Winter’s Best Things to do in Jasper Alberta

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I have a confession to make – I really didn’t plan my Jasper Alberta trip well at all. I was so focused on food in the city I think I may have missed out on some really special things about Jasper in the winter.

But I really did enjoy it and want to go back in warm weather.

I felt like writing about the food and drink in town isn’t a compelling enough reason to go so I’m sharing a bit of a mini-guide gathering information from other bloggers who also visited in January or have had an Alberta road trip to provide the bigger picture of just how much you can do in this small town.

A Winter Guide to Jasper Alberta

The Vibe

Jasper is located in 11,000 square km of the Jasper National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

This is a very relaxed, down-to-earth town where you don’t need to wear anything more formal than good jeans and a nice sweater.

And while most people visit in the summer for the amazing scenery and outdoor adventure, Jasper is active all year round, especially in its Jasper in January festival.

How to Get to Jasper

Jasper National Park is  370 km west of Edmonton and 404 kilometers northwest of Calgary.

You can easily drive here but if you’re flying it’s easiest to land in Edmonton and take the 4.5 hour shuttle into Jasper. It’s also possible to take the VIA Rail train from Edmonton into Jasper.

How to Get Around

The core area of Jasper or “downtown” is pretty small, only a few blocks and really easy to navigate.

Unless you are staying at Jasper Park Lodge you can easily walk into town in 5-10 minutes from a hotel. Cabs are available but after taking a few I felt ridiculously lazy.

Jasper

Where to Stay: Jasper Accommodations

Tonquin Inn

In a cluster with most of the other hotels in JasperAlberta, I stayed here and it’s just a short walk from downtown and there are hot tubs to warm up after cold days on the slopes.

Read Reviews on TripAdvisor or Book a Room with Expedia

Pyramid Lake

The only resort in Jasper with exclusive access to the tranquil Pyramid Lake.

Read Reviews on TripAdvisor or Get the Best Rates on Expedia

The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge

A bit farther outside town but looks like an incredible experience as it is a 700 acre resort and unlike other Fairmont hotels the rooms are in luxury cabins looking out onto Lac Beauvert.

Read Reviews on TripAdvisor or Book a Room with Expedia

The best restaurant in Jasper Alberta include Jasper Brewing Company.

Jasper Restaurants: Where to Eat and Drink

Jasper Brewing Company – They cater to the tastes of locals and their blueberry vanilla ale is so popular people drive up from Edmonton to buy it.

Typical pub food fare with some nice additions like the crispy duck leg salad.

Evil Daves is one of the best restaurants in Jasper Alberta, discover where to eat and drink in Jasper.

Evil Dave’s Restaurant – Don’t be afraid, Evil Dave is no longer there but new owners are local, super friendly and serve up cool cocktails with their globally inspired menu.

They also serve boar – so that makes them awesome in my books.

Papa Georges is one of the best restaurants in Jasper Alberta, discover the others in this Jasper eating and drinking guide.

Papa George’s Restaurant –  This place has a lot of history and solid food to accompany it.

Papa George is no longer running it but owner and sommelier Patrice Fortin is keeping things current featuring a wine bar and wine by the glass from their wine cellar with over 1300 bottles.

Famoso Pizza is a chain but it's still one of the best restaurants in Jasper Alberta.

Famoso Pizzeria – A small chain restaurant in Canada but a newcomer to Jasper run by locals, this restaurant serves up Neapolitan pizza.

Bear Paw Cafe

Jasper Coffee: Where to Score Caffeine

One of the biggest surprises of Jasper Alberta was learning just how seriously the locals are about coffee.

However, I got the lowdown from a taxi driver and many others confirmed his perspective on coffee in Jasper.

Snow Dome Coffee Bar – This is where all the locals go but tourists likely walk by – because it’s in a laundromat.

But it’s known to serve up the best specialty coffee and lots of sweet treats.

