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Current Search Destination:Jasper National Park, Alberta
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Overview
Overview
Essentials
Attractions
Restaurants
Insider Information
Recreation
Places in the Vicinity
Maria Luisa Lopez Estivill / 123RF.COM

Introduction
Sometimes a place defies description—and Canada's Jasper National Park is such a destination. Visitors to this majestic park in the province of Alberta often use the words “spectacular,” “breathtaking” and “jaw-dropping” to describe their experience. Seeing is believing.
David Wilson / flickr
With an area of 11,228 square kilometres (4,335 sq. mi.), Jasper is the largest national park in Canada. Two main driving routes traverse the park: the east-to-west Yellowhead Highway and the north-to-south Icefields Parkway. If you really want to enjoy Jasper's uncommon beauty, get out of the car. This swath of land straddling the Continental Divide is a glorious wilderness of snow-covered Canadian Rocky peaks, gem-colored lakes and frozen waterfalls, icefields and glaciers. The park also is a natural habitat for wildlife, including elk, mule deer, mountain goats, moose, big horn sheep, black bears and the seldom-encountered grizzly.
AAA. Photo by AAA associate Frank Swanson for AAA
For lovers of the great outdoors, Jasper is a magnet. Stunning mountain views and deep valley vistas inspire jaunts to the woods. In both summer and winter, the recreation menu is nearly endless—hiking, climbing, golfing, canoeing, mountain biking, skiing, ice-skating and snowshoeing only start the list. Campers have their choice of road-accessible sites or backcountry campgrounds.
iStockphoto.com / Andrey Popov
If taking it easy is more appealing, Jasper also accommodates leisurely pursuits. Soak in hot springs, relax on a lake cruise, take in a twilight performance staged in a meadow and savor the sunset's alpenglow. The town of Jasper is a friendly and charming hamlet with outfitters, coffee shops, restaurants, bookstores and craft galleries lining the main streets.
C Hanchey / flickr
Jasper National Park is a place that lends itself to hyperbole, but in this case, effusive descriptions are genuine. Perhaps the signs at the gates say it best: “Welcome to Jasper. Wonderful. Formidable. By nature.”

In Depth
The largest of Canada's seven national parks in the Rocky Mountains, Jasper preserves a spectacular wilderness of forested glacial valleys, dazzling snow-capped peaks, roaring waterfalls and sparkling blue-green lakes. Jasper is less developed and less crowded than Banff National Park to the south, so it tends to attract those seeking the solitude and tranquility that are among the park's greatest assets. Nearly a thousand kilometres (600 mi.) of trails help visitors escape into the virtually pristine countryside.
The park's wildlife is as diverse as its peaks and valleys. Mountain goats and bighorn sheep inhabit the crags and highlands, although the sheep frequently wander down from the heights and into the camera viewfinders of tourists. The lower slopes and meadows are home to deer, elk and moose. Bears, coyotes, wolves, lynx and other predators usually avoid humans.
The Whistlers, whose peak looms above the town of Jasper, is named for the whistling call of the hoary marmot, which looks like something between a squirrel and a beaver. You might encounter marmots along Jasper National Park's trails, along with Columbian ground squirrels and tiny pikas, which look like mice but are actually related to rabbits, as you might guess from their other name: rock rabbits.
The park was named for Jasper Hawes who operated Jasper's House, an early 19th-century fur-trading post in the area. The town, originally called Fitzhugh, adopted the name of the surrounding park in 1913. It's a laid-back place with a surprisingly small-town feel despite catering to the millions who visit the park annually. You will find one of the park's two information centers in a rustic cobblestone building on the town's main street. Completed in 1914, it once housed the park's headquarters; its design established the style now common for national park buildings.
Looked at from above, the town's curved layout appropriately enough resembles the letter J. Take a look for yourself by making the 7-minute journey via the Jasper Tramway to the upper station on The Whistlers, 2,277 metres (7,472 ft.) above sea level. The view of the town, the Athabasca River Valley and surrounding mountains is unforgettable.
Strolling the streets of Jasper, you can't help but notice the distinctive profile of Mount Edith Cavell with its contrasting parallel bands of rock and snow. A half-hour drive will take you to the mountain, called “the White Ghost” by the people of the Stoney First Nation. Trails there lead to the wildflower-strewn Cavell Meadows and offer fantastic views of Angel Glacier, named for its outstretched “wings.” Below the glacier, little icebergs bob in Cavell Pond, even in summer.
Other Jasper National Park highlights: the scenic Maligne Lake Road connecting Malign Canyon and lovely Medicine and Maligne lakes; thundering Athabasca and Sunwapta falls; Pyramid and Patricia lakes; Marmot Basin ski resort; and the breathtaking Icefields Parkway running south to the Columbia Icefield and the Athabasca Glacier, where a short trail leads from the parkway right up to the glacier.

