Jasper Hiking Guide: How to Spend Two Days In Jasper National Park

Jasper Hiking Guide: How to Spend Two Days In Jasper National Park

2 Days in Jasper National Park

Jasper National Park offers many adventures for the outdoor enthusiast. But, in order to enjoy all that Jasper has to offer, and to see some of the best terrains in the Canadian Rockies, you’ll need to do an overnight trip. A day trip is just not enough. Below, you’ll find a suggested two days trip itinerary for lovers of the outdoors who just aren’t fit enough for the more strenuous Banff hikes. Or families with young children who just want to enjoy easy to moderate hiking trails. But, before starting any trip, I have one recommendation: make a stop at the Information Centre in the heart of the town to grab some maps and up-to-date information on the many trails and attractions in Jasper. 

For the avid hikers, Banff National Park is the more popular Rocky Mountain destination, but for families or the casual hiker, hiking in Jasper National Park is the more optimal choice. Equally as stunning and less crowded, Jasper is one of the most beautiful, awe-inspiring places to visit in the world. Established in 1907, Jasper is at the most northern end of the four adjoining mountain parks —Banff National Park, Kootenay National Park, and Yoho National Park. Right in the midst of the spectacular Rocky Mountains, its beautiful scenery of snow-capped peaks, glacier-fed lakes, rivers and mineral springs attract more than 3 million visitors each year.

Jasper National Park viewpoint during Sunset

2 Days in Jasper National Park: Day One

Mount Edith Cavell

Wake up early (7-8ish) and make your way up to the much overlooked Mount Edith Cavell to walk the Path of The Glacier Trail. Before heading off, make sure you trust your vehicle (and driver) as the road towards Mount Edith Cavell is a loopy, two-way-pothole-ridden, upward drive to its main parking area at the base of the mountain. From the parking area, make your way up the steep but paved path to the viewing point. For a short 10 minute walk, you are rewarded with a spectacular view of the mountain face, and the Angel Glacier. At the foot of the glacier is a lake filled with ice floes —created in 2014 when an enormous piece of the glacier had broken and fell.

Stream with mountains in the background at Mount Edith Cavell Alberta Canada

Beginning of the hike at Mount Edith Cavell Alberta Canada

View of the rocky and glacier capped mountains at Mount Edith Cavell Hike in Alberta Canada

Mesmerised by the glacial lake, we approached the glacier. Please don’t do that. We later found out that we completely missed the warning signs at the top of the main path that said to stay away from the glacier as it posed a danger to life! Obviously, in our ignorance, we went right to the foot of the glacier to grab some pictures. It was an incredible experience, but also terrifying. Standing there, you could hear loud, eerie cracks that reverberate and echo throughout the area. After a quick look around, we made our scramble back up the rocks towards the main path. Apparently, glaciers are always in constant movement, hence the cracking noises. Had a big chunk of ice fell into the glacial pond, it could have caused a flash flood. And had we been standing there, we could have been swept away into frigid cold water. Yikes!

Side Tip: One of my favourite free thing to do in Jasper National Park is Wildlife viewing, If you’re the same, take a drive to the Goat Lookout. Near Mount Edith Cavell, and located just 38 km south of Jasper in the Icefields Parkway Region, and off Highway 93, this spot offers not only breathtaking views of the mountainous region of the Athabasca River Valley, it is also one of the best locations to observe wildlife. At the Goat Lookout, you can observe bighorn sheep and mountain goats. Just be careful of the exposed glacial deposits, keep your distance and do not feed the wildlife.

Glacial lake at Mount Edith Cavell Alberta Canada

Close up of Glacial lake at Mount Edith Cavell Alberta Canada

We spent almost an hour here wandering around the different icebergs and enjoying the pine-scented air. I had a long moment of quiet fascination here, just staring at the glacier lake and the ribbons of waterfalls cascading down the mountain face. It was quite spiritual and is on our list of top places we would love to revisit one day.  

Replenish yourself at Bear’s Paw Bakery

After enjoying your morning hike, stop by Bear’s Paw Bakery to grab some butter tarts, cinnamon roll and/or scones to replenish your energy. Early in the morning, around 6 am, there’s always a huge lineup all the way to the street, but at 9 am, it starts dying down. Baked goods and loaf are made fresh every morning from scratch, with a wide selection to choose from. If you’re like me who shy away from large corporations like Tim Horton or McDonald’s, Bear’s Paw Bakery is the way to go. Not only are you supporting a local mum and pop store, you’ll also be enjoying some of the best freshly made goods in the area.