Coco’s Cafe – Vegetarian/vegan and gluten-free friendly, you’re sure to find the yoga crowd here.

A friendly cafe with limited seating that strives to use as much local and organic product as possible.

Much like the rest of Jasper Alberta, the staff is friendly and super helpful.

Bear Paw Bakery – With a second shop around the corner called The Other Paw, this place is always busy and while the coffee is good it seems everyone comes for the baked goods.

Where to Shop in Jasper

Expect the typical souvenir, clothing and food shops in Jasper Alberta.

If you arrive realizing you’ve forgotten something you’ll be sure to find it here.

For the frugal traveler there is a dollar store with everything from phone chargers to inexpensive toques and mittens.

Jasper snowboard lessons

Cool Things to Do in Jasper Alberta

Ski or Snowboard – You can grab a shuttle from most hotels to Marmot Basin to hit the slopes.

Marmot Basin has been around for 50 years and offers lessons for beginner skiers or snowboarders. 

Community Dinners – Offered only in Winter, each Sunday night a community organization hosts a PWYC dinner.

It is an inexpensive way for the community to come together. The Sunday I visited there was an Indian dinner.

This was extremely popular as there are no Indian food restaurants in Jasper.

Wine and Game Pairing – Papa George’s offers wild game and wine pairing every Friday night from 5-7pm.

Don’t let the name of the restaurant turn you off.

It’s been around for generations and has fantastically wild stories of Papa George who often single-handedly manned the restaurant without anyone knowing he was both the chef and the waiter!

Jasper Star Trail

Cools Things to Do in Jasper Outside Town

Star Gaze – Just 20km outside of town is the perfect place to stare at the open sky.

Jasper National Park is the second largest dark sky preserve in the world.

Here a guide will show you things you can’t see in most cities including constellations, planets and the closest star to the Earth, 

Read Hecktic Travels time with Sun Dog Tours.

Dog Sledding – While it is not permitted in the park it’s a beautiful drive through the Rocky Mountains.

There are options for one-hour, three-hour and four-hour tours through the frozen wilderness.

Have a look at Seattles experience with Cold Fire Creek Dogsledding.

Canyon Ice Walk – It’s technically a gorge. But the Devonian limestone bedrock in Maligne Canyon is up to 55 m deep and 1.2 km long.

A winter wonderland, just outside the town guides lead you through the frozen Maligne Canyon natural ice sculptures, ice caves, fossils and beautiful frozen waterfalls trapped in the Canadian cold.

Read Lisa’s post about the canyon walk.

Maligne Canyon Ice Walk at Night – A completely different but incredible experience at night. Don’t be afraid if you’re unadventurous,

Seattle walked through the dark canyon and into caves with a family of six!

Winter Wildlife Safari – Despite the cold temperatures, wildlife thrives in the winter and it’s even common to see elk or deer in town. If you love to photograph or simply look for wildlife Sundog Tours offers tours of the park. While there is no guarantee, it’s common to see big horn sheep, elk, and coyotes.

Read about Sherry’s wildlife safari. 

More Jasper Information

Jasper Tourism is active on Twitter and Instagram and locals use the hashtag #MyJasper

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Join the Conversation

  1. Looks like such a cool place! I’ve been wanting to go to Canada for a long time, but I think I should try and make it sooner rather than later!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      You’ve never been to Canada? It’s time to come!

  2. Whilst I’m more of summer/beach person, I love the idea of doing proper winter activities, none of which are possible in England unfortunately. The food all sounds dreamy too!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I’m more of a beach person as well but you have to come see the Rockies, they surround Jasper and it’s beautiful.

  3. Sherry Ott says:

    A great roundup. I wish I had been there all 3 weekends of the festival – each were so different!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I know I was jealous of what other people were able to do!

  4. Best holiday destinations says:

    I love that type of places thanks for posting nice views….

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It’s a really beautiful place.