General Information
The park is open all year, though weather conditions in winter make some portions inaccessible except to cross-country skiers and those on snowshoes. Some facilities are open only from May to June or September to October. A Parks Canada information center is in the townsite of Jasper at 500 Connaught Dr. It's open daily late March to late October, and Wednesday through Sunday the rest of the year.
Many hiking trails, including the 11.2-kilometre (7-mi.) trip to Valley of Five Lakes and the loop to Lac Beauvert, depart from Old Fort Point, 1.6 kilometres (1 mi.) east of Jasper on Hwy. 93. The Valley of Five Lakes also can be accessed from the trailhead on the Icefields Parkway, 9 km (6 mi.) south of the townsite.
Hikers and skiers staying overnight in the backcountry must have a valid backcountry use permit. These permits are available at the Parks Canada information center in Jasper and at the Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Centre from early June to mid-September.
Campgrounds are open varying durations, and limited camping facilities are available in winter. For more information, phone (780) 852-6176.
There are many ways to explore the park's features, either alone or with a guide. One- or multiple-day bus tours to attractions within the park depart from Jasper. Several stables in the Jasper area offer 1-hour and half- and full-day trail rides from mid-May to mid-September and sleigh rides in winter.
Winter sports include curling, skating, tobogganing, ice climbing, snowshoeing and hockey. Cross-country skiing tours operate out of Jasper. Downhill skiing is available at Marmot Basin. Approximately 75 kilometres of cross-country trails traverse the park; trails are groomed from early December to March. Interpretive guides share their insights in theatrical productions. Wildlife and stand-up paddleboarding tours also are available. Self-guiding tour brochures are available at the Parks Canada information center, 500 Connaught Dr.; phone (780) 852-6176.
Note: Since hunting is illegal, some wildlife may have lost their natural fear of human contact. Be alert for animals on the highways both day and night, and never feed them. Fishing permits can be obtained at information centers, campgrounds and local sport fishing shops. Boats with electric motors are allowed on lakes unless signs indicate otherwise.

ADMISSION
ADMISSION to the park is free in 2017 to celebrate Canada's 150th anniversary of Confederation, otherwise $9.33; $7.90 (ages 65+); $4.67 (ages 6-16); $18.67 (up to seven people arriving in a single vehicle). An annual pass, valid at Jasper and more than 100 other Canadian national parks and historic sites, is available.

PETS
PETS are allowed in some areas of the park but must be leashed, crated or physically restrained at all times. A fenced area for leashed pets is located on Sleepy Hollow Road adjacent to the industrial park.

ADDRESS
ADDRESS inquiries to the Jasper National Park Information Centre, Jasper National Park, P.O. Box 10, Jasper, AB, Canada T0E 1E0; phone (780) 852-6176. For other area information contact Jasper Park Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 98, Jasper, AB, Canada T0E 1E0; phone (780) 852-3858.
GEM Description
Craggy mountain peaks, lush valleys and mirror-smooth lakes make this park a photographer's dream.
Frank Swanson / AAA

Essentials
To get the lay of the land, ride the Jasper Skytram to the top of Whistlers Mountain (named for the calls of marmots that live on the peak). From this lofty point, you can see the vast expanse of the national park and, on a clear day, all the way to British Columbia.
C Hanchey / flickr
Take a drive on the Icefields Parkway (Hwy. 93) , one of the most beautiful highways in the world. The winding road passes Peyto and Herbert lakes, where glacier silt turns the water a turquoise blue. With stops at the Columbia Icefields, the Bow and Crowfoot glaciers and the thundering rapids of Sunwapta and Athabasca falls, you may spend a whole day along this scenic mountain route.
For stellar wildlife photography, aim your lens at the Mt. Kerkeslin goat lick near kilometre 38 on the Icefields Parkway. Here, usually reclusive mountain goats leave the safety of nearby cliffs to gather by the roadside, nibbling salt deposits scattered on the ground like powdered sugar. On this stretch of road, you might get lucky and snap a shot of a grizzly or a herd of mountain caribou (from inside your vehicle, of course).
Tour the rustic opulence of The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge . During summer's late sunsets, order a drink on the veranda and gaze at peaceful Lac Beauvert and majestic Mount Edith Cavell, where nature's light show—the alpenglow—illuminates the mountains in rose-colored light.
Take in 18 holes at the Jasper Park Lodge Golf Club. This challenging and pristine mountain course hugs the banks of Lac Beauvert, where loons swirl along the water's surface. Golfers might feel compelled to yell “fore” at the elk munching on the greens.
Soak it up—literally—at Miette Hot Springs Pool . Fed by hot sulfur springs, these warmest mineral pools in the Canadian Rockies offer some serious rejuvenation.
Picnic at Edith and Annette lakes. As soft summer breezes ruffle through the trees, dip into the bracing water for a swim and then stretch out on a sandy beach in the sun. At dusk, meander along the easy trail that circumnavigates the lakes.
When snow is on the ground, shush downhill at Marmot Basin. With more than 80 marked trails, there's a downhill route for skiers of every level. These slopes aren't windy or crowded, and the lift lines are short.
Sit in a meadow and watch a live show under a twinkling night sky at the Whistlers Outdoor Theatre. South of the town of Jasper at Whistlers Campground, this free nightly show gives park interpreters a chance to ham it up. Tie on your hiking shoes for a Full Moon Hike. These walks are organized monthly by the Friends of Jasper National Park and explore different trails during each full moon. You'll find information about the hikes at the Jasper Information Centre at 500 Connaught Drive.

