3 to 4 Days in Jasper National Park in Canada is a good amount of time to see all the most popular places there. Follow this 3 to 4 day Jasper National Park summer itinerary to visit all the best places in Jasper.
The Canadian Rockies, known for the stunning snow-capped mountains and turquoise lakes, draw over 4 million visitors a year. Most visitors visit Banff National Park but not as many make it to Jasper National Park, the bigger national park north of Banff. Banff National Park covers about 6641 square kilometer in size whereas Jasper National Park pretty much doubles in size. However, the town of Banff is much bigger than the town of Jasper. Someone can probably spend 2 weeks in Jasper National Park and not experience it all, but unfortunately most visitors don’t have weeks to spend. Generally 3 to 4 days in Jasper National Park is a good start to see all the famous sights and experience the best hikes in the Canadian Rockies.
It is no surprise that fewer visitors make it to Jasper National Park each year. Banff is only 1.5 hours away from Calgary whereas Jasper National Park is an additional 4 hours from Banff, making it much more difficult and time consuming to reach. Visitors can also drive 4 hours from Edmonton to Jasper National Park. In addition, visitors generally need another 3 to 4 days in Jasper National Park, which makes it impossible to visit Jasper over a weekend. Due to these reasons, fewer visitors to Jasper, which in turn leads to double the bear population in Jasper National Park.
Similar to Banff National Park, Jasper National Park is known for its snow capped peaks, beautiful lakes and some of the best hikes in the Canadian Rockies. I personally think that Jasper National Park has better glacier viewing and waterfalls compare to Banff. The drive from Banff to Jasper, called Icefield Parkway, is one of the most beautiful drives in the world and there are numerous lookout points, waterfalls and hikes along Icefield Parkway that one must not miss.
This 3 to 4 days in Jasper National Park summer itinerary will mention all the things that someone should see both in Jasper National Park as well as on Icefield Parkway, part of Banff National Park. As a disclaimer, some of the hikes mentioned below I did personally whereas others I did not get a chance to do; but just because I didn’t do it doesn’t mean you should miss it when you visit!
3 to 4 Days in Jasper National Park Summer Itinerary
Overview of Day 1 in Jasper National Park
Morning: Breakfast & Coffee in Banff
Day: Icefield Parkway (Peyto Lake, Parker Ridge, Athabasca Falls)
Evening: Dinner in Jasper
Almost all visitors start their visit to Jasper National Park from Banff. If you are staying in the town of Banff or Canmore, start your day moderately early and have a hearty breakfast in Banff at Tooloulou’s. After you make sure your gas tank is filled up and you have your bear repellent with you, start heading towards Lake Louise.
Icefield Parkway (Highway 93 North) is a 232 km stretch of road from Banff National Park to Jasper National Park. It is one of the most beautiful drives in the world and after driving on it twice I can see why. There are numerous stops on the Icefield Parkway such as Bow Lake, Peyto Lake, Columbia Ice Field, Sunwapta Falls, Athabasca Falls, look out points and hiking trails. You will start seeing signs for Icefield Parkway once you are close to Lake Louise.
I thought Banff was beautiful but I was truly blown away by what I saw on the Icefield Parkway. Even without stopping at any of the view points, you can experience the beautify of Canadian Rockies on Icefield Parkway. You are surrounded by snow-capped mountain the entire time, with sightings of animals, turquoise lakes and glaciers; occasionally you will see an entire valley in front of you.
There are many stops on Icefield Parkway, including some of the best hikes in Banff National Park and Jasper National Parks. Depending on how much time you have, you may or may not stop at all of the viewpoints and hikes. I will just highlight a few of my favorite stops on Icefield Parkway below. Additionally, since you have to drive back to Banff on the same road at the end of your 4 days in Jasper National Park, whatever stops you miss on Day 1 you can visit on Day 4.
