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The No-Plan Plan: The Perfect Jasper Itinerary for Last-Minute Travellers



Brought to you by Tourism Jasper

Featuring some of the most beautiful, untouched wilderness in the world, Jasper National Park is the ideal spot for any kind of traveler, whether you’re an avid planner, an intrepid thrill-seeker or a free-spirited nomad. In fact, even the most spontaneous of travellers will find themselves at home in Jasper, where a spur-of-the-moment approach can yield some of the best memories. Here’s our guide to making the most of the “No Plan” plan.

Big Bend Hike. Photo: Cory Johnn/Tourism Jasper

With over 11,000 square kilometres of open space to explore, many visitors will plan, create a detailed itinerary and ensure every moment of their Jasper vacation is precisely prepared, right down to the smallest detail. Yet, other travellers find excitement in exploring Jasper without a set itinerary, leaving the guidebooks behind in favour of a more spontaneous travel experience.

Every visitor has their own way to of preparing for adventure in the real Rockies, but with free park entry being offered by Parks Canada this year through the Discovery Pass, it’s important to keep in mind that Jasper National Park is anticipating a particularly lively summer season. Booking accommodation in advance is a necessity, however, for those who find themselves in Jasper without any activities planned – there’s no need for them to panic! There are still plenty of options to ensure that any spur-of-the-moment travelers can take full advantage of their time in Canada’s base of adventure:


Jasper is full of world-class lakes and rivers, all surrounded by breathtaking Rocky Mountain views. Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation there’s a water activity to suit you.

Wild Current Outfitters. Photo Alisen Charlten/Tourism Jasper


Reconnect with nature and experience adrenaline-inducing summer adventure with a rafting trip on one of Jasper’s scenic rivers.

If you didn’t come prepared for a rafting trip, no need to worry! Jasper’s rafting companies always provide licensed guides, wet suits, life jackets, boots and additional clothing for various weather conditions. With multiple trips daily, Jasper has many rafting options for everyone – from a novice explorer to a wild adventurer:

Maligne Rafting Adventures:

Specializing in daily trips on the family-friendly Athabasca River, the thrilling Sunwapta and the Mighty Frasier River, Maligne Rafting Adventures offers up to a Class 3+ raft trip for active first timers or experienced rafters looking for whitewater excitement.

Jasper Raft Tours:

Offering trips on the Athabasca River, Jasper Raft Tours takes guests on a 16-km (or 2 ½ hour) scenic raft trip through many small sets of rapids and calm stretches. Toddlers and seniors alike can enjoy this family-friendly easy rafting experience.

Jasper Rafting Adventures:

Jasper Rafting Adventures offers easy and intermediate trips on the Athabasca River and the Sunwapta River. Focused on creating lasting memories, Jasper Rafting Adventures’ raft guides are committed to sharing an incredible whitewater rafting experience.

Wild Current Outfitters Rafting Adventures

Offering an authentic Rocky Mountain wilderness experience, Wild Current Outfitters Rafting Adventures provides long and customizable rafting trips on the Snake Indian River.

The Ramparts and Amethyst Lake from Tonquin Valley Adventures dock in Jasper National Park at sunrise. Photo: Rogier Gruys/Tourism Jasper


Because boats are tough to travel with, there are plenty of boat rental opportunities for travelers looking to gear up and venture out into Jasper’s waters.

Pure Outdoors:

Pure Outdoors offers an assortment of quality rentals, including sea kayaks, open kayaks, fishing kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddleboards. They also offer delivery to various lakes within the park.  

Maligne Lake Boat House:

Originally built by Donald “Curly” Philips, the historic boathouse houses various rental boats for visitors, including rowboats, kayaks and canoes. Rentals are available on an hourly or daily basis.


Jasper is home to a world-renowned trail system that sports spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains, pristine lakes, and untouched forests. From leisurely walks to intense scrambles, there’s an adventure for everyone at every level.

Opal Hills. Photo: Tourism Jasper


One of the best ways to take in the surroundings of Jasper National Park is on foot. Jasper’s trails are separated into five major regions containing several easy, intermediate and difficult trails to explore:

Jasper Discovery Trail (Easy): This 8.3-km loop wraps around the Jasper townsite and can be started nearly anywhere. Its proximity to town allows hikers to easily exit the trail when they choose. This one is a favourite amongst local runners.

