Jasper National Park was one of my favorite places to visit on my 2-week Alberta itinerary in winter. The little town of Jasper is beautifully located in the National Park and a true paradise in winter for those who are looking for adventurous things to do. Whether you are looking to go hiking, spotting wildlife, skiing, canyoneering... you can find it in Jasper in winter.
Find also a complete guide for Edmonton in winter on my blog. This is where I started my road trip around Alberta. Want to stay connected to the internet? Buy a local sim card. Click here for the best Canada sim cards for tourists.
Also check out this SUMMER guide with things to do in Jasper!
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1. Visit Pyramid Island
In summer a busy touristy spot and an instagrammable place to visit in Jasper National Park, but in winter there is hardly anyone. On Pyramid Lake there is a small island connected by bridge to the mainland.
Get your photo on the wooden bridge over the frozen lake with the iconic Pyramid mountain in the back. You can walk around the frozen lake in winter. If you are really lucky you will see wildlife crossing the frozen lake.
Related: Winter Packing List for Canada.
2. Spotting Wildlife
My travel companion to Jasper and Traveltomtom team member Kim Paﬀen is a Nat Geo award winning wildlife photographer so I was stuck in a car chasing wildlife for a couple days. But it was absolutely amazing and one of the best things to do in Jasper in winter.
There is an abundance of snow everywhere you look and the scenery is so unbelievably serene and peaceful. We looked 3 days straight for owls, but in the end never found one, but we did see moose, mountain sheep, squirrels, coyotes, elks and some others.
Check out Kim’s article about spotting wildlife in Alberta in winter.
3. Ski in Marmot Basin
About 25 minutes drive uphill from Jasper town you will find the Marmot Basin ski resort, located inside Jasper National Park. This charming ski resort doesn’t see big crowds and lift lines are non existing. Marmot Basin oﬀers 3,000 vertical feet on 1,720 acres of varied terrain.
It was my second time snowboarding in Canada and it is such a diﬀerent experience from what I am used to in Europe. There are a couple top stations and from there you can basically go down anywhere you like and will always end up back at the base. There are only a few groomed runs but it is mostly wide open spaces and a lot of tree skiing possibilities. When traveling to Jasper in winter I would definitely recommend you to go skiing or snowboarding at Marmot Basin.
Lift ticket prices are very moderate with about $75 USD for a day pass.
Find all my Jasper videos on my Instagram highlights, click on the link to see more than 15 minutes of video material about all my winter adventures and activities in Jasper National Park.
4. Maligne Canyon Ice Walk
When looking for adventurous things to do in Jasper in winter then add the Maligne Canyon Icewalk to your Jasper itinerary.
In summer a raging river, but in in the winter months the canyon transforms into a walkable winter wonderland. It is the deepest canyon in Jasper National Park.
I explored the canyon with the local company Jasper Hikes and Tours. Our guide Sean was an avid outdoor specialist and home to Maligne Canyon. Truly an incredible Jasper activity, thanks to the great guiding of Sean.
We got to know all the ins and outs of the flora and fauna to be found, while looking at frozen waterfalls, crossing several bridges, stare at impressive ice formations, going down slides and even climbed into a cave.
Jasper Hikes and Tours provided us with all the needed equipment: warm hiking boots with crampons and helmets.
Just before this photo I ripped my pants and walked around in Maligne Canyon in my boxer short. It was -12 degrees celsius, great adventure! LOL. See the videos about it on my Instagram highlights.
5. Maligne Lake and Medicine Lake
Drive almost 50 kilometers through winter wonderland from Jasper to Maligne Lake. Probably one of my most favorite things to do in Jasper.
In winter the road ends at Maligne Lake so it is basically a one-way road. Driving 100 kilometer on an ice road doesn’t sound appealing but the landscapes totally make up for it.
Although you will hardly see any other tourists on this road in winter, you won’t be alone. This is the best place to visit in Jasper when you want to spot wildlife. Eventually we spotted the rare moose and mountain sheep along the road to Maligne Lake.
You will also pass by Medicine Lake which for some reason loses its water in fall and winter.
The views over Medicine Lake are incredible and a big chance you will spot a herd of mountain sheep on the lake.
6. Icefields Parkway
One heck of an amazing road this is! No words for this Jasper adventure in winter. The Icefields Park way is part of the Jasper National Park and icy in winter I can tell you.
Definitely not easy to drive and please don’t get dragged away by the amazing landscapes along the way. Keep your eyes on the road and drive safely.