Attractions
In a national park with dozens of points of interest, you may have trouble deciding where to spend your time. Here are the highlights for this destination, as chosen by AAA editors. GEMs are “Great Experiences for Members.”
If you only have one day to see the park, take a drive along the Icefields Parkway (Hwy. 93) , one of the world's most stunning roads. Towering peaks bookend massive glaciers in this surreal, moonlike landscape. The 230-kilometre (143-mi.) parkway, a AAA GEM attraction, connects Jasper from the north to its southern neighbor, Banff National Park . Lookouts along the way offer spectacular views of craggy, snow-capped mountains, icy waterfalls and blue glaciers that seem to glow from within. Don't forget to top off the gas tank before you leave Jasper townsite—there aren't any service stations along the route.
Bordering the parkway, about 103 kilometres (64 mi.) south of Jasper, the Columbia Icefield spreads out in a broad, high plateau. This is the most accessible of the parkway's 17 glacial areas, a remnant of the planet's last great ice age. Icefields are bodies of ice from which glaciers flow, and the huge Columbia flows in three directions, a rare occurrence. It moves north to the Arctic Ocean, east to the Atlantic and west to the Pacific. Exhibits at the Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Centre describe the ice's antediluvian beginnings. Here you can enjoy spectacular views of the Athabasca Glacier and surrounding peaks and also learn about Canada's most extensive cave system, the Castleguard Cave, which perforates the ice below.
For a full glacial experience, take a tour aboard the Columbia Icefield Glacier Adventure , which departs from the Columbia Icefield Centre. The snowcoach's giant tires navigate steep and slippery grades, allowing passengers to traverse the glacier while staying high and dry. Once the bus stops, you can take a somber walk on the wind-swept ice. Moviemakers used this desolate and otherworldly location as the set for Superman's arctic home.
Boasting separate summer and winter headquarters, Jasper Adventure Centre provides entrée to a wide range of sightseeing tours and park activities—from icefield walks, snowshoe tours and dog sledding to white-water rafting, fly-fishing and airplane flyovers. The center offers equipment rental, maps and tours led by expert guides.
See the park as early visitors saw it—by train. VIA Rail Canada train excursions travel over the Yellowhead Pass to Mount Robson, the highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies. After disembarking, sightseers climb into a van and drive through the wilds back to Jasper. Stops include the Mount Robson Interpretive Centre and the old-fashioned Dunster General Store. The train ride lasts approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes; the return by van is about 2 hours. Hotel pick-up is available from Jasper hotels; purchase tickets through the Jasper Adventure Centre.
Tour the Canadian Rockies' largest glacier-fed lake with Maligne Lake Boat Tours . As the glass-enclosed boat maneuvers through turquoise-colored Maligne Lake, a guide regales passengers with local stories. Passengers land near Spirit Island, a tiny peninsula punctuated with dart-shaped evergreens. The views of the surrounding peaks, the occasional crash of an avalanche and glimpses of wildlife along the shore—eagles, elk, bears—might make it hard to pay attention to your guide's talking points.
At Maligne Lake, take a pleasant and easy walk on the paved Mary Schäffer Loop. The trailhead begins in the first parking lot. Mary Schäffer braved these backwoods in 1908, the first person of European descent to explore the area. Curly Phillips' historic boathouse was a well-known pioneer outpost. The 1- to 2-hour hike through a forest of spruce and pine culminates at an interpretive lookout where visitors can learn more about Schäffer's life. On the way back, stop at Maligne Lake Lodge for a spot of tea.
Maligne Canyon , one of the most impressive ravines in the Canadian Rockies, is northeast of Jasper. An interpretive trail traverses a succession of six footbridges spanning sheer limestone gorges. Peering into the Maligne River's frothy green depths, you'll catch the spray from the rushing rapids. The path also passes a variety of bird habitats and lush plant life.
Take a short hike in the Athabasca River Valley on the interpretive Pocahontas Coal Mine Trail. Off Highway 16 in the Miette Hot Springs area, this easy trail rambles through the ghost town of Pocahontas. Built in 1908, the mining town thrived until the coal market collapse of the early 1920s. The surrounding wilderness soon reclaimed the town, though some old structures remain. Self-guiding signs mark the trail. The upper loop is 1.8 kilometres (1.1 mi.) and steep in places; the paved lower loop covers .8 kilometres (.5 mi.) and is wheelchair-accessible. Along the way, you'll enjoy some outstanding views of the valley. During autumn, the bright gold aspens are wondrous.
For a visit to Jasper's alpine terrain without the hike, ride the Jasper Skytram , a AAA GEM attraction. In seven minutes, this aerial tram glides up the 2,277-metre (7,470-ft.) face of Whistlers Mountain. At the summit, you can see the jagged pyramids of six mountain ranges cutting into the clouds, and the Jasper townsite looks tiny. Before your descent, take a walk through the stony tundra gardens where rare alpine flowers bloom.
August is the time to don your cowboy hat and gallop over to the Jasper Heritage Pro Rodeo at the Jasper Activity Centre. Since 1922, this rodeo has welcomed some of the continent's top cowboys. Spectators enjoy a variety of competitions, including bull riding and steer wrestling. Tickets are available at the historic Athabasca Hotel in downtown Jasper.
Once a railroad outpost, the drowsing village of Jasper boasts two main drags, Connaught Drive and Patricia Street. Here, you can browse the shops for books or Canadiana crafts, sip a cup of coffee or check your e-mail—all with the majestic Rockies as a backdrop. A striking stone cabin built in 1913 is home to the Jasper Townsite Information Centre, which stocks brochures, maps and park publications. An entertaining tour through town, “Jasper: A Walk in the Past,” departs in the evenings from the cabin at 500 Connaught Drive.
With three distinctive galleries and an extensive photographic collection, the Jasper-Yellowhead Museum and Archives is a great place to learn about the region's pioneer history. You'll find fascinating exhibits depicting Jasper's early days, including displays about fur trappers, the railways and the first mountaineering ascent of Mount Alberta in 1925. For the more artistically inclined, the Showcase Gallery features local and regional art.
At The Den Wildlife Museum , you can stare down a grizzly or get up-close-and-personal with an aggressive elk—without risking life or limb. At this wildlife museum in the lower level of Whistler's Inn, more than 150 mounted birds and mammals wander through panoramic scenes representing Alberta's four natural regions: prairie, aspen parkland, mountain and northern forest.
After a day of exploring (or shopping), soak away your aches at Miette Hot Springs Pool . The hottest springs in the Rockies bubble up from the steep valley of Sulphur Creek. As the scalding mineral water enters the pool, it's cooled to a constant 39 C (103 F). This was the park's biggest attraction in the early 1900s, and it's still a great way to relax, surrounded by a wall of quiet mountains. Deer and elk may even sidle up through the trees.
See all the AAA recommended attractions for this destination.

