Jasper JimRead feature articles of his experiences, reviews and exploits in the Jasper National Park.

Experience the Jasper Tramway

BANFF, ALBERTA — Riding the Jasper Tram is an ultimate experience for anyone visiting Jasper National Park and the Canadian Rockies.

The tramway climbs 3,000 feet to its drop off where visitors then walk up the summit of Whistlers Mountain for one of the most astounding views offered. It’s aerial views and high-suspended perspective present the type of breathless landscape the Canadian wilderness is famous for.

While riding the tramway, listen as the local guide explains the history of the tramway and FIY facts about Jasper National Park. It’s a tight but cozy squeeze, as 10 to 15 others marvel at the incredible views together.

The hike begins at the tramway drop off. After pausing on the decks to prepare yourself, commit to the steep mountainside. The hike itself is quite simple, with plateaus available to pause and absorb the view.

Once you reach the summit, take it all in. It’s an awe-striking view that demands attention. Time to sit down and reflect on nature’s beauty and just how inspiring the Canadian Rockies can be.

When finished, carefully walk down and enjoy the wrap up story when riding back down on the tramway. The combination of the Jasper Tramway Experience and the short hike offers a panoramic view unlike and other in the Canadian Rockies.

Relax at Miette Hot Springs

JASPER, ALBERTA –The hot springs in Miette is one of the top places to visit at Jasper National Park. Experience the calming effects of mineral springs against a backdrop of breath-taking scenery, and soak in the overall amazing atmosphere.

Miette Hot Springs are amongst the top choices for springs in the country and Canadian Rockies. And since the facilities received a makeover in 2007, the reputation has only sparkled with more satisfaction.

The location of the springs itself is about 35 miles from the town of Jasper, and about an hour’s drive. Parking is not a problem, and the drive is ideal for photo opportunities and wildlife spotting.

Upon arrival you might see hikers gearing up for a journey through the wilderness, only to reward themselves with a nice dip in the Miette Hot Springs when finished. Inside the building are towel rentals, which are great if you don’t want to roam around our next destination with a heavy and wet extra.

Arm yourself with a bathing suit and a pair of shoes you don’t mind getting wet like sandals. However, normal street shoes must be left behind, it keeps the pool area clean and germ-free.

Dressing rooms are divided by male and female, and each locker room offers coin-operated lockers to store your belongings in. Be sure to have some extra change on hand, as the locals only accept Canadian dollar coins.

Once you’re showered off, enter the pool area and take your choice from two hot pools and one cold pool. If the weather is warm, lounge around in one of the many sun bathing chairs near the pools.

Water in the hot pools is controlled and sits comfortable at around 104 degree Fahrenheit. The cool pool takes its water from the Fiddle River, and is a relaxing 45 degree Fahrenheit. Both pools hold minerals that naturally nourish the skin. The noticeable smell, resembling a bottle of mineral water, comes from the underground source.

The usual Miette Hot Springs method is trying out both hot and cold pools, depending on the season. Dip and soak which ever way you see fit, the overall experience is what vacationers will always remember.

Banff Sightseeing!

The Best Scenic Drives In Jasper

JASPER, ALBERTA — Planning on a scenic drive through Banff? Arriving to Jasper National Park by car? Here are the top scenic drives to cruise with the family.

Icefield Parkway. The Icefield Parkway offers some of the most breath taking and scenic views in the park. The road is easygoing and enjoyable, while the winding turns are as exciting as the wildlife and mountainous backdrop along the road.

Highway 16. Also known as the Yellowhead Highway, this is the main east-west road traversing through Alberta. It’s an easy cruise, and offers an inside look at the thriving towns of Spruce Grove, Edmonton, Elk Island National Park and Hinton to name a few.

Pyramid Lake Road. Enjoy the winding road that leads to Patricia and Pyramid lakes. Once there, take a stab at some popular activities like fishing, picnicking, boating and hiking.

