Jasper National Park in Alberta is a great place to spend a weekend. Located in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, the park offers visitors stunning views of glaciers and soaring mountain peaks. There are plenty of outdoor activities available, including hiking, biking, skiing, and snowshoeing. Here is an epic 3 days in Jasper itinerary with further weekend road trip ideas for ya!
…And if you don’t want to indulge in adventure that’s okay too! You can soak in the park’s majestic valleys and lakes on a scenic drive or walk.
Plus there are also wildlife-viewing opportunities in the park, with elk, deer, wolves, and bears living here.
3 days in Jasper itinerary + Weekend road trip ideas
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Welcome to Jasper National Park, the perfect place to spend a weekend away!
Spend two to three days here and you’ll be sure to create lasting memories that will stay with you for years to come.
So, here’s what you can see and do in 3 days in Jasper,
Things to do in Jasper National Park: 3 days itinerary
- Day 1 of the Jasper itinerary 3 days: Arrive in Jasper town and explore, Jasper SkyTram, food tour, Lake Annette, and Lake Edith
- Day 2 of the Jasper itinerary 3 days: Fairmont Jasper Lodge, Pyramid Lake, Patricia Lake, Jasper Brewing Company
- Day 3 of the Jasper itinerary 3 days: Athabasca Falls, Maligne Canyon, Maligne Lake + Spirit Island cruise or Marmot Ski Basin
- (Optional) Jasper itinerary 3 days: Icefield Parkway attractions – road trip
Planning a trip to Jasper National Park Canada + Park Pass
Jasper National Park is located in Canada, in the province of Alberta. It is the largest of all the parks in the Canadian Rockies.
Getting to Jasper National Park Alberta
Travel by car/drive from the airport:
We have driven on the route from Calgary, as well as also done an Edmonton to Jasper road trip many times.
The latter is not super scenic as the Banff to Jasper one, but it is sprinkled with small towns.
Having access to a car will make sightseeing easy inside Jasper National Park. Most of the attractions are located 15 to 30 minutes from Jasper town.
Travel by bus from the airport:
Without a car, you can get to Jasper townsite using shuttle buses (operated by Sundog Tours called the Sundog Connector).
Buses run from Edmonton Airport to Jasper and vice versa. You can also choose to be picked up from the downtown area. Tickets cost about $99 CAD per person.
You can also get to Jasper by bus from Calgary via Pursuit (change in Banff at the Banff Transportation Centre) and Sundog Tours. This service is known as Mountain Connector and tickets are $139 CAD.
Getting around Jasper
Once you are in town, you can walk to some of the sites or arrange for day tours that include round-trip transportation near/ from Jasper. We will list our favorites below,
Jasper National Park entry fees
To enter the park boundaries for sightseeing, there are entry fees at all the National Parks in Canada including Jasper. You can purchase a day pass or an annual pass for an individual or family/group.
For an adult entry, expect to pay $10.50 CAD, or $21 CAD for family/car – per day.
They are valid until 4:00 p.m. on the day after purchase. This fee is payable at the gate as you enter the park borders.
Discovery Pass: Alternatively, you can also buy the Discovery Pass, which allows unlimited admission for a full year at over 80 Parks Canada sites. This can be bought online on the website.
Note: Hotels and lodges do not cover park entry fees, it is your responsibility to pay for it when you arrive at the park gate/s. When driving from Edmonton you will be entering the east gate, and there are accommodation options near this entrance. And the west gate is near the BC side.
Where to stay in Jasper National Park?
Accommodation options range from camping to luxury resorts and hotels inside Jasper National Park.
There are many lodges and resorts available both on the east and west side of Jasper town, and they are pretty affordable – but they add driving time, about 30 to 40+ minutes.