Restaurants
Our favorites include some of this destination's best restaurants—from fine dining to simple fare.
Take a seat near the windows at Orso Trattoria in The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge and feel as if you're dining in the forest. Formerly Cavell's Restaurant and Terrace, Orso delivers fine northern Italian cuisine with the same spectacular views. Gaze out at the vistas of Mount Edith Cavell or watch the mists rise from the serene Lac Beauvert while enjoying the locally sourced boar chop with fava beans or house-made Osso Bucco. A well-stocked international wine list offers some award-winning Canadian labels for those who want to sample local vintages.
The name of The Moose's Nook Chophouse is fitting, as this “nook” of a restaurant is tucked away from the main lobby of the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. Though it's more casual than its counterpart restaurant in the lodge, this restaurant offers only the finest ingredients, including AAA Alberta beef (rated for its tenderness and flavor), free-range game and seasonal produce. This is one innovative kitchen: the chef's slant on regional and Canadian food will make any connoisseur's mouth water; even the house burger is topped with foie gras pastrami and lobster mayonnaise. The restaurant also features more than 60 Canadian bottles of wine. Don't miss the live entertainment in the summer.
At Syrahs of Jasper , the soft candlelight and wine cellar-themed decor create a warm ambiance in which to enjoy robust regional Canadian cuisine with clean, distinct flavors in an intimate setting. The menu changes often, sometimes daily, reflecting the availability of local and seasonal ingredients, such as wild game, organic fruits, vegetables and herbs grown on nearby farms, and emphasize gluten-free options. In addition to an extensive wine list, the bar features an impressive selection of craft beers.
Head out along the Icefields Parkway (Hwy. 93) for about 10 minutes from Jasper, and you'll find Becker's Gourmet Restaurant packed to the rafters. Once a local secret, now everyone comes here for the great views and dining. Ask for a window table overlooking mounts Kerkeslin and Hardisty, but even if you can't score a prize seat with a view, you'll enjoy the decidedly Canadian interior with its warm oak decor and large stone fireplace. The kitchen changes its menu on a daily basis, creating inventive dishes such as the peppered bison carpaccio or Alberta free-range chicken served with Jerusalem artichoke risotto and cafe au lait cream.
The second-floor location of Fiddle River Restaurant is easy to miss—but food lovers make a special effort to find it. This is a great spot for romance with candle-lit tables, pine decor and views of the mountains. The owner of this restaurant prides himself in serving only the freshest ingredients, so, during the summer, he picks up fresh produce on his way to work. The produce is only part of the equation, as the daily chalkboard specials can't be beat. Try such innovative entrées as bison lasagna, wild boar and chorizo goulash or the Arctic char baked in phyllo.
One of the oldest restaurants in town—it's been open since 1925— Papa George's Restaurant produces hearty yet innovative food using local produce, free-range Alberta meats and seasonal vegetables. The restaurant won a series of gold medals at recent Alberta Beef Challenge competitions. With a comfortable, open space dotted with historical pictures of the old town and a beautiful pink quartzite fireplace measuring 2 metres (6 ft.) across, the restaurant is a popular gathering spot for groups and families. Try the wild boar chop with forest mushroom and blueberry sauce, elk and bison meatloaf or rabbit legs with boar bacon. For lunch, order the blackened Arctic Char burger served on the restaurant's homemade bread.
The windows at Jasper Pizza Place provide a view of the mountain ranges, but diners can also peer into the open kitchen where the pizza cooks. The restaurant boasts a wood-burning pizza oven and offers more than 35 toppings ranging from the traditional to exotic pulled duck and baby shrimp. Gluten-free pizzas also are available. If pizza isn't your thing, try the dinner salads, burgers, sandwiches, pasta and steaks. The decor is fun, too—the chairs are bright yellow and mauve, there are historic Jasper photographs hanging on the walls. Head downstairs for a game of pool or foosball, or perch on the rooftop patio and enjoy the fabulous views.
Slip into a booth at Jasper Brewing Co , a fun spot known for its delicious and inventive in-house brewed beers. Try the pilsner or the honey coriander and Irish stout. Sure, the beer's great, but the kitchen is exciting and innovative as well, serving up brew pub food with a twist. Order the beer braised mussels, the duck confit sliders or choose from a variety of burgers and sandwiches. Catch a game on one of the plasma screen TVs.
Kick back in one of the comfortable chairs and enjoy a fresh cup of espresso at Bear's Paw Bakery . Nibble on one of the fresh baked goods that range from the signature bear paws, a selection of muffins, cinnamon rolls and chocolate croissants. For lunch, get to the bakery early to order one the excellent sandwiches on hearty homemade bread. Order a spinach and cheese ciabatta or a ham and cheese loaf. Meat pies and quiche are also scrumptious.
At the Treeline Restaurant , anyone can enjoy a meal at lofty heights. Scale Whistlers Mountain on the Jasper Skytram and enjoy the abundant fresh air and vistas of mountains and glaciers. Once at the summit, step into the restaurant with its 260-degree panoramic views and order breakfast, lunch or dinner. Earlier in the day, eggs, sandwiches and pastas are available on the menu. For dinner, the casual restaurant features Alberta prime rib, salmon, caribou and an extensive wine list featuring Canadian vintages.
Look for the wood screen door squashed between two storefronts and try not to walk by the Patricia Street Deli . Those who frequent this tiny eatery don't come for the ambience—they come for the simple and delicious made-to-order sandwiches and the fresh daily soups. After making your selections, pack up the deli's offerings and head to one of the many picnic areas and scenic vistas surrounding Jasper.
See all the AAA Diamond Rated restaurants for this destination.
Florin Chelaru / flickr