Valley of the Five Lakes

Once you’ve had your fill of ice-capped mountain views, glacial pond and delicious food, make your way to Valley of the Five Lakes. This is an easy to moderate trail which should take you two hours to complete if you take the short loop. If you have more time, you could opt to take the longer route to see all five lakes, however, in my opinion, the shorter loop (9A)  is the more picturesque of the two, even though you will only see 4 lakes. The trail isn’t well-marked, and many will mistake the first pond to be one of the five lakes. At which point, you will be bemused, to say the least. However, if you trek on past the pond and through the woodland of short but steep inclines, you will soon greet the very first of the five lakes. And you will be stunned. The lake is crystal clear and aquamarine, the colours so vivid, it’s almost mythical. And as you continue trekking onward, the view and the lakes gets more and more amazing as you gain some more elevation.

One of the five lakes can be seen from the valley of the five lakes hiking trail in Jasper National Park Alberta Canada

One of the five lakes at valley of the five lakes in jasper national park

Even though this should be a short 2 hours hike, we spent an extra hour just wandering through the trails and stopping at the lakes for pictures, snack breaks and a quick dip in the cold water. This is a great hike for anyone of any skill levels as there are only a few steep uphill bursts, nothing compared to the majority of the hiking terrain in Banff. As usual, since you are in bear country, I recommend you bring bear spray or bear horn. As we explored the area, we noticed some bear claw marks on trees in the area. If you forgot, or don’t want to spend the money on bear spray, you can rent it at the local visitor centre.

View from the top of one of the five lakes at valley of the five lakes in Jasper National Park

Turquoise lake surrounded by glacial capped mountains at valley of the five lakes in Jasper National Park

Reward Yourself with Local Brews

Jasper Hiking Guide: How to Spend Two Days In Jasper National Park

There aren’t many places in Canada that offer a great selection of IPAs, especially ones that are both fruity and hoppy (just the way I like them). So after a long strenuous day of hiking, head back to sip the local brews at the Jasper Brewing Company. An authentic Candian pub, many of the beers served are brewed right in Alberta. Enjoy Rockhopper IPA or Liftline Cream Ale as you recap your day’s adventures.  If you’re not a beer drinker, try blackeye blueberry vanilla on tap, a unique ale many of my non-beer drinking friends actually enjoyed. On a side note, they also offer some great hamburgers. I’m not a hamburger person, but according to my friend, the guy who always order a hamburger at every restaurant he enters, they offer some of the best burgers in Alberta. 

2 Days in Jasper National Park: Day Two

Maligne Canyon Hike

Rise nice and early (7-8ish), pack some snacks or a picnic and head over to Malign Canyon. Only a few minutes drive from the Jasper townsite, Maligne Canyon is one of the most interesting canyons within the Candian Rockies. With a maximum depth of 50 metres (160 ft deep), it offers spectacular views of one of the most narrow, and deepest gorge among the rugged landscape of the Rocky Mountains. This stunning series of narrow and deep gorges were formed over aeons ago when soluble limestone bedrock was whittled away by the rushing waters of the Maligne River. This large body of flowing water originated at Maligne Lake, flowing beneath the surface from Medicine Lake until it reaches Maligne Canyon.

Maligne Canyon at Jasper National Park in Alberta Canada

Enjoying the view of mountains and forest from the edge of a cliff at Maligne Canyon in Jasper National Park

Forest valley and mountains can be seen at the Maligne Canyon hike Jasper National Park Alberta Canada

River forest and mountains can be seen at Maligne Canyon Hike in Jasper National Park Alberta Canada

There are several hiking trails options available at Malign Canyon ranging from easy to moderate, but due to the rough uneven terrain in certain areas, even the easiest option requires some degree of balance, and most importantly, comfortable footwear. Although there are many available hiking options, plan on spending anywhere from thirty minutes to two hours here, depending on your ability and willingness to hike the circular trail. There are many well designed and executed series of bridges, pathways and safety fences that accompany your walk, so it is very family friendly. Just not stroller friendly due to rugged terrain in some areas; a child carrier backpack is highly recommended.

