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10 Absolute BEST Tours in Jasper, Alberta (2024 Guide!)

10 Absolute BEST Tours in Jasper, Alberta (2024 Guide!)

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Jasper is a small town in the Canadian Rockies famous for its excellent skiing and hiking – but there’s far more to explore in this adorable mountain town! Regardless of the season, there’s no shortage of exciting things to do in Jasper.

We used to live in Canmore and visited Jasper many times. We’ll be the first to tell you that not everything here requires joining a tour. But sometimes, a tour can help you gain a deeper appreciation for a place or open up adventures you wouldn’t have known to explore on your own.

Plus, some activities, like rafting or hiking on the Athabasca Glacier, require you to be part of a tour to do them safely.

We’ve sampled many tours and discovered some were better than others. So, with that in mind, here are 10 of the best tours in Jasper, Alberta. Trust us, you definitely won’t want to miss them!

Our TOP Picks for Jasper Tours

Steep cliffs and blue water of Maligne Canyon in Jasper National Park
Bailey poses for a photo at Maligne Lake looking over at Spirit Island

Best winter tour:

Wintertime is truly magical in Jasper, and our favorite experience here at this time of year is this icewalk tour! Lasting three hours, I absolutely love that this is a small-group tour, and it’s full of jaw-dropping sights that really can’t be missed. This tour is $74 CAD per person, which is great value as hotel pick-up and drop-off are included.

Best highlights tour:

While you’re in Jasper National Park, you’ll want to make sure to visit as many of the iconic sights as you can! This 6-hour tour is our personal choice for this, showcasing many of the most scenic lakes and incredible canyons on offer here. With tons of great reviews, this tour costs just $75 CAD per person!

Best hiking tour:

Dan and I are HUGE hiking fans, so we know what the difference is between a good hiking tour and a great one! This 3-hour guided hike on the Athabasca Glacier is one of the best and most unique tours we’ve tried. I mean, how often can you say that you hiked on a glacier?! Tickets for this tour are great value at $133 CAD per person, including all transport to the glacier as well as help from your local guides.

10 BEST Tours in Jasper

1. Jasper evening wildlife tour

A grizzly beary near Canmore
It’s pretty cool to see bears in the wild!

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 people come to see bears and although there are a few around, they can be hard to spot … unless you’re on a wildlife tour in Jasper!

I’ve only ever spotted one grizzly bear in Jasper National Park while not on a tour, which is why I’d recommend this evening wildlife tour to give you the best chance at seeing one. The large number of tourists can scare bears away, but guides know how to spot them while still respecting the bear’s habitats and space. You’re much more likely to see bears on a tour, along with other wildlife in Jasper, like elk or moose.

The tour starts in the late afternoon when animals in Jasper National Park are the most active. We traveled around in a minibus with our small group (which made it easier to see the animals) for about three hours in total. Our guide would let us get out of the bus in certain areas, where we quietly walked around looking for wildlife. This was my favorite part of the tour because we were in a rather remote location so we got to see a side of Jasper that’s off the main tourist track.

Although you aren’t guaranteed to spot bears, chances are high that you will. You may even see more than one by the end of the day! And if not, the scenery is still gorgeous and your guide will educate you about your surroundings.

The tour costs $85 CAD per adult and while children 5 and up are allowed to join, it’s definitely geared toward adults. Kids are a bit too squirmy and loud for a wildlife tour to operate successfully! This tour is only available from May through September, making it one of the best summer activities in Jasper.

If you love spotting wildlife in their natural habitat, don’t hesitate to book this tour! It was an amazing experience that opened our eyes to Jasper’s beauty.

Related Read: After seeing wild animals in Jasper, you might be craving more! If so, check out these wildlife tours in nearby Banff National Park.

2. Maligne Canyon icewalk

Bailey looks at a frozen waterfall in Maligne Canyon
So cool!
Maligne Canyon Ice walk in Jasper National Park
This is one of my favorite winter tours in Jasper!

You’ve heard of taking a walk on the wild side – now take a walk on the icy side with this Maligne Canyon icewalk tour! The Maligne Canyon is beautiful in all seasons, but we think that it’s especially magical during the winter when it transforms into a frozen wonderland.

This tour will take you on a guided hike to explore frozen waterfalls and ice caves and learn about the mysterious Medicine Lake, which disappears every winter! The Maligne Canyon Icewalk is a truly enchanting experience, and we honestly think that it’s the best icewalk in Canada. You’ll feel like you’re in the middle of the movie “Frozen” (but without all the singing).