Fire on the Mountain
As you drive through the east gate of Jasper National Park and head toward Talbot Lake, the lush alpine forest gives way to a brown, charred landscape spotted with fresh greenery. The infamous Syncline Ridge Fire burned uncontrollably here throughout the summer of 2003.
While forest fires can cause untold destruction, some actually help the ecology of an area. Many fires are set intentionally for that purpose. The Syncline Ridge Fire began as a prescribed burn, a forestry method used to clear dead brush and prevent wildfires. Cleared forests in turn provide grazing lands for domestic herds and wild animals, and burned-out trees become new habitats for birds and insects. For centuries, First Nations tribes used this technique to clear thick wooded areas for their crops.
The fire on Syncline Ridge started as a controlled burn in early May, but the weather didn't cooperate. The summer of 2003 was unusually dry, and winds whipped the smoldering embers back into life. Burning into late August, the inferno spread across 25,000 hectares (61,000 acres). Fall rains and winter snows finally extinguished the blaze. Several park cabins were destroyed, but no lives were lost.
David Wilson / flickr
Today the area is brimming with wildlife, and new plant species are thriving. Rangers report record numbers of spawning salmon and trout. New grasses and berry bushes have attracted moose, elk, deer, mountain goats and bighorn sheep, and the omnivores—wolves, black bears and grizzlies—have followed in their tracks. For a fire, not a bad summer's work.

