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Jasper, Alberta is one of the best summer vacation spots in Canada in my opinion! That’s because not only do temperatures here average 23 Celsius (73 Fahrenheit) but there are lots of outdoor activities on offer like white water rafting, mountain biking, and canoeing that can only be enjoyed during the warm summer!
But, there are not only adventurous activities on offer in Jasper you can also have a chilled-out summer vacation here with stunning hot springs a short drive away as well as plenty of lakeside beaches to sunbathe on. Not forgetting sunset patio drinks at one of the town’s buzzing restaurants.
Oh, and did I mention the summer days here are long, with sunset happening around 9:30 pm, so you’ve lots of time to pack in all those awesome activities!
So for your summer getaway to Jasper, then look no further than this blog post! Here, I’ve listed 22 activities for you to enjoy in gorgeous Jasper this summer as well as other important information about visiting!
Things to do in Jasper in Summer
1. Mountain Biking
Mountain biking is a must-do summer activity in Jasper, that’s because the scenery is most beautiful during the months of June, July, and August when you can spot wildflower meadows and bright-blue glacier lakes.
One of the most popular biking trails in Jasper is the 26 km North Boundary (Snake Indian Falls), which is a green trail but does have some steep climbs. It’s an 18-minute drive from Jasper town to the trail’s starting point at the car park on Celestine Lake Road. Another popular trail that’s nearby is the much-shorter 1.8 km Celestine Lake Trail, which is a blue trail and can be pretty muddy but it takes just 15 minutes to complete meaning you can easily add this to your day. The trail starts from the same car park at Celestine Lake Road!
This guided tour is a fantastic option for your summer vacation in Jasper, your experienced guide will take you along the Jasper Discovery Trail – which is approximately an hour and 20 minutes. Which trail you take here depends on your ability and there’s a trail here for beginners to experts. Along the trail, you will get the chance to stop at the stunning Beauvert Lake and take some photos.
You can rent bicycles from various shops right in Jasper including The Bench Bike Shop, Source for Sports, and Vicious Cycle. Expect to pay about $15/hr CAD for an hour rental and about $40 for a whole day.
2. Hike the Skyline Trail
The Skyline Trail is one of the most popular hiking trails in Jasper because the views are exceptional, more than half of this trail is above the treeline meaning you have 360-degree views for most of the trail! This trail is long though, at 44.9 km (27.9 miles), you can complete it in one day which will take 10 – 12 hours however, most hikers choose to spread it out over 2-3 days. This trail is most popular during the summer as at other times of the year it can be icy in sections and specialist hiking gear may be required.
It can be pretty windy above the treeline so be prepared, also, on a hot summers’ day be sure to pack enough water and sunscreen as there’s no shade above the treeline.
Start the trail on the Southern End near Maligne Lake and end at Maligne Canyon, this way you have less of an uphill climb. Also, the final 8.5 km of the trail is along a gravel road which is nice and easy. Worth noting is there are several stream crossings on this trail so wear appropriate footwear.
Important to note – park your car at the North Skyline / Signal Mountain Trailhead which will be where you finish your hike. There’s a shuttle service that will collect you from here and take you to Maligne Lake where you can begin your hike, your car will then be waiting at the finish point when you’re done.
There are a few campgrounds you can stay at along the trail, however, these book out quickly especially during the busy summer months so be sure to book in advance. Top tip – bring plenty of bug spray for the campsites!
3. Hang out at the local “beach”
Visiting what the locals refer to as “the beach” is one of the best, off-the-beaten-path things to do in Jasper in the summer months. The beach is a nice sandy area on the edge of Lake Annette only a couple of minutes from Jasper town. Locals commonly visit to hang out with friends, have a BBQ, and even brave the cold water with a swim.
But the beach isn’t just for locals and if you’re looking for a nice place to hang out for a few hours then this is a great choice. There are also a couple of hiking trails in the area and the neighboring lake, Lake Edith, is also well worth a visit!
Unfortunately the day we went the weather was not so great, however, on a sunny day the beach is very popular!
