unique things to do in jasper - horseback riding

Unique Things to Do and Attractions to Visit in Jasper

While this mountain destination is full of incredible things to do and see, there are certain activities that are unique to Jasper.

Hiking, camping and skiing are quintessential Jasper activities. They’re what most travellers instantly think of when someone mentions the Rocky Mountains.
Although Jasper National Park has a loyal following of outdoor enthusiasts, there are plenty of other unique things to see and do around town. The following list showcases just some of the local attractions that make Jasper so special.

Explore rich heritage in Jasper

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1929 William Oliver Photo via Library and Archives Canada

From the Athabasca Pass, which was a major fur-trading route in the 1800's, to the humble beginnings of Fitzhugh (the original name of the Jasper townsite), the entire region is full of fascinating stories.
You can delve into Jasper’s past by exploring attractions within the park. From an 80-year-old golf course that has earned countless awards to rustic architecture and horseback rides along historic trails, learning about the heritage of the Rockies can be a fascinating experience for visitors and locals alike.

Discover modern adventures

Take a tram ride more than 1,200 metres up the side of a mountain or stand high above a raging river valley – those are just two of the unique ways to experience the beauty of the park.
The Jasper Skytram has been carrying sightseers up Whistlers Mountain for 50 years while the new Glacier Skywalk gives people a breathtaking bird’s eye-view of the Sunwapta River.
Whether you’re into stunning views or cultural exploration, finding something incredible to experience is never difficult in Jasper.

1. Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge Golf Club

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Canadian Rockies Golf Photo

Constructed more than 80 years ago, this acclaimed golf course continues to impress travellers from around the globe.
With fairways tucked amidst glacier-fed lakes and surrounded by snow-capped mountain vistas, it’s no wonder that the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge Golf Club was ranked the number one golf resort in Canada by SCOREGolf Magazine.
Artfully crafted by renowned golf architect Stanley Thompson, this epic 18-hole course was carved out of the Rocky Mountain wilderness to create natural contours that provide a unique playing experience. And with 73 sand traps and uniquely rugged terrain, these links provide enough challenges to test even the most skilled player.
The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge completed a massive restoration of this course in 1994, returning the property back to the initial historic layout first created by Thompson. So when you tee off here, you’ll be playing golf on a piece of Canadian history.
Details

  • Par 71
  • Yardage: 6,663
  • Rating: 71.1
  • Slope: 124
  • Designer: Stanley Thompson

Location
1 Old Lodge Rd, Jasper, Alberta
1-780-852-6090
www.fairmont.com/jasper/golf/overview

2. Jasper Information Centre

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1927 Parks Canada Photo

Built in 1914 using cobblestone and timber, the Jasper Information Centre is now a symbol of the rustic architecture found in Canada’s national parks.
This picturesque building was designed to set the standard for all other construction in the town of Jasper. With its steeply pitched roof, wide porches and use of natural materials, the Jasper Information Centre represents a truly unique design.
It originally served as an administration building and residence. The ground floor held the superintendent’s living quarters and office, while the top floor hosted a library, museum and drafting room.
Today, this National Historic Site remains a focal point in the town of Jasper. Nestled in a wooded park in the heart of the community, the grounds are often bustling with people having picnics or playing Frisbee in the summer.
Step inside and you’ll now find Tourism Jasper, the Parks Canada trail office, and The Friends of Jasper National Park Gift Shop.
Location
810 Connaught Drive, Jasper
1-780-852-6236

3. Horseback Riding

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Tracks & Trails Photo

The first settlers in Jasper National Park used horses to travel across the rugged, mountain terrain.
In fact, much of the park’s 1,200-kilometre trail system was established by pioneers as they rode through the wilderness. Today, visitors can re-create that unique experience with a horseback riding tour. This activity provides an amazing way to spot wildlife while accessing sections of the park you might not otherwise get to see.
The Jasper Riding Stables offer a series of short rides, including a one-hour tour along the Athabasca River Valley and a stunning excursion across the lush terrain that overlooks the Pyramid Bench.
There are also several other local tour companies that offer multi-day treks on horseback, with both tent and cabin accommodations available. Embark on a multi-day adventure through the amazing Tonquin Valley and admire majestic meadows, sparkling lakes and a number of hidden spots often missed by other visitors.
Most tour operators provide packages tailored for both experienced riders and people new to horseback riding. Keep in mind that there are a number of restrictions on where horses are allowed in the park. For more information, drop by the Parks Canada website.

4. Jasper Skytram

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Attractions Canada Photo

Float above the clouds by taking a ride in the longest and highest aerial tramway in Canada.
The Jasper Skytram showcases some of the best views in the entire park. Passengers climb to a heart-pounding altitude of 1,277 metres up the side of Whistlers Mountain during the seven-minute ride. A guide tells you about the history of the 50 year old tram while sharing a few fascinating facts about the park. Once you reach the upper terminal, the scenery is astounding – sweeping views of the valley and town of Jasper are framed by the majestic Rockies.
You can also hike from the upper terminal to the summit on the Whistlers Summit Trail. The trek has some steep sections, but it’s a relatively easy hike overall. The upper station of the tramway is also where you’ll find the Treeline Restaurant, which serves breakfast, lunch and snacks.
Details

    • It can be much colder at the summit of Whistlers Mountain than in the valley bottom, so dress appropriately
    • This is one of Jasper’s premier attractions, so expect lineups in the summer. Get there as early as possible to reduce how long you wait
    • For the best views, try to get a window in the tram that faces down the mountain

5. Glacier Skywalk

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This is the newest, and one of the most thrilling, attractions in Jasper National Park.
The cliff-hugging Glacier Skywalk features a glass-floored observation deck that’s perched 30 metres above the Sunwapta Valley off the Icefields Parkway. The $21-million project opened to the public in May of 2014.
Built with more than 200 tonnes of steel, this viewing platform allows visitors to gaze at the Columbia Icefields to their left and at the Sunwapta River directly below their feet. A similar walkway can be found at the Grand Canyon; however, unlike at that attraction, those who visit the Glacier Skywalk are allowed to snap photos.
Details

      • One hour on the Glacier Skywalk costs $24.95
      • The walk is accessed via Brewster’s nearby icefield centre, which visitors are transported to by a shuttle that runs every 15 minutes
      • The Glacier Skywalk features 6 interpretive stations and an audio tour

Location
The Glacier Discovery Centre, from which visitors are transported to the Glacier Skywalk, is located on the Icefields Parkway about one hour south of Jasper

planning a trip to jasper?

We have a variety of accommodations in Jasper with advantageous locations in the national park. Call our highly knowledgeable Destination Experts who can answer any questions you may have about the hiking trails in Jasper, or our fabulous selection of vacation rentals. They’re available 7 days a week!