General Information
The park is open all year, though weather conditions in winter make some portions inaccessible except to cross-country skiers and those on snowshoes. Some facilities are open only from May to June or September to October. A Parks Canada information center is in the townsite of Jasper at 500 Connaught Dr. It's open daily late March to late October, and Wednesday through Sunday the rest of the year.
Many hiking trails, including the 11.2-kilometre (7-mi.) trip to Valley of Five Lakes and the loop to Lac Beauvert, depart from Old Fort Point, 1.6 kilometres (1 mi.) east of Jasper on Hwy. 93. The Valley of Five Lakes also can be accessed from the trailhead on the Icefields Parkway, 9 km (6 mi.) south of the townsite.
Hikers and skiers staying overnight in the backcountry must have a valid backcountry use permit. These permits are available at the Parks Canada information center in Jasper and at the Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Centre from early June to mid-September.
Campgrounds are open varying durations, and limited camping facilities are available in winter. For more information, phone (780) 852-6176.
There are many ways to explore the park's features, either alone or with a guide. One- or multiple-day bus tours to attractions within the park depart from Jasper. Several stables in the Jasper area offer 1-hour and half- and full-day trail rides from mid-May to mid-September and sleigh rides in winter.
Winter sports include curling, skating, tobogganing, ice climbing, snowshoeing and hockey. Cross-country skiing tours operate out of Jasper. Downhill skiing is available at Marmot Basin. Approximately 75 kilometres of cross-country trails traverse the park; trails are groomed from early December to March. Interpretive guides share their insights in theatrical productions. Wildlife and stand-up paddleboarding tours also are available. Self-guiding tour brochures are available at the Parks Canada information center, 500 Connaught Dr.; phone (780) 852-6176.
Note: Since hunting is illegal, some wildlife may have lost their natural fear of human contact. Be alert for animals on the highways both day and night, and never feed them. Fishing permits can be obtained at information centers, campgrounds and local sport fishing shops. Boats with electric motors are allowed on lakes unless signs indicate otherwise.

ADMISSION
ADMISSION to the park is free in 2017 to celebrate Canada's 150th anniversary of Confederation, otherwise $9.33; $7.90 (ages 65+); $4.67 (ages 6-16); $18.67 (up to seven people arriving in a single vehicle). An annual pass, valid at Jasper and more than 100 other Canadian national parks and historic sites, is available.

PETS
PETS are allowed in some areas of the park but must be leashed, crated or physically restrained at all times. A fenced area for leashed pets is located on Sleepy Hollow Road adjacent to the industrial park.

ADDRESS
ADDRESS inquiries to the Jasper National Park Information Centre, Jasper National Park, P.O. Box 10, Jasper, AB, Canada T0E 1E0; phone (780) 852-6176. For other area information contact Jasper Park Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 98, Jasper, AB, Canada T0E 1E0; phone (780) 852-3858.

