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The 24 Best Things to Do in Jasper National Park with Kids

Things to Do in Jasper National Park with Kids

Western Alberta is filled with so many beautiful and iconic locations, it’s hard to decide where you should venture first. So we have put together a list of the best things to do in Jasper National Park with kids, to help you make the most of your time in this gorgeous part of the country.

The Best Things to Do in Jasper National Park with Kids

Depending on how much time you have, you can stick to one or two of these attractions and fill your day, or some of them can be combined (such as the locations along the Icefields Parkway) for an action-packed adventure.

1. Drive the Icefields Parkway 

The Icefields Parkway is a 232-kilometre (144 miles) stretch of highway which runs through the Canadian Rocky Mountains, taking you past incredible mountain views, iconic lakes, and seemingly-endless photo opportunities. The hugely popular Icefields Parkway takes you between Jasper and Lake Louise in Banff National Park.

Unfortunately, with all the incredible vistas that you will find along the Parkway, they end up posing a problem to most travellers! In order to stop at every point of interest along the Icefields Parkway, and do all of the hikes, you would most likely need at least 2 full days!

Icefields Parkway - Roadway with yellow leaves

While this may not seem like an issue when taking such a scenic road trip, the unfortunate fact is that there are very limited accommodations available. And the accommodations that are available, book up pretty far in advance, and come with pretty inflated price tags!

As a result, most people look for a one-day Icefields Parkway itinerary. With careful planning, you can actually take in quite a bit, including all the major sights, in one FULL day!

2. Explore the Athabasca Glacier and the Columbia Icefield

If you are interested in seeing the Athabasca Glacier without having to trek it yourself, hop onboard the Ice Explorer! This experience is definitely one of the best things to do in Jasper National Park with kids.


This rugged vehicle takes you on an exciting trip up the mountain, where you will actually be able to get out and walk on the glacier. The tour also includes admission and transportation to and from the Columbia Icefields Skywalk.

Click here to book your own COOL Ice Explorer Glacier Tour and Glacier Skywalk adventure.

3. Brave the Columbia Icefields Skywalk

One of the most popular attractions at the Athabasca Glacier is the Columbia Icefields Skywalk, located approximately 97.3 km from the town of Jasper. The Skywalk features a glass floor that juts out of the cliffside, 280 m (918 feet) above the Sunwapta Valley below.

The Columbia Icefields Skywalk not only features the glass platform but also highlights waterfalls, local wildlife, fossils, and more on a 1-kilometre interpretive walkway. You even have the option of picking up a free listening device that will tell you all about the things you are seeing along the interpretive trail.

This attraction is family-friendly, and a great way to learn some information about the area. The glass floor, on the other hand, is not for the faint of heart!

The Glass Floor

The platform can be a little intimidating to walk on, whether or not you have a fear of heights! It does provide incredible opportunities for some jaw-dropping views, so definitely give it a try.

Just a heads up though, the platform does move and sway slightly, so keep that in mind!

The Columbia Icefields Skywalk is only available through a tour. Tickets must be purchased from the Columbia Icefield Discovery Centre (or online).

You will be bussed from the Discovery Center to the Skywalk at a pre-arranged time. Once you are finished at the site, the shuttle will return you back to the main building.

The return shuttles are on a first come first served basis, so keep that in mind if you are on a schedule.


Click here to book your own Columbia Icefields Skywalk adventure!

4. Visit Sunwapta Falls 

Sunwapta Falls is approximately 55.4 km from the town of Jasper, along the Icefields Parkway. The turn-off is well marked, with plenty of parking available.

Sunwapta Falls consists of upper and lower falls. Both are fed by the Athabasca Glacier, so the water has the wonderful vibrant shades of blue you have probably come to expect in Alberta.

The upper falls are easily accessible, with only a quick walk from the parking area along a packed dirt walkway. The lower falls are significantly less busy but require a 1.3 km hike to get there.

Both falls are worth a look, whether you are visiting in the summer or the winter. In fact, Sunwapta Falls is not only a hidden gem, but also one of the best things to do in Jasper National Park if you love doing a little waterfall photography!

