The province of Alberta is FULL of amazing natural and historical sites. Of course, the world knows the beautiful Banff National Park. But there are also other national and provincial parks that are equally stunning and deserves a visit. In this post, we will be highlighting the capital city of Alberta, Edmonton to Jasper Itinerary trip, with travel tips and amazing things to do in Jasper National Park.
Edmonton to Jasper Itinerary + Things to do in Jasper
Jasper National Park is the LARGEST national park in the Canadian Rockies. The nearest airport to Jasper is Edmonton. You can arrive in Edmonton and use this post to spend 1-2 days in Edmonton, followed by one full day of road tripping and exploring smaller towns in Alberta, before arriving in Jasper National Park. You can easily cover Jasper in 2 to 5 days.
If you wish to complete the entire list of things to do in Edmonton and Jasper, here is how your itinerary would look like
- Day 1 Edmonton to Jasper Itinerary: Arrive in Edmonton. Pick up a rental car, explore downtown Edmonton
- Day 2 Edmonton to Jasper Itinerary: Explore more of Edmonton culinary scene, shopping or museum visit
- Day 3 Edmonton to Jasper Itinerary: Start bright and early to explore towns of Entwistle, Edson, and Hinton. Arrive at Jasper National Park in the evening.
- Day 4 Jasper Itinerary: Breakfast in Jasper downtown. Head to Pyramid and Patricia lakes, canoe or snowshoe (depending on the season), Jasper SkyTram
- Day 5 Jasper Itinerary: Athabasca Falls, Maligne Canyon, Medicine Lakes, Edith Cavell Meadows Trail
- Day 6 Jasper Itinerary: Athabasca Glacier / Columbia Icefield exploration, Sunwapta Falls
- Day 7 Jasper Itinerary: Sulphur Skyline Trail hike – 6 hours, Miette Hot Springs (evening)
- Optional Day 7 Itinerary (non-hikers and winter): Bike on Lake Edith Shoreline Loop or go on ice walk in winter.
Let’s start with Alberta’s Capital City – Edmonton.
Edmonton is the capital city of Alberta. It is, therefore very well connected via air and roadways. Edmonton city is served by the YEG – Edmonton International Airport, located in Leduc. Leduc is about 35 minutes from the city of Edmonton.
Edmonton is the world’s northernmost metro capital city. Visit this city for a day before heading to the mountains.
Here are some sightseeing options for your Edmonton trip
- Alberta Legislature – Head to the city center and spend some time at the provincial legislature – Alberta Legislature, affectionately called the Ledge. You will get tons of photo spots in and around the area. Also, consider taking a guided tour
- Royal Alberta Museum – Spend 1-2 hours exploring and learning about Alberta’s past at the Royal Alberta Museum.
- Take the High-Level Bridge cable car to enjoy a scenic ride over the North Saskatchewan River and the stunning river valley
- Head to Strathcona for lunch and admire the quaint and quirky neighborhood
- Muttart Conservatory – Enjoy a late afternoon stroll at the Muttart Conservatory. Visit the beautiful pyramid style botanical gardens and learn about various flora and fauna.
- West Edmonton Mall – End the day with some shopping at the West Edmonton Mall – one of the largest malls in Canada. Follow that, with a lavish dinner and drinks at one of the restaurants at the Bourbon Street in WEM (West Edmonton Mall)
- Visiting Edmonton in Winter? find all the activities the city has to offer here
You will find tons of hotels in Edmonton to stay for a night or two. West Edmonton mall (west side), Leduc airport area or Downtown has tons of hotels to choose from for all budget levels.
We recommend using HotelsCombined.com to find accommodation. It is our favorite hotel’s website for quickly comparing the prices of multiple hotel booking sites at once.
Road Trip Stops from Edmonton to Jasper Itinerary: Entwistle, Edson & Hinton
The journey from Edmonton to Jasper Itinerary is about 4 hours one way (3 hours and 50 minutes to be exact).
