The Jasper Tramway Experience - A Guide to the Tramway Ride, Hiking and Scenery

Riding the Tramway and hiking up the summit is an experience essential to any visit to Jasper National Park.

The “Jasper Tramway Experience”, as I call it, is a 3,000 foot ride up the side of Whisters Mountain while in a tramway (similar to a gondola).  The tramway ride is followed by a steep walk from the tramway drop-off terminal to the summit of the Whistlers Mountain via the Summit Trail.

Along the way, it is clear why the slogan for Jasper National Park is “Wonderful By Nature”.

As you ride the gondola and then hike to the top of the summit, the panoramic views of the Canadian Rockies are spectacular.

Jasper Tramway

Jasper Tramway

View from Jasper Tramway upper terminal

View from Jasper Tramway upper terminal - see Jasper townsite in the distance

Jasper Tramway – Tramway Ride, Hiking and Scenery

The Jasper Tramway Experience is made up of a sequence of 4 segments:

1. The ride up on the Jasper Tramway

  • The ride up on the Jasper Tramway takes you to the upper terminal.  The tramway car has a guide who tells a brief history of the tramway and interesting facts about the park. You may feel like a sardine packed into the tramway car with 10 or 15 strangers. Don’t fret. It is a quick and easy ride. You’ll be surrounded by windows and get a nice view on the way up.  After the tramway drops you off at the upper terminal, you can hang out for a few and soak in the view from the decks.  A gift shop and dining options are inside.

2. Hiking on the Summit Trail

  • If the weather is good (i.e., not snowing, raining or very cloudy), take the hike from the upper terminal to the summit on the Whistlers Summit Trail.  Start your hike up a steep but flat mountainside. There are several long plateaus along the way and it is not a difficult hike. Parks Canada urges visitors to stay on the trail to protect the fragile alpine vegetation.  I recommend wearing layers (maybe even a hat and gloves).  It tends to be cold and windy up here, even during summer.

3. Standing on top of the world

  • This is not just a hike but an experience.  Stop and take in the views at the summit or anywhere along the way.  This is time on top of the world. The view up here of the surrounding Canadian Rockies is much better than from the tramway upper terminal down below.

4. Go back down

  • There’s a sign at the end of the official trail and you can rest here before turning around and trekking back down (the trail unofficially continues on but that’s for advanced hikers). Last time, we packed some goodies from the Bear’s Paw Bakery to eat as our reward for making it to the end of the Summit Trail.  Walking back down is easier.  Head back down the tramway and off to your next Canadian Rockies adventure.

Jasper Tramway Hiking Map – Whistlers Summit Trail Map

Jasper Tramway Summit Trail Map

Jasper Tramway Whistlers Summit Trail Map (click image to view large)

Jasper Tramway Whistlers Summit Trail Hike

Jasper Tramway Summit Trail

Jasper Tramway Whistlers Summit Trail

An aerial view of Jasper townsite from Whistlers Mountain

An aerial view of Jasper townsite from Whistlers Mountain - the upper tramway terminal is on the left, Jasper townsite on the right

Views from the Summit Trail

Views from the Whistlers Summit Trail

View from the summit on Whistlers Mountain - Jasper National Park

View from the summit on Whistlers Mountain - Jasper National Park

Jasper Tramway hike with kids

Jasper Tramway hike with young kids? - Yes, it is doable but a stroller would be challenging on the Summit Trail.

During the summer, be on the look-out for Ptarmigan feeding at the summit. The birds blend in with the background.

Ptarmigan in Jasper National Park

Ptarmigan on Whistlers Mountain in Jasper National Park

For more pictures of Jasper Tramway, view Jasper Journal’s Jasper Tramway photo gallery.


[Updated/Revised: 2/10/2013]

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