5. Hear the Roar at Athabasca Falls

Located along the Icefields Parkway, Athabasca Falls is only a 32.1 km drive from the town of Jasper. With plenty of parking, several short trails to hike, and a thunderous waterfall, this location is definitely a popular stop.

The .8 km out and back hiking trail to the waterfall is easy. You get to walk alongside the river, before crossing a bridge to the other side of the falls.

Here, you can take a stairway down to the gorge, or hike alongside the opposite riverbank. There are several viewing areas that get you pretty close to the 75-foot tall waterfall, giving you plenty of opportunities for epic photos!

Many of the walkways are fully accessible, although we did find many areas to be muddy, slippery, and flooded during our visit. You will also find that this stop is VERY crowded, even in the off-peak season.

Athabasca Falls is a main stop for the coach tours, so visiting early or later in the day is your best bet.

6. Hike in Jasper National Park

A great way to explore any destination is to go for a walk or hike. And one of the best things to do in Jasper National Park with kids, is to take advantage of all the amazing trails that are available for every ability level.

Whether you are travelling the trails in the summer on foot or by bike, or you are snowshoeing or cross-country skiing in the winter, Jasper is a magnificent park to explore.

Valley of the 5 Lakes - people on path

The Valley of the 5 Lakes is one of the most scenic and friendly family-friendly hikes in Jasper National Park. Located approximately 9.9 km from the town of Jasper, the hike takes you in a loop past 5 different emerald-coloured lakes.

This 4.5-kilometre-long hiking trail is easy and relatively flat, with only an elevation gain of 172 m. The hike can be done in under 2 hours, making it very popular with families.

Read the full article on the Valley of the Five Lakes here

As a result, you expect pretty large crowds during the peak season. You will find a large parking lot, two pit toilets, and garbage cans right at the trailhead.

And if you are looking for Parks Canada red chairs, you will not be disappointed! The chairs are perched at one of the most scenic spots on the hike!

Valley-of-the-5-Lakes-Jasper National Park

7. Relax in Miette Hot Springs

In terms of relaxation, one of the best things to do in Jasper National Park, is to soothe your weary muscles after a long day of hiking at the Miette Hot Springs. Located approximately 60 km (40 miles) east of Jasper, this attraction offers all the amenities to make your visit one to remember.

Bubbling from the earth at an astounding 54 degrees Celcius (130 F), the Miette Hot Springs are thought to be the hottest hot springs in the Canadian Rockies! Of course, the water is allowed to cool to between 37 and 40 degrees Celsius (98 and 104 Fahrenheit) before it enters the pool.

The 100% natural mineral water of the hot springs has long been thought to have health benefits. Not only will a soak in the hot springs relax you, but it is also beneficial for your skin, bones, and muscles.

The Miette Hot Springs are generally open from May to October, depending on the weather. The entrance fees are pretty reasonable, making it a great choice for you to pamper yourself, while the kids have fun swimming.

8. Ride the Jasper SkyTram

Built in 1964, the Jasper Skytram is not only the highest tram in Canada at 2,263 meters (7,500 feet), but it’s also the longest, taking approximately 7 minutes to reach the top. During your ride to the Upper Station, your tram conductor will point out landmarks, teach you about the history and geology of the area, and answer any questions you may have.

If you are looking for great views, the Skytram is definitely one of the best things to do in Jasper National Park with kids! From the top of the Skytram, you can stop and enjoy the views of the Canadian Rockies, the town of Jasper, and the Athabasca River.

If you are lucky enough to have a clear day, you will even be able to see Mount Robson – the highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies!

Aside from the views, at Upper Station, you will also find a small gift shop, as well as the Summit Restaurant to grab a bite to eat. And if you are so inclined, you can also continue along on a 30-minute hike to summit Whistler’s Mountain.

The Jasper Tram is open from April until October. Just remember to dress accordingly, as the weather at the summit can change quickly.

Click here to book your Jasper Skytram adventure.

9. White Water Raft on the Athabasca River

Looking for one of the best things to do in Jasper National Park with kids during the summer? How about jumping on a raft to enjoy a heart-racing ride down the Athabasca River!