The Icefields Parkway is among the best things to do in Jasper for sure and the scenery makes it one of the best road trips in the world.
The Icefields Parkway connects Jasper with Lake Louis and Banﬀ. We hardly came along other traﬃc at all during our 6 hour drive over 400 kilometer.
7. Athabasca Falls
The most stunning falls in the Jasper National Park are without a doubt the Athabasca Falls.
They are along the Icefields Parkway about 40 kilometers South of Jasper town. In summer a raging waterfall but in winter almost completely frozen.
There are two bridges crossing a little canyon and there are several information signs with extra info about the Athabasca Falls.
When I visited in winter there was hardly anyone around! You can also spot some cool birds around this area.
8. Sunwapta Falls
The Sunwapta Falls are not so impressive as the Attabasca Falls, still worth driving another 15 minutes further South.
There are great hiking opportunities and forest trails around the falls and great thing is that this place is a little further out and you will most probably be the only around here in the forest. It is so quiet and serene, the silence almost felt like meditation.
9. Ice skate on Lake Mildred
When staying in the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge you don’t have to go far to go ice skating in Jasper.
The Fairmont is located on Lake Mildred and has a perfectly groomed round the lake ice skating rink. The track is pretty long and I am not an avid ice skater so I enjoyed a hot chocolate by the fire.
There is also an ice hockey rink in case you are interested in playing hockey with fellow Canadians and other winter tourists in Jasper.
10. Breakfast at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge
I had never guessed I would get a Bali-like smoothie bowl while on a winter trip in Canada, but yes you will find it on the a la carte breakfast menu of the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. The Orso Trattoria serves the most delicious breakfast meals. What about blueberry pancakes with mascarpone, the Nutella banana bread french toast or the all time classic avocado on toast with poached eggs? Doesn’t this sound like the great way to start your day.
The Orso Trattoria restaurant is located on the lower floor of the Fairmont Park Lodge overlooking the Beauvert Lake.
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11. Lunch at Cocos
For sure the best coﬀee in town although locals also rave about Snowdome for good coﬀee. Apart from the good coﬀee it also is one of the best restaurants in Jasper for a healthy lunch. Their menu full of local grown and homemade healthy food is great.
They have loads of vegetarian and vegan options and delicious homemade bread. Although the interior could use a little makeover, I would definitely recommend you Coco’s Cafe on Patricia St for lunch in Jasper.
12. Dinner at Maligne Wilderness Kitchen
Next to the entrance of Maligne Canyon bridge 1 you will find an old historic tea house which is now converted into a charming fine dining restaurant.
Although a proper restaurant with allure this place still has the charm of a local mountain hut in the mountains of Austria. Having a tea around the huge fireplace is also a possibility.
13. Try craft beer at Jasper Brewing Company
The only brewery in Jasper National Park can be found on the main road, Connaught Dr. Their six signature beers are all brewed on-site. It is a pub like hotspot where locals and tourists mingle on a mix of high tables and diners.
This is also the place to visit in Jasper for watching live sports games on one of the many plasma tv screens. I tried my first Poutine, Canada’s national dish with fries, gravy and cheese. It was delicious, the IPA beer was another favorite here!
14. Wellness day at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge
The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge has a huge heated outdoor pool as well as a jacuzzi that overlooks the Beauvert Lake and the mountain peaks in the distance. If you are looking for the place to visit in Jasper for sunset then it will be the licensed outdoor pool of the Fairmont.
Guests can also enjoy the wellness area with sauna, which is separate for men and women. Classical sight is people floating in the heated outdoor pool looking into the night sky, watching the stars. The wellness area is also open for non-guests of the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge.
Where to stay in Jasper National Park
It is probably pretty clear by now that I was a fan of the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. I stayed at this beautiful hotel for 3 nights while sightseeing in Jasper and it was wonderful. Read more about my stay in my Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge review or check their rates directly below.
This Jasper blog is the outcome of a trip to Jasper in February 2020. Together with Traveltomtom team member Kim Paffen I traveled through Alberta for 2 weeks and Jasper was one of our stops. Kim, an award winning travel photographer, took care of all the photos in this blog.
More about traveling in Alberta can you read in my Edmonton winter travel guide. Make sure you are dressed well. Check out my winter packing list: What To Bring To Canada.
May you have any questions don’t hesitate to send me a message on my Instagram account @traveltomtom. This is also were you can see all my Jasper adventure videos. There you will find a ton of inspiring photos from more than 100 countries. As of 2022 I am aiming to travel to every country in the world.