Nestled in the snow covered Canadian Rockies, Jasper is a small alpine town that packs a big punch. Less touristy than Banff or Lake Louise, this is the perfect place for outdoor enthusiasts looking to escape the crowds and immerse themselves in the great outdoors. Keep reading for our favorite adventurous things to do this winter in Jasper!
A tour with Cold Fire Creek Dogsledding is a no brainer on this list! Although it is located about 1 hour away from Jasper, I can pretty much guarantee you will LOVE it. This was one of the most amazing experiences David and I have had so far this year!
There are various durations and price points depending on what you are looking for. We ended up going with the 3 hour, 18 km tour called Moonshiners of Whiskey Creek. In your sled, you follow a gorgeous river up into the undisturbed mountains. The scenery of the area really blew us away; as did our welcoming guide and the extra loveable dogs.
The Maligne Canyon Ice Walk
David and I have been mesmerized by winter photos of Maligne Canyon for years now and somehow it was even more wonderful than I had imagined. We walked along the bottom of one of the deepest canyons in Jasper National Park to get up close and personal with statuesque frozen waterfalls, the smooth curves of the canyon walls, and even an ice cave!
This 2.5 hour tour starts off at the Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen. Our guide gave a safety talk and geared us up with boots, cramp-ons, and helmets. From there, we began the tour along the Maligne Canyon Trail.
After first peering in from above, our guide led us down onto the frozen river. The first stop was into a small ice cave that forms differently every year on the wall of the canyon.
“Being able to go inside and explore was definitely one of our highlights. You could actually hear and see the water trickling down inside the ice. So cool!”
The next 45 minutes were absolutely magical with frozen springs and one of a kind limestone walls everywhere we looked. Our guide was great at getting us all through the ice and slush and making sure we could take full advantage of the photo ops!
Make sure to add a grab & go lunch from Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen to you tour. They are one of our very favorite restaurants in Jasper and you cant go wrong with a delicious meal for only $10!
The Icefields Parkway
Depending on where you’re coming from, you might have the opportunity to drive the Icefields Parkway (AKA Highway 93). This stunning route will take you from Lake Louise to Jasper and is 100% worth taking a few extra days to explore!
Some of our favorite stops include Panther Falls, Abraham Lake, The Athabasca Glacier, Athabasca Falls, and the cross country ski to Leech Lake. For more information and stops along the way, check out our YouTube video!
Maligne Lake, famous for its turquoise waters, is a popular spot for tourists in the summer. When we visited this winter, however, the dramatic mountains and serene beauty were amplified by the lack of visitors.
The stillness of the area was so peaceful; not to mention the drive to the lake is absolutely incredible! We were able to find cross country ski tracks around most of the lake, in some areas we forged our own. There are also a ton of hiking and snowshoeing trails in the area if that`s more your style.
Pyramid Lake Resort
Pyramid Lake is located only 10 minutes from Jasper and offers spectacular views all year round. In the winter, you can walk, snowshoe, cross country ski, or skate on the frozen lake. Jasper Stables even runs sleigh rides on the weekends! The bridge out to Pyramid Island is always picturesque and it is not uncommon to see the gang of Elk who frequent the area.
We stayed at Pyramid Lake Resort for two nights and really enjoyed our time. This newly renovated chalet-style Alpine resort offers a fireplace and incredible views with each and every guest room. We were impressed by the friendly staff and the safety protocols during COVID-19. Pyramid Lake Resort went above and beyond to ensure that we felt safe and enjoyed our stay to the fullest.
On top of the cozy rooms, they also have a complimentary breakfast, a maintained skating rink out front, PLUS they`re pet friendly! The ladies at the front desk loved meeting Bailey and were so wonderful to us, we really can`t recommend them enough!
Marmot Basin is known for its 91 named runs over four mountain faces with over 3,000 vertical feet of drop. Unfortunately, we did not have the chance to visit due to an injury, but you can bet as soon as I`m all healed up it`s the first place on our list!
Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen
There are so many wonderful restaurants in the area, you really can`t go wrong with any decision. With that being said, though, we do have one favorite that we never miss on our trips to Jasper!
Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen is located less than 10 minutes from downtown at the Maligne Canyon Trailhead. We love everything about this place from the décor to the views and don`t even get me started on the wonderful service and the to-die-for poutine!
Everything we have ever ordered has been excellent and the staff are very willing to accommodate dietary restrictions. At the moment, due to COVID-19, they are offering a variety of grab and go meals. We ate ours in the van overlooking the beautiful Medicine Lake — the chili and sandwiches are fantastic!
The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge
Even if the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is out of your budget for the night — it most certainly is out of ours — it`s still worth a day visit! The skating rink on Mildred Lake was incredible with a groomed oval track almost a kilometer long! It`s free to visit and they`ve got torches that make night skating a blast.
You can also cross country ski on Beauvert Lake which houses the monumental hotel on it`s shore. If you get chilly, head inside to the Emerald Lounge. It`s a great place to cozy up with a hot chocolate or glass of wine in front of the huge stone fireplace.
Athabasca Falls & Leech Lake
Athabasca Falls is a beautiful stop on the Icefields Parkway drive just before arriving in Jasper. The frozen falls are stunning and there are a ton of bridges where you can get different views.
One of our favorite parts about this one was the 8 kilometer round trip cross country ski trail that leaves from the parking lot and goes to Leech Lake. It really lets you explore the beauty of the area, get some exercise, and ditch the crowds!
Search For Wildlife
Jasper is home to what feels like an endless array of wildlife. It is not uncommon to see deer, elk, moose, foxes, and even bears closer to spring! Keep your eyes peeled while you drive, walk, ski, or bike through any areas of this National Park. *Please remember to be respectful of the animals and give them ample space. You can safely admire them from afar. *
Take a Hike
Even in the winter, Jasper has a ton of accessible hiking trails for all ages and abilities. Grab your cramp-ons and hit the mountains for a fun filled day! Some great places to start include: The Valley of 5 Lakes, The Pyramid Lake Loop, Maligne Canyon Trail, and Sulphur Skyline!