Jasper National Park is a special gem in the Canadian Rockies. Here, you will find vast mountain ranges and several bright turquoise lakes to explore. Jasper is a wonderful destination to visit all year. It offers beautiful hiking trails with bright meadows filled with wild flowers in the summer months and a winter wonderland filled with frozen lakes and waterfalls in the winter.
DAY 1: Getting to Jasper is half the fun!
First on the list is to stop off at Peyto Lake. This lake is one of the most famous lakes in Banff National Park. It’s a stunning turquoise blue glacier-fed lake north of Lake Louise. The viewpoint is one of the most spectacular in all of Banff National Park and a super popular spot for photographers.
Next, continue onward and turn in at Sunwapta Falls. Sunwapta Falls is a pair of breathtakingly beautiful waterfalls along the Icefields Parkway and a must-see attraction in Jasper National Park. Each waterfall is viewed from a separate location. The Upper Sunwapta Falls is the most attractive tier and easiest to visit, since it’s only a few metres from the parking lot.
Lastly, pull over at the Athabasca Glacier as you near Jasper. The Athabasca Glacier is just one of the enormous glaciers that make up the Columbia Icefield. This glacier is the easiest to get to and the one you can see from the road! It’s fascinating to feel how cold and windy it gets here, even in the peak summer heat of July and August.
DAY 2 – Explore the town of Jasper and ride the Jasper SkyTram
Start your day by riding the Jasper SkyTram up Whistlers Mountain to explore one of Jasper’s most accessible alpine environments. The Jasper SkyTram is the longest and highest guided aerial tramway in Canada. It climbs 2,263 metres in less than 10 minutes and gives you a brand new perspective of Jasper National Park. The panoramic views from the top are astonishing. It’s a sight that can’t be missed during your weekend in Jasper.
Note: Depending on weather conditions, the SkyTram usually operates from May until October.
Town of Jasper
The rustic town of Jasper is settled in the heart of the national park and is surrounded by soaring mountains. It’s less commercial than its neighbour Banff and you feel like more of a local than a tourist as you walk around the town. Take some time on your first day to stroll around the quaint streets and browse the shops.
Day 3: Discover Maligne Lake, Spirit Island, and Maligne Canyon
Maligne Lake is a stunning glacial lake in Jasper that is just a 45-minute drive from the town of Jasper along the stunning Maligne Lake Rd. It is one of the most serene lakes in all of the Canadian Rockies and prized for astounding natural splendor. It’s the largest natural lake in the Canadian Rockies
Spirit Island is a small island that sits along the lakeshore of Maligne Lake. It is prized for the spectacular landscape and is arguably one of the most photographed places in the Canadian Rockies. The island is surrounded by emerald blue glacier waters and sits in the heart of a box canyon (a narrow canyon with a flat bottom and vertical walls). Most interesting enough is the vast majority of the year it is not an island as it is connected to the lakeshore.
Maligne Canyon is a beautiful scenic limestone canyon with waterfalls and walking trails. It is the deepest canyon in Jasper National Park, with a depth of more than 50 metres at certain points. Hikers of all abilities can explore this incredible natural landmark by crossing six bridges built across various points of the canyon.
DAY 4 – Drive back
After a fun adventure filled 3 days, it is time to sit back and relax. Watch out the window as you drive back and become mesmerized by the immeasurable beauty Alberta has to offer.
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