Jasper National Park On a Budget
How many times has a small town taken your breath away? Get ready to be awe-struck in Jasper, Canada. Located within the Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada, this tiny town is nestled comfortably in the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains.
With a sleepy life and dramatic mountain scenery, Jasper certainly provides visitors with a more serene experience than neighboring city, Banff.
When traveling to Jasper, remember it is within the national park and therefore requires a for entering the land. Jasper can be reached by road or train , and connections can be made from Edmonton, Banff or Vancouver.
There's no perfect time to visit Jasper. It depends on what you're looking for. Visit in the winter if you're excited for sparkling snow, dog-sledding, ice fishing, skiing and snowboarding. If you'd rather see that snow melted into glistening blue pools that are more easily accessed by foot, you'll want to stay in the summer.
SightsJasper National Park is home to some of the most naturally stunning scenes in the world. Along with its sister park, Banff National Park, Jasper has become an iconic jewel of Canada. Aside from the tons of activities on offer and a choice of hotels to make your head spin, it is called home by such wonders as Maligne Lake and the Miette Hot Springs.
Medicine Lake is a place that has always captured the imagination of visitors. Because of its very unusual drainage system, the water level varies from season to season. Ancient Indians once thought that the lake was inhabited by spirits because sometimes the whole lake would disappear. As a result of this drainage system, the color of the lake is nothing short of stunning.
Maligne Lake is located in the magical Maligne Valley. It is the second largest glacier-fed lake in the world. There is a list of activities to do including fishing, horseback riding and hiking. Arguably the highlight of Maligne Lake is the natural beauty of Spirit Island, a one and half hour boat ride away.
Maligne Canyon is a great place to witness the brute power of Maligne River. An interpretive trail brings you across six bridges where you can practically drink the spray from the river. During winter there is the chance to try a guided canyon tour.
The Miette Hotsprings are the hottest in the Canadian Rockies, actually cooled to 39 degree Celsius (102 degrees Fahrenheit). Open from May to mid-October, it has two hot pools. One shallow pool with a lounging area and a deeper hot pool. Nearby there are hiking trails, picnic tables and great accommodations. Overall, it is simply the definition of relaxation.
See the Columbia Icefield. Although this is more of a drive away than some of Jaspers other popular attractions (105km/63miles), the drive alone is actually one of the highlights. Located astride the Continental Divide of North America, it feeds no less than 8 major glaciers. There is the option of taking a 90 minute ice age adventure which takes you out onto the most stunning of the glaciers the Athabasca Glacier. You can also go on a guided glacier walk where you can learn about the history and geography of the Columbia Icefield.
Why not see the entire town of Jasper at once? The Tram Way picks you up at the base of the mountain near the town and takes you to the peak. This ride is the longest and highest guided aerial tramway in all of Canada, and provides the most marvelous views of the six mountain ranges, glacial lakes, the Athabasca River and the entire town of Jasper.
The Alberta mountain town of Jasper sits in the heart of Jasper National Park, the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies. It is an easy-going town with its own brewing company, the yellowhead museum, a planetarium, and plenty of great restaurants, coffee shops, and boutiques to explore. Other than the downtown area, there is the national forest which has limitless opportunities for exploration, adventure, and spectacular scenery.
ActivitiesRecreational opportunities abound in Jasper National Park, a vast and beautiful wilderness with more than 10,900 square kilometers of space perfect for hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, wildlife watching, rafting and canoeing.
Go Horseback Riding in on one of the lakes in the Canadian Rockies at the Jasper National Park. Explore and enjoy the views on horseback. It is an exciting and exhilarating experience you wont soon forget!
Try something different and go Dogsledding in the Canadian Rockies. Allow the adrenaline to take over as you race through the snowy planes in Kananaskis Country. The trained, happy dogs will take you on a personal tour of the Canadian Rockies backcountry for an exciting adventure.
Take the Jasper Skytramfor a spectacular birds' eye view. Touted as the longest and highest aerial tramway in the Canadian Rockies, you will view a procession of snowcapped mountain ranges as far as the eye can see. For the 7 minute journey to the top of Whistler's mountain youll get great views of the surrounding area. Take in the breathtaking views from the visitors center or hike to the summit. Take your time enjoying the view and return when you are ready.
Go Whitewater Rafting. Jasper is well known for every level of rafting you can imagine. From family friendly scenic floats to adrenaline pumping river adventures, there is something for everyone.
Another unique option is to pack a picnic and have your lunch among the smooth results of years of erosion. The Athabasca River flows through a narrow gorge creating smoothed walls and potholes from the sheer force of the water. Follow the paved trail to an unforgettable lunch location.
If you're the type who just wants to hit the open road, then you should rent a car and head South on the Columbia Icefield Highway. Ride along toward the neighboring city of Banff and stop at all the attractions along the way like frozen waterfalls and massive glaciers. If it's not too cold, turn that car ride into a motorcycle excursion. Jasper Motorcycle Tours offers scenic views of the city with the style and speed of a Harley Davidson.
Let's not forget Jasper's most popular attraction hiking. With over 100-kilometers of hiking trails, this area is a dream for those who love to climb and explore like the real pioneers. While some trails may be short, they can be very steep. If you're not in the greatest shape, consider letting the pups do the work. The city offers dogsledding tours as a great winter activity.
Food and DiningMany of the hotels and restaurants in Jasper will offer dining that you might expect in a small town. Just ask the locals for the best dining deals in town. Most food will be typical North American food, but be sure to try local game dishes where you can find them.
For a small mountain town, Jasper offers a surprising variety and number of restaurants for the visitor. Whatever your taste, you are certain the find the appropriate restaurant to suit your palate as Jasper features everything from gourmet and fine dining to casual and fast food. There are a variety of Ethnic restaurants to choose from. These include Cassios Italian Restaurant in the Whistlers Inn which features many authentic Italian dishes. Miss Italia Ristorante is another long time Italian restaurant in Jasper and they take pride in their romantic and warm atmosphere which serves up authentic Italian favorites. Superb Greek dishes and steaks are served at Something Else Restaurant. Korean cuisine is featured at Kimchi House on Patricia Street. Experience the flavors of Asia including many appetizers, soups and entrees at the Cantonese Restaurant on Connaught Drive. Sayuri Japanese Restaurant is Jasper's only Japanese Restaurant and serves a variety of sushi rolls, house specialties and bento boxes and of special interest is their sushi bar. Dining with fabulous views is also available and there is no better view than the Treeline Restaurant at the Jasper Skytram, atop Whistlers Mountain.
TransportationJasper does not have a public transit system, but taxis and rental cars are available. You can also rent bicycles, but getting around Jasper by foot is pretty simple, too. It's a small enough area that most places are within walking distance and not hard to find. For a quick bus ride to different destinations including Maligne Lake, hop on a guided tour.
Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver have international airports that are serviced by major national and international carriers. Flying to Edmonton or Calgary will bring you closest to Jasper. From these cities, youll then need to drive or take a bus or train. There are shuttles that run from the Calgary and Edmonton airports that can get you to Jasper if you fly in. Jasper does have a train station, so you can also access the area by train. Renting a car or driving your own is also a good (and maybe the best) option. The Jasper National Park is a large area and while there are some shuttles that can help you get around, having a car will give you more freedom to see everything you are interested in.
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