Peyto Lake is about 50 minutes from Lake Louise on Icefield Parkway. One of the most famous lakes on Icefield Parkway, Peyto Lake is a glacier fed alpine lake famous for its intense blue color. The lake is so blue that I often thought people photoshopped their pictures but after seeing it myself, I learned that what makes the water so blue is the large amount of glacier rock flour that flows into the water in the summer. As you drive on the Icefield Parkway, you will see a stop called “Bow Summit”. Exit into Bow Summit and you will come across a huge parking lot with maps and public bathroom. The viewpoint of Peyto Lake is about a 10 minute walk on paved road although some part of the path is a little steep. The viewing platform during the summer months can be quite crowded but there are some makeshift trails going slightly lower than the viewing platform that offer a more empty viewing experience.
Parker Ridge Hike
There are a few hikes along the Icefield Parkway and my favorite is the Parker Ridge Hike. Parker Ridge is one of the best hikes (and shortest) in Jasper National Park and I partially love the Parker Ridge trail because of the panoramic view at the top of the ridge for such a short hike. Parker Ridge Hike is a 5 km round trip hike with moderately steep switchbacks and a 250m elevation. Part of the trail is in a forest and part of it is exposed. This is one of the most popular hikes on Icefield Parkway so you should expect a huge crowd during the summer. Since half of the trail is exposed, it can get very hot to hike in mid day; remember to bring plenty of water, a hat and sunscreen for this hike. There are also a lot of mosquitoes on this trail so make sure you have insect repellent.
Since it’s such a popular hike, the Canadian government had to put signs to deter visitors from taking “short cuts” and cause further erosion of the trail. There are also numerous rails and steps the Canadian government installed in the hope of guiding visitors along the Parker Ridge trail. Since the hike is almost all uphill, be sure to be somewhat fit before attempting it. After an hour or so of uphill, you will be rewarded with some of the best views of the Saskatchewan Glacier.
After coming back down from Parkers Ridge, you will be driving another hour on the Icefield Parkway before reaching Athabasca Falls. During this stretch of an hour you will pass the famous Columbia Icefield where you can walk on the glacier (with an organized tour), the glass floored Glacier Skywalk and Sunwapta Falls). However I would suggest leaving these to Day 4 of your 4 Days in Jasper National Park itinerary because the exits are on all the left side of the road (so it’s easier to exist while you are driving north to south on Icefield Parkway).
Athabasca Falls is a breathtaking waterfall on the upper Athabasca River in Jasper National Park. There are a few viewing stations around the falls that’s easy to walk to and family friendly. If you want to explore a little more, you can follow the trail to walk down to the river as well as the canyon.
Evening: Dinner & Stay in the Town of Jasper
Athabasca Falls is only 30 minutes away from Jasper; after you reach the town of Jasper, check into your hotel and walk around town. The town of Jasper is much smaller and quieter compare to the town of Banff. The downtown area in Jasper is completely walkable and there are plenty of street parking. I will discuss later in the post on where to stay in Jasper and where to eat in Jasper.
Overview of Day 2 in Jasper National Park
Morning: Sulphur Skyline Hike
Afternoon: Miette Hot Springs & Maligne Canyon
Start the 2nd day of your 4 day Jasper National Park summer itinerary bright and early as you will have a pretty long day. Grab coffee and pastries and head north east of Jasper on highway AB-16 towards Edmonton. Exit from AB-16 once you see an exit for “Miette Rd/Range Rd275A“. It’s another 15-20 minutes driving up the windy Miette Rd before you reach Miette Hot Springs. The total driving time from Jasper to Miette Hot Springs is about an hour.
Miette Hot Springs is a famous outdoor hot spring in Jasper National Park featuring 4 pools at different temperatures. However you will not be going into the hot springs just yet. Coincidentally, the trail head for Sulphur Skyline hike starts near Miette hot springs. There are also public bathrooms outside of the Miette Hot Springs so be sure to use that before you start the Sulphur Skyline hike.
