While there are opportunities for recreation all along the Athabasca River, Jasper National Park is a popular access point. Rafting tours from here range from half-day trips to longer excursions. One favorite area is the ‘Mile 5’ section, offering Class II rapids with fun bumps and splashes that are still suitable for families with smaller children.
Rafters seeking greater challenges can try the Athabasca Canyon Run, with rapids rated a slightly more challenging Class II+. Many other activities, from hiking to mountain biking to rock climbing, take place on the banks of the Athabasca River.
Recent reviews from experiences in Jasper
Things to know before you go
- This is a great destination for wildlife lovers. It’s sometimes possible to spot sheep, elk, and bears at the edge of the river.
- Weather can change quickly here, so it’s a good idea to bring layered clothing.
- Sometimes rafters get wet even on calm-water float trips. If you’re bringing a camera, consider fitting it with a waterproof case.
How to get there
There is river access in a series of national and provincial parks along the Athabasca, some with boat ramps, camping areas, and places to fish. Most river trips near Jasper National Park depart from meet-up points in the town of Jasper; the Athabasca River flows right past town. Travelers can reach Jasper by train, bus, private car, or flights to airports in Vancouver, Edmonton, or Calgary.
When to get there
With warmer weather and ample water, the period from mid-May through mid-September is the most popular time to go rafting on the Athabasca River near Jasper National Park. Find the biggest rapids in the heart of the season, from the middle of June through late July.