Ways to travel from Edmonton to Jasper National Park
- Drive – You can rent a car from the Edmonton International Airport or any car rental agencies from across the city to drive to Jasper from Edmonton
- Shuttle Services (Edmonton Edson Hinton) – Shuttle services are available to take you from Edmonton to Jasper National Park. Cold Shot Bus schedules per day from Edmonton to Jasper. Sun Dog tours operate shuttle services to Jasper. Bus tickets can be reserved all year round, including pick up and drop off options available from Edmonton Downtown, West Edmonton Mall and Edmonton International Airport. 607 Connaught Dr is the main bus station in Jasper. Choose shuttle from Edmonton to Jasper here
If you start early, say 07:00 or 08:00 am for Jasper National Park from Edmonton, you will arrive in time in Jasper for some outdoor activities.
Starting from Edmonton you will cross small towns in Alberta, after every hour. They are perfect for a rest stop. These small towns have service towns with food, gas stations, and small museums.
The first stop after an hour’s drive from Edmonton is Entwistle, followed by Edson (in another hour) and then finally Hinton. Hinton is one hour away from Jasper and its a great option for accommodation during busy summer months.
Entwistle is a small hamlet in Alberta, with a population of little over 500. It is about 95 kilometers west of Edmonton on the Yellowhead Highway. The exact location for Entwistle at the Yellowhead Highway intersection with Highway 22/Highway 16A.
Edson is bigger then Entwistle. It is a town with close to 8500 population, with full-service facilities like restaurants, gas stations, downtown area, and convenience stores. It is located in Yellowhead County, 192 kilometers west of Edmonton along the Yellowhead Highway and 10 kilometers east of the intersection with Highway 47.
Edson is located at an elevation of 920 meters and it experiences subarctic climate conditions.
Hinton is a popular rest stop on your way from Edmonton to Jasper National Park. This town in west-central Alberta offers a great accommodation option during peak seasons, as a backup option for Jasper hotels. It is located in Yellowhead County, 81 kilometers northeast of Jasper and about 284 kilometers west of Edmonton.
Because it is located at the intersection of Yellowhead and Bighorn Highway, in the Athabasca River valley, you can explore Hinton’s natural parks and sites before heading to Jasper.
Things to do in Hinton Alberta
Here are some of the things to do in Hinton Alberta
Athabasca River Front Park
Beautiful river park by Athabasca. Go for a stroll or nature photography here
Beaver Broad Walk
Beaver Boardwalk is a forest & waterways Broadwalk in Hinton, offering views of beavers, other wildlife & natural scenery.
Northern Rockies Museum of Culture & Heritage
Northern Rockies Museum of Culture & Heritage is a Hinton local and natural history museum in a railway station. It is open from 09:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday to Saturday. The entry fee is $5 CAD for adults.
Places to visit in Jasper Itinerary+ Things to do in Jasper National Park
There are TONS of things to do in Jasper National Park. If you are arriving in the afternoon or in broad daylight, rest assured you will meet some wildlife on your way. The road to Jasper National Park is lined with wildlife corridors and it is a real treat to watch them.
Note: Entry fee for Jasper (car pass or family) is 19.60 CAD/day
Here are some of the places to visit in Jasper Itinerary
These places below are perfect for half the day of your Jasper Itinerary.
Pyramid Lake Jasper National Park
Pyramid Lake is a kidney-shaped lake in Jasper Alberta. It is located 5-7 minutes drive from the downtown area. There is a resort in the vicinity as well. This is the prettiest area in Jasper to unwind and admire the natural beauty of the Rockies.
The Pyramid Lake lies at the foothills of Pyramid Mountain, hence the name. The Pyramid Mountains are a natural landmark of Jasper – it is stunning and mighty and overlooks the town of Jasper. The lake is located at an elevation of 1,180 meters.
Patricia Lake Jasper National Park – Fishing, Hike, Relax and Unwind
Patricia Lake is located very close to the Pyramid mountains as well. During summer months, you can swim, canoe or picnic here at Lake Patricia and be mesmerized by the stunning mountain drops. The lake has a resort as well with boating facilities (Patricia Lake Bungalows).
During winters, lake Patricia is snowshoeing heaven!