4. Enjoy patio drinks in town
One of the best summer activities in Jasper is simply to enjoy some drinks and food at one of the town’s awesome outdoor patios. One of our favorite patios in Jasper is at the Jasper Brewing Company on Connaught Drive, we love their Trail Sessions IPA -it’s delicious! This buzzing patio is a local favorite, there’s also plenty of indoor seating. Plus, if you’re hungry they have an extensive menu, we love their burgers!
Another great spot to hang out for drinks is the rooftop patio at Jasper Pizza Place – this is the only rooftop patio in Jasper and boasts some pretty awesome views. So, as you can imagine it gets pretty busy here, especially on those nice summer evenings! Plus, the patio is covered protecting you from any weather worries, which are a common problem in this part of Canada. While here, you must try their wood-fired pizza but they also have burgers, pastas, salads, and more.
Even better, head out to one of these patios for sunset to watch the sun dip behind one of the many mountain peaks that surround the town.
5. Ride the SkyTram
Riding the Jasper SkyTram has gained popularity simply because it’s just that awesome – the views you get from the peak of Whistlers Mountain are unmatched by any other view.
The Jasper SkyTram is different than all of the other mountain gondolas offered around Canada. Instead of a small gondola or chairlift, the Skytram is actually a larger cart where up to 24 people stand in the tram. The tram then climbs Whistlers Mountain at a speed of 6 meters per second all while your “flight attendant” tells you all about this historic tram and Jasper.
At the end of your ride, you’ll reach a viewing platform complete with an indoor area, gift shop, and restaurant. There is also a 1.4 kilometer-long hike you can do to reach the summit of Whistler Mountain! No matter where you go up here you’re going to be met with some amazing views!
The Jasper SkyTram is open from April to October each year between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm. Because there are only two trams, they can only transport a limited number of people at one time. For this reason, you should book your SkyTram flight well in advance to secure your departure time slot.
When you book, you will be given a scheduled time that you will ride the tram up the mountain. But once at the top, you can take your time and catch any tram back down at any time before they close for the day.
6. Whitewater rafting
Whitewater rafting is typically seen as the ultimate adrenalin-pumping activity! While this is true in most other places, the great thing about going whitewater rafting in Jasper is that there are many different rivers offering rafting experiences, so you can choose a more chilled experience if you wish! Would you believe that even small children or grandparents can go whitewater rafting in Jasper!
The whitewater rafting trip we did on the Athabasca River was the perfect mix of an exciting ride while still being scenic and chill. The rapids were Class 2 and 3, meaning there were some larger rapids at times. There were kids on the boat who had a good time without being scared and nobody fell off or even got close – although a few of the kids jumped off for a swim by choice!
Another rafting tour you can choose in JAsper is this
Another rafting tour you can choose is this small group tour on the Athabasca River. It is suitable for the whole family, children from age 3 can enjoy this fun tour! Your experienced guide will expertly navigate your group through Class II rapids, you’re pretty much guaranteed to get wet but no need to worry too much as all wet gear will be provided. This tour costs just $84 CAD per person!
7. Rock climbing
You might be getting the hint that visiting Jasper is a great place to try some new outdoor activities, and rock climbing is no different! If you are an experienced rock climber then all you have to do is choose one of the many great areas to climb around Jasper. And if you’re new to the sport, then a guided tour is the best option.
This tour will teach you the ropes (pun intended) and teach you to rock climb like a pro. The tour will provide all the necessary equipment, teach you about safety and technique, and give you a thrilling experience you won’t soon forget! The cost Is about $130 CAD and is suited to all ages and skill levels.
You will rock climb along the shoreline of the Athabasca River, so not only is it a fun activity, but it’s another great way to immerse yourself in the beautiful surrounding nature.
8. Visit the Miette Hot Springs
Miette Hot Springs are located an hour’s drive from Jasper and are known as the hottest mineral springs in the Canadian Rockies. The water in the pools here actually flows from the surrounding mountains and is a nice and warm 40°C (104°F). The pools are filled with minerals like sulfate, magnesium, and calcium which are so good for your skin.
