Jasper National Park is the largest and most northerly of the four mountain parks. The land is rugged and diverse, with endless opportunities to discover its natural beauty. In addition to the attractions described below, there are over 1000 km of trails to explore. The Town of Jasper is the main service centre in the park.
Size: 10,878 square km (4199 square mi)
Number of visitors / year: about 2.2 million
1. Mount Edith Cavell (29 km from Jasper)
In the early 1800s French-Canadian ‘voyageurs’ of the fur trade, on their way to nearby Athabasca Pass, called this “the mountain of the great crossing”. During WW1 it was renamed after a heroic British nurse. A switchback road climbs 14.5 km to a viewpoint under the mountain’s spectacular north face, and the start of a variety of trails. Trailers are not permitted on this winding road, and vehicles longer than 6 m are not recommended. The road is open in summer only, as snow conditions permit.
2. Miette Hotsprings (61 km from Jasper; 780-866-3939)
These are the hottest mineral springs in the Canadian Rockies, emerging from the ground a steamy 54 °C! There is a hot pool (kept at 40 °C) for soaking, and a plunge pool for cooling.
- Open MAY to OCT
- Towels, lockers and swimsuits available for rent
- See the brochure Soak in Some History for details
3. Maligne Canyon (11.5 km from Jasper)
Here the Maligne River plunges 23 m into a narrow, steep-walled gorge of limestone bedrock. A 3.7 km interpretive trail takes you over footbridges providing spectacular views. For safety’s sake, stay on the trail and away from the edge!
4. Medicine Lake (27 km from Jasper)
The Maligne River flows into this lake, but nothing appears to flow out. Instead, Medicine Lake is drained by one of the largest underground river systems in North America. On-site exhibits explain.
5. Maligne Lake (48 km from Jasper)
The beauty of this lake, rimmed by snow-capped peaks, is legendary. At 22 km long and 97 m deep, this is the longest, deepest natural lake in the four mountain parks. Commercial services (JUN to OCT) include boat cruises (780-852-3370), rowboat rentals, fishing guides, and trail rides.
6. The Whistlers (4 km from Jasper)
You can walk up (7 km one way) or take the Jasper Tramway (APR – OCT; 780-852-3093) to the Whistlers alpine zone. At the top of the tramway, there are boardwalk exhibits and a steep 1.5 km trail to the summit.
7. Athabasca Falls (30 km from Jasper)
Imagine a river falling 23 m through a narrow gorge of quartz-rich rock and you start to get a picture of Athabasca Falls. A bridge and platforms give you great views. Stay safe — keep on the trail and inside the protective fences.
8. Goat Mineral Lick (38 km from Jasper)
Bluffs of mineral-rich soil at the roadside are irresistible to goats, who usually spend their time in the higher country.
9. Sunwapta Falls (55 km from Jasper)
A short paved road leads to the falls, which tumble into a limestone gorge rather like Maligne Canyon. From here it ’s a 15-minute walk to the lower falls.
10. Athabasca Glacier (103 km from Jasper)
Touch the toe of a glacier! The Athabasca Glacier is part of the great Columbia Icefield — 325 sq. km in area and up to 350 m thick. An access road takes you to an interpretive trail leading to the glacier. Heed all warning signs; glaciers can be as dangerous as they are impressive.
11. Icefield Centre (103 km from Jasper)
Interpretive displays in the Glacier Gallery at the Icefield Centre tell the fascinating story of glaciers and the history of this area. The Centre is open MAY 01 – OCT 15 and offers complete Parks Canada information services (780-852-6288), as well as “Snocoach” tours and guided “Ice Walks” onto the glacier. People with severe heart or lung conditions should note that the Centre is at an elevation of 2000m (6500ft) above sea level.