Where to See Bears in Jasper
Two species of bears and present in Jasper National Park, grizzly bears and black bears. Both are widespread and relatively common.
Bears create the most attention on Jasper National Park roads and can be seen between April and October. Both species of bears come out of hibernation in April or May, and this period of springtime, until June, is the best time of year for seeing bears. There are two reasons for this:
1) Snow has melted in lower valleys and there is more food available, including dandelions along the edge of highways.
2) The park is less crowded (with humans). As the park gets busier bears tend to move away from highways into remote valleys.
Although spring offers the best chance of seeing bears, you may see them at any time of year between March and October, and maybe even later some years if the weather is warmer and snowfall minimal.
The best place to see black and grizzly bears in Jasper National Park is along the highways, including the Icefields Parkway, Maligne Lake Road, and Miette Road. There are no particular sections of these roads where sightings are more common, but early in the morning is the best time of day for seeing bears.
Bears are also seen regularly on the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge Golf Course, although you are not permitted onto the course (unless you are golfing). In 2022, grizzly bears were reported within the town of Jasper, with the local newspaper, the Fitzhugh reporting on the story here.
Bear Safety in Jasper National Park
The chance to see bears in their natural habitat is one of the biggest draws of Jasper National Park. To help preserve this precious resource, obey regulations and use common sense. If you see a bear by the roadside:
DRIVE BY SLOWLY instead of stopping. This is the best way to minimize your impact on a roadside bear.
WARN OTHER MOTORISTS by flashing your hazard lights.
If you do stop, PULL OVER SAFELY without blocking the driving lane (ideally at a pull-off).
DO NOT LEAVE YOUR VEHICLE. Observe and photograph the bear from the safety of your car.
DO NOT GET TOO CLOSE. Please ensure that your vehicle is not crowding or obstructing a bear’s pathway.
DO NOT FEED THE BEARS. This may seem obvious, but it happens, most commonly when visitors through food out their windows when bears are present. Feeding bears endanger yourself, the bear, and other visitors, as they become aggressive when looking for handouts.
KEEP YOUR DISTANCE. Although it’s tempting to get close to wildlife for a better look or a photograph, it disturbs the animal and, in many cases, can be dangerous.
Further Reading About Bears
Many books about bears are available, including some dedicated to bears in the Canadian Rockies and Jasper. Please go to our Books About Bears page.
Even if you are not a wildlife photographer, Canadian Rockies Wildlife Photography, an eBook by renowned wildlife photographer Wayne Lynch, is an excellent way to learn about Canadian Rockies bears, their habitats, and the best viewing opportunities.
Guidebook author Brian Patton writes about his experiences with bears on this page Bears in the Canadian Rockies.