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Jasper National Park Activities

Spanning over 4,000 square miles, Jasper National Park is one of the crown jewels of the Canadian Rockies—and one of the country's earliest-established and most renowned national parks. There's no shortage of diverse activities here that can engage the visitor directly with this stirring landscape of peaks, plateaus, waterfalls, glaciers, and wildlife-rich valleys.

Hikers and backpackers have a vast network of more than 600 miles of trails to explore. Additional routes allow bicyclists and equestrians to experience park scenery and wildlife by their own unique modes of travel. The snows of winter don't have to close off the backcountry: Cross-country skiers and snowshoers find quiet and magic in the white, deliciously crisp wilderness.

Getting out onto the trails makes for vigorous and intimate adventure, but even those with only a few hours to spare and a desire to get a sense of the park's scale can experience Jasper from their car alone. The 140-mile Icefields Parkway, open year-round but often shut down periodically during winter storms and avalanches, is one of North America's most awe-inspiring drives, linking Jasper with its sister park, Banff. You'll take full advantage of the roadside pull-outs to gape at cataracts, glaciers, and expansive vistas.

You may also see some of the iconic wildlife of the Rockies from the parkway, or from other Jasper roads and trails. Binoculars and spotting scopes can bring a grazing grizzly bear or a bugling bull elk into close—and safe—view. Bighorn sheep and Rocky Mountain goats roam the high country, while coyotes can be seen pouncing on mice in meadowlands. Wolves, mountain lions, black bears, moose, mule deer, woodland caribou, marmots, golden eagles, and ravens are among other native critters.

We've only scratched the surface of Jasper's activities: Why not spend a few hours lounging in the thermal mineral waters of Miette Hotsprings for a little wilderness luxury? You can also join a snow-coach ride out onto the Athabasca Glacier, part of the immense Columbia Icefield, for a truly unforgettable experience. Marmot Basin, meanwhile, offers alpine skiing and snowboarding.