During peak seasons, we also stayed in Hinton, but it was quite a drive to get to Jasper and nearby attractions. We will list our favorites from Jasper here,
- Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge: The luxury 5 star Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is located in the national park and it offers beautiful suites for couples and families. You can enjoy their spa and restaurant on-site. The hotel complex is pretty spread out and very lovely to spend a relaxed weekend. Fairmont also has festive packages in the winter and fall for visitors. Book your stay here
- Miette Mountain Cabins: Located near the Miette hot springs and on the east entrance, these cute cabins are perfect for staying all year round. They have an outdoor pool and free parking. Each cabin has a kitchenette, and fireplace and is spacious. Book your stay here
- Jasper East Cabins: Another comfortable cabin option is Jasper East Cabins. They are about a 40-minute drive away from Jasper town, and they surround you with mountains and wilderness, and amazing views! Click to view photos and availability
- Maligne Lodge: If you wish to stay in the heart of Jasper downtown, then Maligne Lodge is a good option. They offer free parking, and you will also find an outdoor heated tub to use. This 2 star lodge is located near shops, restaurants, and other services. Check availability here
So, here is how to spend a weekend in Jasper National Park,
Day 1 of the Jasper itinerary 3 days: Arrive in Jasper, explore the cute town, Jasper SkyTram, food tour, enjoy the sunset at the Lake Annette and Lake Edith, dinner
Day 1 of your Jasper itinerary starts with arriving in the charming mountain town.
After settling into your accommodation, take a stroll around downtown for some souvenir shopping and to explore the local culture.
Jasper is a beautiful mountain town. The small town center features historic buildings, cute, and shops, and restaurants to explore.
Connaught Drive and Patricia Street are the two main areas where there are services and hotels to be found.
Jasper train station is located on Connaught Drive and it is popular with visitors – people pop by for photos of the Canadian National Rail and the mountains in the backdrop.
As you begin strolling from the train station, you will find info centres, souvenir shops, and small cafes.
The town centre of Jasper is not as busy or big as Banff, it is super compact and you can easily walk the lanes in around 30 minutes.
After exploring Jasper town, make your way to Jasper SkyTram, the sightseeing gondola!
Jasper SkyTram is a must-do activity for those visiting the area, it is Canada’s highest and longest aerial tramway.
The SkyTram takes visitors on a seven-minute ride up to the summit of Whistlers Mountain, offering stunning views of the Rocky Mountains and surrounding landscape.
At the top, you can explore several walking trails and take 360-degree views of the region.
The Jasper SkyTram is open seasonally. They open at 08:00 am in the summer months, and during fall they are open a little later at 09:00 am.
They are closed in winter, with operations opening in June.
On-site, you will find Starbucks, tickets, and info centre, along with washrooms and a parking area.
We recommend spending 1-2 hours at the Jasper SkyTram.
- Address: Whistlers Rd, Jasper, AB T0E 1E0
- Tickets: $57.30 CAD per person
Jasper Food Tour
For a unique experience, take a food tour of Jasper and sample the local cuisine. You’ll be treated to delicious dishes featuring Canadian ingredients and flavors that you won’t find anywhere else.
Tours take off in the afternoon, around 2:30 pm and they last for 3 hours.
The guided walk includes 4 stops or sampling in 4 restaurants. At each restaurant, you will get to try a dish along with a drink to experience the real taste of Jasper’s foodie scene. You can book this tour here
Enjoy sunset at the Lake Annette and Lake Edith
Lake Annette and Lake Edith are located just a 10-minute drive away from Jasper downtown. There is a convenient parking lot where you can park between the two lakes and then enjoy a nice walk, away from the town centre.
Both lakes are fed by an underground river system with waters from Medicine Lake. Near and surrounding these lakes are lush greenery and towering mountain peaks.
Every day during sunset, the lake turns into an incredibly picturesque setting with vibrant colors in the sky that reflect off the lake’s surface.
It is an ideal spot for photographers, nature lovers, and anyone looking for a tranquil escape.
Note: Road access to Lake Annette is closed in the winter. You can swim here in the summer, enjoy picnics or go on hikes.
