An old saying in the Canadian Rockies states, "If you don't like the weather, just wait a minute." The weather in Jasper National Park is unpredictable and ever changing, so you need to prepare for all weather conditions, especially when hiking. In summer it can be hot enough for swimming in Lake Edith one day and icy cold the next. Temperatures in winter are usually well below freezing, but occasionally warm air blows in and causes snow and ice to melt.
July and August are the peak travel months for visitors—and the best time for hiking and viewing wildflowers. If you are traveling then, book accommodations well in advance and expect to pay a bit more than at other times of the year.
Temporary road closures may occur due to adverse weather conditions.
Festivals and Events
Canada Day. July 1, Canada's birthday, is celebrated with a parade, a full day of activities, and fireworks at dusk. On Canada Day, admission is free to all the country's national parks. Jasper, Alberta. 780/852–6176; www.jaspercanadaday.com.
Jasper Heritage Rodeo. This rodeo that debuted in 1926 is the only one that takes place inside a Canadian national park. On the second weekend in August, cowboys compete in bull riding, bareback riding, barrel racing, and steer wrestling events. An evening dance and a pancake breakfast are also part of the festivities. Jasper, Alberta, T0E 1E0. 780/852–6236; www.jasperheritagerodeo.com.
Parks Day. Celebrating the country's natural wonders, this event takes place on the third Saturday in July. There are activities for the whole family, a fair on the lawn in the middle of town, and free guided hikes to some of Jasper National Park's most interesting spots. Jasper, Alberta, T0E 1E0. 780/852–6176; www.friendsofjasper.com.
Jasper Dark Sky Festival. Held since 2011, when Jasper was declared an official Dark Sky Preserve (the world's second largest), this October event welcomes stargazing adventurers for nine days of outdoor activities, lectures, scientific presentations, photography workshops, food, and family-friendly fun. Science celebrities like astronaut Chris Hadfield often attend. Jasper, Alberta, T0E 1E0. 780/852–6236; jasperdarksky.travel.
Jasper in January. Jasper's biggest winter celebration takes place during the last half of January. A street festival, fireworks, wine tasting, great live music, and a chili cook-off, are among the highlights. Jasper, Alberta, T0E 1E0. 780/852–6236; jasperinjanuary.com.
Jasper Pride. This four-day festival in March is the only gay pride festival in the Canadian Rockies. Activities include movie nights, canyon walks, ski events, music, and food. Jasper, Alberta, T0E 1E0. 780/852–6236; jasperpride.ca.