Sulphur Skyline Hike
Length: 8km round trip
Time: 3-5 hours
Elevation Gain: 700m
Sulphur Skyline is one of the most famous hikes in Jasper National Park. The summit of the Sulphur Skyline trail has one of the best panoramic views in Jasper National Park.
Best Time to Hike Sulphur Skyline
As Jasper National Park gets heavy amount of snow in the winter, the best time to hike Sulphur Skyline trail is between end of May to early October when the snow has melted and the trail is clear. Although Sulphur Skyline is a pretty popular trail in Jasper National Park, the parking lot in Miette Hotsprings is pretty big and not nearly as many people visit Jasper as in Banff so you don’t really need to get to Sulphur Skyline particularly early. We arrived around 10:30am and it was perfectly fine. You will continuously see other people on the Sulphur Skyline trail but it’s not really that crowded. Furthermore, having more people on the trail is good for bear safety. There are a lot of bears in the Sulphur Skyline area so it is not uncommon that hikers might see bears so make sure to bring bear repellent and make a lot of noise while hiking Sulphur Skyline.
Hiking the Sulphur Skyline Trail
The Sulphur Skyline hike is a very straightforward hike that is entirely uphill. The beginning of the trail head is paved and very wide but the trail narrows after a few hundred meters. After about 2 km there will be a sign at the fork, stay right of the fork to continue uphill among the trees with occasional view of the skyline.
The final stretch of the Sulphur Skyline hike is exposed on a steep gravel path. It is the steepest part of the hike but if you turn around you will see an open panoramic view of the surrounding mountains. Continue up for about 20 minutes on this steep trail and you will be at the top.
The summit is a perfect place for lunch while enjoying the view before heading back down to the hot springs.
Afternoon: Miette Hot Springs
After the hike at Sulphur Skyline, it’s time to relax and rewind at Miette Hot Springs.
Miette Hot Springs is the hottest hot springs in Jasper National Park. It features 4 outdoor pools each heated at a different temperature. The two smaller pools are cooler and the two large pools are hotter at around 40C.
When Should You Visit the Miette Hot Springs
Unlike Banff Upper Hot Spring, Miette Hot Spring is not open in the winter. Part (if not the entire) reason is that you have to drive an hour from the town of Jasper to access Miette Hot Springs and the roads are closed during the winter in heavy snow.
Miette Hot Springs is open from mid May to 2nd week of October with different hours:
Mid May to mid June: 10:30am – 9pm
Mid June to early September: 8:30am – 10:30pm
Early September to early October: 11am – 7:30pm
How Much Does it Cost to Visit the Miette Hot Springs
All adult visitors have to pay an entrance fee of CAD7. Children under 3 can enter for free.
Miette Hot Springs offers swimsuit rental for CAD 2 and also towel rental for CAD 2 as well. There is free life vest for children.
There are locker rooms (with lock), shower, cafe and restrooms at Miette Hot Springs. You are supposed to shower before you enter the outdoor pool. I would also advise that you bring sunscreen, hat, and sunglasses with you since you can easily get burned being outside in the pool.
There is also no wifi or cellular reception at Miette Hot Springs.
After Miette Hot Springs, you can stop by Maligne Canyon on your way back to the town of Jasper.
Maligne Canyon is the deepest canyon in Jasper National Park with depth of more than 50m at one point of the canyon. There are 6 bridges built at various points that allow visitors to walk (or hike) to different views of the canyon and waterfall. If you are not a hiker and just want a quick view, walk to the First or Second Bridge. The Third Bridge is the highest point in the canyon with a nice view of the waterfalls. The Sixth Bridge is the furthest point at Maligne Canyon and it’s about 4km one way to access the Sixth bridge.
