Jasper National Park

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Jasper National Park

Attraction

The town of Jasper is in the heart of Jasper National Park. With shimmering glaciers, abundant wildlife, crystal-clear lakes, thundering waterfalls, deep canyons and evergreen forest — all surrounded by towering mountains — it's no wonder why the park was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It's one of the only 18 such sites in Canada. At 11,228 square kilometres (4,335 square miles), Jasper National Park is also Canada's largest park in the Rocky Mountains. And as the second largest Dark Sky Preserve in the world, it's the perfect place to reconnect with nature and marvel at the majesty of the universe. 

Jasper is a year-round escape. Spring comes to the valley bottom in April and reaches the high country by June. It brings wildflowers and gushing rivers. Summer days are temperate and long, with the sun setting late and rising early. Fall comes in September and October, bringing new colours and clear skies. Winter creates a sparkling, snowy landscape perfect for adventures.

Getting here

Jasper National Park is a relaxing 3.5 hours drive west of Edmonton. Even if you don't have access to a vehicle, there are many ways to reach Jasper. SunDog Tours operates a shuttle between the YEG airport and downtown Jasper or hop on the VIA Rail train from Edmonton to Jasper. Once here, get around with one of three different taxi companies, or just rent a bike and explore at your own pace.

The ultimate Jasper winter bucket list

In Jasper National Park, the chilliest season often delivers the warmest memories. Shun hibernation and explore these amazing and unique activities to put the win in winter.

1
Ski Marmot Basin

Exquisitely fluffy snow doesn’t have to come at the price of long lift lines or an expensive helicopter ride. At this friendly resort, located a mere 20 minutes from the town of Jasper, multiple lifts shuttle skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels to jaw-dropping panoramic views and access to 91 runs across 1,720 acres of terrain. Advanced powder hounds will love Tres Hombres, the newly opened north-facing section of the mountain.

2
Stay in a cabin

What is winter without a warm cabin refuge? Achieve peak cozy at Canada’s Ultimate Cabin Escape—aka the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge—where a network of quaint cabins and chalets sits on 700 acres of pristine lakeside property. Find Rocky Mountain luxury in the newly renovated signature cabins, year-round outdoor pool, world-class spa, and onsite activities like skating, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and sleigh rides. If possible, time your stay during the Devour Food Film Festival (Feb. 22–24, 2019).

3
Explore Maligne Canyon

Witness winter at its most otherworldly. Named for its haunting atmosphere, Maligne Canyon is the deepest canyon in Jasper National Park and completely transforms when temperatures drop. From the unique vantage point of the canyon floor (accessible with the help of ice cleats) gaze up at 50 meter tall frozen waterfalls, find hidden caves and witness captivating ice formations.

4
Watch wildlife

Against a sparkling white landscape, Canada’s most iconic creatures pop into view. Elk, deer, moose, wolves, bighorn sheep and coyotes are all still very active through the coldest months. Jasper was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site partly due to the incredible diversity of animals found within its borders (there’s 53 species of mammals). Go on the lookout independently, or increase the chances of spotting some furry friends via a guided wildlife tour.

5
See the northern lights

With a name that means ‘dawn of the north,’ it’s no surprise that the aurora borealis have inspired legends worldwide. There’s nowhere better to experience this jaw-dropping natural phenomenon than in Jasper’s Dark Sky Preserve, where artificial light is minimal and amazement is guaranteed. Winter is a particularly good time to stargaze, thanks to earlier sunsets and frequency of clear nights. Daunted by the cool night air? The Jasper Planetarium experience is a local favourite!

6
Fat bike at a festival

The mountains are no longer off-limits for adventurous winter cyclists! Try this new winter sport and feel how fat bike tires (almost twice the size of regular summer mountain biking tires) allow the cyclist to float atop the snow rather than fighting against it. With extra accessibility to this new specialized terrain, it’s no surprise that fat biking has seen burgeoning popularity over the past few years. Compete against other fat biking enthusiasts in Frosty’s Fat Bike Race and Summit, happening during the Jasper in January festival (Jan. 10–27, 2019).

7
Fat bike at a festival

Once considered an extreme sport, ice climbing has recently been revealed as a surprisingly accessible activity that gives adventurers a unique perspective on the landscape. Jasper National Park is a mecca for ice climbers, with a wealth of various types of climbs for all skill levels, from long alpine ice routes to short bolted mix and dry tooling routes. No experience? No problem! Grab a guide from Rockaboo Mountain Adventures and learn for yourself that ice climbing is easier but just as fun as it looks!