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Jasper National Park is hands down one of the best places to spot native animals in the Canadian Rockies, from caribou and mountain goats to bears and wolves. Plus, you get to do it all in a beautiful and dramatic mountain setting!
However, spotting wildlife by yourself can be difficult – not to mention dangerous when it comes to certain wildlife like grizzly bears! But in Jasper, there are some excellent tours available in Jasper to ensure that you’ll get to spot your must-see animals and have a blast while doing it.
In fact, wildlife tours are considered one of the best things to do in Jasper!
We’ve put together this guide to the best wildlife tours in Jasper and compared them to help you find the best experience for you.
Why Book a Wildlife Tour in Jasper
One of the main reasons to go on a wildlife tour in Jasper is to maximize your chances of seeing the area’s most interesting animals, from larger creatures like moose (which, despite their large size, are actually really difficult to see by yourself!) to smaller ones like cute pikas and birds.
Most tour companies keep a careful log of wildlife activity so they know exactly where to take you to spot these animals in their natural habitat, and your guide will be well-trained in spotting wildlife, which really does make a big difference.
You’ll also learn a lot more on a wildlife tour than you would simply seeing the animals by yourself. Your guide will teach you all about the animals’ habitat and behaviors, as well as local efforts to protect them. It really does make spotting Canadian wildlife even more interesting.
Joining a wildlife tour also means that all of your transport will be organized for you, so you don’t need to worry about renting a car either, which can be pretty expensive. And there’s no need to worry about navigation or timing either, since it’s all taken care of for you.
Plus, we think that the best tours are the ones that take you to local hidden gems and show you secret spots that you probably wouldn’t have stumbled across on your own. Wildlife tours are especially great for this, as they tend to take you to quiet spots that most tourists don’t know about. This is why wildlife tours are often ranked as some of the best tours available in Jasper.
What are the Chances of Seeing Bears on a Wildlife Tour in Jasper?
Pretty good! There are no guarantees on a wildlife tour in Jasper, but some tours have a success rate of around 95% when it comes to seeing bears.
To maximize your chances of seeing a black or grizzly bear specifically, we recommend joining either an early morning or an evening tour, as this is when bears tend to be most active and thus gives you a greater chance of spotting them.
Related Read: Wildlife tours in Banff are also very popular!
What Wildlife can you see on a Jasper Wildlife Tour?
There are plenty of animals to discover on a Jasper wildlife tour, not least black and grizzly bears. Caribou, elk, deer, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and wolves are also some of the most popular animals to spot in the Canadian Rockies, and if you’re really lucky you might see some moose which, as you probably know, are an iconic symbol of Canada!
There are also some smaller animals to spot, like marmots, which are giant ground squirrels (although we think they also kind of resemble small beavers) and pikas, which are super cute fluff balls that are basically rabbits, but with the round ears of a mouse instead.
Jasper National Park is also home to some really great birdlife, including golden and bald eagles, grouse, swallows, and woodpeckers, so a wildlife tour is a great opportunity to have your guide help you spot and identify some of these famous species.
Our FAVORITE Wildlife Tour in Jasper
Our top wildlife tour in Jasper has to be this wildlife and waterfalls tour, which does something super special by combining two of our favorite things – hiking and wildlife! With tickets costing just $95 CAD per person, the hike is very easy and suitable for all fitness levels, just make sure to bring your camera with you! You can book your slot online here.
The 5 Best Wildlife Tours in Jasper
1. Morning Jasper National Park Wildlife Tour
This 3-hour morning wildlife tour will take you out nice and early to spot some of the best wildlife that Jasper has to offer. You’ll be picked up from your hotel in Jasper and head out with a fairly small group of no more than 22 others to marvel at the most iconic animals in the Canadian Rockies.
What we think is really cool about this tour is that your guide will use their own knowledge and recent information to tailor your route according to the current conditions to maximize your chances of encounters. In fact, this tour has a 95% success rate when it comes to spotting wildlife, which is definitely not to be sniffed at.
We love this tour company because the guides they employ are super passionate and really know their stuff, and they’ll teach you all about wildlife conservation efforts within Jasper National Park as you go around.
This tour costs $85 CAD for adults and $64 CAD for kids aged 5-14, which we think is great value for money given the quality of this tour. Plus, many of the park’s most famous animals are most active in the early morning, so it’s an excellent time to head out.
You can read about all of the details and book this morning tour online here.
Related Read: Sometimes you can even spot wildlife while riding up the Jasper SkyTram!
