Many visitors to Canada come in search of lush forests, majestic mountain peaks and aquamarine, glacial fed waters, their desire to experience wildlife and nature ignited and fuelled by the images produced and promoted by the tourism industry.
Jasper and it’s little sister Banff, the face of the Canadian Rockies, are ground zero and host to the flood of tourists from near and afar. With so many attractions it’s no wonder they are among the most visited and photographed national parks in all of Canada.
The epitome of this famous mountain range, Jasper has everything you are in search of when you head to western Canada. Alpine lakes and meadows, rugged, frontier wilderness and evidence throughout of an ancient power that created them. Read all about Jasper National Park here at Parks Canada.
To attempt to promote the many sites to be seen, adventures to be thrilled and wilderness to explore in one post would be insufficient at best. So I thought it only fitting to highlight “points of interest”, in separate posts about the park in order to adequately represent this national treasure. This would allow me to tell the history, endorse it’s beauty, and suggest activities for the avid outdoorsman or adventure seeker – not to mention the multiple trip excuses to Jasper I could squeeze out of it (like I need excuses?).
So in a feeble attempt to do Jasper any justice, here are two of many “points of interest” for your next visit to the park.
Located on the Columbia Icefields Parkway (south on highway 93 from Jasper townsite), Mount Athabasca and at its feet Athabasca Glacier sit between the boundary of where Jasper meets Banff.
The Columbia Icefield Interpretive Centre is the hub of attractions, cafe and sit-down restaurant. From this location you can take a ride on the giant glacier exploration purposed vehicle rightly named Ice Explorer, up and out onto the Athabasca glacier where you can get some up close pictures and take a walk on ancient ice.
Or if it fits your fancy, take a bus to the Glacier Skywalk, described as an interpretive storytelling attraction with a glass-floored observation bridge, some 280 metres (918 feet) above glacier carved valleys.
If your hard earned cash is burning a whole in your pocket then do both tours before grabbing a bite at the cafe.
For those who would like a cheaper experience, you can walk up to the glacier or hike the many trails in and around the area. Grab a map at the visitor centre or at the park’s entrance posts in Banff or Jasper.
Located on the Athabasca River south of the Jasper townsite, this waterfall is a popular Jasper attraction. Expect sardine packed crowds during the summer months right up until the long weekend in September. Come early or late in the day if visiting during July and August and if possible plan your trip in Autumn, crowds will have died down and the Larch trees will have changed to a brilliant yellow.
At 23m high and 18m wide, this waterfall is beautiful, fast and at times deadly. The water is cool and deep and many person has underestimated the slipperiness of the rocks or the speed of the rapids. Be safe and stay within the marked trails, lookouts and bridges.
How To Get To Jasper
From Edmonton, AB – west on highway 16
From Red Deer, AB – north on highway 2, then west on highway 11
From Calgary, AB – west on highway 1, then north on highway 93
From Valmount, BC – north on highway 5, then east on highway 16
From Golden, BC – west on highway 1, north on highway 93
Stay tuned for more “point of interest” updates – when I get to endorse Jasper and push for one more trip to this fabulous park!
~ True North Nomad
Have you been to either “point of interest” in Jasper? What did you think of them?
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