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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 fun things to do in Jasper, Alberta. From discovering amazing restaurants and visiting tranquil lakes to adventurous activities like canoeing and whitewater rafting, it’s a fantastic place to stay!
We used to live in Canmore, Alberta 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!
10 BEST Tours in Jasper
1. Jasper evening 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 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. Tours usually run for around 3 hours, and your guide has expert knowledge of where to find certain animals. Groups are limited to 15 people, which felt like the perfect amount. We were able to be quiet enough not to scare animals away, and we also got to ask questions as we walked.
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, $64 CAD per child (5-15), and is free for kids under 5. Hotel pick-up and drop-off are included and the minibus is quite comfy. 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 online here! 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
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! It’s 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).
This is a small group tour, with a maximum of 12 people, and it only runs during the winter when Maligne Canyon is frozen – usually from mid-December until mid-March. You’ll be provided with snow boots, crampons, and any other equipment you might need, and you should have at least a moderate fitness level to complete this hike. It’s mostly downhill, but trekking through snow for a few hours requires a lot of energy!
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. You can start at either 9:30 am or 1:30 pm, and have your morning or afternoon free.
The tour costs $74 CAD for adults and $36 CAD for kids aged 6-11. Hotel pick-up and drop-off are also included, and the guides for this tour are really knowledgeable. They will teach you all about Maligne Valley’s topography and the whole area’s natural history. 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!
So if you’re heading to Jasper in the cold season, and want to experience an icewalk, book this tour online here! You won’t regret it!
3. Jasper National Park tour: Maligne Valley, Medicine Lake, and Spirit Island
There are a few spots you really don’t want to miss in Jasper, and a tour is an efficient and stress-free way to combine them. This 6-hour tour will show you all of the highlights of 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. You can book online here.
4. Sunwapta challenge whitewater rafting
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!
I found the beginning of the rafting trip to be more leisurely, which helped me get comfortable in the water. It’s also the perfect time to check out local wildlife as you float along! As you move along, the rapids get faster, so you gradually feel the excitement level increase.
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! When you’re done, bring clothes to change into so you can be dry on the return drive.
This whitewater rafting tour costs $123 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.
On this tour, we could soak in all the scenery near Jasper while journeying down the beautiful river. If that sounds like a fun day to you, book your spot online here!
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.
- 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!
5. Scenic raft float
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.
During this rafting tour down the Athabasca River, we loved how the 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 the whole family can join! 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. You’re sure to feel safe as you spend most of your time floating in calmer water and taking in the beautiful sights.
This scenic rafting tour costs $85 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.
To secure your spot for the summer season, book this easy scenic tour online here!
6. Food and culture tour
In addition to all of the crazy outdoor activities we’ve been talking about, there’s also a ton of great food and culture to discover in Jasper. We’re foodies and believe that one of the best ways to get to know a place is through its food. There are plenty of cute cafes with amazing views and delicious restaurant options in Jasper, but 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. 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.
If you’re interested in this tour, it’s a great idea to do it on your first day or so in Jasper to know what’s good for the rest of your stay! Plus, since it’s a walking tour, it’ll also help you get your bearings in the downtown area.
The tour costs $134 CAD per person, and 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.
If the sound of this tour has already made you hungry, reserve your spot online today!
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
Pyramid Lake is a super scenic lake just outside of Jasper. You can head there 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!
The great thing about this tour is that since Pyramid Lake’s waters are very calm, it’s 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 you won’t be paddling the whole time. 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 $130 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.
It’s so much fun, and we definitely recommend giving this canoeing tour a go if you’re visiting Jasper during the summer! But tour slots are limited, so check availability and book your trip online here!
8. Ice Explorer and Glacier Skywalk
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. You’ll get the magical panoramic views from the Skywalk AND get to traverse across an actual glacier. How can you say no to that?!
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 Icefields 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!
This 3-hour tour costs $125 CAD for adults and $80 CAD for kids from Friday – Sunday, or $104 for adults and $67 CAD for kids from Monday – Thursday. This combination tour runs from May through the beginning of October, and tours depart every 15 to 30 minutes from the Discovery Centre.
We found these two sights to be some of the most memorable on our trip to Jasper. If you want to enjoy them both, pick your date and buy tickets online here!
9. Sidecar sightseeing tour
Sightseeing in the Canadian Rockies is made even more exciting when you get to do it feeling like a glamorous 1950s movie star. And with this chauffered tour, you can hop in a Harley Davidson sidecar and do just that! 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.
Plus, 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 $16.50 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!
The guides on this chauffered tour are another thing that we love because they’re 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!
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 costs $207 CAD for one person or $158 CAD each for two adults sharing, while the 2-hour option is $300 CAD if you’re going solo or $232 CAD each for two passengers. Meanwhile, the 3-hour option costs $385 CAD to go it alone in the sidecar or $293 CAD each to share.
You’ll be picked up from your hotel and dropped off again afterward, so this is truly a personal experience from start to finish! If you want to hop aboard this sidecar, you can check availability and book your tour here!
10. Guided glacier hike on Athabasca Glacier
Jasper is full of unique tour options, and hiking across the Athabasca Glacier is definitely one of them! 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.
The tour costs around $130 CAD for adults and $70 CAD for kids aged 7-16, and the route takes about 3 hours in total. 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
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.
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 $71 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.
Jasper Inn & Suites – $$
Jasper Inn & Suites is one of the best Jasper hotels because it’s located in the heart of Jasper. Well-furnished, each room comes with a fan, a flat-screen TV, tea and coffee-making facilities, and a fridge. Additionally, free Wi-Fi access is available in all accommodations. You can book a double room here starting from approximately $130 CAD/night, although prices do fluctuate seasonally.
What makes this hotel one of my favorites is its facilities such as a sauna, steam room, indoor pool, hot tub, ski lockers, ski wax room, and free parking space. It even offers on-site dining and guests can fuel up with authentic Canadian cuisine. During the summer season, guests can relax on the outdoor terrace. Check availability and book a room here online.
Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge – $$$
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 $279 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.
Travel Insurance is more important than ever right now!
If you’re traveling during these uncertain times, be sure that you have travel insurance!
SafetyWing is our go-to insurance when we are going on longer trips. They offer travel medical insurance that’s super affordable (only $42 USD per 4 weeks!) and even have coverage in case you get that dreaded c-word. The only thing to note is that the insurance must be purchased once you’ve left your home country – we typically buy it as soon as we land at the airport.
We’ve personally used SafetyWing for many different trips, and we’ve been reimbursed for countless expenses when we’ve fallen ill. SafetyWing even covered our flights back to Canada in full when the pandemic first happened (when last-minute flights before the borders closed were super expensive!)
It’s safe to say that travel insurance has saved us thousands over the years!
Renting a Car in Alberta
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.
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!
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.
15 BEST Stops on the Drive from Jasper to Banff
4 BEST Whitewater Rafting Tours in Banff + Pros and Cons of Each Tour
Where to Stay in Banff National Park – Pros and Cons of 5 Different Areas