2. Jasper Evening Wildlife Tour
The evening is also a great time of day to take a wildlife tour in Jasper. On this evening tour, you’ll head out in the late afternoon for a wildlife-spotting adventure that will last for around 3 hours, and have no more than 20 travelers per group. We always tend to prefer these smaller group experiences, as they feel more personal and you definitely learn a lot more.
The tour is very similar to the one above, and is even priced the same, so the right one for you depends on whether you’re more of an early bird or a night owl!
Hotel pickup and drop off is included for most hotels in downtown Jasper, as well as a few that are a little further out, and you’ll enjoy beautiful vistas along the way, from forests and lakes to dramatic mountain backdrops.
You can check availability and book this evening wildlife tour in Jasper online here!
3. Jasper Wildlife and Waterfalls Tour
If you love hiking and being active, then this is the perfect wildlife tour in Jasper for you! Not only will you get plenty of chances to spot bears, elk, deer, and more in their natural habitats, but you’ll also get to go chasing waterfalls (sorry, TLC) and enjoy a guided hike around Maligne Lake, which is an amazing place to spot wildlife. In fact, it’s one of the best places in the Rockies to spot moose, although sadly we’ve never had any success here.
The tour lasts approximately 5.5 hours, and starts with a visit to Maligne Canyon, where you can see the picturesque cascading waterfall and learn more about the geology and natural history of the area. You’ll also stop at Medicine Lake, a beautiful alpine lake that disappears in the winter, to snap photos and soak in the views, and then you get to enjoy a guided hike through the forest surrounding the lake, which is a prime place to spot wildlife. It’s an easy loop trail that’s just under 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) long, so you don’t need to be super fit to do this.
We love this tour because we think it’s a fantastic way to combine wildlife spotting and sightseeing – plus, we never say no to a hike! You’ll get to visit some of the most beautiful spots in the Rockies and follow a guide through the forest who will not only help you to spot wildlife, but also teach you about the animals you’re seeing.
At $95 CAD for adults and $64 CAD for kids, we think that this tour is really great value for money. Hotel pickup and drop off in downtown Jasper is included, although lunch isn’t included so you’ll need to either bring your own food or buy some when you stop at the Maligne Day Lodge.
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.
4. Athabasca Valley Twilight Wildlife Tour
This twilight tour will take you through the Athabasca Valley when the wildlife is most active, which not only means that you get to spot some amazing animals – including foxes, coyotes, and elk – but also that you get to watch the sunset over this beautiful part of the world.
Your guide will not only help you to spot animals, they’ll also tailor the route to give you a better chance of seeing as much wildlife as possible! Plus, they will be able to answer all of your questions about not only the wildlife, but about the history and ecology of Jasper National Park as a whole. There’s a maximum of 24 travelers per group, so you’ll have plenty of chances to ask questions and chat.
The entire tour is narrated, so you’ll learn a ton about the area and its natural features, as well as efforts to protect its wildlife. It’s a really nice way to spend an evening spotting wildlife with friends, family, or your partner (a fun activity of you’re visiting Jasper on a honeymoon), and we also like the fact that it takes you off the beaten path to see some of the lesser-known spots in the Athabasca Valley. After all, gaining insider knowledge and discovering new places is one of the best reasons to take a tour in the first place!
This tour costs $75 CAD for adults and $38 CAD for kids, including hotel pick up and drop off.
You can read about all of the details and book this awesome twilight tour online here!
5. Winter Wildlife Discovery Tour
The other four tours that we’ve talked about all run in the summertime, usually from May – October. However, visiting Jasper in the winter doesn’t mean that you’ll miss out on a wildlife tour. This winter wildlife discovery tour will help you to discover the park’s most fascinating winter wildlife, including moose, caribou, coyotes, and wolves. You’ll also learn about how the park changes in the winter and how the wildlife adapts.
You’ll be nice and warm in your van as you drive through the Athabasca Valley and take a tour of Maligne Valley, spotting wildlife as you go, of course. You’ll also visit Maligne Lake, which is a big wildlife hotspot, to marvel at its karsts and learn all about the indigenous folklore surrounding the lake.
We’re not sure why this is, but seeing magnificent creatures like moose, wolves, and caribou is even more magical in a snowy setting, so this tour really is a wonderful choice for a winter tour in Jasper.
This tour departs at 9 am every day during the winter and lasts for around 3.5 hours, so you’ll have plenty of time to hit the slopes or enjoy another fun activity in Jasper in the afternoon. It costs $72 CAD for adults and $36 CAD for kids, including hotel pickup and drop from certain hotels, and there’s a maximum of 24 travelers per group.