Lake Annette Loop (Clifford E. Lee Trail) is an easy 2.4 km (1.4 miles) trail that goes around the lake with informative displays all along.
Enjoy dinner in Jasper
Head back to Jasper town for dinner and drinks.
Day 2 of the 3 days in Jasper itinerary: Fairmont Jasper Lodge, visit Pyramid Lake, Patricia Lake, at Jasper Brewing Co.
Kickstart your day 2 in Jasper itinerary with a lovely breakfast or coffee at the Fairmont Jasper Lodge.
Fairmont Jasper Lodge is the perfect place to enjoy a cup of coffee and take in the majestic views of the Canadian Rockies. They have two excellent restaurants and a cozy fireplace to relax by.
After breakfast, head out to Pyramid Lake for more stunning views of the mountain peaks. Patricia Lake is also nearby and offers many different activities such as swimming, kayaking, or canoeing.
Pyramid Lake, lying serenely 1,180 meters above sea level at the foot of Pyramid Mountain’s majestic and towering presence in Jasper, is an oasis for relaxation amidst nature’s wonders.
This magical spot offers some of the most spectacular views that can be found in all of Jasper.
The lake has crystal-clear water and you can enjoy swimming, boating, fishing, and birdwatching here in the summer.
There are also many hiking trails around the lake to explore. In addition, Pyramid Lake is home to a variety of wildlife, including elk, deer, and bears.
When winter arrives, hit the trails with snowshoeing or a hike instead; other activities like dog sledding rides and skating are also available during this season.
Skates can be rented from the nearby Pyramid Lake Resort. You can also stop by here for washrooms or a quick break.
From the resort, make your way 1.50 km (.92 miles) down the lake road to Pyramid Island. You’ll find parking on the left-hand side of the street.
After you park, take a leisurely stroll along the boardwalk until you reach this wintry wonderland!
Make sure to wear warm boots with good treads or cleats in order to ensure safe passage—it’s absolutely breathtaking blanketed in snow!
Afterward, take a short drive to Patricia Lake for some swimming or boat rental opportunities before returning to the town in the late afternoon.
Patricia Lake is a beautiful lake located in Jasper National Park. The lake sits at an elevation of 1200 m and is surrounded by majestic mountains, making it one of the most picturesque spots in the park.
You can partake in activities such as swimming, kayaking, canoeing, fishing (permit required), and bird-watching. You can also enjoy hikes around the lake that take you through lush forests and fields.
Patricia Lake has snowshoeing opportunities in the winter.
There are picnic tables located by the lakeside, and are perfect for an afternoon break with a nice book!
This lake is named after Princess Patricia, the granddaughter of Queen Victoria. It is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike, as it offers plenty of outdoor activities and beautiful views all year round.
Patricia Lake Circle Loop Hike
Embark on the 4.8 km Patricia Lake Circle loop. The trail has an elevation gain of 75 m.
You can start at the trailhead located near Jasper riding stables right across from Patricia Lake Bungalows. The route goes around the Bungalows to Cottonwood slough.
As you make your way around Cottonwood slough, immerse yourself in stunning views of wildlife-watching opportunities that are especially prominent during sunrise and sunset hours.
You can also catch a glimpse of beaver ponds along this scenic path!
After a hike, cap off the night at Jasper downtown for some drinks and live music.
Jasper Brewing Co.
Jasper Brewing Co. is a local microbrewery that is located in the heart of Jasper National Park. It features an on-site brewpub and restaurant, where you can sample some of their delicious creations.
The brewery has a wide variety of handcrafted beers to choose from, ranging from IPAs to Stouts to Pilsners.
The restaurant offers a full menu of pub fare, including burgers, salads, sandwiches, and other dishes inspired by the surrounding area. All food is made with fresh ingredients sourced from local suppliers.
The brewpub also hosts events and has a generous seating area where you can relax while enjoying your drinks.
