Following on from my Banff Travel Guide I released last week, I am going to jump right to it!
To get to Jasper from Banff you need to drive on Icefield Parkway. Icefield Parkway is 268km long and the drive is through the Rockies. Personally, I feel like you could spend all day on the Parkway alone as there are multiple sights and stops worth taking a peek at. Had I know this was the case, I would have organized my time a little better.
Halfway between Banff & Jasper you will find the Glacier Skywalk. Honestly, I’d say you could give this a miss. For the amount of money you pay to get in there, it is not worth it and a little disappointing. If you do however decide to do this, again I’d schedule to do it on the day you are traveling between Banff and Jasper as its smack in the middle of the parkway and otherwise you’ll have to drive around 125km from wherever you are to get there which is a waste of your time.
We didn’t know that however Jasper Town and part of the Icefield Parkway is in Jasper National Park; therefore you have to pay for tickets to the park for the number of nights you will be staying in Jasper, regardless if you physically go and see the ‘park area’ itself only for 1 day.
Where to stay in Jasper? There are various lodges and motels which are affordable in Jasper. Jasper is extremely small and to be honest I didn’t see any luxurious hotels. We stayed in Marmot Lodge in Jasper. It was 10 minute walk to the main street in Jasper and just off the highway. From the outside it didn’t look much but the rooms were renovated and they had a pool. Also, as it was located slightly outside of the village the elks and deer were always around in the morning & evening eating grass. In my travel book Alpine Village was recommended as one of the top places to stay while in Jasper. Unfortunately they were fully booked one of the nights we wanted to stay and we were heartbroken. When we got to Jasper I immediately knew why they were voted one of the best places to stay. It was right next to the Athabasca River, the place was immaculate, super cute, well maintained and consisted of beautiful wooden lodges. Next time!
Food in Jasper was much nicer than what we had in Banff. One of the places we ate in Jasper which I remember was L & W Restaurant. Located at the end of town, it is a family run restaurant, primarily Greek however plenty of European Food was served there. The portions were plentiful and the cooking was homemade.
3. Things to do in Jasper
Just like in Banff, the village of Jasper itself doesn’t have much. There’s a small village square with a museum and there’s a huge old school train display at the train station. There is a Jasper Skytram, again we missed that as we never booked it in advance but I can only imagine the view is unreal. The Athabasca river is going right through Jasper and they offer river cruises on the pontoons and it looks like fun (again we left it so late we couldn’t go ahead with it). The animals roam wild on the roads in the mornings and evenings, so that was our big attraction while we were there. You must be very careful when driving around there as the animals cross the road at anytime. Old Fort Point is a view spot where Jasper is at your feet. Its not difficult and only takes approximately 20 minutes to get to the top. There are also additional trails around if you’d like to spend more time outdoors.
Additionally you have the whole of Jasper National Park to discover. Some key sights are:
- Medicine Lake, looks very much abandoned as the trees around have been burnt in the fire back few years ago however it is much nicer than horseshoe lake which is a total waste of time.
- Annette Lake is a 100% must. This is where you have the best view of the water, Rockies and sky all blending into one. Its definitely my favorite sight from Jasper to date.
- Athabasca Falls & Sunwapta Falls – another 100% must see spots. Both waterfalls, but entirely different from one another and breathtaking.
- Maligne Canyon is a stunning piece of rock formation
- 5th bridge is also an area where you can watch the Athabasca river pass by and relax
Outside of that if you are looking for a recreational area for travel with children or just to relax like we did definitely go to Pyramid Lake. It’s at the top of the town, and its the only lake that still has a little beach where you can lay out and relax.