Recreation
Biking, swimming, backpacking, fishing, hiking—whatever your interest, make sure you experience these recreational highlights, as chosen by AAA editors.
Setting out in expansive Jasper National Park, nature and civilization soon part ways. In many areas, there are few highways and even fewer people. Exploring the terrain here is a true adventure—in the early 1800s when pioneers and fur traders arrived, a complex of First Nations trails already snaked through the woods. Today, hikers use the same network to explore sweeping valleys, craggy crevasses and deep forests. Many seasoned adventurers come to Jasper's wilderness already outfitted for the backcountry, but novice hikers and bikers will have no trouble finding equipment and activities.
Most recreation is based out of Jasper townsite, set in the bull's-eye center of the park. To start any adventure, head downtown to Jasper Adventure Centre , a clearinghouse for equipment providers and guides. Obtain permits for camping, fishing and backcountry hiking though the Jasper Townsite Information Centre, also downtown.
Jasper's climate naturally divides seasonal activities into two categories: summer and winter. The most popular summer activity is hiking, and the trails here do not disappoint. Many are steep, so it's important to research a route ahead of time. The best months for hiking are July and August, but prepare for weather extremes even in summer. If hiking is not on your agenda, try biking, climbing or water sports. During colder months, there's also plenty to do, including downhill and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, dog sledding and sleigh rides.
An important note: be alert for bears. Encounters are rare, but they do occur. When hiking, biking or camping in the backcountry, take proper precautions. Never feed wild animals, and always store food properly. Remain at least 100 metres (330 feet or 10 bus lengths) away from bears, cougars and wolves; 30 metres (100 feet or 3 bus lengths) from elk, deer, sheep, mountain goats and moose. At park entrances, wardens provide bear awareness brochures.
Many of Jasper's trails are ideal for short hikes, ranging from leisurely strolls to tough uphill treks, and quite a few leave from Jasper townsite. For a simple day hike only minutes from town, hike the Old Fort Point Trail. About 1.6 kilometres (1 mi.) east of Jasper on Hwy. 93, Old Fort Point is a bedrock bulge shaped by glaciers, towering above the Athabasca River Valley. No one is certain if a fort ever existed here, but Henry House, a fur-trapping outpost, was nearby. For the moderate route, ascend the stairs through the rocky, steep terrain. For the easy route, take the longer, gentler climb on the wide path. Along the way, you may see mountain goats balancing on breccia, pointed lumps of rose-colored limestone. The scramble to the summit pays off with a 360-degree view including snow-streaked Mount Edith Cavell, The Whistlers, the red-hued Victoria Cross Range and the gray limestone Colin Range. It should take about 2 hours to complete this 3.5 kilometre (2.2 mi.) trek.
In spring, enjoy budding trees and newly opened flowers after the snow melts. While many paths at higher elevations are still frozen and slippery, take a hike on Pyramid Lake Loop. The trailhead starts in town at the Jasper Activity Centre and travels through Cottonwood Slough, a marshy area thick with birds and beavers. You'll walk for 3.8 kilometres (2.5 mi.) on paths carpeted with pine needles, weaving through groves of old-growth Douglas fir. You may even see bighorn sheep grazing on the grassy slopes. Follow signs closely as this route splits at various junctures. The journey lasts about 2 hours.
Birdwatchers will relish the tranquility of the easy trail around Patricia Lake Circle, whose trailhead is located off the riding stables parking area on Pyramid Lake Road. The walk loops around the lake for 4.6 kilometres (3 mi.) and takes 3 hours at a leisurely pace. Go in the morning when the lake is hushed and still, and the slanting sunlight lends the water a deep emerald cast. A prime photo location, the lake is home to a variety of waterfowl, including loons and harlequin ducks. Dense trees provide cover for warbling songbirds. Moose do make appearances here, rambling through the trees and grazing on marsh grass and foliage.
Venture farther from Jasper townsite to experience some great day rambles. Many hikers list Cavell Meadows and Path of the Glacier as their favorite. For families, the fascinating, varied terrain is kid-friendly and educational. To reach the trailhead, drive south on narrow Highway 93A through sub-alpine woods to Mount Edith Cavell. The impressive 3,300-metre (10,827-ft.) peak was named for a British nurse executed by the Germans in World War I. Wings of snow and ice spreading across the mountain's sheer north face give Angel Glacier its name.
After parking at the Cavell Road trailhead, follow the paved path paralleling a lateral moraine—a small, dome-shaped hill composed of gravel glacier debris. Here the route divides into two parts. The lower half is the 1.8-kilometre (1.1-mi.) Path of the Glacier, a lovely, short circuit that takes about an hour. The upper half of the trail travels to Cavell Meadows, a more difficult walk. It climbs past moraines and through sub-alpine forests of spruce and fir, emerging for tree-line views of Angel Glacier. The trail also reaches lush meadows blanketed in wildflowers. At the summit, take a rest and then return by the same route, rejoining Path of the Glacier Trail and passing Cavell Pond, an electric blue lake fed by melting glaciers—sometimes, icebergs bob in its depths. Head back on the gravel path past Cavell Creek. The entire Cavell Meadows loop including the Path of the Glacier is about 8.5 kilometres (5 mi.) long and takes 3 to 6 hours to complete.
