Escape to Jasper this winter for mountain adventures, good eats, and fun festivals. From the Canadian Rockies’ deepest canyon to the highest ski resort base in Canada (at Marmot Basin Ski Resort), you can venture beyond the ordinary every day, then enjoy Jasper’s awesome après-ski scene. Here are the top twelve things to do this winter in Jasper.
1. Maligne Canyon Ice Walk
Maligne Canyon is home to the Canadian Rockies’ most spectacular ice walk. Descend to the frozen creek bed and be dazzled by natural ice sculptures and 30+ metre high ice falls. For your safety, Parks Canada recommends going on a guided hike. Pursuit or SunDog Tour Company will outfit you with warm boots, helmets, and traction devices; provide transportation; and your knowledgeable guide can tell you all about the terrain, flora, and fauna.
For more information, please read our story: Hike and Dine at Maligne Canyon.
2. Ski at Marmot Basin
For fantastic views, snow, and varied terrain without lift lines, head to Marmot Basin. While half the terrain is advanced (black runs) and expert (double black), there is still plenty of terrain novice and intermediate skiers. I like that runs from different chairs converge at Mid-Mountain Lodge so it’s easy to meet up if you get split up (make sure the kids have their walkie talkies on!).
With 6 lifts, a magic carpet, and 3 terrain parks, there is fun for everyone at Marmot Basin! Advanced skiers should check out the latest addition to the hill, Tres Hombres, a large mostly treeless bowl on the north side of the resort.
Visit Marmot Basin to get lift tickets now!
3. Snowshoe & hike in a winter wonderland
Snowshoeing in Jasper: The Canadian Rockies’ largest national park has endless snow to play in, but two of the most popular snowshoeing destinations in Jasper are Medicine Lake (3 km lakeshore trail) and Maligne Lake (3.2 km Mary Schaffer Loop is pretty). For more information and trails, visit Parks Canada | Jasper Snowshoeing.
Hiking in Jasper:
- If you’re short on time, walk to scenic Pyramid Lake Island (200 metres from the parking lot) and get a photo on the bridge with Pyramid Mountain in the background.
- Hike Lac Beauvert Loop (3.5 km) at Jasper Park Lodge, then go ice skating at Lac Mildred/Mildred Lake!
- Valley of the Five Lakes (4.6 km loop) is another popular winter hike with minimal elevation gain.
- Old Fort Point Loop (3.8 km) is a short, but steep hike with great views of the Athabasca River. Microspikes recommended.
- Athabasca Falls (800 metres), half an hour south of Jasper on Highway 93N, is gorgeous year-round. To save on driving, plan to visit on your way to or from Jasper.
Know Before You Go: Trail conditions change as quickly as the weather, so wear warm layers and check the trail report before you go. Traction devices are recommended during the winter months.
Go dashing through the snow in a six-dog open sled (sometimes eight.. depends on the conditions/terrain)! You can even try driving the sled; a unique Canadian adventure. Tours are located about an hour west of Jasper.
Contact Cold Fire Creek Dogsledding for more information.
5. Cross Country Ski
Jasper National Park has several beautiful cross country ski trails that are typically groomed for classic and skate skiing from December 15 – March 15, conditions permitting. Ski at:
- Whirlpool Winter Hub (easy and intermediate trails)
- Marmot Meadows (easy and intermediate)
- Athabasca Falls (easy)
- Pyramid (easy and intermediate)
- Wabasso Campground (easy)
Get current trail conditions from Parks Canada | Jasper Trail Report.
6. Jasper Food Tours
The Downtown Foodie Tour promised “Four eats, four drinks, one awesome experience” and it did exactly that. I loved hearing stories told by our lively guide (who is also the company’s founder), Estelle, and visiting some of Jasper’s best restaurants. Be prepared to walk 1.5 kilometres and enjoy a delicious drink and dish at each stop. If you book in advance, the hosting restaurants can accommodate most allergies and intolerances; they made all my courses gluten-free and dairy-free.
Book your tour with award-winning Jasper Food Tours.
7. Ice Skate
Pyramid Lake and Mildred Lake are cleared for ice skating each winter! Skate rentals are available at Pyramid Lake Resort and Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge respectively.
8. Pyramid Lake Sleigh Ride
Get cozy in a horse-drawn sleigh (blankets on board) and enjoy the scenery at Pyramid Lake. Allow 40 minutes for the sleigh ride. Pricing and schedule available from Pursuit | Pyramid Lake Resort. Kids 5 & under ride free!
