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The Ultimate Guide to Japser National Park

8 March 2024

Nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, Jasper National Park is a treasure trove of natural wonders, offering an unparalleled blend of awe-inspiring landscapes and thrilling outdoor activities. As a travel writer who has explored the corners of the globe, I found Jasper to be a destination that stands out for its majestic beauty and the diversity of experiences it offers. Here's your ultimate guide to the top things to do in Jasper National Park, a sanctuary where adventure meets serenity.

1. Explore the Icefields Parkway

Dubbed one of the most scenic drives in the world, the Icefields Parkway is a journey through the heart of the Rockies, connecting Jasper to Banff. This 230-kilometre stretch of road is lined with more than 100 ancient glaciers, cascading waterfalls, and pristine mountain lakes. Stop at the Columbia Icefield to walk on the Athabasca Glacier or take the Glacier Skywalk for breathtaking views of the Sunwapta Valley.

2. Take a Cruise on Maligne Lake

Maligne Lake, renowned for its crystal-clear waters and the picturesque Spirit Island, is a must-visit. A cruise on this glacial lake offers not only spectacular views of the surrounding mountains but also an opportunity to learn about the area's rich history and wildlife. For the more adventurous, kayaking or canoeing provides an intimate experience with the lake's tranquil beauty.

3. Hike the Trails

Jasper's landscape is crisscrossed with trails that cater to all levels of hikers. From the easy, family-friendly walks around Maligne Canyon to the challenging Skyline Trail, there's something for everyone. The Valley of the Five Lakes hike is particularly popular for its stunning views of five distinctly coloured lakes, each a mirror of the surrounding forest and sky.

4. Witness Wildlife in Their Natural Habitat

Jasper National Park is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. The park's diverse ecosystem is home to grizzly bears, elk, moose, and many other species. Early morning or late evening drives along the park's roads offer the best chances to spot these magnificent creatures in their natural surroundings. Always remember to keep a safe distance and respect the wildlife.

5. Stargaze at Jasper Dark Sky Preserve

Jasper is not only about its daytime beauty; it's also the world's second-largest Dark Sky Preserve. The minimal light pollution allows for extraordinary stargazing opportunities. Visit during the Jasper Dark Sky Festival in October, or simply lay back and gaze at the stars any clear night to witness the Milky Way in all its glory.

6. Relax in the Miette Hot Springs

After days filled with adventure, unwind at the Miette Hot Springs, the hottest mineral springs in the Canadian Rockies. Soaking in the therapeutic waters while surrounded by mountain vistas is the perfect way to relax and rejuvenate.

7. Discover Jasper's Culinary Scene

Jasper may be known for its natural wonders, but its culinary scene is not to be overlooked. From cozy cafes to upscale dining, the town offers a variety of options to satisfy your appetite. Be sure to try local specialties like Alberta beef and game meat, paired with a craft beer from a local brewery.

Jasper National Park is a destination that encapsulates the essence of adventure, natural beauty, and tranquility. Whether you're seeking adrenaline-filled activities, serene landscapes, or a glimpse into the wildlife's realm, Jasper offers an experience that is both enriching and unforgettable. Pack your bags, set your sights on the Canadian Rockies, and prepare for an adventure that will leave you yearning for more.