Try Wilcox Pass for a challenging, uncrowded 8-kilometre (5-mi.) hike through the icefields area. The 4- to 6-hour hike begins off the Icefields Parkway, 103 kilometres (64 mi.) south of Jasper at the Wilcox Creek Campground and 3 kilometres (2 mi.) south of the Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Centre . A sheer ascent through the forest levels out onto an immense plain dotted with alpine meadows. Along the route, there are clear ponds and streams and resident sheep herds. Mount Athabasca looms in the distance with its glacial carved hollow. Enjoy the view: the icefields are breathtaking from here.
The snow doesn't melt until June on many of Jasper's bike trails, but two-wheeling in the summertime is a great way to see the park. Bicycling is permitted throughout the townsite; mountain biking is only allowed on a limited number of park trails. Less experienced riders will enjoy the scenic, flat Trail 7 from Old Fort Point to Maligne Canyon . This leisurely 5-kilometre (3-mi.) excursion leads to the Summit Lakes. Pedalers who like adrenaline rushes should take the Overlander Trail—a 14-kilometre (9-mi.) route winding by the Athabasca River between Maligne Canyon's Sixth Bridge and Yellowhead Parkway. The scenery is spectacular and worth some side-hill riding and tricky loam spots. The Jasper Townsite Information Centre has a handout outlining bicycling rules and trails in the park.
With the stars twinkling above, a flashlight glowing in your tent and owls hooting in the trees, camping is an ideal way to enjoy Jasper's natural charms. Campers will find a variety of options, ranging from large RV facilities to primitive backwoods sites. All campsites require permits, available at campground kiosks or registration booths.
The main fishing season runs from April to October in Jasper, where several mountain lakes are warm enough to support fish, including Beaver, Talbot, Medicine and Maligne. Catches in these waters range from pike and Rocky Mountain whitefish to rainbow trout, bull trout and Eastern brook trout. Spring and fall are the best times for river fishing, when silt levels are low. Obtain angling permits at the Jasper Townsite Information Centre or at campgrounds, sport-fishing shops and the boathouse on Maligne Lake. For good fly-fishing advice, hire a guide or rent gear through the Jasper Adventure Centre.
With so many glacier-fed bodies of water, Jasper National Park is a popular destination for kayaking, canoeing and rafting. Easily accessible lakes include Lac Beauvert, Pyramid and Maligne. One of the best canoe routes in the Canadian Rockies runs along the Athabasca River, where rapids rush from Old Fort Point to Jasper Lake. This was the same route taken by trapper David Thompson, who mapped much of Canada for the Hudson's Bay Co. in the early 1800s. The water is fast, with few obstructions, though you may have to jump out and push your boat over the occasional sandbar toward the end.
Rafting trips range from whitewater roller-coasters to slow drifts. The Athabasca, Maligne and Kakwa rivers offer different levels of rapids. Jasper Raft Tours, Ltd. drops off and picks up rafters from local hotels.
To explore the park the old-fashioned way—on horseback—head over to Jasper Park Stables or Jasper Riding Stables and saddle up for a short day trip. Or try a long-distance ride and camp in the backcountry with an expert guide.
In the winter, hike to Maligne Canyon and see it sparkle in ephemeral frost. As the mercury dips, the Maligne River freezes inside its limestone gorge, transforming waterfalls into gorgeous draperies of ice. On guided tours, you can strap on a pair of crampons and tramp across the canyon's solid ice floor.
With short lift lines, calm winds and more than 80 trails, Marmot Basin is a downhill skier's paradise. For cross-country skiers, there are plenty of groomed trails around The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge and Maligne Lake. Newbies can learn on the Maligne Lakeside Loop or on the trails to Moose Lake. Serious trekkers will like the challenge of the Lorraine Lake and Evelyn Creek trails.
Sweeping mountain backdrops make ice-skating in Jasper National Park a special treat. A Zamboni machine smooths the ice on Lac Beauvert, and rental skates and hockey sticks are available at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. The rinks here and at Pyramid Lake are lighted for moonlit spins, followed by the perfect nightcap—a steaming cup of hot chocolate.
With snow painting a scene straight out of Currier and Ives, a sleigh ride completes the winter wonderland. Arrange a horse team through the Jasper Adventure Centre and ride over the hills and through the woods, bells jingling all the way.
Places in Vicinity

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Top Hotels
Current Location: Jasper National Park, Alberta
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Best Western Jasper Inn & Suites
98 Geikie St. Jasper, AB T0E 1E0
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Holiday Inn Express & Suites
462 Smith St. Hinton, AB T7V 2A1
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Holiday Inn Hinton
393 Gregg Ave. Hinton, AB T7V 1N1
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The Crimson Jasper
200 Connaught Dr. Jasper, AB T0E 1E0
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