Jasper--One Full Day

Old Jul 6th, 2005, 08:04 PM
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Jasper--One Full Day

We'll be in Jasper two nights, and will have already seen the Icefields on the way up. What should we plan to see and do on our one full day there? We are a family of two adults, and two kids (9 and 14). We like to ride bikes, hike (not too strenuous), etc.
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Old Jul 6th, 2005, 08:23 PM
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Unless you've seen all the elk you ever want to see, I'd recommend exploring the eastern edge of Jasper out to about 20 miles on the Yellowhead Hwy. There are several herds and the three times I've been there, one or more of them (herds) have always been grazing along that road. They are usually within 0-3 miles of town but the reason I recommend going out to about 20 miles is the chance of seeing huge bull elk with towering sets of antlers that are often more solitary and further from town.

Another neat drive cuts south off the Yellowhead a couple miles east of Jasper and goes into the mountains to Maligne (I hope I spelled it correctly)Lake. Winter or summer, I've never been on that road when I did not see elk, deer, and Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, often quite close to the road. On my last trip, last year, I also saw what I believe was a single wolf. In addition, the terrain is among the most visually stunning in the world.

It's one of my two or three favorite places to visit. Have a wonderful trip.
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Old Jul 6th, 2005, 08:35 PM
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On Maligne Road, not far out of Jasper townsite, you can walk in Maligne Canyon. I really like it. To my taste it's even more attractive and more impressive than Johnston Canyon near Banff. If you park at the 5th Bridge instead of the main parking lot, you'll miss most of the crowds and have a more peaceful walk in the canyon. The beauty of walking in the canyon is that you can do it for a few minutes, all day, or somewhere in between. Thus, you can work it into a day that includes the other activities that dwooddon mentioned.

Two other good things to do in the Jasper area are the tram ride up Whistlers Mountain (best done in the morning when the sun is behind you in the east and you get a good view of Mount Robson to the west). You can do a bit of a hike up at the top if you like. Only worthwhile if the weather is clear.

Another favourite activity of mine is a visit to Angel Glacier at Mount Edith Cavell. The Angel Glacier / Cavell Meadows hike is gorgeous, but the full circuit takes half a day. Yet the scenery is attractive all the way, so it's rewarding even if you just do part of the hike. Another thing about this activity is that the views of the Astoria River Valley that you see on the way to Mount Edith Cavell are beautiful, and it's worth doing the drive for that reason alone.

But you can't fit all these activities into a day. I would suggest you do

Whistlers Mountain + Maligne Canyon + Maligne Road + Yellowhead Hwy for 20 miles

OR

Mount Edith Cavell + Maligne Canyon + Yellowhead Hwy for 20 miles

Another thing you can do, if time permits on the day that you drive the Icefields Parkway to Jasper, is that you can work Mount Edith Cavell into that drive. Once you've seen Athabasca Falls, do not continue to Jasper on Hwy #93. Take the left fork onto Hwy #93A instead. It is from Hwy #93A that Cavell Road turns off. After you've been to Mount Edith Cavell, return to Hwy #93A, and proceed the rest of the way to Jasper.

If you've ticked Mount Edith Cavell off your list, and if you have a clear morning in Jasper, you then have the option of taking the tram up Whistlers if that appeals to you.
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Old Jul 6th, 2005, 08:49 PM
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I only did one thing around Jasper during my recent visit. [Trip report in progress.] And I absolutely loved it. That's driving and hiking up the Mt. Edith Cavell glacier, as recommended by Judy in her post.

The drive is about 15km from the highway 93A. Narrow switch-back road. Took me about 20 minutes each way, trying to maintain the 50km/h speed limit with my rallying skills. [Some drivers were doing 20km/h or less, and you could be stuck behind one or more for the whole way up; and some people drive even slower going down.]

From the parking lot, there's a 2km hiking loop to the icy lake at the bottom of the glaciers and back. Takes about an hour with some photo-taking. Another longer (and higher) trail goes up the meadow, but wasn't open 3 days ago, yet.