Maligne Lake Road. This drive just south of Jasper is a premiere pick for those in search of wildlife and beautiful photographs. Don’t be surprised if you come across hikers and horseback riders, bears and deer.

Columbia Icefield Snocoach. Leave the driving to the professionals and hop on a coach. Buses are comfortable, relaxing, and will easily shuttle you to amazing spots like the Columbia Icefields.

Banff Bike Rentals!

Top Five Must-dos at Jasper

JASPER, ALBERTA –Planning a trip to Jasper National Park? There’s an endless list of what to do in Canada, but here are some hints to help
you cover the bases when you arrive in the Canada Rockies:

1. Take in the misty scenery at Athabasca Falls and Sunwapta Falls waterfalls. This is a perfect Jasper activity throughout the year. Marvel at Mother Nature’s beautiful artwork on display in fluid and fierce form.

2. Soak it in at Miette Hot Springs. There’s plenty of relaxation to be had at this large and luxurious pool sanctuary. With both hot and cold pools available, in a beautiful mountain setting, what more could a visitor want for vacation?

3. Hop on the Maligne Lake boat and go for a cruise. The boat takes visitors to Spirit Island, as well as offering a beautiful view on the water.

4. Make your way to Jasper Tramway. It’s an essential experience for anyone spending time in Jasper. Soar to the sky and enjoy an eagle eye view of the awe-striking national park.

5. Set off on foot for a day. Hiking is one of the best activities at Jasper National Park. Tie those laces and head out to Mt. Edith Cavell, or try the fun path along the Maligne Canyon.

Jasper Ski Tips: Jasper Hotels

Getting a Jasper hotel for ski season

Ski season is one of the most popular times to visit here, and for this, Jasper hotels tend to get a bit crowded right now. The last thing you want it to make you trip out here, and get stuck driving around looking for a hotel. It may sound silly to folks who plan ahead, but some of us get so caught up in planning which runs we’re going to hit at Marmot Basin, we forget to take care of our other basic needs, like a hotel room.

But hey, if you’re reading this, you’re one step ahead. Step two: get on the phone and call one of the many fine Jasper hotels to make a reservation, before you find yourself shivering in a parking lot somewhere. Here’s a few great Jasper hotels we would recommend.

Whistlers Inn

Whistlers Inn of Jasper, Alberta is centrally located in the heart of the Jasper National Park townsite and within walking distance of all shops, and outdoor activities. This Jasper Inn boasts a cozy Jasper Canadian Rockies alpine atmosphere and features 63 spacious guest rooms for accommodation, many with breathtaking views of the surrounding Canadian Rockies ranges.

Click here!

Mount Robson InnMount Robson Inn

The Mount Robson Inn is a landmark Jasper hotel that with spacious rooms and suites, ski shuttle service, two outdoor whirlpools, and high speed Internet access. The on-site Mount Robson Steakhouse offers both breakfast and dinner menus. Make your getaway perfect by booking your room at one of finest Jasper hotels.

Website: Click Here!

Jasper Inn

Hotels in Jasper

Jasper, Alberta, Canada

Visit this site to find the best variety of accomodation in and around Jasper National Park at the best rates anwhere. Lots of valuable information about the town of Jasper, Alberta and the surrounding area. Also has a section for activites that you can enjoy year round!

Cowboy up at a Canadian Rockies guest ranch

Canadian Rockies guest ranches let you live your cowboy dream

Have lifelong dreams of becoming a cowboy? Canadian Rockies guest ranches offer you the chance to live the life of a cowboy, and the Three Bars Guest Ranch is one of the best.

Come live the cowboy life at a guest ranch.

Come live the cowboy life at a guest ranch.

At Three Bars, they’ve been doing guest ranching for three solid generations by the Beckly family, and two members of the Beckly family are full time professional horse trainers, so you know you’ll be getting some solid horses, and some knowledgeable wranglers to help you out.

If you really want to get into the cowboy vacation, check out their special guest ranch vacation week packages. They even have one where you can go along on a real cattle round up and live the life of the old west cowboys for a week.

