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Jasper, Canada, is nestled into the Alberta side of the Rocky Mountains. The town itself is surrounded by Jasper National Park, a recognized UNESCO World Heritage site. Uncapped wilderness is sure to greet you, with towering mountain peaks, glacier-fed rivers, and unmatched views. Jasper is a great place to visit in both summer and winter! We have been to Jasper a few times; it is probably one of our favorite places to visit in the Rocky Mountains. Keep reading to find out how to get there, what to do, where to eat, and where to stay.
One of the remarkable things about Jasper is that it is far less busy and is not as commercialized as its counterpart Banff. The one drawback of this is that it is a lot farther from any major towns, so driving is a must.
The closest commercialized airport is in Edmonton, which is about a four-hour drive to Jasper when the weather is good. You take highway 16 from Edmonton to Jasper, making it an easy option. Highway 16 is also a priority route for transport, so they are rather good at keeping it clear in the wintertime.
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Driving from Calgary adds about another hour, making it an almost five-hour drive. The one good thing about coming from Calgary is that you drive the Icefields Parkway, which takes you through Banff and up through some fantastic viewpoints. Some places to consider stopping include; Lake Louise, Bow Lake, Peyto Lake, Saskatchewan River Crossing, Columbia Icefield, Glacier Sky Walk, Sunwapta Falls, and Athabasca Falls.
When driving in the mountains, always check the weather and road reports (511 Alberta) as driving conditions can get quite treacherous. Be prepared for anything and pack extra supplies. It is even better if you have access to winter tires and 4×4 in the winter.
There is a bus service, but I am not sure how reliable it is, and it looks like it involves a few different transfers.
Where to Stay
Jasper has a little bit of everything for types of accommodation. Whether you want to camp, stay in cabins, bed & breakfasts, Airbnb, or hotels.
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Camping – In the summertime, there are many different camping sites for you to choose from. We have stayed in the Pocahontas and Wapiti campgrounds and have enjoyed both. We just tent and have gotten sites right near the river. It is best to search through the Parks Canada booking site to find a site based on your needs.
Cabins – Most cabin sites might only be open in the summer. Our favorite cabins to stay at have been The Pocahontas Cabins just outside of the main townsite. They are an affordable option, and the owner is so down-to-earth and helpful. You even have wildlife coming to visit you! We woke up one morning with caribou licking the salt off our vehicle!
Hotels- Jasper has a wide range of hotel options for all budgets. For cheaper options, consider The Crimson or The Sawridge Inn. Both are conveniently located within the town.
If you want something a little higher in price that gives you an unforgettable experience, try the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge or the Pyramid Lake Resort. Both are a little bit out of the main townsite but offer some fantastic views and service. Remember that if you are a resident of British Columbia, Alberta, or Saskatchewan, you can get a discount at the Fairmont!
Where to Eat
Always try to eat at places that are not chain restaurants! You find some of the best food at places you have never heard of before.
The Bear Paw Bakery and The Other Paw Bakery and Café – The same people own both; they are just on different sides of town and offer many the same items. Perfect for an on-the-go breakfast and coffee.
Coco’s Café – A perfect sit-down, cozy café that offers both lunch and breakfast. They offer vegan and gluten-free options.
Jasper Pizza Place – If you are looking for traditional wood-fired pizza, this is your place to order from. Casual dining where you will not leave feeling hungry.
Jasper Brewing Company – Fancy a midday brew? Jasper Brewing Company is both a local brewery and a restaurant.
The Raven Bistro – This restaurant is a Mediterranean fusion that is both modern and artsy. It has options for vegetarians and has great cocktails.
Fiddle River Restaurant – A perfect place for seafood lovers and those looking for bison/elk inspired dishes. It also offers options for vegetarians and vegans and has gluten-free options as well.
What to do
Jasper is a beautiful place to explore the outdoors. There is so much to do in both the winter and summer months. There are even some small local shops offering you everything you need for souvenirs.
In the winter try;
- Skiing and snowboarding at Marmot Basin
- Dog Sled Tours
- Maligne Canyon Icewalk
- Ice climbing
- Ice Skating
In the summer try;
- Hiking – Make sure to try out the Maligne Canyon hike, Pyramid Lake walk, Mount Edith Cavell, and Valley of the Five Lakes. These are pretty easy walks that are suitable for all ages and all activity levels
- White water rafting
- Water sports
- The Jasper Skytram
Check out the Tourism Jasper page for a full list of all activities! Jasper is a beautiful alpine town that offers a little something for everyone. Next time you are looking for a mountain getaway, consider Jasper! We learned that to own anything in Jasper you have to live there, so there are no big corporations and foreign investors in Jasper. Giving it that local flair. Stay safe while exploring the mountains!
*Please review my disclaimer, permission, and privacy page for more information. This post may contain affiliate links or advertisements. These affiliate links may give me a small percentage at no extra cost to you!*