Girl sitting on rocks at the river edge at Maligne Canyon Hike in Jasper National Park Alberta Canada

Cascades along the river at Maligne Canyon Hike in Jasper National Park Alberta Canada

Waterfall at Maligne Canyon Hike in Jasper National Park Alberta Canada

Maligne Lake Drive

After this great hike, make your way to Maligne Lake, a turquoise coloured glacier lake about 45 kilometres away. This winding drive, built along the glacier valley between Maligne and Elizabeth mountain ranges offers you beautiful views of towering glacier-capped mountain peaks, rushing Maligne River and plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife. So it’s always a great idea to have your camera ready. Bears, moose, elk, deer, wolves, and coyotes might cross your path, as it is a fairly common occurrence in Jasper National Park. 

Park your car at the parking lot just off the road and rest your weary feet in the cold water of Maligne Lake while enjoying the almost surreal view. If you packed a picnic or light snack, this is the perfect place to enjoy it.

Athabasca Falls

If you have time to spare, have some more energy for a short little hike and don’t mind a crowded attraction, drive over to Athabasca Falls. View the majestic Athabasca Falls, hike along the Canyon and marvel at the deep gorge from various lookouts, caused by the sheer force of rushing water of the Athabas­ca Riv­er as it thun­ders through, carrying sand and rocks. There are paved trail and pic­nic sites avail­able in this area if you’re looking for another great picnic site.

Explore Jasper town

After a relaxing time at Maligne Lake, drive over to Jasper Townsite and take a stroll through the quaint compact town. Go to the main streets of Connaught Drive and Patricia Street where most of the restaurants, stores, guided tour office, rental shops and cafe resides. Don’t forget to take a little detour into the side streets, breathe in the fresh mountain air and take photos of the surrounding mountains and picturesque town.

If you had your picnic and a large meal in a restaurant isn’t part of the game plan, take a stroll to Wicked Cup located on the far west side of Connaught Drive. Wicked Cup offers a beautiful patio where you can enjoy a delicious cup of organic coffee or tea along with many other yummy food items from their menu. Their wicked talented baristas will even turn your breakfast Latte into artwork.

Dark Sky Preserve

Jasper Hiking Guide: How to Spend Two Days In Jasper National Park

You’ve had a long day of hiking and exploring, so grab a hot beverage from Wicked Cup (or any of Jasper’s delicious coffee shops) and head down to Pyramid Lake Island. Jasper National Park is one of the world’s largest Dark Sky Preserves, so while there, take the opportunity the enjoy our milky way. Be sure to pack your warmest clothing, because it’s time to cosy up under a blanket and do some quality stargazing. Take this time to bond, and reminisce about your adventures in Jasper National Park while enjoying a hot latte under millions of stars.

If you’re a photographer, take this opportunity to grab a milky way picture. I’m by no means a great night photographer. I’ve attempted and failed (many times) so there’s no way I can write any sort of comprehensive information on star photography. I did, however, found this great article here on photographing the milky way if you’re planning on taking advantage of the Dark Sky Preserve in Jasper National Park.

Jasper National Park Lodging

Both Jasper and Banff National Park is popular travel destination no matter the month. Winter, spring or summer, there’s something there for everyone. However, I will note that for July and August, it will be more crowded than usual, and if you didn’t book anything, and just going with the flow hoping you can find a place to say, you will be out of luck. On certain holiday, even the overflow campground is crowded. It is important to decide where you would like to stay ahead of time, whether you’re tenting, RV’ing or seeking creature comfort at a hotel or bed and breakfast. Here are some recommended stays to start off your research.

Cottage near Jasper National Park

Looking for outdoor tranquillity, look no further than Alpine Village Cabin Resort. Only a 5 minutes drive to Jasper town-site, this cabin resort facing the Athabasca River feels like you’re miles from civilization. From a luxurious deluxe log cabin or a charming heritage log suite, each unit provides the perfect blend of comfort and seclusion. If you’re looking to meet wildlife up close, this cabin resort is the perfect wildlife photographic opportunity. It is not unheard of to see elks or bulls eating shrubbery and grass at the resort office or bighorn rams roaming nearby the cabin. Alpine Village Cabin Resort is the perfect mix of creature comfort and outdoorsy wildlife experience. However, it is closed during the winter months. 

Jasper National Park Hotels

If you’re looking to be right in the mix of things: a little bit outdoorsy, a whole lot of creature comfort, and tons of shopping and eating nearby, check out some of these hotels inside Jasper National Park.