Of course, maybe not everyone from your group has the interest in being a cowboy that you do. That’s ok, because Three Bars offers a load of other activities, such as rafting, golfing, mountain biking and hiking to make your vacation complete.

Jasper, when to go and where to go

Jasper, Alberta

By Stephen Nelson
Staff Editor

When to go to Jasper

You can get to Jasper by train, bus or automobile.

Summer activities in Jasper run from the beginning of May till the middle of October, depending on the weather in the Canadian Rockies, El Nino and Global Warming.

How to get there

The half-day train rides run year round, three times a week. Railway journey to B.C. interior is with the VIA Rail Skeena.
Return journey to Jasper with guided tour is by van with Jasper Adventure Centre.

Brewster runs daily buses (in summer) to Jasper from Calgary, Canmore, Banff and Lake Louise.

Greyhound has regular bus service to Jasper from both Vancouver and Edmonton.

Jasper Vacations runs daily shuttle service to Jasper from Edmonton and Edmonton airport.
Email: tours@jaspervacations.com

Getting Around Town
Mr. Taxi

Fryatt Valley, Jasper National Park

Photo supplies, Rocky Mountain guide and history books
Jasper Camera & Gift
412 Connaught Dr.

Where to Eat
Papa George’s (Casual Fine Dining)
404 Connaught Dr.

Palisades Restaurant(Greek/Italian Casual Fine Dining)
401 Patricia St.

Lou Lou’s (Breakfast, Pizza, Poutine)
407 Patricia St.

Soft Rock Cafe (Breakfast, Pizza, Lunch)
632 Connaught Dr.

Smitty’s Family Restaurant
109 Miette Ave.

Spooners Coffee Bar & Eatery (Lunch)

Two-Day Hikes, Jasper National Park

Jasper, Alberta

By Kay Barbaro
Staff Writer

Hands down, Jasper National Park is one of the most beautiful, inspiring places in the world to visit (and live, if you can do it), in large part because of it’s vast, amazing terrain. If you really want to get out and see some of the best terrain in the Canadian Rockies, and experience it the right way, you’ll want to do an overnight trip here. Below, you’ll find a couple two-night trip suggestions. We also have information on three-night trips, and longer trips in Jasper National Park.

Saturday Night Lake Loop

Medicine Lake, well worth the hike.

Medicine Lake, well worth the hike.

This is a great beginners’ trail, partly because it has little elevation gain, partly because it starts and ends in the Jasper townsite. Campsites are at Saturday Night Lake, High Lakes and Minnow Lake. Note: Seasonal fishing in all lakes except Cabin Lake.

Map: Jasper 83D/16.

Distance: 27.5 km.

Elevation gain: 540 m

Maximum elevation: 1700 m.

Jacques Lake

Jacques Lake is a good choice for novice hikers in Jasper National Park. The trailhead is at the south end of beautiful Medicine Lake, 28 km from Jasper townsite. It’s a fairly easy hike. The trail begins with a walk along a fire road for 1.6 km to Beaver Lake. The remaining 10.4 km follow a easy to find trail to the campsite at the far end of Jacques Lake. Note: Camping is not permitted at Beaver Lake. Fishing is not permitted at Jacques Lake.

Map: Medicine Lake 83C/13.

Distance: 12 km one way.

Elevation gain: 90 m.

Maximum elevation: 1555 m.

Geraldine Lakes

Geraldine Lakes is a bit more difficult of a trail, with a quick elevation gain partway in, but it’s well worth the effort. Access to the trailhead is from the Geraldine fire road, just north of Athabasca Falls on Highway 93A. The parking area is 6 km up the fire road. The initial 2 km of this trail are easy, traveling a clear path to the first of the Geraldine Lakes. This is where it gets a little more breathtaking, both due to the scenery and steepness, with each step. Here the trail climbs along a waterfall, crosses a large boulder field and skirts the edge of a small glacial lake (known as a tarn). Then it gets even steeper. You’ll reach the only campsite at the far end of the second lake. Good hiking boots and endurance requirements for this trip. Note: Finding the trail among the boulder field can be tricky; therefore this trail is not recommended for beginners. No open fires.

