Jasper is one of my favourite national parks. It is a place where wildlife and nature rule and roam free. Then when the sun goes down, your eyes get to feast on countless bright stars. The park is home to the world’s second largest dark sky preserve. With all the waterfalls, hiking trails, and mountainscapes, everywhere is guaranteed to make an epic backdrop to your own personal adventure story. My most recent adventure there happened this summer on a trip with my parents, keep reading to learn my 13 favourite awesome things to do in Jasper Alberta.
- Jasper Skytram – The fastest way to travel up Jasper’s Rocky Mountains.
- Jasper Yellowhead Museum & Archives – A little museum packed with local history for a great price!
- Sunwapta falls – Watch a waterfall with a drop of over 60 feet.
- Athabasca Falls – See the water’s blue-green hues as it carves through the rocks.
- Pyramid Lake Island – The best views with mountain reflections by day and by night the stars own the sky as part of the dark sky preserve.
- Medicine Lake – The disappearing lake.
- Maligne Lake –Put on the modern map and named by a woman leading a team through the mountains.
- Canadian Wildlife – Living their best animal life in front of the camera
- WickedCup – Serving up breakfast & animal latte art on their mountain front patio.
- Snowdome Coffee Bar – Fresh laundry and fresh lattes with beautiful art.
- Folding Mountain Brewing – Locally crafted beer restaurant with mountain views just outside the park.
- Lou Lou Pizza – Mounds of cheese that will melt your heart.
- De’d Dog Bar & Grill – Wild meat for your wild soul.
Get all the finer details about my 13 favourite awesome things to do in Jasper Alberta below;
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Jasper Skytram – The fastest way to travel up Jasper’s Rocky Mountains.
The first attraction we checked out on our second day in Jasper was the Skytram. We did not pre-book our tickets online because we wanted to use the 15% AMA discount. We arrived at 11 am, but while the line was short, they were selling tickets for an hour or so later. Deciding it would be easier to buy tickets now and come back, we purchased tickets for 1:30 pm.
A few hours later, we were back at the Skytram waiting to board. This popular attraction is the fastest way to travel to the top of Jasper’s Rocky Mountains. I love getting to see the mountains from this angle. It gives a fantastic overview of the town and lakes below. Dad and JC hiked further up the mountain and got to enjoy sitting at the top in the Park’s Canada big red chairs. Mom and I settled on a flat rock and enjoyed the views. Fun fact: from that far up the town looks like it is kind of J shaped.
Cost: $46.95 per adult before AMA discount
Tip: I would definitely recommend booking online if you want to skip the ticket line and not wait.
Discount: 15% AMA discount can only be applied when buying the tickets in person at the ticket booth, not online.
Amenities: Small parking lot with little space to park along the road. Indoor bathrooms are located in the buildings at the bottom and top of the mountain. There’s also a small café at the top.
Jasper Yellowhead Museum & Archives – A little museum packed with local history for a great price!
This little museum is packed full of history about Canada’s First Nations and the first settlers to the area. The exhibit had some great interactive features including a toy train circling a mountain, a mini train set up for photos, and a dress-up box in the kids’ area with painted backdrops. Downstairs they have an ongoing used book sale by donation. We definitely got our 7 dollars’ worth with everything they had in their exhibits.
Cost: $7.00 per Adult / $6.00 per Senior
Amenities: There is a parking lot right beside the museum.
Sunwapta Falls – Watch a waterfall with a drop of over 60 feet.
After driving 45 minutes south of Jasper we arrived at the falls just as the sun was setting. The upper falls are so close to the parking lot that I could hear the water thundering against the rocks. The sounds and vantage points of this natural attraction are spectacular. One viewpoint was so close that the waterfall was raining on me. The 20-minute walking trail running parallel to the falls took us all the way down to the lower falls (2 KM). We could not see the river as we walked but we sure could hear it rushing. It is a well-maintained trail that gradually led us downhill to another beautiful view.
Amenities: Parking & Outhouses
Athabasca Falls – See the water’s blue-green hues as it carves through the rocks.
My favourite part about this attraction is the hues of blue and green in the water. The colour of the river varies depending on the water flow. If most of the water is from the melting glaciers, it turns greyish. When blue and green colours are highlighted in the river it is from the rainwater/snow runoff. When we visited, the sun was shining directly on the river with a rich green colour reflecting back. We easily followed the trail taking us from one side of the river to the other than down. The pathway is unique; it is a repurposed old waterway path that carved through the bedrock. Very picture worthy from any angle.
Amenities: Parking & Outhouses
Pyramid Lake Island – The best views with mountain reflections by day and by night the stars own the sky as part of the dark sky preserve.
We drove out to Pyramid Lake Island a couple hours before the sun vanished completely into the horizon. With the calm water on one side of the lake, we got some fantastic photos of the mountain’s reflections. I highly recommend visiting this small island with its great mountain views on all sides. Did you know that the world’s second largest dark sky preserve is Jasper National Park? At night, this island one of the best places to stargaze in the park. We would have stayed longer and waited for the stars to come out but none of us had any bug spray. The mosquitoes that evening were monstrous.
Amenities: Parking & Outhouses
Medicine Lake – The disappearing lake.
