Jasper National Park is gorgeous year-round, but winter is truly a magical time to visit. If you are looking to get away from the crowds and explore the outdoors in the snow, then this is the place for you!
I visited during January to experience Jasper in January’s Winterstruck festival on Pyramid Lake. In addition to this festival, you’ll find discounts on hotels and activities during the month of January, so if you are a budget-conscious traveler, it’s the perfect time to visit.
From ice walks in Maligne Canyon to dogsledding on frozen lakes, here are the top ten winter activities in Jasper.
Top 10 Winter Activities in Jasper National Park
1. Snowboarding and Skiing at Marmot Basin
After growing up in Northern California, I was not prepared for the soft, powdery snow and uncrowded runs at Marmot Basin in Jasper. The closest international airport is 3-4 hours away from Jasper, so this keeps this mountain from being too crowded.
You can catch a shuttle from any hotel in Jasper to Marmot Basin and it’s just a quick 25-30 minute ride to the base of the mountain. In January, they also offer 25% off lift tickets. I suggest taking the chair lift all the way to the top for an epic long run down to the bottom.
Who hikes in the snow? Well, if you come to Jasper in winter, you won’t want to miss the frozen waterfalls, glacier walks, and stunning views — and hiking in the snow is actually really fun! Top winter hikes in Jasper include Athabasca Falls, Old Fort Point Trail, Trail 7 along the river, Athabasca Glacier, and Sunwapta Falls.
3. Ice Skating
As a California native, the only skating rinks I’ve ever experienced are indoors, so it’s not something that has ever appealed to me. Canada is different. Many of the lakes are frozen solid in wintertime, so the locals set up outdoor skating rinks with views of the stunning snow-capped mountains all around. The best spots to skate include Lac Beauvert, Lake Mildred, and Pyramid Lake.
4. Dog Sledding
Travel by dogsled through the undisturbed beauty of the Canadian Rockies. Dogsledding had been on my bucket list for years, so I was thrilled to experience a short ride on Pyramid Lake at the Winterstruck festival. Companies like Cold Fire Creek Dogsledding and Sun Dog Tours offer tours ranging from 60 minutes to overnight excursions.
5. Cross-Country Skiing
Jasper offers miles of cross-country skiing trails for those who are ready for a serious winter workout. The top trails near town include the Whistler Campground Loop, The Pipeline Trail, and Pyramid Lake Fire Road.
6. Ice Climbing
If you are up for adventure, try climbing up a frozen waterfall. Rockaboo Mountain Adventures offers ice climbing in Maligne Canyon and other gorgeous locations around Jasper — no previous climbing experience necessary!
7. Fat Biking
Super wide, low-pressure tires makes biking entirely possible in the snow. It’s also one heck of a workout. Jasper’s valley’s have plenty of flat trails with packed snow, which makes the conditions perfect for fat biking. Freewheel Cycle and Jasper Source for Sports both offer daily bike rentals.
8. Wildlife Viewing
You won’t see bears during the winter, but with elk, deer, sheep, goats, coyotes, osprey, wolves, and moose — there are plenty of opportunities to see wildlife in Jasper during the winter. For a more in-depth look at how these animals contribute to the diversity of this area and how they survive the winter, you can take a Wildlife Discover Tour with a knowledgeable guide at Sun Dog Tours.
9. Swim in an Outdoor Heated Pool
I stayed at the stunning Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge and people from all over town came here to enjoy the outdoor heated pool and jacuzzi. No need to miss your morning swim — even in the snow.
My favorite thing about winter sports is looking forward to a hot-water soak with a cold beer in the evening. A massage at the end of your winter trip is also a must!
10. Maligne Canyon Ice Walk
Maligne Canyon in the winter is simply gorgeous. The river freezes over and you can walk through the slot canyon on what would normally be rushing water. I highly recommend renting crampons and hiring a guide. Even though most spots are frozen over, some areas are hollow underneath thin ice, so it’s best to go with a local who knows the area and can judge the conditions.
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