planning to ski in Jasper, make sure you bring extra clothes for layering as well as a buff or balaclava.


Planning a trip to Jasper National Park

Extend Your Trip to Jasper

Explore my trip planners for other destinations in the Canadian Rockies:


Happy adventuring!

Taylor ♡


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About The Author


Hey! I’m Taylor – the voice behind The Holistic Backpacker.

After moving to Banff National Park in 2020 I became an outdoor adventure enthusiast and vowed to never stop exploring.

I’m now focused on travelling the world and seeing everything our beautiful home has to offer.

I created The Holistic Backpacker so I could share my adventures and help connect people like you with the same amazing experiences.

I am also an advocate for the environment and do as much as I can to take care of our planet.

Get to know me and my story more here 🙂

I can’t wait to share my adventures with you!

Happy adventuring!

Taylor ♡


Like This Post?

Share with friends or save it for later!

About The Author


Hey! I’m Taylor – the voice behind The Holistic Backpacker.

After moving to Banff National Park in 2020 I became an outdoor adventure enthusiast and vowed to never stop exploring.

I’m now focused on travelling the world and seeing everything our beautiful home has to offer.

I created The Holistic Backpacker so I could share my adventures and help connect people like you with the same amazing experiences.

I am also an advocate for the environment and do as much as I can to take care of our planet.

Get to know me and my story more here 🙂

I can’t wait to share my adventures with you!

Keep Up With My Adventures!

Sign up for my newsletter and stay up-to-date with my latest adventures, gear guides, and eco-resources.

Taylor ♡