Free Things To Do in Jasper National Park
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The second-largest glacier-fed lake in the world, Maligne Lake enchants travelers with its brilliant turquoise waters and stunning skylines. Anyone who wants to trek to Maligne Lake should take the time to visit the lake's Spirit Island as well, which is one of the most famous views of the Canadian Rockies in the world. The lake sits east of the Icefields Parkway in the southern portion of the park, and travelers can access the area with their own car, in an excursion bus or even as part of a motorcycle tour. (To book a motorcycle tour, check out the Jasper Motorcycle Tours website.) Once at the lake, visitors can take advantage of a variety of tours and excursions, or just explore the area independently.
Past visitors recommended bringing a camera to capture photos of the beautiful scenery – many note there are numerous photo opportunities. However, recent travelers also warned that both the cruise and nonmotorized watercraft rentals come at a steep price.
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A narrow chasm located about 7 miles north of downtown Jasper, Maligne Canyon winds slightly less than a mile through Jasper National Park. The stunning canyon reaches a depth of more than 150 feet, while some sections are as narrow as 7 feet. In addition to the unique geological aspects of the area, the canyon is surprisingly green, with an immense amount of plant life.
Recent travelers appreciated the two hiking trails that weave through the area. The shorter loop crosses the canyon via four bridges, while the longer option traces the gorge and features two additional bridges along the way. Plus, the longer path is slightly less crowded. Past hikers also noted the parking lot at the trailhead can get crowded and suggest arriving early.
- #5View all Photos#5 in Jasper National ParkBeaches, Hiking, Recreation, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDBeaches, Hiking, Recreation, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
Situated across the Athabasca River and just north of downtown Jasper, lakes Annette and Edith are great spots for a leisurely jaunt or a full-fledged adventure. Travelers can spend a day picnicking and grilling, relaxing in the park's signature red Adirondack chairs and hiking the various trails.
Recent travelers were surprised by the lakes' cerulean water. They recommended packing a camera for snapping photos along the area's primary hiking trail, the Annette Loop, which is paved and an excellent option for novice hikers.
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Athabasca Falls offers incredible views from an easily accessible location, adjacent to the Icefields Parkway and about 20 miles south of downtown Jasper. There is parking a short walk away from the falls, so this is an easy option for travelers searching for a stress-free excursion. While the water may not actually fall too far (about 75 feet) the falls are known for their torrential flow. Photographers particularly appreciate the falls for the array of viewing areas and surrounding trails.
Recent visitors described the Athabasca Falls as a must-see spot in Jasper National Park. They also note that you don't need to spend a full day here, but they suggest spending the time to view the falls from all of the available vantage points. Others recommended wearing sturdy shoes as the paths and stairs can often get slippery with all the spray from the falls. The falls are free to visit. For more information on the history of the falls, visit the Parks Canada website.