I definitely recommend taking a tour like this one if you’ve never been on an icewalk before. Not only do the tours provide snow boots, crampons, and any other equipment you might need, but they also ensure your safety while walking on ice and provide transportation. Even as a Canadian myself, I still get a little nervous driving in snowy and icy conditions, so this is a huge perk!

We love staying active, which can be tricky in winter. Luckily, this 3-hour tour allows you to get moving AND see some stunning sights, which makes it a great winter activity in Jasper. It is available from mid-December until mid-March and has a max of 12 people in the group. You can start at either 9:30 am or 1:30 pm, and have your morning or afternoon free.

The tour costs $74 CAD per person, and it includes hotel pick-up and drop-off. Another bonus of taking a tour is the guides are really knowledgeable. They will teach you all about Maligne Valley’s topography and the whole area’s natural history, which there is actually a lot to learn. This is hands down one of our favorite tours in Jasper because it’s such a unique and wonderful experience, and we had such an amazing time when we did our icewalk!

Be sure to book this tour ahead of time, as this is one of the most popular things to do in Jasper in winter.

3. Jasper National Park tour: Maligne Valley, Medicine Lake, and Spirit Island

A canoe at Spirit Island, Maligne Lake, Canada
Just stunning!
Bailey walks the dock at Spirit Island on Maligne Lake, Canada
Spirit Island isn’t the only attraction!

There are a lot of awesome sights to see in Jasper, and it can be difficult to fit it all into one day! I love that this 6-hour tour will show you some of my favorite spots in Jasper National Park, including Maligne Canyon (the park’s deepest and most dramatic canyon), Medicine Lake (which disappears every year!), and Spirit Island. 

Visiting Spirit Island is only possible during the summer, and we highly recommend seeing this picturesque place! Coming to this island means you’ll also get to visit Maligne Lake, a stunning lake surrounded by mountain peaks.

Plus, there are plenty of short walks throughout the tour, during which you’ll have a chance to spot some of the park’s best wildlife. On our trip, we even saw Canada’s iconic moose!

The tour runs from June through mid-October. The $75 CAD cost includes hotel pickup around 8:30 am and drop-off around 6 hours later. You’ll ride in an air-conditioned vehicle, and your guide will share lots of interesting information along the way. So if you’re keen to learn as much as possible, sign up for this tour!

There are two options available, so be sure to choose the one that includes the boat tour to Spirit Island rather than the guided hike.

4. Sunwapta challenge whitewater rafting

Bailey smiles at the camera while white water rafting in Jasper
I had such a fun trip!

One of our favorite ways to enjoy the outdoors in Jasper is by whitewater rafting. There are plenty of rafting tours in the area, but if you’re looking for some adrenaline, I’d go for this extreme rafting adventure!

I found this journey down the Sunwapta River was the perfect balance of relaxing and challenging. There were some calmer parts of the river where we could relax and enjoy the scenery, while others were action-packed! In total, you’ll paddle 13 km (8 miles) through Class II and III rapids on rafts built for up to 6 people.

Round-trip transfer from downtown Jasper is included, and the drive is 45 minutes each way. Upon arrival, you’ll meet your river guides for a safety briefing. They’ll review paddling techniques so you feel prepared before heading out. After this, your whitewater rafting journey begins!

The beginning of the rafting trip felt more leisurely, which helped me get comfortable in the water. We were able to spot some wildlife as we were floating along, so that was an added bonus! As you move along, the rapids get faster, and I could feel the excitement level increase from everyone in our boat.

Since the water is glacier-fed and very chilly, the tour company provides wetsuits and neoprene booties. But make sure to wear a bathing suit because you’ll definitely get wet! I recommend bringing clothes to change into so you can be dry on the return drive.

This whitewater rafting tour costs $128 CAD and covers all necessary equipment and an experienced certified river guide. In total, the tour lasts around 4 hours, including the 45-minute ride each way and roughly 1.5 hours on the water.

To enjoy this rafting experience, you must be physically fit, at least 12 years old, and weigh a minimum of 90 lbs (41 kg). An adult must accompany anyone under 18 years of age. This tour is only available from mid-June to mid-August, so it’s ideal for a summer visit to Jasper.

Why We Book Tours with Viator

Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! We almost always book our tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:

  • Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
  • Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
  • Lowest price guarantee – If you happen to find the same tour at a lower price elsewhere, Viator will refund you the price difference.
  • Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
  • Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.

Check out the Viator website here! Or, for more info, read our detailed review about Viator here.

