Alberta Travel




Jasper National Park is the largest of the 6 mountain parks. Both the town of Jasper and the park that it is located in were named after a trading post which was established here in the 1800's and managed by a gentleman named Jasper Hawse. This became "Jasper House" which has since been shortened to Jasper.

The town of Jasper is the center of Jasper National Park both geographically and socially. Wildlife abounds in Jasper National Park and it is here you find the Rockies hottest hotsprings, greatest concentrations of life, highest mountains and greatest number of lakes. Visitors come from around the World to experience Jasper!

There is great whitewater rafting, horesback riding, hiking, skiing, sightseeing, dining and shopping all within close proximity.

Those wishing to travel to the Rockies by train from Eastern and Central Canada arrive in Jasper and can continue through the Rockies, past Mount Robson to Vancouver on the Pacific Coast. There is no trans-continental train service to Banff, although the Rocky Mountaineer is a beautiful train journey between Banff and Vancouver, B.C.

Did you know the province of Alberta is rat-free and is the largest "rat-free" area in the World.



One of Earth's Rarest Animals.
In Banff's famous mineral springs you may be lucky enough to see a small snail clinging to algae, sticks, or rocks at the water's surface. Please do not touch these creatures as they are perilously close to extinction.

The Banff Springs Snail
lives nowhere else on Earth. It exists in steamy springs, smelling of Hydrogen Sulfide, rich in minerals and slightly radioactive. No wonder that it is so delicate! Parks Canada is working to save the species by protecting it from its worst enemy, Man.




"Kettles and Kames"

Kettles are bowl shaped holes (indentations) in the earth created by large blocks of ice that fell off glaciers that were abundant in the Canadian Rockies. When the blocks of ice melted they left "Kettle" shaped holes. Some kettles are formed by the gouging actions of glaciers as they moved across the area.

Kames are the opposite of Kettles and were also created by glacial activity. Within the depression of the glaciers, rock and debri would collect. When the glaciers melted, and receded, they left behind the "Kames" that you see today. Walk around the mounds and imagine a glacier a half a mile thick, where you are standing.

Most of Alberta's lakes were formed during the last glaciation, about 12,000 years ago. There are many different types of lakes in Alberta, from glacial (Kettle) lakes in the Canadian Rockies to small shallow lakes in the prairies, and you will even see large clear lakes with sandy beaches and clear water in the central plains. Examples of Kettle lakes are Annette Lake, Edith Lake and Beauvert lake, very near to Jasper.

Patricia Lake and World War II
At the beginning of the war the allies had enormous problems getting supplies safely across the Atlantic Ocean. Someone had the idea of building large flat-topped icebergs with motors attached that could safely sail across the ocean, immune to torpedoes! The idea was tested at lake Patricia and the shack that sat atop the prototype is still visited by scuba divers at the bottom of the lake.

Sightseeing Near to Jasper
Miette Hotsprings -
60 kilometers (50 mintues) on a gently winding road (Highway 16 East to the turnoff and then North) brings you to MIETTE HOTSPRINGS. The hottest springs in the Rockies this is a great place to unwind. Two hotpools and a very cool pool make for relaxation and invoigorating plunges. Closed October through April. 780-866-3939

Athabasca Falls - Not the highest falls in the Rockies but impressive just the same. You hear the thunderous water as you approach ATHABASCA FALLS. Hike the area to examine rock formations that have been carved by the rushing water. 30 kilometers (25 mintues) south of Jasper on Icefields Parkway.

Sunwapta Falls - 55 Kilometers (40 minutes) to the south of Jasper is Sunwapta Falls. Lovely rock outcroppings and the familiar roar of water

Medicine Lake - Also called Bad Medicine Lake for its apparent magical disappearing act every fall.
See Maligne Canyon Walk.   MEDICINE LAKE

Maligne Lake - 50 kilometers (55 minutes) east on Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway towards Edmonton). MALIGNE LAKE is known for its legendary beauty and unspoilt setting. We recommend the relaxing guided boat road to the Narrows and Spirit Island and a visit to the Teahouse. You will never forget the beautiful colors of the water. Your guide will point out the two mountains that tower to the south at over 10,000 feet, know as the "Sweater Girl". Take the easy stroll east and south and watch for moose, elk and deer along the way.

Maligne Canyon - 50 kilometers (55 minutes) east on Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway towards Edmonton). The Maligne River flows in and then disappears!
1 Kilometer Hike. Take the easy and shorter canyon loop and see steep canyons where the wals are eroding 1 inch every 5 years, a dramatic waterfall and the teahouse. Examine the rock here and see fossilized remains of Sea Creatures. This terrain was once very much underwater!
3 Kilometer Hike. Visit the upper and lower canyon and see the waterfalls, teahouse area, six bridges, ever-deepening canyon and the flow point of an underground river from Medicine Lake. Medicine Lake (called bad medicine by early natives) can actually disappear entirely into the underground caverns and cave networks that drain the lake. Be sure to note how the stream at the beginning of the canyon becomes a river by the end of the walk. It is fed by spring water from underneath!!