Rafting is a great way to soak in the beautiful scenery from the river! These guided rafting tours seat 8 people, and depending on the class of the rapids, are a great adventure for the whole family!


In fact, there are both Class II and Class III rapids available in the Jasper area. Tours run along both the Athabasca and Sunwapta Rivers, with options for almost everyone to enjoy.

Click here to book your own Athabasca River White Water Rafting Experience

10. Stargaze at Jasper National Park’s Dark Sky Preserve

In 2011, Jasper was designated as one of only 17 Dark Sky Preserves in Canada by the Royal Astronomical Society. In fact, at 11,000 square kilometres, it is considered the second-largest dark sky preserve in the world!

The designation was granted because the amount of light pollution in Jasper is quite limited, making it one of the darkest and best places to do a little stargazing. And because it is located so close to the Jasper townsite, it is also considered one of the most accessible Dark Sky Preserves in Canada.


And if you happen to be lucky enough to be visiting Alberta in mid-to-late October, you can take part in the annual Jasper Dark Sky Festival. This spectacular event is perfect for anyone who is passionate about astronomy, or for those who just love to stargaze!

The festival includes Milky Way and moon-viewing events, visits to the planetarium, night sky photography workshops, a symphony under the stars, as well as an impressive lineup of scientific speakers. So, while you are visiting Jasper, make sure you take the time to look up at the stars on a clear night!

11. Learn About the Stars at the Jasper Planetarium

As we just mentioned, Jasper is one of the best places in Canada to view the night sky. Because of how remote and undeveloped the area is, Jasper National Park boasts an impressive view of the stars that you just can’t find in more urban areas of the country.

A great way to view the stars, and one of the best things to do in Jasper National Park with kids, is head over to the Jasper Planetarium. There, you will find knowledgeable guides who will take you on an incredible virtual journey through the galaxy.


Not only will you learn about the planets and stars, but learn what causes the Aurora Borealis (northern lights), and listen to intriguing Indigenous stories about the constellations. If you have any interest in stargazing, the Jasper Planetarium is a must-do when visiting the area!

12. Spot Some Wildlife or Take a Wildlife Tour

The Canadian Rocky Mountains are an outstanding location for spotting wildlife. In fact, just by driving through Jasper National Park, you are likely to spot everything from grizzly bears, to moose, elk, cougars, bobcats, mountain goats, and more.

However, one of the best times to spot wildlife is in the evening when they come out to hunt and forage for their food. If you are not comfortable driving around at this time of the day, then a guided tour would be your next best bet.

Guided tours are a great way to learn about the history of the area while looking for wildlife in the perfect spots. And although the tours obviously can’t guarantee that you will spot the iconic Canadian wildlife, this is a fun way to spend the evening.

Tours are limited to 15 people, with pick up and drop off to local hotels included. The start times will vary slightly depending on the season but are usually between 4:30 and 5:30 PM.

Looking for a Guided Wildlife Tour to try while you are in Jasper?

13. Visit Maligne Canyon

Carved out of limestone over the years by the rushing waters within, Maligne Canyon has walls that reach nearly 50 meters (168 feet) in places, making it one of the most popular and jaw-dropping sights in Jasper National Park.

During the warmer months, Maligne Canyon is a popular spot for hikers. It is easy to explore the area via a walking trail that crosses over the canyon on 6 separate bridges. The entire trail takes between 2 and 3 hours to complete.

However, if you are looking for a shorter experience, the main bridge and viewpoint is very close to the parking area. From there, you will still be able to see several of the amazing and unique geological features that Maligne Canyon is known for.

14. Go on the Maligne Lake Cruise to Spirit Island

Maligne Lake is located 47 kilometres from downtown Jasper. It is most definitely, one of the best things to do in Jasper National Park with kids, and should be on everyone’s Canadian travel bucket list!

Maligne Lake is the largest glacially-fed lake in the Canadian Rockies. Not only is it surrounded by incredible beauty, but Spirit Island is also rich in Indigenous history.

One of the best ways to see Maligne Lake and Spirit Island is to take a guided cruise. The knowledgeable guides will give you a lesson on the area’s history, geology, and what vegetation and wildlife call this park home.

