The Jasper Tramway takes you up nearly 2300 meters in elevation in a matter of minutes. It boasts that it is the highest and longest guided aerial tramway in Canada. During the ascent up Whistlers Mountain a cabin guide gives an interpretive and educational talk on the surrounding area. It’s one of three gondola choices in Banff and Jasper National Parks. If you can’t decide see our post on which rocky mountain gondola to take, Banff, Lake Louise or Jasper.
As the tram car ascends up the mountain, the Athabasca river, glacier lakes, the town of Jasper and several mountain ranges gradually come into view. On a very clear day you can see Mt. Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. It is nearly 100 km’s away. Keep an eye on the ground below, if you’re lucky you might spot a bear or other wildlife on the way up. On our trip we saw a female moose and her calf.
Weather permitting it runs from the end of April through to the beginning of October. The Treeline Restaurant located at the upper station of the tramway provides breakfast, lunch and light snacks.
- It can be significantly colder and windy at the top of the tram, even on a summer day. You want to be prepared, especially if you are going to do hiking further up the mountain.
- In the busy summer months each tramway trip is packed full with approximately 25 people. To get the best views try to grab a spot near a window that faces down the mountain.
- Going down is on a first come first serve basis, so you may have a bit of a wait. Make sure you know what time the last tram down leaves.
- As with most attractions it is best to get there early. In the summer months line ups can start right from opening and tend to get worse by the afternoon.
- Reservations can be made in the summer months, but only online and must be done 24 hours prior to the time you want to ride the gondola. Check the weather report before you book to make sure there will be good visibility.
- A slower times to go is in the spring. If you want to hike to the summit the trail is sometimes closed in early spring due to too much snow. Early fall after the majority of the tourists have left is a quieter time as well.
- It’s not really worth going up the tramway if it is a day with low cloud cover, the views will be obscured.
At the top of the tramway there is a boardwalk surrounding the station or can you venture off into the other areas around it to explore.
Whistlers is named after the Hoary Marmots that scurry about the mountain and are known for making a whistling call.
The Whistlers Summit Trail Beyond The Tramway Is Well Worth The Effort
The views from the top of the tramway area are fantastic, but for a bit more effort you can get wowed even more. If you’re up to the challenge the hike to the summit of Whistlers Mountain will take between 30 to 45 minutes in good weather. It does get a bit steep. There are some rocky sections, but for the most part it has good footing. The average fit person can accomplish it. Take your time and stop for rests often. You may find the thinner air and elevation makes it a lot more effort.
Wear sturdy shoes, it’s not a trail to take on in sandals. It can be rather cold up there even in the summer. Bring water no matter what time of year. The air is very dry, you’ll need it. In spring and in the fall there can be some snow. You should check with the tram staff to see how much there is and if the trail is accessible without any special gear.
You can see the top of the tram station getting further and further away in the distance as you hike to the summit of Whistlers Mountain.
At the top of the mountain you are finally rewarded with a spectacular panorama. There are rocky areas where marmots often hang out. A cement stand with a sundial has markings that point to the different mountains in the 360 degree view that surrounds you.