Jasper National Park Bed and Breakfasts

Looking to meet some locals while avoiding corporate hotels? Staying at a bed and breakfast is a perfect choice. There are many bed and breakfast in Jasper providing much better value than hotels with a more personalized attention, and unique experience. Sometimes, it’s nice to wake up to homemade breakfast, and enjoying a hot cup of hot coffee while conversing with other travellers and locals who knows all the secrets of the area. Here is a website to check out if you’re planning on having a bed and breakfast experience in Jasper National Park.

Jasper National Park Camping

Only 3km south of Jasper Townsite, Whistlers Campground is one of the more popular campgrounds for family and large groups. It is the largest and has the most amenities, with the greatest variety of camping options. In addition to standard camping sites, Whistler Campground also offers oTENTiks; a cross between a cabin and a tent and sleep up to six people on foam mattresses.

If you’re planning on camping in Jasper National Park, read these camping guides here from the Canadian Wildlife Federation, and here from Travel Alberta, and make your reservation here.

Jasper National Park Maps and Brochures

If you want to see some maps and brochures to plan out your Jasper Trip, visit Parks Canada’s website. They have area maps, campground maps and all the brochures you’ll ever need about Jasper National Park.

Love this post? Pin it for later!

Check out these other Alberta hikes

Valley of the Ten Peaks: Larch Valley and Sentinel Pass
Canada’s Best Badland: Horseshoe Canyon at Drumheller


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  1. These pictures make me want to pack up and leave now! So gorgeous! 🙂


  2. Love Jasper! Western Canada in general is pretty incredible. Thanks for sharing this, it definitely takes me back to my visit there a few years ago.

  3. Thanks designed for sharing such a good idea, article is pleasant, thats why i have read it completely

  4. wow! your photographs are STUNNING!!!!

    Joy at The Joyous Living

    1. Thank you 🙂

  5. Very good blog you have here but I was wondering if you knew of any community forums that cover the same topics talked about here? I’d really love to be a part of community where I can get opinions from other knowledgeable people that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Appreciate it!

    1. You can check out facebook groups. There’s a lot of different hiking/nature community there. I’m not in any specific hiking community at the moment so I can’t direct you to one.

  6. What a great hiking guide. Awesome parks.

  7. You have noted very interesting details ! ps nice web site.

  8. Hiya, This is a nice website, thank you for taking the time to write the article. Have a awesome day.

  9. Canada is such a beautiful country and pictures are so gorgeous. I would love to visit this place. Thanks for sharing!!

  10. Great post and photography, Yuen Mi! Jasper is definitely going on my bucket list after reading this.

  11. Amazing pictures, we loved Jasper National Park. Athabasca Falls was one of my favorite places

  12. This place looks so incredibly beautiful! I would love to visit someday. I am in love with your photographs!
    Thanks for sharing.
    Do drop by my blog as well : http://styleovercoffee.com 🙂

  13. You take some beautiful images! I would love to explore the park the way you did! I love the beauty of the forest and parks!

  14. I have been to both Banff and Jasper National Park and they are both amazing places to go. Love your gorgeous photos it really takes me back to our visit to Canada.

  15. Beautiful pictures and nature, mountains and all. I would love to roam around this place. Thanks for the information.

  16. You’ve got very nice photos! I know I won’t be able to travel to that location but seeing your post, it felt like I already did. Thanks for sharing!

  17. These pictures are incredible. I can’t even believe how pretty some of these National Parks. It’s so good to see the level of preservation and history in these places. Thank you so much for sharing these beautiful pictures.

  18. I really enjoyed your post! My husband and I will be traveling there in October, do you have any lodging recommendations?

    1. Thank you! That’s awesome. You’ll have a great time there. And just in time for the dark sky festival too. I actually don’t have a recommendation for lodging since I’ve mostly just either do tent camping or trailer.

      However, you can check out this website: https://www.bbcanada.com/alberta/alberta_rockies/jasper

      There’s a lot of option there. Hope you have a great time!

  19. Canada is such a beautiful country!! I am in awe over your photographs! Pinned this in case I ever get the chance to visit. Its also good to see some local breweries up there too!

  20. I love this. Your photos are clear and crisp, absolutely gorgeous. It’s so beautiful there. Hiking is one of my favorite things to do. I would love to gaze at the stars in this park!

    1. Thank you! Same here. For me hiking is such a stress reliever. There’s nothing more beautiful than what nature has to offer. If you have the chance, do go to Jasper, they have the Dark Sky Festival where they do stargazing adventures. You would love it!

