Post Summary: A 7-Day Jasper National Park Itinerary, with 12+ stops, directions, and photography tips.
Ahhh, the Canadian Rockies.
With all five parks (Banff, Jasper, Yoho, Kootenay, and Waterton) all combined into one glorious UNESCO World Heritage Site, you could spend your whole life visiting this area and still see something new on every visit!
We believe each park deserves its own journey, and we’ve made it a goal to break these amazing locations down into bite-sized pieces.
In this post, we’re sharing a 7-Day Jasper National Park itinerary to whet your appetite for this gorgeous area of the Canadian Rockies!
The Perfect 7-Day Jasper National Park Itinerary
First of all, where is Jasper National Park?
Jasper National Park is located in Canada, in the Province of Alberta. It is the largest of all the parks in the Canadian Rockies, over 4,200 square miles in area!
The closest airport is Edmonton International Airport (YEG), and from Edmonton to Alberta will take around 4 hours by car. However, you can also easily access Jasper through Banff National Park. This way, you can experience a Canadian Rockies road trip, and see up to 5 Canadian national parks in one trip!
If you are going to enjoy Banff National Park activities first, we suggest flying into Calgary!
How To Get Around Jasper National Park
For non-locals flying in from somewhere else, the easiest way to experience Jasper is by renting a car. We love renting campervans through Outdoorsy, which is sort of like Airbnb but for recreational vehicles! This way, you don’t have to worry about flying with camping gear and accommodations- it’s all there waiting for you when you arrive!
Renting a campervan for a trip to Jasper is extremely cost-effective, and perfect for budget travelers!
What To Pack For Your Jasper National Park Trip
Light Puffy Jacket: Mornings in Jasper National Park can be quite cold, but quickly heat up as the day goes on. We really love the Northface Thermoball Eco Jacket, for being lightweight, windproof and incredibly easy to pack. (It stuffs really small!)
Waterproof Hiking Boots: As the winter snow melts, you’ll find that early summer brings plenty of mud puddles on those Jasper hiking trails. We have the St Elias Leather Hiking Boots by Vasque, which not only look awesome but are incredibly durable on tough hikes!
Bear Spray + Bear Bell: On our last trip to Jasper National Park, we say ELEVEN bears. You read that number right. Literally around every corner of every path, there was a black bear snacking on some nearby berry bush. Let them know you are coming with a bear bell, and always pack bear spray, just in case!
Day Pack: The REI Trail 25 Pack is the perfect size and style for a one week trip to Jasper National Park. It’s got a back pocket for a water bladder, several easy-to-reach side pockets, and outer straps for custom packing! It also has a rain cover, for people who end up exploring in the rain!
Water Bottle / Thermos: Long, skinny water bottles are perfect for stowing in a side pocket of a backpack. We love this one by Hydroflask to keep water cool on warm days! If you are trekking to a spot for sunrise in Jasper, bring this indestructible thermos by Stanley for steaming hot coffee for enjoying at the top of a mountain!
Are You A Photographer? Get This backpacking camera clip by Peak Design. It attaches to any backpack strap, and allows you to have quick-release access to your DSLR camera on long hikes!
Day 1: Start Your Jasper National Park Itinerary By Exploring Around The Jasper Townsite
Jumping in the Water at Lake Edith And Lake Annette
Nothing says summer more than hanging out by the lake all afternoon!
Lake Edith and Lake Annette are known to be slightly warmer than the rest of the lakes in Jasper National Park, so you’re in for a refreshing treat.
Both lakes have ample waterfront space so set out your towel and beach chairs for the ultimate afternoon of relaxation.
Besides their beautiful beaches and docks, both of these lakes provide tons of activities for you to take advantage of. You can rent stand up paddle boards (SUP) and canoes by the hour to stroll around the water for that perfect canoe shot.
You can also walk Lake Annette’s newly paved lake trail, which is a wheelchair accessible 2.4km path suitable for all ages!
How To Get Here: From the Jasper town center, follow directions towards Maligne Canyon and take the first right towards Lake Edith and Lake Annette. It’s a quick and easy 15-minute drive from town!