- Address: 624 Connaught Dr, Jasper, AB T0E 1E0
Day 3 of the 3 days in Jasper itinerary: Athabasca Falls, Maligne Canyon, Maligne Lake Cruise (or Marmot Ski Basin in winter)
Enjoy your final day in Jasper by waking up to warm waffles and coffee at the Bear’s Paw Bakery! You can grab breakfast and soak in the sun from the outdoor seating tables.
After a good meal, hit the road and check off the list of things to do in Jasper on day 3.
A mere 20 minutes from the enchanting town of Jasper lies one of nature’s most magnificent masterpieces: Athabasca Falls. It is one of Canada’s most spectacular waterfalls!
Boasting a spectacular cascade that plunges 23 meters down quartzite and limestone mountains, this breathtaking waterfall has carved an awe-inspiring canyon with illuminated potholes surrounded by a mystical misty fog.
The best views can be found on the viewing platform, located very close to the parking lot. You don’t want to hike too hard to get an unforgettable panorama of the falls and its surrounding landscape.
There are also several trails that will take you further into the area, where you can explore the craggy canyons and unique rock formations that Athabasca Falls is famous for.
You may like this tour: Athabasca Falls – Class 2 White Water Rafting Adventure
The falls access is open in the winter as well – just be sure to don cleats for optimal safety when viewing these slippery platforms!
Explore Maligne Canyon wilderness
Maligne Canyon, located just a stone’s throw away from downtown Jasper will take your breath away with its remarkable scenery.
Its water has carefully carved out rugged terrain that is now filled with magnificent craters and breathtaking rock formations.
Here you’ll find not only mesmerizing waterfalls but also hidden underground streams, and fantastic flora and fauna – all of which contribute to the canyon’s awe-inspiring beauty.
You can enjoy a multitude of activities such as hiking, fishing, photography, and exploring the canyon’s unique karst formations.
It is located about a 12-15 minute drive away from downtown Jasper.
Maligne Canyon Loop Trail (hiking): The Maligne Canyon Trail is a spectacular 3.4 km (2.11 miles) loop trail that offers amazing views of the falls and the scenery nearby.
Along the trail, you can admire incredible cliffs and natural bridges that have been carved into the canyon by flowing water.
Throughout the hike, keep an eye out for wildlife. This is rated at moderate level difficulty.
In the winter, ice walks are very popular at the Maligne Canyon. These guided walks are led by an expert local, and you are provided with cleats for the excursion. More details here
Maligne Lake + Spirit Island Cruise: Jasper summer itinerary
Maligne Lake is one of the most spectacular lakes in Jasper National Park. Its unique turquoise waters, crowned by an alluring Spirit Island, are surrounded by stunning snow-capped mountains that take your breath away.
The drive on the Maligne Lake Road to the lakeside provides one of the most scenic views of the Elizabeth and Maligne Mountain ranges.
For a quick break, you can also stop at the Maligne Lake Chalet for coffee and a meal.
Once you are at the lakeside, enjoy its beauty by strolling along the shores.
Maligne Lake is home to many varieties of fish, birds, and other wildlife that visitors can observe from the shores. In summer, you can also explore the lake by kayaking, canoeing, or motor boating.
There is also a variety of trails that surround Maligne Lake, offering stunning views and plenty of opportunities for wildlife watching.
The highlight of any visit to Maligne Lake is taking a cruise on the Spirit Island Tour. This 90-minute tour takes you around Maligne Lake and provides breathtaking views of the lake, its surrounding mountains, and glaciers.
Tours operate in the summer and fall months (June through early October only, and are weather dependent).
Maligne Lake and cruise are perfect for a Jasper summer itinerary, and if you are visiting in the winter, you can swap these activities for either Marmot Ski Basin (skiing and snowboarding) or opt for a Wildlife Discovery Tour.
Marmot Ski Basin (skiing and snowboarding): Jasper winter itinerary
Hit the slopes of Marmot Ski Basin for some downhill skiing and snowboarding in the winter.
Located close to the town of Jasper, the Marmot Ski Basin offers over 90 runs ranging from beginner to expert level.