      1. Oh definately. I love stargazing!

  21. Omg you are amazing! Thanks for the guide i hope and i can go to Canada soon ❤???

    1. Thank you so much for dropping by and enjoying the post! I hope you do have the chance to go, and if you do, I hope it’s a long vacation. There are so many beautiful hiking opportunities in Canada, not to mention amazing restaurants and food to try!

      1. Awww your welcome and yes i hope i can go to Canada bc i see in pictures beautiful muntains all the nature thing ?

  22. Jasper NP is definitely on my bucket list and these pictures just make me want to go even more! Thanks for a great resource. Booking this to use later.

    1. Glad you found this post useful. I hope you get the opportunity to visit Jasper and all the great outdoor adventures it has to offer.

  23. I totally love the pictures.. they’re so amazing and beautiful.. I’m soon gonna plan and visit the jasper national park 🙂
    Thanks for the tips!

  24. Looks like a pretty phenomenal place to go hiking. Those mountains and shots are gorgeous! Not overly sure about Canadian beers though. Can’t beat the Czechs at that game! 🙂

  25. This is on my bucket list! I love the photography and your guide is perfect for planning a trip.

    1. Thank you! I hope you get there soon. It’s a beautiful country 🙂

  26. Thank you for such a lovely and informative articles shared with us. Really amazing post about traveling. Thanks Again.

  27. I dont know if i will ever be visit this mesmerizing place, but i would like to praise you photography skills. The photos are just breathtaking. Keep up the good work

  28. Wow! This place looks absolutely surreal! Hats off to you that you went to the glacier and took those breathtaking pictures at the cost of your life! But glad that you were safe!

  29. I have never had the opportunity to visit Canada. But don’t think I will ever give up. Specially after seeing your pictures and reading your article I am definitely in the mood.

  30. These photos are stunning! I am yet to get to Canada (other than the Niagara Falls) and these certainly make me want to brave the cold weather! I’ll be keeping Bear’s Paw Bakery in mind too!

  31. Canada has some of the most beautiful National Parks in the world, and Jasper doesn’t seem to disappoint. I would love to visit one day. I have been to Canada a couple of years ago and I plan to return, now that I don’t need a visa anymore.

  32. OMG! This place is ethereal, magical and surreal. I have already fallen for it reading your post and seeing pictures. Honestly, Canada was never on my list but for sure it is in after this post. I have already started feeling two days are less for Jasper National Park and I too should add Banff National Park to the list.

  33. Wow! That’s a very thoughtful giveaway by the tourism dept! Is this free entrance applicable to international tourists as well?
    Jasper Park is way too picturesque! Too gorgeous! Valley of 5 lakes, is just a paradise!
    Thank God you guys are safe inspite of missing those warning signs!

    1. It`s open to everyone, even tourists. So if you`re looking to visit Canada`s beautiful parks, this would be a perfect time. Usually, the entrance fee is $9.80 per person, per night. So it does add up if you stay there for a week and you have a large group.

      Yes, thank god! I hope other people don`t miss that warning sign. Will never do something like that again. The sounds when we were down there were downright creepy. But to be able to hear those movements was amazing.

  34. This is something that we are planning to do in the next few weeks. What is the best way to get to all these places? Did you use the rail system for any of it? Maligne Lake Drive and the pictures looks absolutely spectacular and is on our list.

    1. The best way to travel in Jasper to all these locations is by car. I would suggest you rent a car for the amount of time you`re staying in Jasper. But if you can`t, there are bus options. Maligne Lake boat tours operate from May until early October and offer a shuttle from town out to the lake. Jasper Tram Way also offers shuttle bus services. If you`re fit, you could rent a bike and go to all the attraction that way, but I should warn you, Jasper is huge. The town is really tiny so to explore there, walking is the best option. But going anywhere else, a car is best. There`s no rail system, but the road is very safe and they`re always kept well maintained.

  35. This is the kind of place I love visiting. The untouched wilderness of Canada is so inviting for an introvert like me.

    1. It really is a great place to escape into the wilderness. If you like backcountry camping, there`s also many options.

  36. Ok I’m sold! I wanna go to Jasper National Park right now!!! Your description, your photos …everything looks and sounds so great. I’ve never been to Canada so this will be an opportunity to see a new place 🙂

    1. If Canada`s your next destination, you should definitely check out Jasper. It`s not as crowded as Banff and just as beautiful. Especially the drive. There`s no better drive in Canada.

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