Read More: 8 Ways To Improve Your Travel Photography
Day 2: Explore Even More Jasper Lakes
Take A Stroll Around Pyramid Lake
Pyramid Lake is a gorgeous destination close to town that provides panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. Pyramid Island is the highlight of the area, with boardwalk access letting visitors roam around and enjoy the views.
The island is a great place to have a picnic because of its many scenic shelters and tables.
There is also an incredible outdoor venue-like amphitheater, which we’re sure is the perfect spot for outdoor weddings! You can also rent boats at the waterfront.
How To Get Here: This place is only a 20-minute drive from downtown Jasper. However, easy access means lots of crowds and tour buses during the day.
We recommend coming early in the day or late in the evening for a quieter experience, if that’s what you’re looking for.
Relax At Patricia Lake
The sister lake to Pyramid Lake, Patricia Lake is the perfect place for watching the sunset, canoeing and reading a good book on the shore.
Activities here include taking a hike on the lakeshore trail, taking a swim at lakeshore beach, or spotting wildlife like birds or fish! You can even dive in the lake in you’re feeling adventurous!
The Patricia Lake Circle Loop Trail is a 4.8-kilometer hike that goes around the lake. Come early in the morning or late in the evening for an opportunity to spot some wildlife!
How To Get Here: From the town of Jasper, drive west up Pyramid Lake Road and take the first left once you arrive at the lakes! Park near the Patricia Lake Bungalows.
Day 3: Go Camping at Jasper National Park
If you’re looking for places to stay in Jasper National Park, consider camping!
Camping in Jasper National Park is the quintessential experience for your time in the Canadian Rockies. Several of Jasper’s campsites are located within minutes of the town center. Don’t forget to pack these camping essentials!
This means you can have an authentic and cozy outdoor experience while being close to amenities like park attractions and town activities! Read more about what to expect camping in the Pacific Northwest in this post!
Campground Recommendations + Do I Have To Reserve Camping In Jasper National Park?
Camping in Jasper National Park does not require reservations, though camping reservations are highly recommended.
Spots fill up completely in the busy season so we suggest reserving early to reduce stress!
Click here to discover and compare the Jasper National Park campgrounds and read below for a quick overview of each.
- Whistlers Campground – Note: It will be closed in 2019 for a full renovation (helloooo new showers, bathrooms, and amazing facilities!)
- Wapiti Campground – 364 reservable sites – Located on the shore of the Athabasca River, operates year-round.
- Wabasso Campground – 231 reservable sites – Pristine views and next to rushing river water (a little more “rustic” than the others i.e. no showers)
- Pocahontas – 140 reservable sites – Secluded and quiet, basic amenities but no showers.
Jasper National Park also has a handful of self-registration campgrounds, which are a little more rustic and have fewer amenities. Make sure to come early to secure a spot and bring cash for your reservation!
Read More: The Complete Guide To PNW Camping
Day 4: Explore The Maligne Lake Area
The Maligne Canyon Trail
Maligne Canyon is a perfect addition to your Jasper National Park itinerary because of its accessibility and outright stunning views!
This easy, 4.4-kilometer walk/hike crosses four different bridges that cross over the deeply carved canyon.
Throughout the hike are interactive signs ever so often along the trail sharing fun facts about how Maligne Canyon formed, and how it’s still important today.
If you wish to take a longer hike along the canyon, you can opt to hike to the Fifth Bridge, adding 2.5 kilometers to the trail.
The Fifth Bridge is large, and there’s plenty of space for larger groups to gather and have picnics by the river.
How To Get Here: Travel north from the town of Jasper on Highway 16 and follow signs to Maligne Lake. The drive is about 15 minutes from town. Maligne Canyon will have plenty of signs pointing you in the right direction.
Coming To Maligne Canyon In The Winter? Similar to a Johnston Canyon Ice Walk in Banff, you can actually walk through the frozen canyon in the heart of winter! It’s an incredible experience and gives you a new perspective of the deep, beautiful canyon.
Read More: Take Better Travel Photos With These 8 Tips
Hike, Take A Boat Tour, Or Backcountry Camp Around Maligne Lake
Maligne Lake is the largest (and coldest!) lake in Jasper National Park.
It’s famous for its views of several glaciers, high peaks next to the water, and the bright blue color of the water – an essential part of your Jasper National Park itinerary for an incredible “backcountry” feel in the park.