Overview of Day 3 in Jasper National Park
Morning: Maligne Lake & Opal Hills or Bald Hills Hike
Afternoon: Jasper Skytram
If you are not laked-out yet in Banff and Jasper National Park, then you are in for a treat to visit one of the most beautiful lakes in Jasper National Park on Day 3. Depending on how much you want to do, you can also do a hike near Maligne lake or simply enjoy your time on the lake.
Maligne Lake & Spirit Island
Maligne Lake is the largest lake in Jasper National Park, situated around 45km south of the town of Jasper. It’s known for its beautiful colors, view of the 3 glaciers and surrounding snow-capped peaks. Maligne Lake is one of the most photographed locations in Jasper National Park, especially thanks to Spirit Island, a small island accessible by boat tours on Maligne Lake.
Things to do at Maligne Lake
If you haven’t already visited Maligne Canyon, you can stop by Maligne Canyon on your way to Maligne Lake. I put Maligne Canyon on Day 2 of the 4 day Jasper National Park itinerary because it is on the way back to Jasper from Miette Hot Springs. However, if you prefer to do Maligne Canyon together with Maligne Lake (longer drive to get to) you can do that as well.
There are many activities at Maligne Lake for both the active hikers and families.
Boat Tour at Maligne Lake
There is a 90 or 120 minute scenic cruise at Maligne Lake. Visitors can choose from 3 options: 90 minute classic cruise to Spirit Island, a 120 minute “premium” cruise or a 120 minute “Through the Lens” photography cruise tour. The premium and photography cruise tour has more stops on the lake, and an “island host” on Spirit Island that will let you know the history of the island. The cruises cost from CAD 72 to CAD 150 per adult depending on whether you book in advance or in person. With the cruise you will be able to stop on a viewing platform to take photos of Spirit Island.
Canoe and Kayak Rental at Maligne Lake
If you don’t want to do a scenic cruise tour of Maligne Lake, you have the option to rent a canoe or kayak from the Curly Philips boat house. You can paddle to Spirit Island by canoe or kayak but it’s 14km away from shore. Boat rental can be by the hour or for the entire day, ranging from CAD 60 to CAD 225 depending on how long you rent it for.
Hiking at Maligne Lake
There are a number of great hikes at Maligne Lake, ranging from easy walks to multi-day strenuous hikes.
If you want ~3km easy walks with no elevation gain, consider the Moose Lake Loop or the Mary Schaffer Loop. If you are up for a challenge, then there are two longer hikes around 8-10km.
Opal Hill Loop is a 8km round trip hike with a 460km elevation gain. Most of the steep uphill is within the first 2.5km. Along the trail you will hike in forest and mountain meadow with wild flowers and come to a vantage point with panoramic view of the mountains and Maligne Lake.
Bald Hills Loop is a 10km+ strenuous trail that traverses through trees and alpine meadow. There is a more direct but steeper path or a longer but more gradual path up to Bald Hills. At the top of Bald Hillls you will be greeted with views of Maligne Lake as well as snow-capped peaks and glaciers. You can continue to hike up to the peak of the ridge to get an even better view. Many people prefer Bald Hills over Opal Hills because of the view.
After an active morning at Maligne Lake, if you still have time in the afternoon and want to relax a little bit, then head over to Jasper Skytram.
Jasper Skytram is the highest and longest tramway in Canada; it was built in 1964 and the enclosed tram car will take visitors up to 2277m on top of the Whislers Mountain. Jasper Skytram is a family friendly activity so you can relax during the ride and enjoy the panoramic view of Jasper National Park at the summit.
Similar to the Miette Hot Springs, Jasper Skytram is not open during the winter. It’s only open from March to October with various opening and closing time depending on the month. Similar to the Banff Gondola, the Jasper Skytram does not come at a cheap ticket price. It costs CAD 47 for adults, CAD 25 for children, and kids under 6 years old get to ride it for free. For more information on the ticket price and opening time of Jasper Skytram, please visit its official website.
