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Five Things You Have To Do In Jasper National Park


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Mab Sessoms


Hiking in the Canadian Rockies

Jasper National Park, located in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, is a hiker’s paradise. With thousands of kilometers of trails winding through breathtaking alpine landscapes, it offers a wide range of hiking experiences for all skill levels. Whether you’re a seasoned mountaineer or a casual nature enthusiast, the park has something to offer everyone.


One of the most popular hiking trails in Jasper is the Skyline Trail. Stretching for 44 kilometers along the Maligne Range, this multi-day hike offers stunning views of glaciers, deep valleys, and towering peaks. As you traverse through the rugged terrain, you’ll be rewarded with sightings of wildlife such as mountain goats and bighorn sheep.


If you’re looking for a shorter hike, the Path of the Angel Glacier is a must-visit. This 8-kilometer trail takes you to the toe of the Angel Glacier, where you can witness the incredible sight of ice cascading down the mountainside. The contrast between the icy blue hues and the surrounding rocky landscape is truly awe-inspiring.


For those seeking a more challenging adventure, consider tackling the Tonquin Valley. This remote area offers a variety of hiking options, ranging from day hikes to multi-day backpacking trips. The journey takes you through lush meadows, past crystal-clear alpine lakes, and allows you to immerse yourself in the untouched wilderness of the Rockies.


Before embarking on any hiking excursion in Jasper National Park, it’s essential to be well-prepared. Ensure you have appropriate gear, including sturdy hiking boots, a backpack with essentials like water and snacks, and clothing suitable for changing weather conditions. Additionally, familiarize yourself with trail maps, weather forecasts, and wildlife safety guidelines.


Remember to always stay on designated trails and respect the natural environment. Leave no trace by packing out all trash and avoiding disturbing plants and wildlife. By practicing responsible hiking, you can help preserve the beauty of Jasper National Park for future generations to enjoy.


Whether you’re seeking a leisurely stroll or an adrenaline-fueled ascent, hiking in Jasper National Park offers an unforgettable experience. Immerse yourself in the stunning landscapes, breathe in the fresh mountain air, and let the beauty of the Canadian Rockies captivate your senses.


Exploring Maligne Lake

Maligne Lake is one of the most iconic destinations in Jasper National Park, renowned for its crystal-clear turquoise waters and spectacular mountain scenery. Exploring Maligne Lake is a must-do experience for visitors to the park, offering a range of activities and sights to discover.


A popular way to experience the beauty of Maligne Lake is by taking a boat cruise. Board a guided tour and embark on a scenic journey across the lake, marveling at the towering peaks and cascading waterfalls that surround you. Learn about the history and geology of the area as you glide along the pristine waters and take in the breathtaking scenery.


For those seeking a more active adventure, consider renting a canoe or kayak to explore the lake on your own. Paddle at your own pace and discover secluded bays, hidden beaches, and secret coves. Keep an eye out for wildlife such as bald eagles, loons, and maybe even a moose or black bear along the shoreline.


Another highlight of Maligne Lake is the opportunity to hike to the world-famous Spirit Island. This tiny island, with its lone pine tree set against a backdrop of majestic mountains, is an iconic symbol of the Canadian Rockies. Hop on a boat tour or rent a canoe to reach the island and capture the perfect photograph that showcases the natural beauty of the area.


Photography enthusiasts will be in awe of the stunning landscapes that Maligne Lake offers. From the vibrant blue waters to the dramatic mountain peaks, there are endless photo opportunities to capture the essence of this incredible destination. Sunrise and sunset are particularly magical times to photograph the lake, as the soft golden light bathes the surroundings in a mesmerizing glow.


After a day of exploration, take a break at the charming Maligne Lake Wilderness Kitchen, located near the lake. Treat yourself to a delicious meal or snack while enjoying the panoramic views from the outdoor patio. It’s the perfect spot to relax, recharge, and reflect on the natural wonders you’ve encountered.


Whether you choose to cruise the lake, paddle your way around, hike to Spirit Island, or simply soak in the stunning views, exploring Maligne Lake will undoubtedly leave you with memories that will last a lifetime. Immerse yourself in the beauty and tranquility of this remarkable destination and discover why it is considered one of the crown jewels of Jasper National Park.


Wildlife Spotting in Jasper National Park

Jasper National Park is not only renowned for its stunning landscapes but also for its incredible diversity of wildlife. Home to numerous species, including elk, deer, black bears, grizzly bears, wolves, and moose, the park offers abundant opportunities for wildlife spotting and observation.


One of the best ways to increase your chances of encountering wildlife is by exploring the park’s extensive network of hiking trails. Keep a watchful eye and listen for sounds of movement in the surrounding wilderness. Many animals are more active during dawn or dusk, so consider planning your hikes accordingly.


One of the most iconic animals of the Canadian Rockies is the majestic elk. With their large antlers and distinctive bugling calls, elk are a common sight in Jasper National Park. Be sure to maintain a safe distance and never approach or disrupt their natural behavior. Observing these magnificent creatures from a distance is an incredible experience.


Bears are also frequently spotted in the park, both black bears and grizzly bears. While breathtaking to see, it is important to remember that bears are wild animals and should be treated with respect. If you encounter a bear, keep calm, make yourself known by speaking in a calm voice, and back away slowly. It is crucial never to approach or feed bears, as this can be dangerous for both humans and the bears themselves.


