In contrast to its southern cousin Banff, which is more polished and tourist-friendly, Jasper is a rugged beauty that attracts more ambitious and daring travellers. Its greatest strength is its vast network of multifunctional trails, many of which are directly accessible from the park’s small townsite.
It is supported by an abundance of animals, enormous icefields, and—for the brave—the kind of barren backcountry that gives you the impression that you are a long way (and hundreds of years) away from anything like civilization.
In contrast to Banff, most of Jasper’s routes are multipurpose and accessible to cyclists, equestrian riders, and hikers. The park is able to provide the best network of off-road bike routes in Canada, and these tracks aren’t only for daredevils because to this permissive sharing policy. With ratings of green (easy), blue (intermediate), or black (difficult), they are accessible to a wide range of people, including children and parents towing trailers.
The fact that many of Jasper’s paths begin right from the townsite is an added plus because it eliminates the need to transport your bike by car or bus. Numerous loops can be planned from your hotel or campground using a specialised cycling route map (available for free from the information office), with time to include hiking, swimming, canoeing, or stopping for a cup of coffee along the way.
Miette Hot Springs and Maligne Canyon, two of the most well-known natural wonders, are both easily reachable, and a great deal more attractions are close by or only require a short trip. To take advantage of the many side trips you come across, like a glittering lake to admire, a snowshoe excursion to discover, or a moose to watch strolling by, leave some time open in your schedule. Jasper, the biggest of Canada’s Rocky Mountain parks, will capture your heart with its beauty and tranquilly.
The Icefields Parkway, one of Canada’s most well-known drives, connects Jasper and Banff National Parks.
Jasper National Park has three main road entrances. Just east of Pocahontas, on Highway 16, between Jasper and Hinton, is the East Park Entrance. The West Park Entrance is located on the same highway, 15 miles (24 km) west of Jasper Town, close to Mt. Robson Provincial Park, Yellowhead Pass, and the border with British Columbia. On Highway 93, 6 kilometres south of Jasper Town and on the road to Lake Louise, is the Icefields Parkway Entrance. At all entrance gates, you must either purchase or provide a park pass.
Adults must pay C$10 to enter the park, seniors C$8.70, families C$20, and children under 17 are admitted free. Campground use, backcountry camping, and fire permits all come with extra costs. Visit the Jasper National Park website to for the most recent fees.
Jasper National Park camping
Wapiti, Wabasso, and Pocahontas are the three of Jasper’s ten campgrounds that presently accept reservations in advance. Whistlers, the largest campground in Jasper, is currently closed for renovations but will reopen to reservations in the summer of 2021. First-come, first-served policies apply to all other campgrounds. Backcountry camping is also advised, as Parks Canada has a cap on the number of hikers allowed on each trail.
Starting in late January of each year, frontcountry and backcountry sites can be reserved online through Parks Canada. A few cabins and lodges in Jasper are designed after the European alpine tradition. These historic backcountry getaways offer a distinctive wilderness experience without the trouble of pitching a tent or listening to things that go bump in the night because they are all located a good day’s hike from the closest road.
Jasper National Park lodging
Jasper boasts a variety of hotels, motels, hostels, cabins, B&Bs, and bungalows in addition to its venerable old lodge. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to book far in advance in July and August.
In the months of July and August, Jasper experiences intense peak season, making it quite challenging to book a lodging on short notice. Fortunately, Jasper Town, which has a permanent population of 4500, has more than 100 B&Bs located in individual homes in addition to the usual assortment of hotels, motels, and campers. An excellent website with descriptions, phone numbers, and connections to the park’s inspected B&Bs is maintained by the Jasper Home Accommodations Association. Prices in high season range from $75 to 275 Canadian dollars, and amenities sometimes include kitchenettes and private entrances and cable TV.