The resort also has an impressive terrain park which is great for those looking to challenge their skills with obstacles and jumps.
For beginners, the Marmot Ski Basin offers a variety of lessons that will ensure you have the confidence and knowledge to progress your skiing or snowboarding career.
There is also a beautiful restaurant on-site along with 3 day lodges to refuel and relax in between.
- Address: 1 Marmot Rd, Jasper, AB T0E 1E0
Wildlife Discovery Tour: Jasper winter itinerary
Jasper National Park is filled with wildlife, and there are many ways to experience the park’s wild side. One of the most popular activities is a guided wildlife adventure tour.
These tours take visitors on an unforgettable journey into the heart of Jasper’s backcountry, providing encounters with some of its abundant wildlife.
On a wildlife adventure tour, you get a chance to spot animals such as moose, elk, bighorn sheep, goats, coyotes, and deer. Led by an expert local guide, you can also learn about Jasper’s wild mountain fauna and its ecology.
There are small group tours that you can book online with hotel pick up and drop off included such as this one.
(Optional) Day 3 of Jasper itinerary 3 days: Icefields Parkway Jasper to Lake Louise
An alternate option or extension to your Jasper weekend itinerary is to check off natural attractions along the Icefields Parkway and enjoy the drive.
This stretch of highway offers breathtaking views of turquoise-colored lakes, cascading waterfalls, and rugged peaks.
The Icefields Parkway is about 227 km (141 miles) long and takes 3 hours to complete without stops. It connects Jasper to Lake Louise in Banff National Park. It is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and there is no fee to drive it.
Along the way, you can make stops at some of the most beautiful spots in the park, including Sunwapta Falls, Peyto Lake, and Athabasca Glacier.
Make sure to keep an eye out for wildlife as you drive—you never know what might be around the corner!
This drive will leave you with an appreciation for the wild and rugged beauty of Jasper National Park, and a newfound respect for the power of nature.
Sunwapta Falls is one of the first spots to hit along the Icefields Parkway route (it is one of my absolute favorites). The distance from Jasper town is 40+ minutes. And you can access them all year round.
The viewing platform involves a short hike or walk.
From the parking lot, you have to walk down to the viewing bridge to see the canyon and the Sunwapta waterfall. You will probably spend about 30 minutes or so at this site.
When the weather is good, you can also embark on the lower level of the falls (there is a well-marked trail).
You may like this tour: Sunwapta Challenge Whitewater Rafting in Jasper
The Athabasca Glacier, located near the Columbia Icefield, is one of the most popular attractions near Jasper National Park.
You can take a tour of the glacier’s surface on a special Ice Explorer and explore the area.
This excursion is operated by Brewster Canada and is seasonal. The Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Centre is located 1 hour south of Jasper.
You can also head to the Columbia Icefield Skywalk and walk on the glass walkway to take in the views of glaciers, and Sunwapta Valley underneath.
Peyto Lake is a glacial lake located in the Canadian Rockies, renowned for its turquoise hue.
This spot is ideal for photography enthusiasts looking to capture postcard-perfect images of the lake and nearby peaks. Distance from Jasper town is 2 hours.
Whether you have just a few hours or an entire day, this scenic drive is sure to be one of the highlights of your visit to Jasper National Park.
3 days Jasper road trip map
Additional travel tips for Jasper National Park
As you plan your trip to Jasper National Park, here are some important travel tips and practical information:
The best time to visit the park is from May to October when temperatures are pleasant and the sites are at their most beautiful.
Summer months will be busy, and hotels might get booked up, so plan early.
We enjoy our trips to Jasper and the Canadian Rockies in the fall (September and October) when the crowds have dispersed. Winters are also great, for skiing, snowshoeing, and ice walks.
Whenever you visit ensure you get appropriate clothing for any activity you plan on doing – hiking boots, cleats, snowshoes, rain gear, sunscreen, and hats are all essential items to have in your bag.