Spirit Island is one of the most photographed places in the Canadian Rockies, and the turn-around point of the cruise. The island is framed on three sides by the same mountain range, making it pretty rare, as well as more culturally significant to the Indigenous People.

In fact, you will not be permitted to walk out onto the Island, as it is considered sacred ground by the Stoney Nakoda First Nations. However, the views from the mainland are breathtaking.

Cruises to Spirit Island run from April until the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend in early October. The cruises are very popular, so we recommend booking in advance.

You can book your Maligne Lake and Spirit Island Cruise here.

15. Take a Drive to Medicine Lake

Located about 19 kilometres (12 miles) southeast of Jasper, Medicine Lake is a sight to see. Technically not a lake at all, Medicine Lake is actually a part of the Maligne River.

During the spring and summer, it looks like a lake when it swells with water from the big thaw. However, during the winter, much of the lake disappears below a layer of ice and mud.

On arrival, you will find a small parking lot as well as a staircase leading down to the lake. The area is filled with a variety of wildlife and is a favourite spot for hikers, people looking for picnic spots, bird watchers, and fishermen.


16. Go for a Stroll at Edith Cavell Mountain

Edith Cavell Mountain should definitely be on your itinerary when visiting Jasper National Park. The breathtaking view of the mountains, meadows, and even a glacier, make this a must-do for everyone.

Only a short drive from downtown Jasper, you will find a small parking lot that leads to a paved trail. The trail, called the Path of the Glacier Trail, is a 1.6-kilometre return trail to a viewpoint of the glacier.

The initial part of the trail is paved and easily accessible for most people. However, for those who want to take a closer look, you will need to scramble over rocks for the perfect view. Just be forewarned, the area is prone to rockslides!


If you are looking for a longer hike at Edith Cavell Mountain, the Cavell Meadows trail is approximately 7 kilometres return and takes about 3.5 hours.

And just a heads-up for people travelling with trailers or large motorhomes; the 14 km road leading to the parking lot is narrow, with tight switchbacks, making it unsuitable for large vehicles. Trailers can be dropped off at the entrance to Cavell Road in a designated parking area.

17. Go Shopping Downtown on Connaught Street

Connaught Street is the main road that runs through the Jasper townsite. This is where you will find the majority of shops and restaurants in town.

And aside from exploring all the natural beauty in the area, one of the best things to do in Jasper National Park with kids is to wander through this charming little town! Filled with many unique shops, you will find souvenirs, treats, sporting equipment, cafes, clothing, groceries and so much more.

If you love to shop, Jasper is a great place to visit!


18. Try a Beaver Tail

One of the best things to do in Jasper National Park with kids is to head over to Beaver Tails to sample an iconic Canadian treat! The amazing smells wafting from the shop will be sure to pull you in!

First created in 1978, Beaver Tails are large, flat, deep-fried pastries. Beaver Tails are normally served covered in cinnamon sugar, but nowadays, there are approximately 120 different flavour combinations available (with chocolate hazelnut spread being the most popular)!

Fun Fact: 48.7 tons of chocolate hazelnut spread goes into making BeaverTails® each year! To put that in perspective, that’s the same weight as 70 moose!

If you have never tried one, what are you waiting for?! Expect to pay about $7-10 CAD for one Beaver Tail, however, they are pretty big so two people could easily share one… but that’s IF you are actually willing to share!


19. Visit Jasper’s Historic Train Station and Totem Pole

Another awesome thing to do while visiting downtown Jasper is to stop by and see the historic Train Station. Built by the Canadian National Railway in 1926, it was later declared a heritage railway station in 1992.

Inside, you will find old photos, as well as signage that documents the history relating to Jasper’s railway. Today, the station is still in use for people travelling in and out of Jasper by rail. people travelling by train.

Just outside the train station is the Two Brothers Totem Pole. And although this is a replacement to the famous Raven Totem Pole (removed in 2011), you can read the fascinating story behind it on the accompanying signs.