Stroll and Dine at Jasper Downtown
Downtown Jasper is a small city center filled with street-side cafes and bars and restaurants. Head there for lunch and dinner or to pick up any groceries for your road trip the next day.
Some of the popular places for dinner include – Evil Dave’s Grill ($$$) for drinks and international cuisine, Jasper Curry House ($$) for East Indian food, Earl’s Kitchen ($$) for drinks and food.
You will also see amazing mountain views from Downtown Jasper lanes.
Get breakfast at Jasper Downtown Bakery
The next morning, head to Jasper downtown for breakfast. We did tea and baked goods for breakfast at the – The Other Paw Bakery Cafe, Downtown Jasper. This bakery had seating areas outside, where we could soak the morning sun. It was fall, when we visited Jasper National Park, so a perfect way to start the day and get all the Vitamin D, before sightseeing.
Use the activities below to draft and plan your full day Jasper National Park Itinerary
Jasper SkyTram – See stunning views from the Jasper SkyTram
Jasper Skytram is the highest and longest tramway in Canada. It is located about 6 kilometers from Jasper National Park, at a height of 2,277 meters above sea level. You can take the Jasper Skytram, reach the summit lookout area for viewing some stunning views of the Canadian Rockies.
The Jasper Sky Tram has dining options as well, to celebrate your stay in the mountains. There is so much to do and learn in the SkyTram area, it is recommended that you allow 2-3 hours for your visit.
During peak summer months, the SkyTram opens at 08:00 am. And in the fall and winter seasons, the Jasper Skytram opens its doors at 09:00 and 10:00 am. More on Jasper Skytram hours here
There are entry fees for accessing the Jasper SkyTram and it is $50 CAD for an adult.
Athabasca Falls – Hike or take an admiring look at the Athabasca Falls
Athabasca Falls is located about 15-20 minutes from downtown Jasper. The Athabasca falls is about 23 meters high and is stunningly located in the Jasper National Park.
The waterfalls cutting through quartzite and limestone mountains, creates a beautiful canyon and potholes, with a misty glow.
The Athabasca Falls is located on the west side of the icefields parkway – Columbia Icefield. It receives waters from the glaciers of the Icefield parkway making it the largest river system in Jasper National Park.
The Athabasca River is a designated Canadian heritage river (status granted in 1989). There is a national university of the same name in Canada (Athabasca University).
Athabasca falls is a great place to hike and capture some of the stunning mountains and waterfalls.
While hiking in and around the Athabasca falls be mindful of slippery surfaces – Broadwalk, rocks, and trail in general. During winters the trail access is closed for safety reasons.
Maligne Canyon Ice Walk and Hike
Maligne Canyon is located about 12-15 minutes away from Downtown Jasper. The Maligne Canyon is very scenic and an interesting area. The lake’s waves beat the rocks and walls of the hills to create beautiful craters over the years – it is truly breathtaking.
The Maligne Canyon is created due to the Palliser Formation. The canyon measures over 50 meters deep.
During winters, you can take an Ice walk tour to the Maligne Canyon. Book your tour here
Popular activities at the Maligne Canyon include sightseeing and exploration. The canyon area contains waterfalls, underground stream outlets, birds and flora, and fauna. There are hiking trails for all levels.
There is a beautiful Maligne Canyon Loop Trail, which is a 3.4-kilometer trail, where you can see waterfalls and do some bird watching. It is great for walking and hiking and is rated at a moderate level. (Dogs on leash are allowed at the trail).
Maligne Lake Exploration
One of the most picturesque locations in Jasper National Park is that of the Maligne Lake. The lake is beautiful with its rare turquoise waters, and a small islet – called the Spirit Island.
The Maligne lake is surrounded by stunning mountain peaks and there are three glaciers visible from the lake.
The drive to the Maligne Lake is also one of the most scenic routes in the Canadian Rockies. The drive starts near the town of Jasper and ends at Maligne Lake. Along the way, you can stop at the Maligne Canyon and the popular Hanging Valley viewpoint.
The Hanging Valley Viewpoint offers a stunning view of the Athabasca Valley and the Pyramid Mountain in the backdrop. You can locate the lookout point at 6 kilometers into Maligne Lake Road from Highway 16.
