Just because you are visiting in winter does not mean that there aren’t a ton of epic things to do in Jasper National Park! The park is situated in the heart of the Canadian Rockies and there are stunning vistas no matter which way you look. Visiting Jasper in winter is a real treat, especially if you don’t usually get to see snow-covered mountains! For Canadians, winter isn’t a time to stay inside and mope, it is a time to bask in the splendor that nature has to offer. Located just a few hours away from Edmonton, Jasper is a winter wonderland!
Many people still opt to visit the area during the summer, which means the winter months are completely devoid of tourists. You can drive for 30 minutes without seeing another car on the Icefields Parkway and get to experience many attractions in perfect solitude! There are so many things to do in Jasper National Park during the winter, which makes it an unforgettable getaway.
5 Unique Things To Do In Jasper National Park In The Winter
#1: Walk on water at Maligne Ice Canyon
The single most epic thing to do in Jasper in winter is to visit Maligne Canyon. This canyon is a raging river in the summer, but in the winter, the water freezes between 3-9 feet thick so you can walk right down the middle of the river! On either side of the canyon, you are confronted with massive waterfalls of ice that stretch the entire height of the canyon. Water slowly seeps through the rock walls of Maligne Canyon from an underground aquifer to create these ice towers. For traction, you must wear ice cleats on your feet and waterproof boots. It is pretty epic to be able to walk on solid ice in the middle of a canyon and is an experience you won’t easily forget.
Water slowly seeps through the rock walls of Maligne Canyon from an underground aquifer to create these ice towers. For traction, you must wear ice cleats on your feet and waterproof boots. It is pretty epic to be able to walk on solid ice in the middle of a canyon and is an experience you won’t easily forget. This canyon is just another reason you need to visit Jasper during the winter months!
#2: Road trip the Icefields Parkway
The Icefields Parkway is heralded as one of the most beautiful drives in the entire world. Out of all the things to do in Jasper National Park, this one only requires a car and your time. Visiting Canada in winter allows you to see a different side of the country that not many get to experience! You will NEVER tire of the breathtaking mountain scenery, the frozen lakes and rivers, the open stretches of road, and the trees wearing their blankets of snow. You can drive the Icefields Parkway for as long or short as you like. If you don’t have much time, hop in the car and drive 15 minutes outside of the city and you will still be able to enjoy all that the parkway has to offer. This is an easy and warm way to see Jasper in winter, even if you are just stopping for a quick visit.
#3: Hit the slopes at Marmot Basin
Marmot Basin is one of the top things to do in Jasper during the winter! The ski resort is located only 10 minutes away from the town of Jasper but thousands of feet above it. The great thing about Marmot Basin is it is a huge resort but doesn’t feel like it! All of the ski slopes let off in one small area so getting from one area to the next is super easy. We also loved that in addition to a ton of black diamond and double black diamond slopes, Marmot Basin had a ton of green “easy” slopes for newbie skiers.
You could ride the highest ski lifts they have and still be able to go all the way down the mountain on “easy” trails. We loved that beginner skiers aren’t left to stay on one bunny slope the entire time and that we had a ton of options!
#4: Snowshoe or ski through a snowy forest
Why wait for summer to hike when you can snowshoe or ski? Canadian forests turn positively dreamy during the winter and there is no better time to go for a hike. If the snow is particularly deep, you can strap on some snowshoes and get out there. If it is only a few inches, snow boots will do just fine. We went hiking in the snowy forests on the way up to Pyramid Lake. No matter where you are in Jasper or along the Icefields Parkway, there will be plenty of places to pull out and hike or cross-country ski. Simply walking around and exploring your surroundings is one of the best things to do in Jasper National Park.
#5: Marvel at the Columbia Icefield and Athabaskan Glacier
If you drive the Icefields Parkway for about two hours south of Jasper you will come across the absolutely spectacular Columbia Icefield and Athabaskan Glacier. Once you arrive, you won’t know if you are in heaven or in Canada because it is so stunning. There isn’t much going on in winter so pull off the road and walk around. Make sure to dress warmly as the area gets super windy and the wind is powerful. You can walk right down and touch the glacier if you want or simply enjoy the view from the warmth of your car. Either way, it is worth the road trip and was one of the most memorable things to do in Jasper National Park in winter or summer!
Bonus: Enjoy wildlife sightings galore
The animals of Jasper National Park are very active during winter. During our short two and a half day stay, we saw wolves, elk, caribou, coyotes, bighorn sheep, and cougar tracks! We even saw elk grazing right in downtown Jasper in the middle of a small park. The key to viewing animals safely is to stay in your car if you see them on the side of the road and to keep your distance and make noise if you come across one during a hike. Never feed the animals, no matter how cute they may be. If wildlife viewing is on your list of things to do in Jasper National Park, winter is the ultimate time to visit.
Is Jasper National Park on your bucket list? If you have visited before, what were your favorite things to do in Jasper? Let us know in the comments!
Disclaimer: Jasper Travel Tourism Board hosted us during our stay so we could experience how absolutely epic Jasper National Park is during the winter. We were not paid for this article and all writing reflects our own thoughts.
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