The surrounding landscape around Miette Hot Springs is stunning, so it’s the perfect place to relax and enjoy some peace and quiet. Plus, at only $7.75 CAD to enter the hot springs, it’s a great option to visit if you’re looking for a cheap but awesome activity.
The pools are a hidden gem in Jasper but they are a popular stop-off for tourists driving from Edmonton to Jasper.
Miette Hot Springs is open from early May until September. Be sure to check their website before you go to ensure they are open!
9. Canoe on Maligne Lake
Canoeing is such a fun summer activity and Jasper is one of the best places to go! There are a lot of different lakes in the area that is perfect for exploring by canoe. Maligne Lake is about 45km away from Jasper and offers 2-person canoe rentals for about $200 CAD for 3+ hours or $75 for 1 hour.
Once you’ve rented your canoe, make your way across the 22.5 km long Maligne Lake and take in all the breathtaking mountain scenery as you paddle. Be sure to stop regularly to take some photos – you will even spot Spirit Island from your canoe, which is one of the most photographed sights in Canada! This activity is only available in the summer and although it’s a relatively easy canoe across the lake, a reasonable level of fitness is advisable.
You can canoe across to Spirit Island and spend the night at one of the two campsites near the island, this will take approximately 7-8 hours and you will need to ask the canoe rental well-ahead of time if you can take the canoe overnight.
I recommend doing this canoe trip early in the morning when the light is at its best. On a calm day, you may even be lucky to have the Canadian Rockies reflected on the lake’s surface.
10. Cruise to Spirit Island
If you aren’t up for paddling all the way to Spirit Island, then maybe jumping on a boat cruise is a better idea.
One of my favorite things to do in Jasper during the summer is to take a cruise across Maligne Lake to Spirit Island, one of the most beautiful sights In Jasper National Park and one of the most photographed places in all of Canada. The cruise departs from the boat dock on Maligne Lake across to Spirit Island takes about 90 minutes and along the way your guide will explain all about the history of the lake, point out mountains and glaciers, plus tell you some interesting facts about the area.
I must admit I was blown away by how pretty Spirit Island is, as part of the tour we docked at Spirit Island for a short time and had the opportunity to hike up a short path to a viewpoint. The view from here was breathtaking and the water shone a stunning turquoise color!
Spirit Island was one place that really lived up to the hype and in my opinion, it’s a must-do in Jasper! For the cruise, it costs $73 CAD per person, but you need to make your own way to Maligne Lake which is a 45-minute drive from Jasper.
This 5.5-hour tour includes a cruise on Maligne Lake as well as the opportunity to explore Maligne Canyon and Medicine Lake on foot. A great bonus to this tour is that you are likely to spot some wildlife like bears, elk, and moose. Pick-up and drop-off to Jasper are included and prices start from $157 CAD.
11. Hike the Valley of the 5 Lakes
I usually love tough hikes. You know, the ones that take you high above the valley floor so you can look down and enjoy breathtaking views that make you feel tiny. Yep, those ones!
Funny enough though, I fell in love with the Valley of the Five Lakes hike in Jasper. So much so that I’ve now done it twice. But what makes it so great?
Well, not only is the trail an easy two hours (4 kilometers) walk, but the trail passes by five breathtaking lakes that literally look like the color of emeralds! Up close though, the water is crystal clear and you’ll often see fish swimming at the bottom.
The lakes have the most color on a sunny day and if it’s hot enough, don’t be shy and take a dip in the cold water to cool off! Honestly, the Valley of the Five Lakes is a must in Jasper for anyone who loves short hikes and breathtaking lakes!
12. Sightseeing tour
Booking onto a sightseeing tour is one of the best things a tourist can do when visiting a new place, and in Jasper, you can see the sights in a completely cool and unique way!
To me, there’s no better way to experience Jasper National Park during the summer than from the sidecar of an iconic Harley Davidson! No need to worry about driving, and just take in the spectacular views as your experienced driver takes you to many of the best sights in the Park including Medicine Lake, Maligne Canyon, Maligne Lake, Athabasca Falls or Sunwapta Falls, Angel Glacier, Miette Hot Springs, and Mount Edith Cavell. Your day will be completely tailored to your preferences, choose from one, two, or three-hour tour options.