Wolves, although more elusive, can also be spotted in Jasper National Park. These intelligent and social animals have a complex pack structure and are known for their haunting howls. If you’re lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a wolf, consider yourself privileged to witness one of the park’s most remarkable inhabitants.


Aside from large mammals, Jasper National Park is also a haven for birdwatchers. Keep an eye out for species such as bald eagles, ospreys, ravens, and various types of owls. Bring along a pair of binoculars to get a closer look at these fascinating feathered creatures.


When wildlife spotting, it is crucial to remember that you are a guest in their habitat. Maintain a safe distance, observe from afar, and never disturb or harass the animals. Wildlife viewing etiquette includes respecting their space, avoiding sudden movements or loud noises, and staying on designated trails to minimize human impact on their natural environment.


Remember, wildlife spotting is a privilege, and we have a responsibility to protect these precious species and their habitats. By adhering to responsible wildlife viewing practices, we can help ensure that future generations can continue to enjoy the incredible biodiversity that Jasper National Park has to offer.


Visiting the Columbia Icefield

The Columbia Icefield, located in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, is one of the most impressive natural wonders in Jasper National Park. Stretching over 325 square kilometers, it is the largest icefield in the Canadian Rockies and a must-visit destination for nature and adventure enthusiasts.


One of the most popular activities at the Columbia Icefield is taking a guided tour onto the Athabasca Glacier. Step aboard a specialized Ice Explorer vehicle and embark on an unforgettable journey onto the ancient ice. Learn about glaciology, the history of the icefield, and witness the stunning blue hues and intricate crevasses up close.


For a truly unique and exhilarating experience, consider joining a guided ice walk on the Athabasca Glacier. Equipped with crampons and led by experienced guides, you’ll have the chance to explore the icefield on foot, marveling at its awe-inspiring natural formations and learning about the fascinating processes that shape these frozen landscapes.


Another highlight of the Columbia Icefield is the Glacier Skywalk. This impressive glass-floored observation platform allows visitors to walk along a cliff-edge walkway, suspended above the Sunwapta Valley. Experience breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, glaciers, and waterfalls as you venture out onto this thrilling and slightly nerve-wracking platform.


In addition to these thrilling activities, the Columbia Icefield Discovery Centre is a great place to learn more about the icefield’s history, geology, and environmental significance. Explore interactive exhibits, watch educational films, and get a better understanding of the impact of climate change on these fragile ecosystems.


When visiting the Columbia Icefield, it’s important to come prepared. Dress warmly, as even during the summer months, temperatures at the icefield can be chilly. Wear sturdy shoes or boots to ensure a comfortable and safe experience during guided tours and ice walks.


It’s worth noting that the Columbia Icefield is a popular tourist destination, especially during the peak summer months. To make the most of your visit, consider arriving early in the day or booking your tour in advance to secure your spot. This will allow you to enjoy the experience without feeling overcrowded.


A visit to the Columbia Icefield offers a thrilling adventure and a unique opportunity to witness the magnificent power and beauty of these ancient glaciers. Immerse yourself in the panoramic vistas, learn about the fascinating processes that shape these icy landscapes, and create memories that will last a lifetime.


Relaxing in the Miette Hot Springs

Tucked away in the stunning Fiddle Valley of Jasper National Park, the Miette Hot Springs offer a perfect retreat for relaxation and rejuvenation amidst the breathtaking Canadian Rockies. Known for their soothing mineral-rich waters, these hot springs provide a serene oasis for visitors seeking to unwind and immerse themselves in natural tranquility.


The Miette Hot Springs boast the hottest mineral springs in the Canadian Rockies, with water temperatures reaching up to 54 degrees Celsius (129 degrees Fahrenheit). The geothermal waters are rich in minerals like calcium, sulfate, magnesium, and bicarbonate, known for their therapeutic properties that can help soothe muscles and promote overall well-being.


Upon arrival, you’ll find a modern facility that includes a large outdoor hot pool, a smaller cooler pool, and a steam room. Soak in the warm waters as you take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountain scenery. The outdoor hot pool, situated amidst the picturesque forest, offers the perfect setting to embrace serenity and unwind in nature’s embrace.


For those seeking additional tranquility and indulgence, the Miette Hot Springs also offer private outdoor hot tubs. Book a private tub for a more intimate experience, complete with the therapeutic benefits of the mineral-rich waters and uninterrupted relaxation.


After your soak, take advantage of the amenities available at the facility. Relax in the lounge areas, indulge in a refreshing beverage from the on-site cafe, or browse the small souvenir shop for mementos to commemorate your visit. The Miette Hot Springs facility also provides spacious changing rooms and showers, ensuring your visit is as comfortable as possible.


While the hot springs are a popular relaxation spot, they are also set in an incredible natural environment. Consider combining your visit with a scenic hike in the nearby Miette Hiking Area, where you can explore beautiful alpine meadows and perhaps even spot wildlife along the way.


Visiting the Miette Hot Springs is a wonderful way to unwind and reconnect with nature. Soak in the therapeutic mineral waters, surrounded by the awe-inspiring beauty of the Canadian Rockies. Whether you’re seeking a romantic getaway, a family outing, or simply a moment of solitude, the Miette Hot Springs provide a true haven for relaxation and well-being.