Canada has always been one of the top ten choices for travellers around the world. Great food, amazing art, rich culture – what’s not there to like? When in Canada, people make sure they pay a visit to the world’s largest and accessible dark sky preserves, Jasper. It is a specialized municipality in Alberta functioning as a commercial centre of Jasper National Park. A quaint little place in the middle of the mesmerizing Canadian Rockies, Jasper is so much more than just snow-capped mountains and shimmering lakes. Jasper is, in all its glory, is a physical manifestation of Frozen’s Elsa – cold, but charming and oh so beautiful!
The Jasper SkyTram, one of the most famous things to do in Jasper National Park, is a beautiful and definitely an easier way to ascend the Whistlers mountain summit. Guides are assigned to each of the tram, who covers everything about the mesmerizing scene that comes up during the ascend of 7-8 minutes. The SkyTram goes up to the height of 7,425 ft. from the ground and once up there, you can visit the souvenirs shop or grab a surprisingly delicious meal at the restaurant. Take in the utterly amazing view from the top, the snow-capped mountains spread over a place filled with rivulets, with foggy atmosphere blanketing the entirety of Jasper area.
Maligne Lake is one of the amazing lakes of Jasper National Park, well-known for its pure azure waters and scenic beauty. It is set in the middle of one of the broad valleys amidst the snow-capped Canadian Rockies. The lake is a huge one, expanding around 22 kilometres of space and is an absolute hit among people who love fishing and hikers. There is a visitor centre as well as a little restaurant on the banks of the lake, not to forget the pier that takes people across the lake to the famed Spirit Island. This boat tour to the Spirit Island gives a complete and absolutely ethereal view of the Maligne lake.
Spirit Island is a tiny island located in the massive Maligne Lake. The only way to reach the place is either by a boat or by a canoe, though the latter method takes all day to reach this beautiful peninsula. The Stoney Nakoda First Nation thinks that mountains are the physical manifestation of their ancestors. Since this island is surrounded by mountains, the place has, according to them, achieved spirituality – hence the name, Spirit Island. This island is a magical place, offering you a breathtaking view of the calm waters of the Maligne Lake and the towering mountains surrounding it. Whenever you decide to visit the island, make sure you plan the trip during the sunrise or even sunset, as the entire view becomes even more picturesque.
Earls Kitchen & Bar
Earls is a premium restaurant chain, family-owned and spread over 68 places in Canada and the United States. One of the prominent branches of Earls Kitchen & Bar is located in Jasper – and it is an absolute hit in the area. The atmosphere of the place is highly relaxing and serene; Earls really knows how to take casual dining to the next level. The menu is not only extensive but also focuses more on fusion and American fare. Along with the usual vegetarian and non-vegetarian options, vegan and ‘plant-based’ section is also included in their menu. Some of the dishes you should definitely try are spicy tofu tacos, stir fry, green dragon roll and quinoa avocado bowl.
Miette Hot Springs
The Miette Hot Springs, located in the Jasper National Park, boasts of natural hot springs, complete with luxurious waters working their way over the visitors. The springs are always at 54 degrees Celsius and therefore, are the hottest in the Mountain National Parks. The water undergoes a lot of processes – it is first collected, then chlorinated and filtered, before cooling it to 40 degrees and poured back into the pools – so as to make it safer and more relaxing for the people who visit. There is a mine site close by the springs, historic and with an interpretive trail around it. You can also pay a visit to the original pools, located at the Sulphur Creek springs’ source.
Jasper Food Tours
People don’t know much about this amazing thing to do here, but once you go on board with Jasper Food Tours, you will see worth it is. This mountain town of Canada is filled with restaurants, cafés and outlets that have the most amazingly delicious food and drink – all of which goes undiscovered in the face of lakes and glaciers. Estelle Blanchette, a proud local, thought so too and launched Jasper Food Tours, which takes the people on an elaborate culinary experience around town. Called as the Downtown Foodies Tour, it’s a three-hour tour, where the people walk around to the four local, amazing restaurants and learn about different Jasper landmarks in between.
The reason people visit Pyramid Lake so frequently is because of the beautiful view of the sunset that it offers. In fact, if asked about the best place to get awesome sunset photographs, people in Jasper would take this lake’s name without wasting their breaths. Since it is located at the foot of the Pyramid Mountains, it is called the Pyramid Lake. It spans over 1.2 sq. kilometres and ultimately meets Athabasca River through the Pyramid Creek. The shores of the lake, therefore, are now crowded with a handful of picnic sites and boat ramps. There is also a beautiful resort on the southeast side of the lake, by the name Pyramid Lake Resort.