Map: Athabasca Falls 83C/12.

Elevation gain: 400 m.

Maximum elevation: 1875 m.

Distance: 6 km one way.

Watchtower Basin

Families of bighorn sheep relax in Jasper.

Families of bighorn sheep relax in Jasper.

Love steep climbs, creek fording and terrific views? The Watchtower trailhead starts about 19 km from Jasper townsite on Maligne Road. A steep climb leads to an flower-filled (depending on the time of year, of course) alpine meadow. Hikers get to ford the main creek to reach the campsite. Access to the Skyline trail is 3.5 km beyond the campsite. Note: Route finding is a bit difficult between the campsite and Skyline trail.

Map: Medicine Lake 83C/14.

Distance: 9.8 km one way.

Elevation gain: 985 m.

Maximum elevation 2375 m.

Yamnuska Mountain Adventures

For further information on guided tours in the Canadian Rockies, fill out the blue form on the right side of this page.

Old Fort Point Loop, Jasper National Park

Jasper National Park, Alberta

by Paul Peters
Editor, CanadianRockies.net

The Old Fort Point Loop trail is a fairly short and simple hike, offering great view of Jasper National Park and the surrounding Canadian Rockies. The hike also contains interesting geological features, and a bit of Canadian Rockies history.

View from the Old Fort Point Trail

View from the Old Fort Point Loop trail.

Old Fort Point is a prominent bedrock hill standing 130 m above the river. Rounded on its south side, cliffy on its north side, Old Fort Point is a classic roche moutonnée: a bedrock knob shaped by glaciers.

The loop trail over the top is steep in places, but it provides an excellent view of Jasper and its surroundings. The name Old Fort probably refers to Henry House, a North West Company cabin built near here in 1811, now gone but commemorated as a National Historic Site.

The quickest route to the big view at the top of the hill is up the stairs that start by the cliff. (The stairs lead to a Canadian Heritage Rivers plaque about the Athabasca.) But it’s a steep climb. Instead, we recommend the wide, easy path that begins behind the trail information kiosk. Follow Trail 1 up a short hill and on through the woods.

At 1.3 km you climb a very steep section, with 30 m of elevation gain in a short distance, beside an outcrop of the oldest rock in Jasper National Park. The layer is Precambrian, about 750 million years old. Take a close look at this unusual rock. It’s breccia, made of angular chunks of pink limestone.

What you’ll see:

Viewing clockwise: Mt. Edith Cavell (always snow-streaked) to the south, The Whistlers (mountain with the tramway terminal near the top).


From the trail, you'll see Mount Athabasca, one of Jasper's finest.

To the southwest, the valley of the Miette River leading west toward Yellowhead Pass and B.C., the town of Jasper across the Athabasca River, the reddish quartzite of the Victoria Cross Range

To the northwest beyond the town (the peak with a microwave relay station on top is Pyramid Mountain), Lac Beauvert and Jasper Park Lodge

To the north (other lakes visible northward: Annette and Edith), the gray limestone of the Colin Range to the northeast, rounded Signal Mountain and the cliffs of Mt. Tekarra to the east,

To the southeast, Mt. Hardisty (sloping layers) and Mt. Kerkeslin (layers bowed gently down).

Distance (on trail): 3.5 km return or 1-2 hours.

Distance to the trailhead from town: 1.6 km.

Trailhead: From town or from Highway 16, follow Highway 93A to the Old Fort Point/Lac Beauvert access road. Turn left, cross the Athabasca River on the old iron bridge, then park in the lot on the right.