You may even be lucky enough to spot wildlife like elk, moose, and bears!
This Sidecar Tour costs from $162 CAD. Your motorcycle ride can accommodate up to two passengers and also includes round-trip transport from your hotel.
13. Get up close to a glacier – Edith Cavell
Only a short drive from Jasper town takes you to one of the most breathtaking places you can visit in Canada. Edith Cavell Mountain stands tall above a small parking lot and from the parking lot, you can head off and explore a huge valley spotting avalanches as well as a glacier.
I myself only found Edith Cavell recently and I am shocked that it’s not written about more. The trail from the parking lot is called the Path of the Glacier Trail and it’s a 1.6-kilometer (1 mile) return paved trail to a viewpoint of the glacier. This part of the trail is easily accessible, however, for those who want to take a closer look you’ll need to scramble over rocks. Be careful though, the area is prone to rockslides!
If you want to stretch your legs some more you can also hike the Cavell Meadows trail which is 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) return and takes around 3.5 hours.
A visit to Edith Cavell really should be number one on this list and it’s one activity in Jasper I recommend everyone do!
Important info: To reach Edith Cavell head 7 km south of Jasper on Highway 93 and turn right onto Highway 93A. Then, after 5.4 km turn right onto Cavell Road. The 14-km road is narrow and has tight switchbacks that are unsuitable for trailers and large motorhomes. Trailers can be dropped at the entrance to Cavell Road in a designated area.
14. Chase waterfalls – Athabasca, Sunwapta
Sunwapta Falls is an 18.5 meters (61 feet) waterfall located only a 40-minute drive from Jasper town on the Icefields
Parkway. The water in the falls actually comes from the Athabasca Glacier, and they are at their most impressive during the summer (particularly May and June) as this is when the glacier melt is at its peak! A lot of road-trippers stop here to break up the drive from Calgary to Jasper or Jasper to Banff.
There are two walking tracks you can take from the car park here – the Upper Falls and the Lower Falls. If you’re short on time and want an easy walk then I recommend the 800-meter return track to the Upper Falls. Once you reach the Upper Falls you can choose to continue on a further 2 km to the Lower Falls – this should take about 1 hour to complete. Worth noting the Lower Falls are not as impressive as the Upper Falls, but the walk is beautiful and offers the opportunity to see lots of birdlife during the summer months.
Although only a quick stop, you could turn this into a longer experience by staying overnight at the Sunwapta Falls Rocky Mountain Lodge – one of the best hotels in Jasper. It’s a really highly rated and comfortable wilderness stay away from the hustle and bustle of town.
Athabasca Falls is a more popular stop in Jasper National Park, located just 30 km from Jasper town. Much taller at 79 feet (24 meters) this powerful waterfall is surrounded by lush green forests. It originates at the Columbia Ice Field and is most powerful in the Summer when the warm weather melts the ice at a faster speed. A 1 km walking track from the car park will take you to an epic view of the falls.
15. Visit Maligne Canyon
One of the more relaxing activities to do in Jasper in the summer is to take a stroll along Maligne Canyon. Located only 5 minutes from Jasper, Maligne Canyon is a stunning example of the power of water.
The canyon is 50 meters deep and at the bottom, a heavy flow of water continues to carve its way through the rock, forming magnificent shapes and huge waterfalls!
From the car parking lot, you can hike along a trail that visits up to six bridges. To do all six you’ll need half a day, however, the first two are the most spectacular in my opinion. To do the first two you only need half an hour or so at a slow pace. With that said, hike as far as you want and loop back by crossing each bridge to the other side.
Note: If you’re visiting Jasper in the winter, Maligne Canyon is worth visiting too as you can actually walk in the canyon on the frozen water!
16. Enjoy the scenic drive to Medicine Lake and Maligne Lake
At the top of most tourists to Canada’s bucket list is a road trip through the Rocky Mountains, in fact, summer is the best time to do a road trip in this gorgeous part of the world. One of my favorite routes to drive in Jasper National Park is the short 46 km (28.6 miles) route that takes you from Jasper to Maligne Lake. On this stretch of road, you will be treated to views of the Elizabeth and Maligne mountains, as well as bright blue lakes, glaciers, and loads of wildlife!