Jasper is known for its wildlife, so be sure to take precautions when exploring the area and stay safe while seeing animals.
When you embark on the Icefields Parkway drive, always fuel up, and be prepared in case of low cell receptions. Make sure to bring plenty of water and snacks with you, as there are limited places to purchase food and drinks in the park.
What are the hikes to include in Jasper National Park Itinerary
Here are some of the popular hikes to include in your Jasper National Park Itinerary
Mount Edith Cavell Hike
Mount Edith Cavell Hike is an 8.2-km (5-mile) loop trail known for an invigorating and rewarding experience! Although it might be a bit challenging with an average completion time of 3.50 hours, you won’t regret it.
Dogs are not allowed on trails. The best months to visit are from July through October.
Sulphur Skyline Hike
Meander along this 7.9 km (4.9 miles) out-and-back trail located near Improvement District No. 12 – an area known for its popular hiking, snowshoeing, and running terrain!
This is considered a difficult route that will generally take an average of 3 hours and 40 minutes to complete.
The best time to hit the Sulphur Skyline Trail is between June and October when conditions are perfect for exploration. Dogs are allowed on the trail but on lease.
Moose Lake Loop
This is a 2.7 km (1.7 miles) moderately difficult trail, that goes through the forest and is regularly used for hiking, biking, and birding. Use this trail from April to September.
Is Jasper worth visiting in the winter?
Yes, Jasper looks beautiful in winter. Although some of the popular attractions like cruises and Athabasca Icefield adventure are closed for the season, you can still enjoy winter hikes, snowshoeing, and skiing.
The town is open for tourists and hotels and restaurants operate as normal.
You can also drive through from Banff to Jasper via the Icefields Parkway route in winter – they might have seasonal closures for a day or two, depending on the weather.
Packing for Jasper National Park
There are some packing essentials for Jasper National Park.
- Lightweight waterproof jacket: This is a must for all year (except winter). Wear it in the town centre or on hikes and walks. Here is my favorite one
- Hiking shoes: Hiking shoes are needed when you hit the trails in and around Jasper. Many of the trails are uneven and will need a sturdy pair of hiking boots. I love these one from KEEN shoes
- Winter Parka: Bring a nice warm parka jacket to enjoy the winter activities in Jasper. Ensure it is long and has a hood and deep pockets. Click to view this winter jacket
- Base Layers: Add base layers (top and bottom) to stay warm and toasty. Click to view my favorite pair bottom and top here
- Winter Boots: Ensure you have winter boots for outdoor activities. Buy my favorite pair here
- Winter accessories: Pack colorful beanies, gloves, and warm socks as well – Click to view warm socks, warm gloves, beanies
Finally, don’t forget to pack your camera and binoculars, as there are plenty of opportunities to take amazing photos and marvel at the beautiful wildlife of Jasper National Park.
Safety tips for visiting Jasper National Park
Visiting Jasper National Park can be a thrilling and memorable experience, but it is important to take appropriate safety precautions.
Always bring a map of the park and familiarize yourself with the trails and routes you plan to explore.
Make sure someone knows your itinerary, including where you are going and when you expect to return.
Be aware of wildlife in the park and never approach or feed them. Make noise as you travel and keep your distance if you encounter bears or other animals.
Wear appropriate clothing, such as layers that are waterproof and insulated, to protect yourself from the elements. Stay on marked trails, always be aware of your surroundings, and never hike alone.
Spending a weekend in Jasper National Park offers an unforgettable experience of exploring beautiful landscapes, experiencing wildlife in its natural habitat, and enjoying the park’s many outdoor activities.
With mountain ranges and stunning lakes, ensure you have suitable clothing for any activity you plan to do, and plenty of food and water to stay hydrated.
Whether it’s your first time exploring Jasper or you’re coming back for more, the park offers something for everyone and will provide an amazing weekend getaway in the great outdoors!
We hope this guide helps make your trip to Jasper National Park unforgettable!