  5. A Montrealer Abroad (@marievallieres) says:

    This post makes me realise that there’s SO much to see and do Canada that I have yet to do. Feeling kind of ashamed to be so knowledgeable about Europe and so little about my own country!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I feel the same way. This was the first time I saw the Rockies.

  6. Great guide! I think Jasper often gets overlooked by visitors to Canada, because they are so distracted by Banff. But it easily just as beautiful, and sounds like there is a pretty cool scene there.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I’d love to go to Banff but from what I’ve heard it’s a very different vibe. I love that things are so relaxed in Jasper.

  7. Sounds like a lot of fun, wouldn’t mind being there right now…

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It’s a great place to visit in winter.

  8. tammyonthemove says:

    I have got to try blueberry vanilla ale one day. That sounds amazing!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It was good enough that I brought two bottles home!

  9. Well that’s my kind of winter weekend — warm, hearty foods and beer 😀 I knew there was a reason I always liked Canada…

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      And a big sweater to hide winter weight 😉

  10. Diana Edelman says:

    The community dinners sound like such a cool experience! I would love to do that!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Me too, I was disappointed that I missed out.

  11. Charli | Wanderlusters says:

    Great guide Ayngelina! We spent a few days in Jasper during our stay in Vancouver and loved every minute. I didn’t know of Papa George’s though, it sounds positively wild! Reason enough to plan another visit for sure!!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Jasper is definitely worth more than one visit. I’d love to go back.

  12. A Cook Not Mad (Nat) says:

    Good job! Nice pics!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks Nat!

  13. That photo of stars is amazing! How did you take it?

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      That was all Pete from Hecktic Travels, I’d say long exposure.

  14. GiselleandCody says:

    I miss Jasper so much. Went there for a high school ski trip and loved every second of it. There is something about being in the mountains 🙂 So calm and peaceful

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      The mountains surrounding Jasper is really beautiful and makes you feel cozy.

  15. Arnette RTW says:

    Great round up!! I’m dying to go!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks so much!

  16. Raymond @ Man On The Lam says:

    I stayed at the Jasper Park Lodge many years ago when I had a real job with real money. Oy! It was spectacular.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I would love to go stay there during the summer, looks like quite the experience.

  17. Sounds like a lot of fun. We definitely haven’t explored Canada nearly enough.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Me either!

  18. What a lovely place and awesome food too! I was drooling on the picture of the food.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I had so many good things to eat!

  19. Sebastian | Off The Path says:

    Cool guide. Sounds like a lot of fun… I’ve been following your adventure in Jasper!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks Sebastian!

  20. Martine @ Chompchomp says:

    This is a fabulous summary post. I know what you mean about spending too much time eating! I have the same problem!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It’s all I do!

  21. Mihai Dobre says:

    Hello and thank you for a great post.2 years ago i spent my honney moon in Jasper, Alberta Canada…I have great words about Jasper as is offers a variety of lodging options whether you’re seeking rustic relaxation, homey comfort, or romantic luxury.Plenty places to choose from.We stayed 15 days in winter in Chateau Jasper accommodation! The perfect place to spend the holidays or honey moon or just the vacation with the family. I recommend to anyone go and visit Jasper durring the winter time! Best regards, travel safe !

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Wow that sounds like such a wonderful time.

  22. I SO don’t have the gear to do this.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Ha, I know I didn’t either. I had to borrow winter gear for snowboarding.

  23. Jasper January festival is a very famous festival in this town and i also like that tradition festival.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It is a great festival to have right in the middle of winter.

  24. Jasper is a great place to be in the winter time if you love skiing … prices are lower compared to summer, and the locals are more genuine as the crush of tourists that strikes in the summer isn’t present in the winter…

  25. Hi Ayngelina. I’ve been to Alberta a few times but it’s a shame I missed Jasper. Well, that’s not going to happen next time around. Thanks for this post and watch out for mine!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Where have you visited in Alberta?

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