This is definitely one of the best drives in Jasper for wildlife spotting, with elk, moose, and bears the most common animals to see.
Make sure to stop at Hanging Valley Viewpoint, Maligne Canyon Hiking Trail, Rosemary’s Rock, and Medicine Lake along the way. With so many stops it’s easy to turn this one-hour drive into a full-day affair!
This road trip ends at Maligne Lake, which is the largest lake in the Rockies at 20 square kilometers! As mentioned earlier, one of the best things to do here is to rent a canoe and explore the lake. There’s also a visitor center here with a restaurant. It’s a great place to fuel up on coffee before returning to Jasper.
17. Drive the Icefields Parkway
Rated as one of the top 10 most scenic drives in the world by National Geographic, the Icefields Parkway is a 230 kilometer-long (143 miles) stretch of highway that connects Jasper and Lake Louise. Along this drive, you’ll be met with towering mountains, tons of waterfalls, and even the Columbia Icefield (more on that below)!
Although the drive really should only take around 3 hours, I would give yourself an entire day in order to stop as much as you’d like! Use our Icefields Parkway itinerary to plan your epic one-day adventure from Jasper to Banff!
Be sure to get gas before you leave Jasper because there is only one very overpriced gas station along the drive located at Saskatchewan River Crossing. Also, bring some snacks and water as facilities are very limited.
18. Athabasca Glacier tour
An hour and 15-minute drive from Jasper is the Athabasca Glacier in the Columbia Icefield. Driving to the Athabasca Glacier from Jasper is well worth it in my opinion, that’s because it’s one of 6 glaciers fed by the Columbia Icefield and is a huge 6km-squared. In fact, scientists believe that it won’t be long before this glacier ceases to exist due to global warming, the Athabasca Glacier has lost 1.5 km in the past 125 years!
The only way to get onto the glacier itself is to book a guided tour, this tour to the Athabasca Glacier also includes a visit to the Glacier Skywalk. On the 3-hour tour, you will be taken in an ice-explorer vehicle onto the glacier – you will stop to take some photos and you will even get the chance to fill your water bottle up with some glacier water – it’s so refreshing! Afterward, walk along the glass-bottomed Skywalk, for some epic views of the glacier.
Or for the more adventurous traveler, why not book this 4-hour ice-climbing tour! With your experienced guide, you will be taken below the glacier’s surface using specialist climbing equipment. This tour starts from the top of the glacier car park and costs from $183 CAD.
Worth noting you can get close to the Athabasca Glacier without booking on a tour, from the car park on Glacier Road there’s a 30-minute hiking trail that takes you close to the glacier – although you can’t get on the glacier itself. The road is only open from June to October so this is one of those summer-only activities in Jasper National Park!
The golf course at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is rated as one of the best golf courses in Canada by SCOREGold Magazine. This golf course features 18-holes with some of the best mountain views around.
But if you are not into golf (Daniel and I aren’t golfers) then you can still visit the Jasper Park Lodge to go for a walk, dine at one of the many restaurants, or if your budget allows, spend a night or two. For those on a honeymoon in Jasper, this is the most romantic place to stay and well worth the splurge!
20. Enjoy mirror-like reflections at Pyramid Lake
Jasper is filled with iconic places to visit that you’ve likely seen plastered all over social media. One of those places is Pyramid Lake, and more specifically, Pyramid Island.
The small island and boardwalk offer visitors a chance to enjoy a short walk to the island to enjoy spectacular views from all angles. On a calm day, the lake reflects the surrounding mountains better than a mirror and the shaded benches make for a great place to enjoy lunch.
Thanks to the calm waters here, Pyramid Lake is one of the best lakes to go kayaking on – you can rent kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards from the Pyramid Lake Resort. You’re also likely to spot lots of people fishing off the beach here during the summer and the lake is abundant with rainbow trout, brook trout, and lake trout.
