mount edith cavell jasper national park

Favourite Places to Visit in Jasper National Park

Today I am going to share a few of my favourite places in Jasper National Park.  If you only have a few days in the park these are some of the must see’s before you leave.  I would like to start off by saying that if you like attractions, wildlife, hiking, and scenic views, Jasper National Park is probably one of the best places in Canada to go.  It has a good mix of nature, wonderful scenery and the small town of Jasper to fulfill your shopping needs.  The area can get a little busy during the summer months so we like to go early to mid September as that’s one of the better months to see wildlife and it’s not as busy in the National Park and the town of Jasper.  I personally have been multiple times and every time I go I see something new.  All of the places I mention in my list of best places to visit in Jasper I have been to personally.  I do mention a few attractions and some I haven’t been to.  I will let you know if I haven’t been to them. 

The list will be comprised of places that fit my interests.  I would love to hear YOUR favourite places in Jasper National Park!  Please let me know in the comments below.  So let’s begin!

MOUNT EDITH CAVELL

I must say this is a cool place to go.  The pictures I took just don’t show how amazing this place is.  It combines adventure, great scenery, hiking trails and wildlife.  I must bring up if you get nervous with narrow curvy roads than maybe stay away from this place as it has all of the above.  Don’t bring up travel trailers, large RV’s or anything towing a trailer.  There is a sign as you arrive at the road, please obey it!.  It’s very narrow and has very tight corners.  The road on the way up to Mount Edith Cavell for me is part of the fun!  There are some popular hiking trails you can stop at on the drive up, plus some great view points.  I will try and include some pictures  below.  The last time we left Mount Edith Cavell we actually saw a young bear on the side of the narrow road eating berries.  It was really nice to see but reminded us to not only go slow because of the narrow road but there also because there are animals within a few feet from the edge of the road.

Once you get to Mount Edith Cavell you will come to two parking lots, both have washrooms and garbage bins.  You will immediately see the large mountains that now surround you, you can walk pretty much anywhere, unless posted otherwise.  There are two main walks/hikes that you can take, the easy one is up to the Cavell Pond which has views of the glaciers and of course the pond.  Apparently if you’re lucky a piece of the glaciers will break off and fall down the mountain.  Would be cool to see and hear.  You can take your dogs up to this area.  The path is fairly flat but gets a little steep and does have loose gravel so if you have a bad hip or something please be cautious.  The second trail is about 8.53km/5.3 miles long.  You cannot bring your dog on this trail.  I assume it gets narrow.  I have not personally hiked this trail but have heard it’s not easy.  Another thing to note the first time I was at the mountain was late September and the trail up to the glaciers was sheer ice and I could not walk up.  I would have needed hiking shoes made to walk on ice.  Come prepared.  

Please leave most or all of the day to fully enjoy Mount Edith Cavell. I have been twice and will go again when we go back to Jasper National Park.  I want to try out some of the hiking trails, I have read that you can possibly see Caribou. That’s one animal I haven’t seen yet in the wild and would love too.

Have I missed something? Have you been here? Please comment below.

 

ICEFIELD PARKWAY

I am only going to briefly go over this as I will make an entire blog post about it later as there is too much to cover in one article.  I will also only cover up to the Columbia Icefield.  This is a great drive and amazing views, the Icefield Parkway does go to Banff, the drive is 3.5 hours from Jasper without stops. There are no gas stations along the way and if you do go past the Columbia Icefields there are vehicle size restrictions.  There are plenty of stops for amazing scenic views and plenty of chances to see wildlife.  We have seen black bear, grizzly bear, elk, and mountain goats.  Besides the wonderful views and wildlife there are a few attractions along the way.  Some you will need to pay to enter.  There is so much to do along the parkway I would plan for an entire day even if you only do the Jasper National Park section of Icefield Parkway.  You actually would need multiple days if you stop at all the locations.  There is so much to do that I am going to list a some here.  I will link them to the listing pages so you can read more about them there.  A few of the major attractions I would recommend are Athabasca Falls, Sunwapta Falls, and many more smaller places.  The two main ones that catch my attention are:

Glacier Sky Walk

I didn’t do this myself as I ran out of time!  We didn’t realize that you have to go to the Columbia Icefield visitor centre and book there.  I think the cost is around $40 CAD per person.  They then bus you back to the skywalk.  When we went the buses ran every hour.  Driving past the Glacier Sky Walk I realized that there basically is no parking so I should have figured that there was another way to get in.  It’s located on a corner and over a cliff.  It looks like an amazing place to go.  When you walk out the floor is glass so you can see straight below you.  The pictures I have seen look amazing.

Columbia Icefields

I would say this is probably the biggest attraction along the Icefield Parkway.  I have been multiple times.  There is a visitor centre with restaurants…  you can book tours to the Athabasca Glacier, they have walking tours that go right out onto the glacier and tours that drive onto the glaciers with large trucks.  You can get some nice views from the visitor centre as well.  I did not take the tours as you can walk up to the glacier yourself.  It’s not the easiest walk as you do need to walk up a steep grade on sandy, rocky, uneven ground so you may want to take a tour if you have some physical disability.  If you hike up to the glacier watch for the date makers along the way.  They show you where the glacier was by year.  Pretty cool to see the retraction of the glacier over the years and how big they were many years ago.

There are many more places to see along the Icefield Parkway that I have not mentioned.  I will have to do a blog post on just the parkway so I can go into more depth.  

Please comment below!  Share your thoughts on the places I have mentioned, myself and others would love to hear about your experiences.

