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 along one of the most scenic highways in Canada – but better yet, spend a few days in the Jasper area. It’s not as busy as the Banff – Lake Louise corridor and there’ so much to do. Described are some of the best things to do in Jasper in summer – all within an hour’s drive of the town.price of
No matter what you decide to do, go prepared with the right clothes and gear. You’re in the mountains and the weather is fickle. Also be sure to carry bear spray with you that is easily accessible and not on the back of your pack. I have only run into bears once on a trail – and that was in Banff National Park but I’d rather have my bear spray at the ready.
This post includes some affiliate links. If you make a qualifying purchase through one of these links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you very much for your support.
Location of things to do in Jasper in summer
Visit Patricia and Pyramid Lakes in Jasper
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. You can also walk across to the island pictured below and enjoy a picnic by the water.
Ride 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 $59.95 per adult (2023) to go up.
Once on top there is some truly excellent hiking including the 5.5 hour challenging Indian Ridge hike that starts from the Upper Gondola. On a clear day you can see Mount Robson in British Columbia. This is one of the top things to do in Jasper in summer.
Wade in the Athabasca River near Jasper in summer
If you head east out of Jasper on the Yellowhead Highway (Highway 16) on a hot summer’s day, you’ll probably see a whole lot of people wading in the Athabasca River. This is one of the free, fun things to do in Jasper in summer – and you don’t need a lot of time to do it.
The large pull off for parking is on the left side of the highway as you head east, before you reach Talbot Lake.
The Athabasca River is shallow for a long ways out but it’s also quite cold, especially the further you get from shore. Use some common sense – and keep an eye on kids. If you don’t know how to swim, don’t wade in very far though some people we saw were almost across the river. At most, the water is waist deep if you’re an adult. It’s a grand thing to do on a hot summer’s day and there’s something magical about the mountain backdrop, the colour of the water and not being able to see your feet once you’re just a few feet away from the shore. Dogs love it too!
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.
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.
If you have a couple of nights on one trip, I recommend an overnight paddle and camping experience at the far end of Maligne Lake – but book early as it’s popular.
Check out Maligne Canyon
Visit Maligne Canyon, 15 minutes east of Jasper. Walk the 3.7 km 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 outside of Jasper in summer
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.
Do the hike to Mount Edith Cavell Lookout
Switchback your way up the 14 km 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.
Go swimming in one of the town’s nearby lakes
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 interpretive trail around the lakes.
Go for a hike in Jasper in summer
Hike in some of the most glorious country in the Rockies in and near Jasper. 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 km round trip hike.
If you want a multi-day hike, try to score a reservation and do the phenomenal Skyline Trail. It’s one of the best ones I’ve done in Canada with over 25 kilometres above tree line.
Another fantastic multi-day hike is the Tonquin Valley Trail. Plan to do it in late summer when the bugs have died back. It’s one of the easiest multi-day hikes in the Rockies.
One summer 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. It will be one of the most memorable days of your life – in a good way.
Look for wildlife in Jasper come summer
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. You may even get stopped on the Yellowhead Highway waiting for the animals to cross.
The road to Medicine Lake is often the top place to see animals. Don’t speed through here – and keep your eyes peeled for bears, deer and elk.
Where to stay in Jasper in summer
I’ve stayed in my fair share of dodgy hotels in Jasper and I wouldn’t recommend the experience. Plan ahead, especially in summer, so you stay where you want. There is lots of camping and even that should be reserved well in advance here. Note that front country reservations start the first week of January!!!