A winter getaway to Jasper National Park? Yes, please!
Why Jasper National Park?
Jasper National Park is the perfect base to experience wintertime adventure, natural beauty, and relaxation, all in one getaway. It is the largest National Park in the Canadian Rockies, with 11,000 square kilometres of untamed wilderness and rugged beauty. Jasper is also a designated Dark Sky Preserve, and part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has majestic mountain peaks and a plethora of outstanding beauty to ogle, and you can spot abundant wildlife throughout much of Jasper’s vast wilderness. You can’t go wrong choosing Jasper for your next winter adventure!
The only question will be, “how do we choose what to do and see?!”, because there’s so much to see and do here on a winter getaway! The options are endless, whether you are seeking adventure or a quiet, romantic getaway in the mountains. Let me point you in the right direction, so you can begin planning your perfect winter trip to Jasper!
Disclaimer: Our full Jasper experience was kindly provided on a complimentary basis by Tourism Jasper and their partners. As always, all thoughts and opinions are entirely my own. I will continue to promote only products, properties, destinations, and services that I truly believe in 100%, and would wholeheartedly recommend to others.
Jasper in the Winter:
- Keep Jasper Safe: COVID-19 Safety
- Where is Jasper National Park?
- How do you get to Jasper?
- Best Things to Do in Jasper in the Winter
- Maligne Canyon Icewalk
- Dogsledding in Jasper National Park
- Ice Skating in Jasper National Park
- Skiing and Snowboarding at Marmot Basin
- Stay in a Cute and Cozy Cabin
- Explore Athabasca Falls
- Hike Panther Falls
Keep Jasper Safe – Jasper and COVID-19
Face Masks Currently Required:
Please note, in order to help Keep Jasper Safe you must wear a face covering or mask in public spaces.
You must also wear a mask or face covering outdoors on the west side of Connaught Drive between Hazel Avenue and Aspen Avenue; on Patricia Street between Hazel Avenue and Pyramid Lake Road; on all connecting public sidewalks between those streets; and on all public sidewalks where a two-metre distance cannot be maintained.
Official Information: Parks Canada
Parks Canada is the federal government entity that is in change of managing Jasper National Park’s camping, trails, and human wildlife interactions. Visit the following links for:
Where is Jasper National Park?
The town of Jasper is located about three and a half hours north of the town of Banff, 5 hours north of the city of Calgary, and four hours west of the city of Edmonton.
How do you get to Jasper from Calgary or Edmonton?
In the wintertime, the most reliable and fastest route to Jasper is from Edmonton. The road is a 4-lane highway that is generally well-maintained during the winter. If you’re dealing with a shorter trip, only wanting to see Jasper, and flying in, I’d recommend flying into Edmonton and renting a car from the airport.
However, if you are hoping to see Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper all in one trip, I’d highly recommend to fly into Calgary and beginning your journey from there. The drive from Calgary to Jasper is through the mountains almost the entire route, and is absolutely stunning and a must-see in itself! You can leave Calgary and explore Canmore, then Banff, then Lake Louise, before finally making your way to Jasper. Be aware, however, that the stretch of highway called the Icefields Parkway between Lake Louise and Jasper can receive a lot of snow, become icy, and can sometimes even be closed due to avalanches, so make sure you have good winter tires on your vehicle, and be sure to check the weather and road conditions!
Visiting Jasper in the winter is truly so magical! Here are some of the best things to to do in Jasper in the winter:
Maligne Canyon Icewalk
The Maligne Canyon Icewalk is easily one of Jasper’s most popular and impressive winter adventures! I recommend signing up for a tour of the canyon with Sundog Tours. Your knowledgeable guide will take you to the bottom of the Maligne Canyon, which is also the deepest accessible canyon in Jasper National Park! You’ll be able to (safely) explore multiple frozen waterfalls, ice caves, and incredible ice and canyon formations.
The Icewalk Tour covers about 3.5 kms and is mostly downhill. Transportation is included with your tour, and pick-ups are available from all Jasper accommodations. Warm waterproof boots, helmets, and ice cleats are provided for you.
If you are looking for a bite to eat after your Icewalk, check out the Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen, located on site. Their chili is delicious!
As per Alberta Health Service recommendations under “Group Physical Activities”, Maligne Canyon Icewalks will be limited to 10 people or less and all cohorts must maintain 2 metre distance at all times. Masks are required on all services and tours.
Imagine driving your own team of Huskies through a snowy winter wonderland, gazing out at the stunning scenery as it flies by. Dogsledding is an unbelievable way to unplug and disconnect, and then reconnect with nature.
Only an hour drive from Jasper, Cold Fire Creek Dogsledding is the perfect place to experience all of this. Their friendly and enthusiastic sled dogs will lead you into the heart of the beautiful Canadian Rockies via Canada’s oldest form of winter transport.
Dogsledding tours with Cold Fire Creek Dogsledding run from December 1st thru April 10th.
Explore pricing for their various dogsledding tour options.
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Ice Skating at Pyramid Lake in Jasper National Park
What is more Canadian than going ice skating on a frozen lake in the Rocky Mountains?
At Pyramid Lake Resort in Jasper, you can ice skate in the winter, with the exquisite Pyramid Mountain as your backdrop. The lake is cleared into a skating rink by the Resort, complete with benches to sit on to put on your skates.
So grab a hot chocolate and the one you want to hold hands with, and hit the ice!
Skiing and Snowboarding at Marmot Basin
Marmot Basin, located in breathtaking Jasper National Park just 20 minutes from town center, is a ski and snowboard destination with both steller runs, and stunning views.