Overview of Day 4 in Jasper National Park
Morning: Edith Cavell
Day: Icefield Parkway to Banff
Evening: Dinner in Banff or Calgary
Day 4 is your last day on this 4 day Jasper National Park summery itinerary. Part of the day is an optional hike to Edith Cavell and the rest of day will be driving back to Banff via Icefield Parkway and visit all the scenic stops you did not see on the first day in Japser National Park.
Edith Cavell Meadow Trail
Edith Cavell Meadows hike is perhaps the most famous and beautiful hikes in Jasper National Park. Often labeled as the best hike in Jasper National Park, Edith Cavell is usually the No.1 (if not only hike) people do in Jasper National Park. Unfortunately for me, while I was visiting Jasper National Park, the road and parking lot to Edith Cavell hike was closed due to construction. But according to the official Canada Parks website, the road should be open again in August 2018 or whenever the construction is finished.
If you were to visit Edith Cavell, it is recommended that you get there early because the parking lot is small and it is an extremely popular hike. Edith Cavell parking lot is 28km south of Jasper and the hike has several variations dependent on your fitness level and time. Most people take the easy 1.6km walk to Cavell Pond on the Path of Glacier Trail.
*image source: https://www.summitpost.org/path-of-the-glacier-cavell-meadows/368374
If you are moderately fit and wants view from the top, you can continue to hike after the Path of Glacier Trail to the Cavell Meadows Summit for a breathtaking view of Mt. Edith Cavell, Angel Glacier, Cavell Glacier and Cavell Lake. The Cavell Meadows Trail is about 7km (3-5 hours round trip) with a 500m elevation with a stiff incline towards the summit.
Day 1 of this 4 day Jasper National Park summer itinerary covered some of the scenic stops on Icefield Parkway. Since most of the stops are actually on the right hand side of the road (when you drive towards Banff), personally I decided to visit those on the way back to Banff but the order really doesn’t matter. On this 4 day Jasper National Park summer itinerary, I will note a few of the most well known stops.
Sunwapta Falls is a pair of waterfalls of the Sunwapta River located 56km south of Jasper (also 57km from Edith Cavell). There is an upper falls and a lower falls at Sunwapta Falls. Is the Sunwapta Falls better than Athabasca Falls? It’s hard to say because both waterfalls are beautiful and powerful, so it’s better to just visit both!
Similar to the skywalk at the Grand Canyon, the Glacier Skywalk in Jasper National Park is a 280m tall glass floor walkway over the Sunwapta Valley. You can see various glaciers and snow-capped peaks on this walk way and it is a family friendly activity. The price for adults is CAD 31, CAD 16 for children aged 6-15 and free for kids 5 and under.
If you’ve got a fear of heights, this might be the one-time where you should leave it behind… The Glacier Skywalk is a must-do along the Icefield Parkway, in Jasper. Here, brave souls get to stand on a glass observation platform suspended 280 metres (918 feet) above the Sunwapta Valley. The reward? Incredible views over ice-capped mountains and glacier-formed valleys. This thrilling experience starts from the Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Centre and includes interpretive storytelling. Cost: $31 for adults, $16 for ages 5-15, free for the little ones. 📷 @travelwithbender 📍 @travelalberta, @toursimjasper #ExploreCanada . Si vous avez le vertige, c’est peut-être la meilleure occasion de l’affronter! Situé le long de la promenade des Glaciers, le Glacier Skywalk est un incontournable à Jasper. Ici, les plus courageux ont la chance de monter sur une plateforme d’observation en verre suspendue à 280 mètres au-dessus de la vallée Sunwapta. La récompense? Un panorama spectaculaire fait de montagnes enneigées et de vallées glaciaires. Cette expérience palpitante, qui comprend des récits d’interprétation, commence au Columbia Icefield Discovery Centre. Prix : 31 $ pour les adultes et 16 $ pour les jeunes de 5 à 15 ans. C’est gratuit pour les tout-petits! 📷 : @travelwithbender 📍 : @travelalberta, @tourismjasper #MyJasper #ExploreAlberta
If you are visiting the Glacier Skywalk, then another adventure you can do together is to walk on the Columbia Icefield. The official website gives you more details on pricing and opening hours as a packaged deal. For the Columbia Icefield stop, you will be riding in these giant vehicles onto the Athabasca glacier and walk on the glacier with a guide. The Columbia Ice Field is a very family friendly activity and as a kid when I first visited it was actually one of my favorite activities in Banff/ Jasper.