Mount Edith Cavell - Angel Glacier - 30 kilometers and 25 minutes south of Jasper is a great easy hike. Cavell road from the highway climbs steeply up 15 kilometers (9 miles) to a terrific viewpoint. Interestingly the rubble and debris you see near the parking lot was caused by the glacier which has retreated over the last 400 hundred years. The mountain is name after an English "Lady" who aided scores of first World War soldiers. She was captured and later executed. The "Path of the Angel Glacier trail" is an easy walk that will deliver you to Angel Glacier and its aqua colored glacial lake. For those seeking a longer hike consider the Glacier and Cavell Meadows Loop. This 9 kilometer (5 mile) hike is moderate to strenuous. On warm afternoons the lucky will hear or see giant shards of ice cracking and breaking from Angel Glacier across the valley.  Visit in the summer months.

The Whistlers - See Jasper Tram

Goats and Glaciers of the Icefields Parkway -38 kilometers (40 minutes) from Jasper on the Icefields Parkway (south of Athabasca Falls) is a spot where mountain goats gather because of the mineral rich soil. Good place for photographs. Use the parking lot as it is not safe to stop on the road.

Jasper Park Lodge - This is a FABULOUS DELUXE ALPINE LODGE isset between two Rockies lakes. It is a site worth visiting even if you cannot stay overnight. Princess Margaret and King Edward have graced the lodge with their presence. Located 7 kilometers east of Jasper townsite on Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway). The lodge sits on Lac Beauvert with fine views of Mount Edith Cavell in the distance. Have a drink in the Emerald Lounge, or sit by huge fireplaces. Open year round.

Jasper Cemetery - Learn about the history of the region and the "stories behind the stones". Early headstones tell of unfortunate meetings with Grizzly Bears. Very imformative and easy visit. The cemetery is just east of town on Highway 16 (north side of the highway)

Valley of the Lakes (not to be confused with Valley of the Five Lakes)
Lakes Edith and Annette - Very easy to find and nice easy walks. Beautiful blue-green spring fed lakes are a joy to see and close to Jasper Park Lodge. Lake Annette features a fully accessible interpretive trail, 1 hour in length. A walk around Lake Edith will afford views of some of the fine homes of those lucky enough to live here.
Lakes Beauvert, Mildred and Trefoil - Jasper Park Lodge is built on Lac Beauvert and quite close to Mildred Lake. Easy walks on Lac Beauvert (trail 4A) will take you through cool forests, around the green lake (Beauvert in French is beautiful green) across a wooden bridge and past the Rocky Mountains best golf course. The Whistlers and Mount Edith Cavell can be seen from several vantage points.
You may see scuba divers in the Five Lakes who come from the prairies to train in the relatively warm and clear mountain lakes. Lake Edith is known to be the warmest.

Jasper Tram (& Whistlers Summit 8,100') - A 5 minute drive south of Jasper and then a switchback road (Whistlers Mountain Road) to the base terminal will bring you to one of the favorite sites of the Rocky Mountains the JASPER TRAM.  Ride the cable cars up or the adventurous (and conditioned) can hike the 7 kilometer, 1200m elevation gain to the upper terminal. The large coffee house here is the perfect place to breathe in the great views while sipping a coffee or having lunch. The views of the town below, Mount Robson (3953M - 12,966 feet), and several mountain ranges will take your breath away. The air is cool and thin up here and the alpine (alpine means "high mountains" and this is the case here) climatic zone is a fascinating visit. From the visitor center you can choose to hike further to the summit of the Whistlers. Watch for small flowers (pincushions, cinquefoils, dryas and others) and marmots and squirrels along the path. The climb is fairly steep and you will want to sign the log book. Spend some time admiring the views of 45 lakes in the region and be glad you brought extra film. Open March through October. 780-852-3093

Patricia and Pyramid Lakes - Easy 10 minute drive above (uphill) Jasper townsite. Enjoy the two delightful lakes on the "Pyramid Bench". 5 kilometer trail loops along Cottonwood sloughs and a small creek before swinging back around. Allow 1.5 hours. Moose, elk, waterfowl (including loons) and beavers are often seen. Birdwatchers can be on the lookout for hummingbords, warblers, yellowthroats and thrushers. From the shores of Patricia Lake admire the colors of red quartzed sandstone in Pyramid Mountain (9,000 ft). Visit the island on Pyramid Lake and stay in the popular lodges across the road from the lake.

"SECRET PLACES" Little known gems of paradise
Stanley's Eight Waterfalls - 88 Kilometers (1 hour drive) south of Jasper is an astounding place. Watch on the east (left) side of the highway for two large culverts and a man-made dike for the roadside pulloff.  The little secret of a trail will lead you past 8 magnificent little falls all within a "country mile". The rushing waters of Beauty Creek have carved the rugged terrain and left us with a series of waterfalls each seemingly taller and more beautiful than the last. STANLEY FALLS

If you wish to see another little known treasure then visit
Horseshoe Lake - Driving south from Jasper on the Icefields Parkway it is easy to miss my personal favorite in the Rockies. HORSESHOE LAKE gets its name from its' shape, a big "U" shape. Steep multicolored cliffs circle the lake and create a little world of splendid isolation. The local high school kids from Jasper are known to visit the lake and jump from the cliffs into the cool water. Come in the spring and you may see them tossing small boulders onto the thin layer of ice to create a diving hole. Those crazy Canucks! When you arrive look for the babbling brook that flows south from the lake and disappears into a tangle of fallen wood. Drive 28 kilometers south of Jasper and watch carefully for the sign on the left (east) side of the highway. The short walk on level ground from the highway is suitable for all ages but the lake area is a little uneven.


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