It offers 3,000 vertical feet (914m) of excellent skiing and snowboarding across 1,720 acres of variable terrain. A state of the art grooming fleet grooms the tree-lined trails to perfection. Snow-filled dome bowls welcome powder riders.
Whether its your first visit to Marmot Basin or you’re a regular, you’re sure to love the relaxed atmosphere, affordability, variety in terrain and incredible scenery.
Stay in a Cute Cabin in Jasper
No winter getaway to Jasper National Park is complete without staying in a cozy, cute little cabin and snuggling around the fireplace! You can’t go wrong with any of the accomodations in Jasper, but here are a few of our favourite little cabins that you’re going to love:
Bear Hill Lodge Cabins
These are the only cabins open year-round are at Bear Hill Lodge, but they’ll leave you wanting for nothing as they’ll meet all of your needs!
Not only that, you can bring your furry friend too, as Bear Hill Lodge is indeed dog-friendly. We brought Lila with us and she LOVED cuddling up around the cute and cozy fireplace in our cabin.
Bear Hill Lodge offers a wide variety of accommodation options, from small to large, and more simple to luxurious. Each unit type has its own unique features, such as:
- Kitchen units feature a fridge, a 24” range stove and microwave, and they have a table or breakfast bar.
- Kitchenettes feature a two-burner cooktop (but no oven), a small fridge, a microwave and a table.
- Units without kitchens feature a continental breakfast during the summer month. Breakfast is also available for other units at an additional cost.
There’s nothing better during winter than cozying up around a crackling fireplace in your adorable little Jasper cabin. You can purchase firewood and kindling for fireplace right at the front desk. (One bundle of wood is $8.00 and kindling is $2.00.)
The location of Bear Hill Lodge is perfect – just 10 minutes to the townsite (with access to tons of shopping and restaurants), and also a short 10 minutes to Patricia and Pyramid Lakes. We loved being able to run out to pick up dinner from a restaurant located just a few minutes’ walk from out front door. However, you weren’t RIGHT on the main strip, so you still feel like you’re away from all of the hustle and bustle. You couldn’t dream up a more perfect location for your Jasper cabin rental.
We loved our stay at Bear Hill Lodge and highly recommend it for those traveling to Jasper and looking for a cozy cabin to stay in that is well-appointed, super photogenic and close to everything!
Other Recommended Cabin Rentals in Jasper:
Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge
A true treat to stay at, especially if you’re celebrating something! True to classic Fairmont style, but with a Rocky Mountains flair. Treat yourself to a spa appointment, pond hockey, delicious dining and winter walks around the property.
Jasper Park Lodge offers a village of heritage log cabins that are connected by picturesque paths. Their 442 superbly-appointed guest rooms and Signature Cabins provide the perfect getaway retreat, surrounded by beautiful views of majestic mountains and stunning Lac Beauvert.
Jasper East Cabins
Jasper East Cabins are nestled near the edge of Jasper National Park, tucked quietly into the rolling hills. Here you can escape the crowds of Jasper town and hide away in your own mountain cabin. Located less than 5 minutes away from the Jasper National Park Gates and just a 25 minute drive to the Miette Hot Springs, this accommodation is in a great location full of wildlife!
From studio to three bedroom cabins, they have something available for everyone. All cabins have fireplaces and are decorated with natural elements, bringing the outdoors in.
Pyramid Lake Resort
Your perfect lakeside mountain retreat! This newly-renovated chalet-style alpine resort offers 62 guest rooms. All rooms feature a cozy fireplace and stunning lake and mountain views.
The resort is open year round and located just 6km from Jasper townsite. In the summer, you can rent a kayak, canoe or paddle boat right onsite, or try their electric family cruise boats!
In the winter, you can enjoy the on-site ice skating rink, go snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or even enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride!
Note: Please be sure to check out the Jasper National Park Website for the most up to date information regarding COVID-19 restrictions and closures. Certain businesses (such as restaurants) or facilities (such as fitness centers and pools) may be closed, mandatory masks may be in effect in public spaces, etc.
Explore Athabasca Falls
Another beautiful sight to check out in the winter is Athabasca Falls, which features a beautiful Class 5 waterfall, with a drop of 80ft. A series of trails and bridges connect views of the waterfall and different parts of the canyon, and you’ll want to check out each of the designated viewpoints, because they’re all so beautiful!
To get here, drive south of the townsite of Jasper, Alberta, and down the Icefields Parkway 31 km (about 20 min) to the junction of Hwy 93 & 93A. The waterfall might be partially, or completely, frozen when you visit in the winter, but the entire canyon area is so stunning it won’t matter.
Hike Panther Falls
If you have the time and you’re driving back to Calgary, Red Deer or Banff/Lake Louise via the Icefields Parkway, definitely make time to hike down to Panther Falls. This frozen waterfall is a hidden gem and a must-do in the winter!
The trailhead isn’t obvious, and the area seems quite remote, but the snowy trail to the 66m waterfall is fun and easily accessible. Just be sure to wear cleats (it’s slippery) and even a helmet, as ice can fall from within the cave that the waterfall is located (if you want to go in behind the falls).
- Distance: 1.3 km, out-and-back hike
- Elevation: 75m gain
- Difficulty: Easy (although this may change depending upon weather conditions/snow/ice)
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Do you have questions for me about Jasper National Park or other locations in Alberta, or have feedback on this blog post? Please feel free to shoot me a comment below; I would love to hear from you!