Visitors to the Rockies often don’t make it past Banff and Lake Louise. But if you have the time, not only is it worth the drive to Jasper – one of the most scenic in Canada – but I recommend spending a few days in the Jasper area.

Here are 10 things to do in Jasper and within an hour’s drive in summer.

Fantastic mountain scenery just east of Jasper

Fantastic mountain scenery just east of Jasper

Visit Patricia and Pyramid Lakes

Drive to Patricia and Pyramid Lakes – only 15 minutes away from the Jasper townsite. Hike the loop trail around Patricia Lake or rent a canoe and explore the lake.

Pyramid lake at the base of Pyramid Mountain

Pyramid Lake at the base of Pyramid Mountain

Take the Jasper SkyTram

Take the Jasper SkyTram up Whistlers Mountain and feast your eyes on the incredible high alpine views. It’s Canada’s longest and highest aerial tramway, but you’ll have to cough up $49.30 per adult (2019) to go up. Once on top there is some truly excellent hiking. On a clear day you can see Mount Robson.

Take the Jasper SkyTram up the mountain to access beautiful hiking

Take the Jasper SkyTram up the mountain to access beautiful hiking

Visit Athabasca Falls

Admire Athabasca Falls, thirty minutes to the south of Jasper via Highway 93 or 93A. While the falls are only 23 metres high, they are the most powerful ones in the Canadian Rockies. The frozen falls are equally enjoyable to  visit in the winter.

The Athabasca River pours through Athabasca Canyon once the snow melts

The Athabasca River pours through Athabasca Canyon once the snow melts

Discover Maligne Lake by boat

Drive to Maligne Lake – an hour’s drive away from Jasper and canoe, kayak or take one of the boat tours. Wildlife are frequently sighted on the drive. Spirit Island which you’ll see on any boat tour is one of the most photographed places in the world.

Mid-morning reflections on Maligne Lake

Mid-morning reflections on Maligne Lake

Maligne Canyon

Visit Maligne Canyon, 15 minutes east of Jasper. Walk the 3.7 kilometre interpretative trail crossing foot bridges over the canyon along the way. In winter you can walk up the icy canyon as the water drains like a bathtub.

Soak in Miette Hot Springs

Soak your troubles away in the Miette Hot Springs – the hottest in the Rockies. They’re one hour east of Jasper in the beautiful Fiddle Valley. There are a number of pools so you can move from hot to cold to warm until your skin looks look a wrinkled prune. They are closed from Thanksgiving until early May.

Miette Hot Springs

Miette Hot Springs

Do the hike to Mount Edith Cavell Lookout

Switchback your way up the 14 kilometre Cavell Road through sub-alpine forest to reach the trailhead to the Mount Edith Cavell Lookout. (The road will be reopened by mid-June weather permitting.) Do not bring your trailer! Join the rest of the tourists on the Path of the Glacier Trail. It won’t take you long to get those up-close glacier views you’ve probably seen in a postcard rack. The gorgeous turquoise meltwater of Cavell Pond only adds to the beauty and makes this area one of most stunning in all of Jasper National Park. There is the option to continue hiking into Cavell Meadows which I highly recommend doing.

Mount Edith Cavell and the glacier

Mount Edith Cavell and the glacier

Go swimming

Swim – yes swim in the spring fed Lakes Annette, Edith and Beauvert, ten minutes away via Highway 16. You can also walk the one hour interpretative trail around the lakes.

Pick one of the many exceptional hikes in the Jasper area

Hike in some of the most glorious country in the Rockies. One of the best in the area is the Bald Hills trail. It starts in the vicinity of Maligne Lake and delivers wildflowers, glaciers, forests and desolate rock scenes. Even better – it’s a relatively easy 12.6 kilometre round trip hike. Or if you want a multi-day hike try to score a reservation and do the phenomenal Skyline Trail.

Read: Hiking the Skyline Trail in Jasper National Park

On the descent towards the Tekarra Campground

On the descent towards the Tekarra Campground on the Skyline Trail

Try canyoning in Jasper National Park

In 2016 I tried canyoning in Jasper National Park. It’s an adventure few people know about but it’s an amazing way to spend a day. There is some hiking involved to get to the point where you start the canyoning adventure.

10 Things to Do in Jasper in the Summer

Canyoning in Jasper National Park

In Jasper the chance of seeing wildlife is very high – especially in the early morning and at dusk. Drive carefully on any of the roads around Jasper.

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10 great things to do in Jasper in summer

Leigh McAdam

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta
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Leigh McAdam

Leigh McAdam

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 57,000 followers. Her blog: HikeBikeTravel is frequently cited as one of the top travel and outdoor adventure blogs in Canada. Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

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