5. Scenic raft float

Athabasca River Scenic Raft tour

This region is a hot spot for rafting, so you’ll come across many whitewater rafting tours in Jasper. But if you’re looking for a more relaxed rafting experience, this scenic rafting tour is a great option! It’s ideal if you’re more interested in enjoying the landscape rather than paddling through rapids.

Not every day has to be a Class III rapid day, so I loved how relaxing this float was. Our guide entertained us with stories about the area’s history, inhabitants, and wildlife. They also point out any unique plants or animals and describe how fur traders also went down this same waterway.

This whitewater rafting tour is suitable for anyone 3 years or older so I highly recommend this for a family activity! Everyone can sit back and relax as your guide steers you down the river. Passing Class II rapids, you’ll get a bit of excitement without anything too scary or thrilling. We had a young kid in our boat, and the had a blast the whole time, whether we were cruising in calm water or hitting some light bumps!

This scenic rafting tour costs $89 CAD per adult and $35 CAD for children. This price includes a guide, life jackets, and ponchos to help keep you dry. The tour lasts between 2-3 hours and includes round-trip transport from the Two Brothers Totem Pole directly beside the Jasper Train Station. All tours begin at noon, but you should arrive 15 minutes beforehand.

While this trip is one of the best for those looking to take in sights, it’s worth noting that tours are only offered Monday to Friday from mid-May through September. 

6. Food and culture tour

Bailey poses with her grilled cheese in front of the Spice joint, Jasper
Yum!

After a day of adventure, one of my favorite things to do is sit down with a tasty meal and a craft beer! We’re foodies and believe that one of the best ways to get to know a place is through its food. Luckily, Jasper is brimming with cute cafes, delicious restaurants, and craft beverage bars. But the best way to get an overall picture of a town’s food and culture is on a tour!

This half-day food tour will give you a lot of insight into the history of this cute mountain town and the story behind its culinary scene. I recommend taking this tour on the first day of being in Jasper, so you can find all the yummy spots to return to.

You’ll visit four different restaurants around town to sample the house specialty at each, along with an alcoholic drink. As you go, you’ll learn more about how Jasper has developed over the years and how the town’s food scene reflects that.

This is a small group tour with a maximum of 12 participants, and it’s a great way to meet people and bond with newfound friends over food and drink! It departs at 2:30 each day and lasts about 3 hours, so you can even head out with your new pals for the evening afterward.

Since it’s a walking tour, it’ll help all the food settle and also let you get your bearings in the downtown area.

All of this for only $143 CAD per person is honestly such a steal, in my opinion! Please note that it’s for adults only, so families will have to skip this one. What we love about this tour is that the price includes fair pay and tips for the staff in the restaurants you visit, which really helps local businesses.

Related Read: Heading to Edmonton before or after Jasper? There’s a great foodie scene there as well! Check out the best restaurants in Edmonton before you arrive!

7. Canoe on Pyramid Lake

Two people canoe on Pyramid Lake, Jasper
Can you imagine anything more spectacular?

Pyramid Lake is a super scenic lake just outside of Jasper, and probably my favorite place in the entire national park. Whenever we visit, I like to walk the boardwalk or chill by the shore, but if you’re keen to take things up a notch, we highly recommend this canoeing adventure tour!

Pyramid Lake’s waters are very calm, so this tour is perfect for beginners, and no prior canoeing experience is necessary! An experienced guide will lead you across the lake, helping you spot wildlife as you go, including elk, deer, beavers, and even eagles. Plus, you’ll have the gorgeous Rocky Mountains in the background.

This canoeing tour lasts for about 3 hours in total, but thankfully you won’t be paddling the whole time (I’d certainly be tired from that!). There’s a stop halfway through to enjoy some baked goods and hot drinks on the shore or even go for a quick swim!

The tour costs $135 CAD per person, and you can choose to depart at either 8:30 am, 1 pm, or 5 pm, so you can select the time that best suits your schedule. This price includes hotel pick-up and drop-off in Jasper, equipment, drinks, snacks, and an experienced guide. Plus, there’s a maximum group size of 6, with 2 people in each boat, so it’s a really nice, close-knit experience. 

This is definitely a popular experience and it has limited availability, so you won’t want to wait to book this one!

8. Ice Explorer and Glacier Skywalk

Columbia Icefield Skywalk
Columbia Icefield Skywalk
Daniel on one of the large Ice Explorers on the Athabasca Glacier on a tour
Explore the Columbia Icefield!