On this day you can also visit Medicine Lake, which is actually a reservoir that fills up in the early springtime!
Things To Do At Maligne Lake:
- Book a boat cruise (options range from classic, premium, and photography tours) and learn about the lake’s history, animals, and first people to live in the region.
- Take several hikes. Some of our favorites include The Mary Schaffer Loop, Moose Lake Loop, and Bald Hills trail.
- Travel by canoe to their three backcountry campsites for a primitive and serene backcountry experience. You can rent canoes at the lake or bring your own.
- Have a delicious meal at the Maligne Lake Chalet or View Restaurant and relax with a rustic vibe on their sunny and large deck.
Day 5: Hike The Sulphur Skyline Trail
The Sulphur Skyline is a difficult 8.8-kilometer return hike that has a steep trail with several switchbacks.
All of the hard worth is worth it, however, for the incredible views of Utopia Mountain, Ashlar Ridge, and Fiddle Valley.
Come during sunrise or sunset for gorgeous views of the mountains. The best part about this hike? On the descent, you can look forward to a rewarding soak at the Miette Hot Springs right at the base of the trail!
Definitely do this hike early, and maybe even early enough to catch the sunrise from the top! Read more about what to expect from this hike from The Anthrotorian blog!
How To Get Here: Drive 44 kilometers east of Jasper and turn right at the Miette Junction/Pocahontas Bungalows. Proceed south for 17 kilometers until you reach the end of the road. *Note: Miette Road is closed November through April.
Day 6: Discover The Valley of the Five Lakes
If you only take one thing from this post, it should be that you MUST add this place to your Jasper National Park itinerary.
This short and easy 4.5km trail brings you to five spectacular lakes! That’s a five for one deal!
The Valley of Five Lakes is known for frequent wildlife sightings, so bring your camera but remember to stay a safe distance away!
It is recommended that you stay at least 100ft (30 meters) from elk, moose, and bighorn sheep, but at least 330 feet (100 meters) away from predators like cougars, bears, and wolves.
How To Get Here: From Jasper, drive south on Highway 93 (aka Icefields Parkway) for 10 kilometers and it will be on the left-hand side. Parking is free, but only after you have paid a park entrance fee!
Day 7: Exploring The Icefields Parkway Scenic Road Is A Must On Your Jasper National Park Itinerary
Drive The Epic Icefields Parkway
The Icefields Parkway is largely considered one of the most scenic drives in the world!
It spans 232km (or 144 miles) and also goes by the name Highway 93 North. Towering peaks line both sides of the 232-kilometer drive and it’s hard to keep your eyes on the road (but please do!).
Here, visitors will get opportunities to see glaciers, stop for hikes and picnics, and explore waterfalls along the way!
Some of the highlights are listed here: (we’re sharing two below)
- Peyto Lake
- Bow Lake
- Columbia Icefield
- Glacier Skywalk
- Sunwapta Falls (see below)
- Athabasca Falls (see below)
Explore Athabasca Falls
Discover the easily accessible Athabasca Falls and its deep canyons, powerful force of water, and a handful of bridges and trails.
How To Get Here: Athabasca Falls is located 30 minutes south of the town of Jasper, accessible from the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93).
Explore Around Sunwapta Falls
Sumwapta Falls is a beautiful waterfall with an 18.5-meter drop. It’s widely recognized by the island above the falls, which force the water around on both sides before it takes the plunge.
It’s easily accessible from the Icefields Parkway, making it a perfect place to stretch your legs on your Jasper National Park itinerary.
Sunwapta Falls is en route between Jasper National Park and Banff National Park, so it’s a great location to take a break from driving to stop for a family picnic!
(Photo of Sunwapta Falls Coming Soon)
Recommendations And Tips Before Your Jasper National Park Itinerary
- You will be driving A LOT. Make sure to have some good tunes ready, snacks, and these road trip necessities for your trip!
- If you are a photographer, you may want to plan your excursions during sunrise or sunset. The sunrise/sunset times change throughout the year, so make sure to note what time that may be for your trip. You can also read some tips we share when taking travel photos.
- Pack lots of snacks! These easy road trip recipes will keep you energized and healthy on your Canadian Rockies adventure.