There are many lakes on the Icefield Parkway and Bow Lake is one of the largest and most famous lakes there. Bow Lake is only 30 minutes north of Lake Louise, so if you are driving towards Banff that means you are almost done with Icefield Parkway. There is a viewing point of Bow Lake along Icefield Parkway but there is also a hotel next to Bow Lake called Num-Ti-Jah Lodge that has direct access to the lake. Parking is technically for guests only but many visitors park there to access the lake. There is also a hiking trail starting from the lake.
Evening: Dinner in Banff
After driving back to Banff from Jasper National Park via Icefield Parkway, if you have time you can visit attractions in Banff National Park that you didn’t get to see before. We actually re-visited Moraine Lake because we loved that lake so much!
If you are staying in Banff then it’s a great opportunity to check out some restaurants in Banff. In my 3 Days in Banff National Park post, I listed a few restaurants that I really enjoyed eating at.
Other Hikes in Jasper National Park
While I mentioned some of the most popular things to do and see during 3 to 4 days in Jasper National Park, there are just way too many things and hikes one can do there. I will mention a couple of other ones in case you want to switch up your Jasper National Park summery itinerary.
Wilcox Pass Hike
Wilcox Pass is one of the hiking trails on the Icefield Parkway. It’s located near the Columbia Icefield (100km south of Jasper) and it’s a pretty popular and relatively short day hike. The Wilcox Pass trail is 8km round trip (2-3 hours) with a relatively gentle incline. Many have said that you will be hiking above the tree lines with view of the glacier while avoiding the crowd at Columbia Icefield. There are some red chairs at a look out point on the hike but you can certainly go further up for an even better view.
Skyline Trail (Multi-Day)
The Skyline Trail is one of the most famous multi-day hikes in Jasper National Park. The total distance of Skyline Trail is 27miles and it takes 2-4 days to hike it. I am not a big fan of multi-day hikes but if you are interested, check out this blog on details of how to hike Skyline Trail and how to book it months ahead of your travels to avoid disappointments.
The view from Tekarra Mountain Summit was spectacular. We stayed two nights at the nearby campground so to allow us to easily scramble up to the peak. We headed back south along the Skyline Trail, crossed the meadows north of the lake, then headed up the boulder field on the southeast corner of the mountain. As we got up into the higher basin, we spotted a route up the south facing gully that appeared to lead all the way to the top. We debated for a bit, since the original plan was to follow the route that was in the scrambling book, but this way seemed so straight forward. So up we went! After about 90-100min, we hit the summit ridge and we’re rewarded with fabulous views down to the campground and valley where we started. We headed west up the ridge, and found a weakness in the false summit and then it was a steep but easy scree walk up to the true summit. We were pretty stoked that our route was a success. We are heading back into the backcountry of Banff now till Saturday. Hope everyone has a great rest of the week!! 🙋🏻 ————————————————- #tekarramountain #jasperskyline #skylinetrail #takemebackpacking #explorecanada #explorealberta #mthrworld #freshairandfreedom #rockymountainscrambler #jasperscrambles #exploretheworld #bns_mountains #splendid_mountains #mountainair #mountainlake #mountainviews #alltheviews #summitshot #canadianrockies #canadasworld #canadaparks #jasper #jaspernationalpark #trailchat #ontopoftheworld #getoutside #getoutstayout #wildernessculture #adventureenthusiasts @adventurenthusiasts
Things to Know Before Visiting Jasper National Park
Regardless of whether you are spending 3 to 4 days in Jasper National Park or a month in the Canadian Rockies, you will for sure fall in love with the region and the friendliness of the Canadians. The information below might be helpful towards your planning your 3 to 4 Day Jasper summer itinerary and maximize your time there.