This great roadside spot on the way to Maligne Lake offers a fantastic view during the right time of year. It is best to visit in the spring and summer. In the fall, this large lake disappears into the ground. When we stopped there was the cutest little owl perched at the top of a skinny dead tree. He was very humble sitting there as all the tourists crowed around taking his photo. An hour later on our way back through he was still there with an even bigger paparazzi crowd.
Maligne Lake – Put on the modern map and named by a woman leading a team through the mountains.
At the lake, we hiked the Mary Schaffer Loop to the first lookout. It was a short 15 to 20-minute walk to this spot, which gave us a good view of the blue-green water with the snow-capped mountains in the background. There were benches and information panels along the path highlighting the story of Mary Schaffer, the women explorer who originally named the lake along with her team. I layered up for this walk as I always find this lake to be a bit on the cold side as the wind whips across the water.
Note: It takes about an hour to drive to this lake from town.
Cost: Free to hike. Boat tours and canoe rentals available.
Amenities: Parking & Outhouses
Canadian Wildlife – Living their best animal life in front of the camera.
We saw the most wildlife just as the sun began to set, grazing on the sides of the road. On our second day, we saw two different herds of female elk with their calves. The little ones were excitedly running around close to the riverbanks. Some of these creatures were curiously watching the tourists as they gathered taking photos. On our way back from Sunwapta falls we were the first tourists to spot an Elk with large antlers feeding in the ditch. We had a prime parking spot and got beautiful photos from the comfort of our car. Later, as we drove by a campground, we noticed a brown bear running through the woods. He was not very close to the road but we managed to snag a few photos from the safety of our car of him rummaging around in the ground.
There was one animal on my parents wish list we had not seen yet. Just as we were leaving the town of Jasper to the right of the road dad spotted it; a mountain goat. On the top of a cliff, there was a whole family of goats resting and eating. That spotting made our trip complete!
Note: Remember to keep a respectful distance from all animals while taking photos. Never feed them. Never leave your car with a bear nearby.
WickedCup – Serving up breakfast & animal latte art on their mountain front patio.
This restaurant is full of character inside and out. Their large patio features a fireplace built into the table. Inside they have furniture made from bike wheels. With plenty of tables to choose from, we got one with mountain views. I found this place on Instagram and had to try their famous latte art. For breakfast, I got the Egg BLT Baguette, so yummy, so big! I ended up saving half of it as an afternoon snack. My Marble mocha, with white and dark chocolate, was served up with a delightful bear design in my cup. Even though their regular latte artist was off that day, I loved the foamy artistic creation they gave me.
The next day we went back to enjoy some dessert and coffee on their patio. I got a large Caramel Macchiato with a bear created in the foam. I could not resist ordering one of their chocolate avalanche Danishes. Sitting out on the patio, we took in the mountain views one last time. We have added this restaurant to our must do list in Jasper for our next trip.
Snowdome Coffee Bar – Fresh laundry and fresh lattes with beautiful art.
For our afternoon cup of coffee, we headed over to the local laundry mat. Inside you can get your clothes clean while sitting back and enjoying a fantastic cup of coffee! I also discovered this place on Instagram through their latte art. They designed a beautiful bear on top of my Campfire Mocha, espresso combined with chocolate and marshmallow.
On our trip I saw five bears; one black bear, one brown bear, and three in my coffee cups.
Folding Mountain Brewing – Locally crafted beer with mountain views just outside the park.
This restaurant is tucked in just off the road beside some cute cabins. The atmosphere in the building was amazing and it has only been open for a year. We chose a table beside the window with a view of Folding Mountain, their namesake. The menu looked fantastic! I ordered the Mountain Grilled Cheese that came with classic smoked cheddar, mild cheddar and mayonnaise. JC got the Grill Cheese of the Week which had Parkway Porter braised beef, mild cheddar, IPA pickled red onions on sourdough bread. He also ordered a flight of beer. I would have loved to sit out on their patio and enjoy the full epic views of the mountains but it was too chilly.
Lou Lou Pizza – Mounds of cheese that will melt your heart.
After a long day of hiking and driving, we were craving pizza. I quickly looked up top restaurants on Yelp and found Lou Lou’s on the list. Since it was 10 pm, we decided to share one pizza between the four of us. Deciding on only one kind of pizza is hard; we ordered half spinach & feta and half meat lovers for $23.50. The cheese was so stringy and delicious! It was one of the best pizzas I have had in a long time.
We liked the pizza so much we went back for our last 12-inch pie before we left the park. This time we ordered BBQ Chicken and added on green peppers and mushrooms to it. $27.00 for a 12-inch pizza with extra toppings between four people is such an amazing deal! Again, I could not get over how good and stringy their cheese is.
De’d Dog Bar & Grill – Wild meat for your wild soul.
After a full day in the sun and 30 degrees Celsius heat, we were craving meat. Being out in the woods all day, I wanted to enjoy some wild meat. So I found a pub with a reasonably priced Big Game burger. The atmosphere inside was dark and very pub like. The burger was amazing! It was a thick 6 oz. burger made from venison and bison for $16.75. I really liked that they used grainy Dijon and packed it full of vegetables.
What places, attractions, or food would you add to this list? Comment below or tweet at me here.
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