There are also a couple of walking and biking trails surrounding Pyramid Lake, there’s a 5 km trail that takes you back into Jasper town, it’s an easy trail and popular with locals especially in the morning or evenings.
Important: Parking at Pyramid Island is very limited. To ensure you get a spot try to arrive early in the morning.
21. Go camping!
Jasper National Park is one of the best places to camp in the great outdoors! Daniel and I love camping and with the expensive hotel prices in Jasper, we find it to be a great option for saving a few bucks during the summer season.
There are lots of different campsites around Jasper with the differences between them mostly being location and distance to Jasper town.
Our personal favorite campsite near Jasper is the Wapiti campsite as it is located only a 5-minute drive from Jasper town. However, if you want something a little more remote consider Wabasso or Wilcox. All of these campsites are run by Parks Canada and must be booked well in advance on their website (normally as soon as bookings open in January.)
If you don’t manage to book one of the Parks Canada sites mentioned above, consider trying for one in Snaring that is a first-come-first-serve campsite. Alternatively, about an hour from Jasper is Willam A. Switzer provincial park which has loads of campsites to choose from!
Campgrounds are usually open from May to September annually with the busiest months being July and August.
22. Wildlife tour
Wildlife can be found everywhere in Jasper National Park, and even on your own, it’s likely you’ll spot lots of different species. However, many come to see bears and although there are a few around, they can be hard to spot!
In fact, in Jasper National Park I’ve only ever spotted one Grizzly bear while not on a wildlife tour. To be honest, I’d say a large number of visitors to Jasper keeps the bears away. But there is one way to dramatically increase your chances of seeing a bear (or even elk and moose) is to join a wildlife tour.
A tour such as this one runs in the late afternoon when animals in Jasper National Park are the most active. Tours usually run for around 3 hours and your guide has expert knowledge on where to find certain animals.
You aren’t guaranteed to see anything, but the chances are that you will, and depending on your luck, you could see more bears in one day than you’ve ever seen before in your lifetime!
Related Read: Jasper is one of the best places to stop on the drive from Vancouver to Edmonton.
Where to Stay in Jasper in Summer
Personally, we recommend camping if you’re visiting Jasper in the summer. However, I know that’s not for everyone, in which case I’ve handpicked some of my personal favorite hotels in Jasper suitable for any type of traveler with any type of budget!
Jasper Downtown Hostel (Budget Backpackers)
Jasper Downtown Hostel is the best place to stay for those on a tight budget. The central location, shared facilities, and friendly atmosphere makes it a great place to stay. They offer budget dorm beds as well as affordable private rooms.
Patricia Lake Bungalows (Moderate Budget)
Patricia Lake Bungalows are a great place to stay if you want a comfortable stay for a reasonable price. There are some standard rooms as well as some units with kitchenettes. There is a hot tub on-site as well as a playground for children and the location is close to town, but far enough that it is quiet and relaxing.
You can check prices and book Patricia Lake Bungalows on Booking.com.
Whistlers Inn (Moderate to High Budget)
Whistlers Inn is the perfect place to stay if you are looking for a nice escape right in town and only a short walk from popular bars, restaurants, and attractions in Jasper. They also have a rooftop hot tub (pictured above) – need I say more?
You can check prices and availability on Booking.com.
Pyramid Lake Resort (Luxury)
This place is beautiful, and it is set in an even more beautiful location! Pyramid Lake is the perfect place for hiking, swimming, kayaking, or even skating in the winter. Pyramid Lake Resort doesn’t cut any corners and it’s a highly rated hotel. It’s also a popular place to stay for those visiting Jasper on a honeymoon!
You can check availability and book on Booking.com.
For more detailed info on the best hotels and areas to stay in Jasper, read our blog!
Before you go…
Jasper in the summer is awesome – there’s just so much to do here when the weather is warm like hiking, visiting some huge waterfalls, and getting out on the water at one of the many lakes near the town. There are also lots of relaxing things to do here during the summer like relaxing at Miette Hot Springs or sunbathing at the beach.
I hope this detailed list will help make your vacation to Jasper this Summer truly memorable!