20. Walk the Pyramid Lake Boardwalk

Pyramid Lake, in our opinion, is another one of the best things to do in Jasper National Park with kids. Not only is it just a 10-minute drive from downtown Jasper, but it is also the perfect place to go to and enjoy some time on the water.

Located at the base of Pyramid Mountain, Pyramid Lake boasts an awesome boardwalk that leads out to a small island. From there, you can enjoy 360-degree views of the mountains, as well as the calm waters of the lake.


Just around the lake from the boardwalk, there is also a beach area! Not only can you rent kayaks, paddleboards, and canoes there, but you can also go swimming!

And if you get hungry, the restaurant at Pyramid Lake Resort is the perfect place to drop in for a bite.

Since there is only a small parking area near the boardwalk, your best bet would be to arrive first thing in the morning, or later in the evening, in order to have the greatest chance of getting a spot. Besides, catching the sunrise or sunset would be absolutely incredible from the island!

21. Go for a Bike Ride

If the idea of exploring Jasper National Park by bike appeals to you, then you are in luck! Jasper has a ton of excellent mountain biking trails for every level of rider.

There are some family-friendly trails that are flat and perfect for a nice ride, or if you are looking for more of a thrill, there are some great downhill mountain biking trails too. You also have the choice to venture out on your own or to go on a guided tour.


Journey Bike Guides offer private tours that are geared toward beginners and families. This is a great way to see some of the park, while also learning about the area.

If you are looking to head out on your own, you can rent bicycles from various shops right in Jasper. The Bench Bike Shop, Jasper Source, Journey Bike, and Vicious Cycle, are all places that offer bike rentals in town.

Expect to pay about $15/hr for an hour’s rental and about $40 for a whole day. For more information, visit the  Parks Canada website for a list of trails as well as some safety tips for using the trails.

You can book a private Bicycle Tour using this link.

22. Go Skiing at Marmot Basin

Absolutely one of the best things to do in Jasper National Park with kids, if you are visiting during the winter, is head to Marmot Basin. Located only 20 minutes from the Jasper townsite, this gorgeous ski resort is perfect for all levels of alpine skiers or snowboarders.

Marmot Basin is home to an incredible 91 ski runs on four mountain faces. With 3,000 feet of vertical drop, surrounded by gorgeous Rocky Mountain views, no wonder it’s a favourite of locals and visitors alike.

23. Try Your Hand at Ice Climbing

Another amazing experience to add to your Jasper winter itinerary is ice climbing at Maligne Canyon. Not only is this activity appropriate for beginners with little to no experience, but it is also open for kids aged 12 and up!

As we mentioned before, Maligne Canyon is one of the deepest river canyons in the Rocky Mountains. During the winter, it becomes a winter wonderland filled with frozen waterfalls and ice caves.

The best way to explore Maligne Canyon is to join a tour with an expert guide. The 3-hour tour includes roundtrip transportation from your hotel to the start of the experience and all required equipment.


You can also choose to head to the canyon on your own. Just park in the lot, and walk down until you reach the entrance to Maligne Canyon. You can’t miss it!

From there, follow the signs and have fun exploring the canyon! We strongly suggest wearing a pair of crampons/microspikes if you are just walking through the canyon, as it will be slippery.

If you are going to attempt ice climbing, it goes without saying that you should come prepared with all the required safety gear (helmet, good boots, ice cleats, etc.).

Click here to book your own Maligne Canyon Ice Walk.

24. Travel by Dogsled

Going on a dogsled adventure would be another one of the best things to do in Jasper National Park with kids during the winter. With all the epic scenery and natural beauty in the area, this would be a no-brainer for us!

Head over to the Cold Fire Creek Dogsledding website to check out their various excursions! Tours are perfect for families with children and include an orientation prior to your adventure, as well as a snack or lunch.


Final Thoughts on the Best Things to Do in Jasper National Park with Kids

If you are looking for a family-friendly adventure in the Canadian Rockies, you will find some of the best things to do in Jasper National Park with kids. Between the outstanding mountain scenery, gorgeous glacier-fed lakes, amazing hikes, winter activities, and places to explore in the summer, you will have no trouble finding an activity for your whole family to enjoy!

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