9. Jasper Winter Festivals & Events
Jasper doesn’t slow down in the winter. On any weekend, no matter the weather, you can catch live music, beer / wine tastings, festivals, and other special events. Visit Jasper Tourism for upcoming events!
Jasper’s biggest winter event is Jasper in January (January 12 – January 28, 2024): When it cools down, Jasper heats up with Jasper in January. Head to Pyramid Lake on Saturdays for ice skating, hot chocolate, and sleigh rides; learn to ice climb; enter a fun bonspiel; watch the Jasper Cup Pond Hockey Tournament (January 19-21, 2024); try fatbiking or snowshoeing; and more! Don’t miss the super fun Street Party + Fireworks on January 27, 2024.
Jasper in January also includes several culinary and wine & spirits events including Alpenflora X Andromeda Coffee Workshops (December 3-23, 2023), Wine in Winter at Evil Dave’s (January 12, 2024), Poutine Showdown (January 12-28, 2024), and Whiskey, Wine, and Hops at Forest Park Hotel (January 13, 2024).
For more information, visit Tourism Jasper | Jasper in January.
February 9-11, 2024 | Jasper Beer and Spirits Festival: Savor craft beers and spirits – and stories – at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge.
For more information on the above and more upcoming events, please visit Tourism Jasper.
10. Watch Wildlife
You can see lots of wildlife in Jasper pretty much any time of year, but the cold season is the only time you can see critters with their fluffy winter coats. Look for elk and bighorn sheep on Maligne Canyon Road – there is often a herd near the turnoff – or take a wildlife tour.
11. Stargaze and look for northern lights
In winter you don’t have to stay up late to the see the night sky, so there’s no excuse to miss out when you get an aurora alert! Did you know Jasper National Park is the second largest Dark Sky Preserve in the world? Head to one of the many lakes near town for awesome aurora and star viewing, or visit the Jasper Planetarium at Jasper Park Lodge. Pyramid Lake, Lake Annette, Lac Beauvert, and Maligne Lake are great stargazing spots.
12. Fat Bike
Not a skier? Try fatbiking! There are several trails near town that are flat packed for fatbiking and perfect for beginners. Nearby Maligne Lake and Medicine Lake are beautiful biking places too. Go to Jasper National Park | Fatbiking for more information.
If you’re coming from Calgary, we recommend driving The Icefields Parkway (Hwy 93N), one of the world’s most scenic drives from Lake Louise to Jasper. Fill up in Lake Louise before you get on the Icefields Parkway, and allow time to stop at Peyto Lake Viewpoint, Tangle Falls, the Columbia Icefield, Sunwapta Falls, and Athabasca Falls.
For tips on what to see along this route, please read our story: The Best Stops on the Icefields Parkway.
Know Before You Go
What to Bring
Disclosure: This section includes affiliate links through which I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting our small family business!
Base layers, insulated winter boots, a down jacket and windproof/waterproof shell (or insulated ski jacket/parka), gloves or mittens, and toque are must-haves. See our fall/winter hiking gear guide for product recommendations. You should also carry The Ten Essentials including: water, extra food, extra clothes, a headlamp, a GPS/satellite communicator (or compass) and map of the area, sunscreen (this one is safe for babies), and bear spray. Carry bear spray in a Frontiersman Bear Spray Holster (attaches to your backpack or belt) or Scat Belt.
In snowy/icy conditions, we recommend traction devices such as Kahtoola Microspikes (Available from Amazon, MEC, and Valhalla Pure Outfitters), or Hillsound Trail Crampons (Available at Valhalla Pure Outfitters and Sport Chek) and trekking poles with snow baskets. For snowshoeing, see our Snowshoeing Gear List.
A Garmin inReach Mini 2 satellite communicator is highly recommended for contacting Search & Rescue and emergency contacts in the event of an emergency, or communicating with friends and family when you are out of cell phone range. You can send text messages and your GPS coordinates via satellite (but a monthly plan is required)!
Where to Stay
Pyramid Lake Resort offers spacious, well-appointed rooms on the shore of Pyramid Lake. Equipment rentals (snowshoes, ice skates, fat bikes, and more) are available onsite so you can make the most of the lovely location. They also have an outdoor hot tub to relax in after a day of adventuring. I love staying there and dining at The Pines Restaurant! Book your room at Pyramid Lake Resort or Expedia (affiliate link).