Jasper National Park is located three hours due west of Edmonton, Alberta. Its namesake townsite, Jasper, is just under 4 hours from Edmonton or just over three and a half hours north of Banff up the 93 (without stops… as if that’s possible on that gorgeous road!).
More rustic and less developed than its glamorous cousin, Banff, or its outdoorsy-chic cousin, Canmore, it is a spectacular place filled with amazing scenery and places to explore. Still very much a railway town, the Jasper townsite is quaint and small. Really, you go to Jasper to get outdoors… hiking, biking, skiing, swimming (if you can brave the cold waters), canoeing, white water rafting, trail running, limited climbing, etc. Over time I will build this page up with blog posts to share some of its hidden gems. Enjoy!
A far more interesting way to explore the very popular Maligne Canyon is from below, in the winter, when the canyon empties itself of most of its water. It’s like nothing you’ve ever experienced before!
Excerpt: Ice. Deep, penetrating cold. Fragile, transient beauty. The crunching sound of your crampon picks gripping the ice underfoot, echoing off the canyon walls as you gouge your way through the serpentine maze of the emptied creek bed, and work your way up and over the rounded mounds of mini waterfalls, frozen in motion. The dark recesses of caverns behind curtains of icicles, beckoning. Gaping holes in the bedrock like the mouths of ancient monsters sighing moist air, their mouths hanging with feathery ice crystal teeth. Step by step, you trace the passage of geologic time through the wonder of the frozen world of Maligne Canyon.
This hike will require you getting directions from a local tot he trail head.
Excerpt: There’s something really, really neat about doing a hard thing. Doing something that is physically demanding, incredibly challenging and limit-pushing. Climbing up Old Man peak was that thing for us. It makes you come alive in ways that I just can’t describe. We’ve been to Jasper many times over the years and have done most of its well-known, iconic hikes. Wanting something different, something longer & harder, and something that would take us the whole day, we asked at the concierge desk at our hotel for some advice when we were there in the spring.
10km; 700m elevation gain
Excerpt: It starts at the Miette Hot Springs, just inside the park boundary, but still an hour away from the Jasper townsite. It gets its name from the Sulphur fumes from the hot springs, which are the hottest in the Rockies, at over 50C. (You don’t smell them at all on the hike.) As far as peak-hikes go, this is one of the easiest in the Rockies to attain, so put it on your life bucket list if climbing to the top of a mountain is a goal for you! The trail is clear and well marked, the peak is large (so not dangerous), there are no scrambles to do… and the views from up top are spectacular!