MALIGNE LAKE ROAD & LAKE

This location is one of my favourite places in the Park.  It has a bit of everything, hiking, wildlife, great scenic views, lakes, boat cruse, food and more.  You can read more about the wildlife viewing in our article My Top 5 Wildlife Spots in Jasper National Park.   Maligne Lake Road is about a 45 min drive one way without stops.  There are plenty of rest stops and view points.  Maligne Lake itself is at the end of the road, as mentioned you can take a boat cruise, rent kayak and even bring your own boat!  So you want to leave yourself a decent amount of time to complete everything or at least as much as you can in a day.  The road is just 5 min east of the Town of Jasper.  Honestly I think this is my favourite place in the park as you never know what you will see along the way.  Just a great place to spend your time!

I could list many, many more places to see but these currently are just a few of my favourite places in Jasper National Park if you only have a few days.  Please let us know some of the places you think we should mention or comments about the places in this article!  

5 wildlife viewing spots jasper national park

My Top 5 Wildlife Spots in Jasper National Park

#1 Maligne Lake Road

My first choice in my top 5 wildlife viewing locations would have to be Maligne Lake Road in Jasper National Park.  We have driven up and down this road more times than I can remember. It’s an easy drive with many wonderful scenic views, hiking trials, rest areas with washrooms, and of course wildlife!  The road takes about 45 minutes each way without stops.  At the end of the road there is a Maligne Lake you can take a boat cruise… but this article is about wildlife.

Moose Maligne Lake Road 2019

Moose Maligne Lake Road 2019

We have seen deer, elk, mountain sheep, black bear, grizzly bear, and lots of moose!  There were caribou in this area but they haven’t been seen in a long time and we personally have never seen them in that area.  Every time we have driven Maligne road we have seen animals.  Highly recommend this spot and it’s a must if you want to see wildlife.   Need directions?  Been here before?  Please leave a review:  Maligne Lake Road

#2 Town of Jasper

The town of Jasper is an easy way to see wildlife.  There are some trails to walk around, shops, restaurants, cafes, gift shops the visitor centre and much more.  But one of the coolest things about the town of Jasper is the elk that frequent the area.  They regularly walk through the town!  What an amazing sight.  One of the most frequent places we see them is all around the edges of the town and where Connaught Drive and the Yellowhead Hwy meet.

male elk town of jasper

Male Elk Town of Jasper 2020

This is at the North East end of the town.  Please remember that these are WILD animals.  They are dangerous!  KEEP YOUR DISTANCE and do not feed them.  We have see so many people get way to close.  Durning the months of September to late October it’s rutting season and the male moose can get aggressive, this time of year is even more crucial you keep your distance.  You usually can get close enough inside your vehicle to get great pictures of these animals, this keeps you safe as well as them.  Been to the town before?  Please leave a review:  Town of Jasper

#3 Yellowhead Hwy

This is one of the areas that most travellers naturally dive through when coming to Jasper National Park.  This road is a great place for scenic views, hiking areas, rest-stops and of course wildlife.  Please remember that this is a highway so BE CAREFUL when pulling over to take pictures or to see something.  Too many times we have seen cars hanging out onto the road or stopped blocking traffic.  You are in the National Park still but it’s a major pass through for semi trucks and regular traffic.

mountain goats yellowed hwy jasper

Mountain Sheep Yellowhead Hwy 2020

On this road we have seen a lot of wildlife, such as, bear, coyote, elk, deer, mountain goat, and mountain sheep, lots of mountain sheep!  The best place to see the mountain sheep are just after you start to head east on the Yellowhead Hwy as you leave the town of Jasper.  Then the other two great locations are about a 30 minute drive going east.  There are two cliffs sections, there is about 5 minute drive between the two locations.  We have always seen them at one or more of these locations every time we go.  Please remember mountain sheep are usually out in the day.  As night comes they leave a to their night time spots out of sight.  There have been wolf spotted along this road as well, we have not seen them ourselves but some lucky people see them.  What do you think of this part of the park?  Leave a review:  Yellowhead Hwy

#4 Goats & Glaciers Scenic Viewpoint (Goat Lick)

If you want to see Mountain Goats in Jasper National Park one of the best places we have found is at the Goats & Glaciers viewpoint. Head down the Icefields Parkway and it’s around a 25 minute drive from Jasper give or take 10 minutes.  It is a rest-stop so has a washroom and garbage.  There is a short path up to a viewpoint which has a wonderful view.

mountain goat jasper

Mountain Goat Jasper National Park

The Mountain Sheep can been seen on the cliffs at the top or across the road from the parking lot.  I have been told the best time to see them is early morning to mid afternoon.  We have only seen them at this spot a few times but they are there more often than anywhere else that we have seen.  Regardless if you see them or not it’s a really nice drive and a nice scenic view.  Not to mention you never know what wildlife you will see along the way!  Seen Mountain Sheep at this location?  Please let us know!  Here

#5  Just About Anywhere

One of the great things about Jasper National Park is that every corner your turn, every trail you walk there is a good chance you will see wildlife in one form or another.

black bear maligne lack road

Black Bear Maligne Lake Road 2020

Traveling to Jasper is an adventure all to itself.  We have driven and walked to a lot of places in Jasper and have been caught off guard many times when turning a corner and out of the blue there is a bear in the road or a moose… This is why we love this place and we like to share our experiences with you and hopefully hear from you about yours!  Please join the conversation by posting your images and experiences on our site!  Join now it’s FREE

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