When traveling down the Icefields Parkway from Jasper, there are some must-see sights! Two of these are perfectly combined on this Icefield Explorer and Glacier Skywalk tour. After doing this experience for ourselves (see our review here!), we can tell you that it is as awesome as it sounds! You’ll get the magical panoramic views from the Skywalk AND get to traverse across an actual glacier – when else will you get an experience like this!?

First, you’ll drive across the Athabasca Glacier in a giant snow vehicle while your guide provides information about the area. But you won’t just see the sights – you’ll have the opportunity to step out and walk along the glacier yourself! This felt a bit surreal to me (in the best way!), and I feel everyone would love this experience.

From there, you’ll head to the Columbia Icefield Skywalk. As you stroll along this glass bridge, you can appreciate the unique architecture and stunning vistas. It’s a very Instagrammable spot so bring your cameras!

The first time Dan and I went to the Athabasca Glacier, we didn’t book a tour in advance and ended up waiting for hours to go – not how we planned on spending our time! Learn from our mistakes, and reserve your spot before you arrive.

This 3-hour tour costs $115 CAD per person. This combination tour runs from May through the beginning of October, and tours depart every 15 to 30 minutes from the Discovery Centre.

9. Sidecar sightseeing tour

Canadian Rockies Tour by Chauffeured Sidecar from Jasper Jasper Motorcycle Tours
Photo credit: Jasper Motorcycle Tours

If you’ve always wanted to ride a motorcycle, but don’t quite have the confidence (or skill) to do so, you’re not completely out of luck! This chauffeured sidecar tour will let you experience the Canadian Rockies like you never have before, all while being driven by a Harley Davidson.

We think this is one of the best tours in Jasper because it’s so novel. You also get to take in the scenery with the wind blowing through your hair. Traveling on a motorcycle is much more immersive than driving in a car, so this is the place to experience it!

The tour is also customizable. You can choose between a 1, 2, or 3-hour tour depending on your budget and interests, and you can talk about the route with your guide beforehand. This way, you can tick off some of your must-see attractions while enjoying the ride.

If you’re unsure where to go, the tour guides can offer suggestions. Some of the top attractions to choose from include visiting Maligne Lake, Athabasca Falls, and Medicine Lake, and there’s also the option to visit the Miette Hot Springs on the 3-hour tour (although you’ll need to pay your own entry fee, which is around $17.50 CAD for adults).

Cruising through the Canadian Rockies like this is an absolute joy – the views are breathtaking, and you’ll see many of the top spots in style. Plus, it’s a pretty adrenaline-pumping experience!

Each Harley can take 2 passengers at a time – one on the back and one in the sidecar, so you can double up with a friend, relative, or partner and then switch positions as you go so that you can experience the ride from both angles (which is precisely what we did). And it’s also your private tour, so it’ll be just your party and your guide!

Our guides were another thing that we loved because they were super adventurous and fun-loving. They entertained us with lots of insider info about the area as they drove us. Overall, you’re sure to have a great time – we certainly did!

The tour departs several times throughout the day, so you can pick a slot that best suits you. However, it runs from mid-April until mid-October because it’s best suited to good weather. The 1-hour tour starts at $158 CAD and gets more expensive if you select a longer tour.

You’ll be picked up from your hotel and dropped off again afterward, so this is truly a personal experience from start to finish!

10. Guided glacier hike on Athabasca Glacier

A tour group walk on the Athabasca Glacier in the Columbia Icefield on a trekking tour
The typical Athabasca Glacier adventure is different than the trekking tours!

If exploring the Athabasca Glacier on the Ice Explorer Bus isn’t quite enough for you, how about hiking onto it? We found hiking across a glacier to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (even as a Canadian!).

To experience this breathtaking trek, we suggest this half-day guided hike. Not only will you walk across the glacier’s surface, but you’ll also learn all about and admire its different ice formations as you go. Plus, you’ll have fantastic views of the surrounding Rocky Mountains throughout, which makes the experience even more special. A guided tour is the only way that you can hike onto the glacier itself, otherwise you can simply get to the base of it on your own.

I thought the vews of the glacier were impressive from the bus, but once we set off on a glacier hike – wow, was I blown away! This glacier is massive, and millions of years old, I felt like a little fish in a big sea. My favorite part was stopping to drink fresh glacier water, somehow it tasted even better.

The tour costs around $133 CAD and the route takes about 3 hours to hike. I recommend having a decent level of fitness for this type of hike, but no previous glacier walking experience is required. Micro-spikes for your shoes are included in the price of your tour to give you extra traction on the snow and ice. When you have these, the hike is easy, so most travelers should be able to complete it without any problems.