Absolutely fabulous.
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Old Jul 6th, 2005, 09:36 PM
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If you haven't seen Athabasca Falls on your way up the icefield Parkway, it's a short drive south of Jasper town (32 km = 14.2 miles).

You can also drive to Pyramid Lake (just north of the town), rent a canoe and paddle the lakeshore.

You can do some whitewater rafting on the Athabasca River (this is fun but you do get wet, and I think your 9 and 14 year olds will love it, especially if they are boys). Check out these website:
http://www.jasperrafttours.com/
http://www.explorejasper.com/recreation/rafting.htm

If it is raining, or if your 9 and 14 yr olds are girls, they may enjoy browsing in the shops on Jasper's main streets, and at Jasper Park Lodge.

Jasper Park Lodge (JPL) is an interesting and tranquil place to visit. It's just south of Jasper town across the Yellowhead highway. Other than the usual Fairmont hotel type shops at JPL, there is a Christmas shop that has Rocky Mountain type Christmas ornaments and some really cute wood-carved bears, there are also several dining rooms, a lounge, a coffee shop, a pathway around Lake Beauvert that most people would have no trouble strolling, and a golf course.

There are hot springs at Miette - it's a bit of a drive east of Jasper town (61 km = about 38 miles).

You can hike the Old Fort Point loop (it's just on the edge of town, and you get to see the "hanging valley" of Jasper from a nice viewpoint).

Don't forget to visit the Parks information centre on the main street (Connaught) in Jasper - they have lots of information and tips for enjoying your stay in the national parks.

Have fun!!
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Old Jul 7th, 2005, 05:40 AM
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Thank you, everyone! Just the kind of advice I was looking for!
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Old Jul 7th, 2005, 10:40 AM
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We really enjoyed the drive up Mt. Edith Cavell and the hike to Angel Glacier. There is a nice picnic area near the parking lot where you can have lunch after your hike. We went early in the day and avoided the crowds.

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Old Jul 7th, 2005, 11:20 AM
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Whistler, Angel Glacier, and the canyon.
All winners.
The falls are fine, too. If you did not see them coming into Jasper, they are worth the effort to return and see them.

Mt. Robson offers a tremendous view on a clear day.
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Old Jul 8th, 2005, 09:37 AM
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We also stayed in the Jasper area for two nights. On the arrival night, we took the tram up the mountain. I was disappointed with that trip as the tram itself was so crowded that you couldn't see out. They packed 28 people on it standing up.

Then we took a historical walking tour of the downtown of Jasper. I enjoyed that - my DH and 14 year old son opted not to do it. (meets in front of the visitor center, $2 Canadian, takes about an hour - look for flyers around town or ask in the visitors center)

On our full day, we drove out to Maligne Lake in the morning and took the boat trip. The lake was beautiful - and you couldn't see the prettiest part from the parking area. I thought it was worth the boat trip. The color was what was so outstanding.

In the afternoon, we did white water rafting. We had never done it before. For the choice we picked, level 2, you only had to be at least 5 years old. It was fun and had lively spots but was not scary if you are a little worried about it like I was. For the next level, level 3, I think you had to weigh at least 100 and your 9 year old might not be that heavy.

I signed up for the whitewater trip on the Internet before we went. I knew that if we just waited until we got there, we'd end up not doing it.

Note - there was a combination ticket for the Tramway and rafting. That rafting though was big rafts where you just had to wear a disposable raincoat like they give you at Niagara Falls (it appeared). For our whitewater rafting, they gave us wetsuits - it was the real deal - albeit a fairly tame version of it.

We had more time after the rafting and could have down a hike to Maligne Canyon (hadn't had time between the boat trip and the rafting) or something similar. However my family preferred to just eat and then go back to the hotel.

You could also take that historical walk in the evening of your full day.
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