Cavell Meadows Trail (Intermediate): Popular for its subalpine forest surroundings, this trail is about 6 to 7 km return. Please keep in mind that during summer 2017, construction is taking place on the Cavell parking lot and at the end of the Mount Edith Cavell Road. This work will provide safer access, additional parking and an improved visitor experience in the area. For the safety of the public, a free parking permit will be required to travel up the road. Guided tours to Edith Cavell are also available through Sundog Tours and Walk and Talks Jasper.

Sulphur Skyline (Difficult): Known for its spectacular views, this 8-km return hike will lead you to the summit of Sulphur Ridge. Canadian Skyline Adventures offers tours for those looking for a guided hike up the mountain.


Notable amongst mountain biking enthusiasts, Jasper maintains one of the best trail systems within Canada’s National Parks. No matter how busy the town of Jasper may appear, mountain biking is the perfect outdoor activity for travellers looking to venture beyond the summer crowds.

Wapiti Trail (Easy): Running along the Miette and Athabasca Rivers, this 4.7-km trail offers fantastic wildlife viewing opportunities.  

Pyramid Trail (Intermediate): Beginning at the bottom of Pyramid Lake Road, this 5.2-km trail leads to both Patricia Lake and Pyramid Lake.

Valley of the Five to Wabasso (Difficult): This 6.6-km ride includes steep ascents and descents, flowing traverses and beautiful scenery. During peak daylight hours, remain cautious of hikers around the Valley of the Five Lakes hiking trail.  


Savour the flavours of Jasper by exploring the local restaurant scene – or enjoy an evening out amongst Jasper’s vibrant community. After a long day of exploration, the Jasper townsite offers plenty of opportunities to recharge and reflect on the day’s adventures.

A young couple sit and look out at the view from the top of Opal Hills. Photo: Ben Morin / Tourism Jasper


Fuel up for every adventure! Jasper’s culinary scene offers classic dishes with an authentic Canadian Mountain twist. Make a reservation at the beginning of the day, summit a peak, and come back to some delicious local rocky mountain cuisine. Whatever you’re feeling, Jasper’s dining options are sure to satisfy your culinary cravings.

Jasper Brewing Company: Whether you want to taste craft beer made from Jasper’s glacial waters or sink your teeth into an amazing rustic Elk meatloaf, Jasper Brewing Company has plenty of delicious options for the hungry adventurer.

Tekarra Restaurant: During the summer, Jasper’s Tekarra Restaurant offers an upscale, creative menu amidst a rustic wooded setting. We recommend the devilled eggs with bacon jam – it’s a local favorite.

Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria: Inspired by the pizza making traditions of Naples Italy, Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria creates some of the most mouthwatering Italian inspired cuisine in Jasper.


Whether you’re heading to town for some live music or looking up into a sky full of stars, Jasper has an abundance of activities to keep night owls entertained and energized.

The Royal Canadian Legion:

This unique service club and community organization hosts a variety of events throughout the summer including trivia nights, workshops and open jam nights on Friday’s.

Jasper Wellness:

Taking time to re-energize is key to a successful visit to the Real Rockies. Jasper Wellness offers drop-in yoga classes for travellers looking to relax or stretch out their hard-worked muscles.


As the world’s largest accessible dark sky preserve, Jasper National Park provides visitors with the perfect post-adventure wind-down. Grab a blanket and reward yourself after an adventure-packed day by taking in the wonders of Jasper’s beautiful and natural night sky. The Jasper Planetarium also offers stargazing experiences for those looking to learn from experienced astronomy guides.

Jasper is your base of adventure: an awe-inspiring and authentic Rocky Mountain destination – the entry point to Canada’s most epic experiences. It is from here that the greatest personal expeditions begin; where explorers and wanderers from around the world converge to enjoy the activities, accommodations, restaurants, and businesses of the town of Jasper, before taking on the real Canadian Rockies of Jasper National Park.

Welcome those prepared to Venture Beyond. How far are you willing to go? Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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