The scenic road to Maligne lake is built along the glacier valley running between the Maligne and Elizabeth mountain ranges, hence why you will see stunning mountain peaks, glacier lakes and tons of wildlife on your way.
A river cruise on the Maligne Lake and onto the Spirit River is said to be ONE of the finest.
Explore Medicine Lake Jasper
Medicine Lake is a 7-kilometer lake located within Jasper National Park. It is a picturesque lake site, situated approximately 20 kilometer southeast of Jasper downtown. Medicine lake is a shallow lake and forms a part of the Maligne Valley watershed. And is glacial fed.
Admire the mighty Mount Edith Cavell
Probably the MOST prominent peak within the Jasper National Park is Mount Edith Cavell. It is a mountain located in the Athabasca River and Astoria River valleys of Jasper.
There is an Edith Cavell Meadows Trail – a 6.1-kilometer loop trail in Jasper. It is a moderate level loop trail and it offers a number of activities like hiking, bird and nature watching.
After an eventful day in Jasper, head back to the downtown area for dinner.
Keep one day of your Jasper Itinerary to explore the Athabasca Glacier.
Spend a day exploring Athabasca Glacier
Probably BEST to reserve a FULL day to enjoy the Athabasca Glacier. The Athabasca Glacier is best explored as a tour to the Columbia Icefields Parkway for a day, located in the Canadian Rockies. Although the glacier is currently receding at a high rate, it is still worth to view and experience the glaciers for yourself.
As you might already know the Columbia Icefields are the largest glaciers in Canada. There are guided tours, with glacier walks and skywalk services offered to visitors all year round.
The Athabasca glacier is one of the distributions of the Columbia Icefields.
The Banff Jasper Collection tour collective offers Athabasca Glacier tours. These guided tours include a trip to Athabasca Glacier and Skywalk. You will be taken to the glacier in a special vehicle and are allowed time on the glacier surface. Take pictures, walk the surface and live the experience.
Note: While on the glacier, to avoid slipping on ice, wear crampons, which are steel spikes attached to the bottoms of your boots.
Take the Columbia Icefield Skywalk
Part of your Athabasca Glacier tour also includes Columbia Icefield Skywalk. Columbia Icefield Skywalk is a glass floor, a cliff-edge walkway of 1 kilometer in length. It is a perfect way to see the raw nature, come alive right in front of you.
You can see the stunning Sunwapta Valley below the skywalk glass and experience waterfalls, wildlife, fossils, and valleys. The walk is presented in an interpretive storytelling format.
You can also book a trip and get access to the Columbia Icefield Skywalk as a standalone option without the glacier adventure tour. Tickets start at $ 32 CAD. Book a Columbia Icefield Skywalk tour here
Sunwapta River and Sunwapta Falls
The Sunwapta River is a tributary of the Athabasca River. And the Sunwapta Falls is a pair of waterfalls of the same river. The Sunwapta Falls are accessible via Icefields Parkway road, which connects Jasper and Banff National Parks.
Hike the Sulphur Skyline Trail
Sulphur Skyline Trail offers some of the stunning views of Jasper National Park. The Sulphur Skyline trail road is closed for winter and usually opens in May as the temperatures are warmer.
Although we have not completed the entire trail ourselves, our friends suggest going on this hike in June, and to wear proper hiking shoes. Parks Canada rates this hiking trail as moderate to high difficulty rating. The first part of the trail is easier, and you will find children enjoying the hike as well. After 2-2.5 kilometers it starts to get steep.
To complete the entire trail, it takes 4-6 hours. It is recommended that you carry food and water with you, and take enough breaks.
Soak in Miette Hot Springs
After an eventful day at the Sulphur Skyline trail, head to the Miette Hot Springs. Miette Hot Springs is located right at the trailhead of the Sulphur Skyline hike, which is about 61 kilometers northeast of Jasper.
But hiking or not, you must head there to soak in some amazing views and the warm waters of the Rockies. Miette Hot Springs is an outdoor pool, offering a great view of the Fiddle River Valley.
Hot springs are open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Entry fee of $6 CAD for an adult for a single visit.