When is the best time to visit Jasper National Park?
The best time to visit Jasper and Banff is between mid June to mid September when the lakes are melted and hiking trails are open. Even at the end of May some of the lakes are frozen so you will not be able to see the turquoise colors that the Canadian Rockies lakes are so famous for. Another advantage of visiting Jasper National Park in the summer is the long days. Sunrise in Jasper is round 5:30am and sunset is around 10pm. The long days mean you can see way more things and do longer hikes without having to worry about it getting dark.
The weather in the summer in the Canadian Rockies is also more pleasant, with high of 70s-80sF (23-28C) and low of 40s-50sF. You will get more sunny days and dry weather in the summer, which makes it great of all outdoor activities on your Jasper summer itinerary. However keep in mind that most visitors go to Jasper National Park in the summer, so all the lakes and hiking trails can get very crowded. Hotel prices during the summer also tend to be 1.5-2 times what they cost in low season and rental cars get booked up fast. I recommend you book all the rental cars and hotels at least 3 months in advance to avoid disappointment. You should also book your rental car from either Calgary, Banff or Edmonton as the town of Jasper is very small so they might get booked up pretty fast.
How to Get To Jasper National Park
Jasper National Park is located in Alberta about 4-5 hours from Calgary and 4 hours from Edmonton. The closest airport to fly in to visit Jasper National Park is Edmonton Airport followed by Calgary International Airport. As mentioned earlier, if you are visiting Jasper National Park from Calgary, it takes 1.5 hours from Calgary to Banff, about 1 hour from Banff to Lake Louise, then another 2.5-3 hours on Icefield Parkway from Lake Louise to Jasper, without stopping for any of the scenic lookout points or waterfalls.
Purchasing Jasper National Park Pass For 3 to 4 Days
To visit Jasper National Park (along with Banff, Yoho, etc), you need to purchase a park pass by the number of days you will be in the Park. You can also purchase the Jasper National Park Pass online. The Jasper National Park Pass costs CAD 9.80 a day for adults and CAD 19.80 per “family” or “group” per day. This was a bit confusing for us as we had visited Banff National Park first before getting to Jasper, therefore we bought the park pass in Banff. But as long as you have the pass purchased covering the number of days you will be in Jasper National Park, everything will be fine. Note that for youth under 17 years old, the park pass will be free. You also need to have this park pass if you plan to drive on Icefield Parkway, because it is considered a scenic route.
The Park Pass will need to be taped to the inside of your windshield. If the police finds your car without a valid park pass, you will be given a warning ticket first then a real ticket. The fees are used to help conserve and maintain the park, so please make sure you buy the pass.
How to Get Around Jasper National Park
Renting a car to drive around Japser National Park is probably the easiest and most convenient way of traveling. There are rental car agencies located in Jasper or you can rent a car from Calgary, Edmonton or Banff. There are some free parking lots in the town of Jasper and street parking (during certain hours) as well as at all the touristy sites and hiking trailheads.
Unlike Banff, there are limited number of options in terms of public transportation within Jasper National Park.
Maligne Valley Hikers Shuttle: Shuttle bus for hikers who want to hike the multi-day Skyline Trail.
Maligne Adventures: Maligne Valley sightseeing tours, rafting and hiking tours.
Sundog Tours: Jasper National Park photography, sightseeing and adventure tours.
Where to Stay in Jasper
There are a ton of accommodation options from budget to luxurious in Jasper National Park. Since the town of Jasper is pretty small, I highly recommend that you book accommodation a few months (more than 2) ahead of your travels during the summer. Most of the hotels get booked up really fast and prices are generally 2x compare to low season or even spring/fall.