Flying high over Jasper

Jasper National Park, Alberta

by Paul Peters
The Canadian Rockies offer endless ways of seeing the park through various activities. One of the most exhilarating and accessible activities is helicopter touring. Helicopter tours in and around the Canadian Rockies and Jasper National Parks offer an alternative view of the park, and tours made to fit any person, from heli-sking and heli-hiking, to heli-weddings and heli-yoga.

Get high above Banff and Jasper for some of the most spectacular views.

Get high above the Canadian Rockies and Jasper for some of the most spectacular views.

Yes, you read that last one right. Icefield Helicopter Tours, in conjuction with Martha’s Heli-hikes, offers a heli-yoga trip, which pretty much means all bases are covered as far who might be interested in a heli-trip.Ralph Sliger, owner of Icefields Helicopter Tours, talks about the unique opportunities heli-tours offer to people visiting the Canadian Rockies.
“You’re actually getting into the backcountry where there are no roads,” he says. “You’re seeing the actual wilderness. When you can see for 100 miles in all directions, it’s quite impressive. Gives you a sense for how big Canada actually is.”
You can probably guess from their name that Icefield Helicopter Tours features tours of the Columbia Icefields, one of the largest icefields in North America.
“When you’re out over the icefields,” he says, “as far as you can see there’s nothing but the icefields, peaks and glaciers. It’s a whole different world up there.”
And while he says that the tours are exceptional, he notes that one of the most amazing things is actually getting out of the helicopter once it has flown you to a remote location. “When you get  out and experience the quiet of nature, well, you can’t get that anywhere else,” Sliger says. “That’s what we offer, is an experience.”
Hjalmar Tiesenhausen started Jasper’s High Country Helicopter Tours in 1996.
“It’s been an amazing 13 years already,” he says, “and we’ve had so much fun and enjoyment from doing this that we will be doing this for many years to come. Its not a job – it’s a labour of love.”
The heliport for High Country Helicopter Tours is based just east of Jasper on Hwy 16 (near the KOA).  High Country offers transportation services if you didn’t bring or rent a vehicle, and heli-tours year round, no matter what season (although reservations are highly recommended).
“We are the closest, easiest, and I think most scenic way to see the Rockies when visiting Jasper National Park” Tiesenhausen says. “One of our most wonderful features is the many elk that hang around Talbot Lake each summer. Also, the bighorn sheep at Disaster Point and of course the Miette Hotsprings can be a wonderful addition to an amazing flight over the many peaks and rivers of the Eastern Slopes of the Canadian Rockies.”
Jo-anne Kobelt of Alpine Helicopters is equally enthusiastic about heli-hiking.
Alpine, she says, typically takes customers out to Mount Charles Stewart. Normally, she says it would be an eight-hour hike, one-way, to get to Charles Stewart. But the flight takes all of eight minutes.
Despite the short flight, she says, “It feels like you’re in the middle of nowhere. This area is just pristine, there are no trails, it’s literally untouched. When we set down it looks like no one has ever been there.”
Alpine Helicopters helps keep that “middle of nowhere” feeling by only taking up groups of 15 or fewer, and making sure no one disturbs the natural features of the terrain.
Gordon Stermann of White Mountain Adventures, the company that guides Alpine’s heli-hikes, says, “It’s an incredible experience for people to leave civilization completely behind in just a few minutes of helicopter flying. Once we land at the Charles Stewart site we are on our own. The world goes quiet, and you have time to slow down, look around you and … breathe!”
As far as the aerial tours Alpine offers, Kobelt says, “It’s a once in a lifetime experience. You just can’t believe what you see, it’s like a National Geographic film.”
She says they generally get two reactions from people the first time they fly over the Canadian Rockies.
“People either get up there and they don’t stop talking because they’re so excited,  or they’re mouths are hanging open and their eyes are glued to the window,” she says.
Despite these two reactions, she says, “We’ve never had a customer that doesn’t have a look of astonishment.”
Children ask “Can I go again?”
Kobelt also adds that some people are occasionally frightened by the prospect of going up in a helicopter, but she says that afterward, “People say they feel more secure in a helicopter than in an airplane.”