We also really like the fact that there’s a maximum of 12 travelers per group, making it a more personal and close-knit experience.

Walking on the glacier is most definitely one of our favorite tours along the Icefields Parkway, so if you’re up for an adventure then we highly recommend booking this super unique experience!

Related Read: If you love the sound of all the stops along the Icefield Parkway, consider spending time here as well. Here are the best places to stay Icefields Parkway, including options for all budgets!

Where to Stay in Jasper

Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge on a winter day covered in snow
Easily one of the most stunning places to stay in Jasper. Photo credit: Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge.

Many tours start and end in Jasper, so the best place to stay is obviously in town! However, accommodation in Jasper is limited, so it’s important to book your stay as far in advance as possible!

Here, I’ve handpicked some of my personal favorite hotels in Jasper suitable for any type of traveler whether you’re on a budget or splurging while on vacation. If you need even more options, check out our full guide to the best hotels in Jasper National Park.

Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge – $$$

Rated as a 4-star property, Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge offers a luxurious accommodation experience in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. I personally like this resort as it has an award-winning golf course, eight on-site restaurants, and a 10,000-square-foot spa.

But what I love the most about Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is its location. It isn’t walking distance from downtown, but only a very short drive which makes it a quiet nature escape still within close proximity to the amenities of town. The best of both worlds!

With prices starting at $300 CAD, it’s the only luxury option in Jasper and is the perfect choice if you’re planning a romantic occasion or honeymoon in Jasper! So book a room online and enjoy a taste of luxury in Jasper.

Jasper Inn & Suites – $$

Jasper Inn & Suites is one of the best Jasper hotels because it’s located in the heart of Jasper. Well-furnished, each room comes with a fan, a flat-screen TV, tea and coffee-making facilities, and a fridge. Additionally, free Wi-Fi access is available in all accommodations. You can book a double room here starting from approximately $145 CAD per night, although prices do fluctuate seasonally.

What makes this hotel one of my favorites is its facilities such as a sauna, steam room, indoor pool, hot tub, ski lockers, ski wax room, and free parking space. It even offers on-site dining and guests can fuel up with authentic Canadian cuisine. During the summer season, guests can relax on the outdoor terrace. Check availability and book a room here online.

Jasper Downtown Hostel – $

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 option. They offer budget dorm beds starting at $40 CAD as well as affordable private rooms from $91 CAD per night.

While staying at this budget-friendly hostel, you can freely relax in the lounge or use the laundry facilities and a shared kitchen. Free parking is also available on-site. Other than that, free Wi-Fi access is available throughout the property.

You can easily book a stay on either HostelWorld.com or Booking.com.

Renting a Car in Alberta

A car drives along the Icefields Parkway
The drive is mesmerizing!

If you’re arriving in Alberta via plane then I can’t recommend getting a rental car enough. Canada is a large country and traveling between cities and even just getting out to some of the best places to visit in Alberta requires transport. Although you can use public transport, on some occasions, it means your trip will not only require more time but more planning.

Renting a car will definitely make exploring all of the fun things to see and do in Alberta easier.

Car rental in Canada isn’t super cheap, but it isn’t overly expensive either, especially if you get a budget car. The cheapest car with pickup and drop-off in different locations is around $100 CAD per day. The price does vary though depending on the time of year and the type of car that you rent. For car rentals, I use the website DiscoverCars.com. It’s a search engine with lots of deals with good customer service. In fact, I’ve used them all over the world including in Chile, New Zealand, and Australia. Read our honest review of Discover Cars here for more details!

Another popular option is to rent a campervan or motorhome (only for the brave in winter.) Using Motorhome Republic you can search hundreds of deals across multiple companies to pick a great vehicle and the cheapest price. Having a motorhome is a stunning way to see Canada, and using crown land and campsites, you can often camp for free or very cheap in the most beautiful places imaginable!

Thanks for reading!

Bailey and Daniel take a selfie at the top of St Marks summit in Vancouver, Canada
Thanks for reading!

Jasper is a beautiful mountain town with so much to do. Every time we come, we love enjoying the area through a new tour (or two!). We hope this list of the best tours in Jasper has helped you plan your trip and you have a fantastic time here.

If you found this list helpful, check out my other blogs about Canada. I am from here and have traveled all over, so I love sharing useful tips and hidden gems to explore! If you’re staying near Jasper, I’ve hand-picked the articles below to help you on your travels.

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13 BEST Stops on the Drive from Vancouver to Jasper