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.
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.
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!