With more than 4,200 square miles (10,878 sq km) of natural beauty, Jasper National Park has enough to see and do that you could spend several weeks of vacation attempting to try it all. For those who are on a more limited timeframe, we’ve compiled a three-day itinerary that will give a taste of Jasper National Park’s most popular spots while still leaving you wanting more.
Jasper National Park is full of glacier-topped mountains, spectacular waterfalls and expansive lakes. Start your visit to Jasper by traveling on Hwy 93, known as Icefields Parkway, named one of the “10 Greatest Drives in the World” by National Geographic magazine. Jasper is “mile zero” for this route, which will take you past Sunwapta Falls and Athabasca Falls, one of the most powerful waterfalls in the Canadian Rockies. Consider taking a 9 mile (14 km) side trip to the base of Mount Edith Cavell, which offers a dramatic vertical mile view of the mountain from the parking area; views of Angel Glacier and two loop trails are also available.
When you reach Jasper, take time to explore this turn-of-the-century railroad town and resort area. There are a multitude of hiking and biking trails to explore (take the Lake Annette loop if conditions permit) or take a tour of town in a pedi-cab.
It’s time to get a bird’s-eye view of the area and map out the rest of your visit. Take the Jasper Tramway for expansive views of surrounding mountain peaks, glaciers, lakes and rivers. Take the short hike to the summit and see if you can catch a glimpse of Mount Robson to the west. The views, if not the altitude, will take your breath away.
After the seven-minute ride back down, make your way to Maligne Canyon for a first-hand glimpse of the water’s mighty hand as it cuts its way through the bedrock. Stop to take in the view or perhaps for a short hike around magical Medicine Lake, which disappears each winter before reappearing with the spring runoff of glacial water. Past Medicine Lake lies Maligne Lake, the largest in Jasper National Park. A 90-minute boat tour will take you past Spirit Island, one of the most photographed places in the world.
Take the time to venture into Mount Robson Provincial Park, one of the oldest parks in British Columbia’s park system and the home of Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. There are plenty of outdoor activities to experience in the park, including caving, fishing, horseback riding, kayaking, camping and hiking. Even if you think you’re over mountains, Mount Robson is worth the visit.
As a reward for your weekend of nature exploration, treat yourself to a soak in the Miette Hot Springs, the hottest hot springs in the Canadian Rockies. With two hot pools to soak in and a 1930s style bathhouse, you’ll be able to ease sore muscles in the therapeutic waters; sign up for a spa treatment if you require a deeper level of relaxation.