Jasper Royal Canadian Legion Branch 31
The Royal Canadian Legion is an amazing lounge and local pub in Jasper. The place actually is well-known for their local jam nights, where you can enjoy the amazing music from Big Sugar, Shakey Graves and Corb Lund, to name a few. The Royal Canadian Legion is, in fact, one of the most-visited music venues in the entirety of Canadian Rockies. The place gives off vintage charm with a great and budget-friendly menu of both, food as well as drinks. It is one family-friendly club and actually has 13 local beers on tap as well as a pool table, darts game, shuffleboard and a huge deck to check out Jasper’s beautiful and scenic views.
Athabasca Glacier is one of the six glacier terminuses located in the Canadian Rockies. This glacier is nearly 6 kilometres long and happens to be one of the most easily reachable glaciers in North America. Safe and guided tours are taken over the glaciers whereas ice walks and informative hikes are conducted frequently. The Icefield Interpretive Centre, which stands all the way across the glacier, functions as a lodge as well as ticket counter for the sightseeing. Though there is no guarantee that it will be intact for the future generations, because of the climate change, the glacier has always been open for visitors for the past 35 years, promising cool fun and entertainment.
Sunwapta falls is not just one, but a pair of waterfalls of the Sunwapta River in the Jasper National Park. The falls are actually flowing because of the Athabasca Glacier, as they are fed by it. The upper falls are located at an immense drop-off of around 59ft, i.e. whopping 18 metres and are far more accessible from the viewpoint parking lot. As for the access to the lower falls, a trail of about 1.3 kilometres takes you to your destination, after passing a lodgepole pine forest. These falls has a perfect backdrop of towering mountains and tall trees. The falls are powerful in them descend as the river is forced to fall free through a narrow gorge.
Jasper Curry Place
Jasper Curry Place is another one of the best restaurants in Jasper, known for its affordable and delicious menu as well as calm ambience. The place always has some or the other, but equally delicious smells blanketing the visitors as soon as they step in. The staff is polite and friendly while the décor of the place is simple but extremely attractive. The place primarily focuses on Indian-inspired cuisine and has been going strong since 2015. It is, in fact, the first and perfect little Indian-inspired restaurant in the whole of Jasper. Right from Butter Chicken to Korma Masala, Jasper Curry Place serves everything that provides a quintessential Indian experience, with the menu served in the style of a buffet of rotating selection.
Stargazing is one of the best things to do in Jasper, which has literally hundreds and thousands of mesmerizing dark sky preserves. A dark sky preserve is an area where there is no presence of any kind of artificial lights as well as minimal light pollution from the nearby areas. Jasper is, as a matter of fact, well-known around as ‘the Disneyworld of Dark Sky Preserves’, as it has the second-largest Dark Sky Preserve in the world. The entire space of such preserves is 11,000 sq. kilometres, with some of the famous spots being Medicine Lake, Tonquin Valley and Columbia Icefields. Jasper also organizes an annual festival for stargazing in every October, called as the Jasper Dark Sky Festival. It is an activity not to be missed upon, when in Jasper.
Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge
Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is located on the banks of Lake Beauvert, one of the many lakes located in Jasper National Park. It opened for people in 1922 and is surrounded by encroaching nature and wildlife offering the best view of the calm and pristine shores of Lac Beauvert. This mountain resort is a luxurious one, spreading over a whopping 700 acres. It also has a proper golf course and is, in fact, known as Canada’s number one Golf Resort. The Fairmont Spa is also another great attraction to this place, making visitors relax and find peace. The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is one magnificent place in Jasper, providing the visitors with a quintessential Canadian experience.
Jasper Planetarium is located on 1 Old Lodge Road and, as the visitors claim, a small but unique place to look up and learn about the stars and the dark sky preserves around Jasper. The place is a state-of-the-art domed theatre, consisting of 35 seats at the most. However, they take proper and informative tours on Jasper’s Dark sky preserves, which are the world’s largest accessible preserves, and that too, with a live guide. Stargazing activities are also scheduled every day, where visitors can gaze 360-degree at the sky above and check out the fascinating northern lights as well as stars, moons, planets and galaxies, through their special telescope. Visitors can also take advantage of their special programs, available daily as well as monthly, tailored to give the best planetarium experience.
Wendy Wacko, a renowned artist/filmmaker, thought of gracing the entirety of Western Canada with art galleries. As a result, in the year 1992, Mountain Galleries were established. These galleries are one of the largest commercial galleries in the area and are spread in Whistler Resort, Banff and of course, Jasper. It is located in the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge and is spread over more than 6000 sq. ft. of space. The exhibits – such as paintings, sculptures and even Inuit carvings – and the collections displayed there are primarily put forth by major as well as mid-career artists. Special exhibitions, workshops and artists demonstrations are regularly conducted, which are not only informative but also highly creative and simply beautiful.
The largest national park in the Canadian Rockies, Jasper is actually a prestigious UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the amazing scenic places around the world, possessing uniqueness and charm in its nooks and crannies. Jasper has unparalleled beauty in its glaciers, lakes, islands and the expansive preserves of dark skies, but even more so in other unconventional places, including restaurants, planetariums and art galleries.