Jasper to Banff or Lake Louise as a day trip
You can also head to Banff or Lake Louise from Jasper National Park.
- Jasper to Banff is 3.50 hours by road. One way tour to Banff from Jasper is available
- Jasper to Lake Louise is 3 hours by road. One way tour to Lake Louise from Jasper
Jasper Hotels for your visit – Places to visit in Jasper Itinerary
There are different budget level hotels available in Jasper National Park for your stay. We stayed in Jasper once, at other times we traveled to Jasper from Edmonton and then stayed in Banff for the night.
We recommend using HotelsCombined.com to find accommodation. It is our favorite hotel’s website for quickly comparing the prices of multiple hotel booking sites at once.
Here are our TOP 3 recommendations –
- Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge – 4-star hotel (luxury range)
- Location – Beauvert Lake in Jasper National Park
- Luxurious hotel stay, with Italian dining and spa
- Book your stay at – Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge
- Chateau Jasper Hotel – A 3-star hotel (mid-range)
- Great location, quick access to Jasper Skytram and other scenic spots
- Has a heated indoor pool and a restaurant on site
- Book your stay at – Chateau Jasper Hotel
- Astoria Hotel – A 3-star hotel (mid-range)
- This is where we stayed in our first trip to Jasper National Park
- Good location, near Pyramid Lake and train station/downtown
- On-site restaurant and a pub-style bar – grill
- Book your stay at Astoria Hotel
Travel Tips – Places to visit in Jasper Attractions
We have a comprehensive guide to the Canadian Rockies. Read all about it here. We have included some quick details for Jasper National Park below.
Travel Documents for Jasper Itinerary
All travelers to Jasper Canada from non-exempt visa countries are required to apply for a tourist visa ahead of time. It must be applied from the country of residence and should provide 2 weeks to 1 month of processing times.
Visa-exempt countries like citizens of the USA are required to apply for an eTA – electronic Travel Authorization, prior to arriving in Canada. eTA can be applied the day before you arrive in Canada. And the processing time takes a few minutes only.
Travel Insurance to Canada
All visitors to Canada should have travel medical insurance. Travel medical insurance will cover trip cancellations, accidents, and medical emergencies while traveling in Canada. Get travel insurance quotes below
Jasper Entry fee and Jasper Train Service
To access and use the Jasper National Park, there is an entry fee (car pass or family) – 19.60 CAD/day
Jasper Train Service – An amazing VIA Rail (via rail) service is available, which starts at the Jasper Train Station (located at 607 Connaught Dr, Jasper) and culminates in Dunster, British Columbia.
Best Time to Visit Jasper National Park
Jasper is an all-year destination. However, a lot of the activities in Jasper are seasonal. So visiting Jasper National Park should be planned in advance and you should visit during warm and tourist seasons to make the MOST of your trip.
April to the end of August are the BEST months to visit Jasper National Park. The weather is warm and the days are longer. The Jasper Tramway is open during these months. It closes near the end of October and opens in late March or early April. The Maligne Lake boat cruise also shuts down in early to mid-October and opens again in late May or early June.
Sulphur Skyline Trail is closed for winter. It opens in May.
Visiting Jasper in Winter
The winter season in Jasper is perfect for snowshoeing and skiing activities. You will not find tons of holiday season festivities like you will in Banff or Lake Louise, but nevertheless you can experience winter activities.
A skier’s paradise is the Marmot Basin. It is an alpine ski area, with a huge capacity – close to 12,000 skiers can be served per hour on seven lifts. The season runs from mid-November to early May.
Snowshoeing activities are popular at Lake Patricia.
Learn more about Canadian winters clothing here
All in all, if you like nature and all activities around nature like hiking, climbing, camping, etc. then Jasper National Park is a great place. Not to mention this place has a calming effect due to the natural surroundings.
Additional Canada Resources
- Winter guide to Banff National Park – Banff – Guide to Winter
- Photography Spots – Guide to photography spots in the Canadian Rockies
- Guide to Calgary – Calgary quick guide
- Guide to Canmore
- Downtown Calgary Activities and guide
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