All in all, it’s a really fun day out, and if you’re in Jasper during the winter on a skiing or snowboarding holiday then we think that it’s a nice way to take a break from all that physical activity, while still enjoying some sightseeing and spotting some incredible animals.
You can check availability and book this winter wildlife tour in Jasper online here!
Related Read: For another awesome experience, consider booking one of the fun whitewater rafting tours in Jasper – there are everything from scenic floats to intense rapids available!
Parks Canada Pass Quick Info
If you plan on spending time in Canada’s national parks (including Banff, Jasper, Yoho, Mount Revelstoke, Glacier, Kootenay, and more) then you’re going to have to pay for a Parks Pass.
Single Daily Admission:
This type of pass is valid for one person for one day. It is ONLY the best value if you are traveling alone and only plan to visit a national park for a couple of days.
- Adult (ages 18-64) is $11 CAD
- Senior (65+) is $9.50 CAD
- Youth/Child (17 or younger) is FREE
Group Daily Admission:
If you’re traveling in a group or with family, you can buy a single-day admission for your entire vehicle (up to 7 people in one vehicle.)
- $22.00 CAD gets your entire vehicle entry for one full day
Parks Canada Discovery Pass
The “Discovery Pass”Discovery Pass” is what Parks Canada calls their year-long (365 days from the purchase date), multi-park entry pass. This pass will give 365 days of access to all participating national parks in Canada. This includes the most popular parks like Banff, Jasper, Yoho, Kootenay, Glacier, Mount Revelstoke, and so much more.
- Adult (age 18-64) – $75.25 CAD
- Senior (65+) – $64.50 CAD
- Group/Family (up to 7 people in one vehicle) – $151.25 CAD
Hot Tip: Although more expensive up front, if you plan on spending more than 7 days in different parks in Canada within a 12-month period, then the Discovery Pass is actually the better deal!
Parks Canada Passes can be bought online here or at one of the Visitor Centers or booths at the entrance to many national parks.
Other Activities to do while you’re in Jasper
Jasper National Park is just filled with fun things to do and see! So besides visiting Maligne Lake, there are a few other activities that we recommend that you check off your to-do list. They are:
- Whitewater rafting – Jasper is one of the best places in Alberta to go whitewater rafting with a few different rivers nearby. For an adrenaline-filled rafting experience complete with class 3 rapids, opt for this rafting tour. It has nearly all 5-star reviews and costs $123 CAD per person. For something a little calmer and family-friendly but just as highly rated, choose this scenic rafting experience for only $85 CAD each.
- Spirit Island – Maligne Lake is arguably the most famous lake in Jasper National Park. At Maligne Lake you can hike, canoe on the lake, or eat at a lakeside restaurant. However, the best activity at the lake is this scenic Maligne Lake Cruise which takes you out on the water for the best vantage point. The cruise also takes you to the famous Spirit Island, which is so picture-perfect that you’ve likely seen it on Instagram before.
- Drive the Icefields Parkway – The Icefields Parkway is the super scenic stretch of road that connects Jasper with Lake Louise. There are tons of attractions on the Icefields Parkway including hikes, stunning blue lakes like Peyto Lake, as well as the Columbia Icefield. If you’ve ever wanted to walk on a glacier, you can do that at the Columbia Icefield on this guided hiking tour that takes you onto Athabasca Glacier. If you aren’t much of a hiker, join this bus tour onto the glacier instead – you’ll still stand on the glacier but no hiking is required!
- Explore Maligne Canyon – Located on the edge of Jasper town is the beautiful Maligne Canyon, where you can hike alongside and peer down into the deep canyon. There are also a few bridges you can walk on to really take in the views. In the winter, we highly recommend doing an icewalk in the canyon where you put on ice cleats and explore frozen waterfalls, ice caves, and walk in the middle of the frozen canyon!
- Visit Pyramid Lake – Pyramid Lake is a calm lake that offers reflections of the surrounding mountains including the symmetrical Pyramid Mountain. In the summer, you can swim, hike, canoe, and SUP on the lake. In winter, go ice skating or ride in a horse-drawn sleigh. For an extra special treat, spend the night lakeside at the Pyramid Lake Resort.
Related Read: While you’re in the area, be sure to check out the best cafes in Jasper for an excellent coffee and some tasty food.
Where to Stay in Jasper
When compared to Banff (and the dozens of hotels in Banff), there actually aren’t that many to choose from in Jasper. That’s right, accommodation in Jasper is limited, and therefore 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 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.
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 – 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!
Thanks for reading!
Seeing wildlife while you’re visiting Jasper is super to be a memorable experience, and with these awesome wildlife tours your chances of seeing unique wildlife are greatly improved!