Budget Accommodation in Jasper National Park
Jasper Downtown Hostel: Cute and popular hostel in the heart of downtown Jasper. Offers private room with private bathroom, common area, free wifi (kinda slow), and a garden to chill in. I really liked this place because it felt new and clean and close to all the restaurants.
Medium Priced Accommodation in Jasper National Park
Best Western Jasper Inn & Suites: great location in the town of Jasper.
Luxurious Accommodation in Jasper National Park
Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge: Located right outside of the town of Jasper next to a lake, this resort offers the ultimate luxury with swimming pool and golf course.
Where to Eat In Jasper
Even though Jasper is a relatively small town, there are still a number of good spots you can check out while you are in town.
Famoso Neapolitan Pizza: This pizza restaurant opens late that’s why I tried it in the first place. However, the food was really decent and drinks were good too.
The Raven Bistro: A cute Mediterranean restaurant at the heart of Jasper National Park. During the summer time there is usually a wait after 7:30 or 8pm. Unfortunately this restaurant does not offer wifi to customers.
Bear’s Paw Bakery: Great little bakery with tons of pastries and coffee within walking distance to Jasper Downtown Hostel.
WickedCup: Really loved this cafe in Jasper. It’s a little farther out from downtown Jasper and you will need a car to get here but they offer great coffee, drinks and brunch food.
Bear Safety in Banff and Jasper
There is a lot of wild life in Banff and Jasper and many visitors actually don’t know about the risk of encountering a bear during their visit to Jasper. There is a huge population of grizzly bear and black bear in Banff National Park and the number of bears double in Jasper National Park because Jasper National Park is further up so it receives way fewer visitors a year compare to Banff National Park. There is a high risk of bear encounters on hikes in Jasper National Park so bring bear repellent with you at all times and make sure it’s easy to access in case of an attack.
If you are hiking, you should be hiking with others people and not alone. During the hike, make sure you are loud, that means talking and laughing loudly or play some music during your hike. Generally when bears hear unfamiliar sounds, they will run away. Unfortunately many incidents occur when a bear cub unknowingly runs across a hiking trail and the mama bear sees humans as a threat and starts to attack.
To avoid getting injured during a bear attack, make sure to buy a bottle of Bear Repellent (a really strong version of human mace) and learn how to use it. The Park’s official website has a demonstration on how to use a bear repellent as well as other safety information regarding bear encounters. You can buy the Bear Repellent at the visitors center in the town of Banff and Jasper.
What to Pack For 3 to 4 Days in Jasper in the summer
The weather changes drastically throughout a day in Jasper. You should pack layers because the evening temperature drops quite low while it’s hot and dry during the day. If you plan to hike, bring athletic gear and hiking shoes as well as water bottles or a hydration pack.
The sun can be quite strong during the day especially if you are hiking, make sure to pack a hat and plenty of sunscreens to avoid being burned.
There are a lot of bugs and mosquitos during the hikes and near the lakes, so make sure to pack insect repellent (or get 10 mosquito bites like me).
If you are an avid photographer, definitely pack a wide angle lens in order to capture the peaks and mountains.
Concluding 3 to 4 days in Jasper National Park
The Canadian Rockies is one of the best and most beautiful summer destinations that you can visit. I personally spent about a week in Banff National Park and Jasper National Park combined and it was not enough time to see everything. Unfortunately there are things in Jasper National Park such as Maligne Lake and Edith Cavell that I did not get to visit. But just because I missed it doesn’t mean you have to!
Since I am a big fan of hiking, this 3 to 4 days Jasper National Park summer itinerary has a lot of hiking everyday that may not apply to you. Just doing all the family friendly activities in Jasper National Park would be enjoyable if you just want to relax and chill but I do highly recommend doing a couple of the short hikes for a taste of what Jasper National Park has to offer in the summer.
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