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Jasper National Park

 
Jasper National Park is Banff's beautiful sister lying just to the north in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Perhaps overshadowed in peoples imaginations by Banff, the park gives up nothing in terms of beauty or splendor to its sister. Make a point of visiting the Maligne Valley and the Columbia Ice Fields but don't be timid to seek out those lesser known wonders of the park.  
 

Take advatage of all this area has to offer by spending time hiking, backpacking and biking the trials of Jasper.

Location: The park is situated just to the north of Banff on the border of British Columbia in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. The town of Jasper is in the heart of the park. From Edmonton follow highway 16 west which will take you right into the town of Jasper. From Calgary follow highway 1 west to Lake Louise than continue north on the 93 to the town of Jasper. From Vancouver follow highway 1 east to Lake Louise then head north on the 93 or alternately take the 5 north at Kamloops to the 16 east which will take you to Jasper. The area can be reached by air via Edmonton, Calgary or if your willing to do more driving from Vancouver in British Columbia National Parks in Alberta - Location Map

Park Size: 10,878 square kilometres (4200 square miles)

 
Guide Books - The Canadain Rockies Access Guide should be tucked away in your day pack if want to really enjoy the Rockies. The book covers all the Canadian Rocky Mountain National Parks including Banff, Jasper, Yoho, Kootenay, Waterton Lakes. You also find a section on the Kanaskies area as well. The activies covered are biking, hiking, backpacking, canoeing, skiing, and more. There are dozens of maps and a wealth of excellent photographs.You'll even find recommendations on accomodations and restaurants.  

cover

The Canadian Rockies Access Guide
 
Rocky Mountain Parks

Jasper National Park AB
Banff National Park AB
Yoho National Park BC
Kootenay National Park BC
Mount Robson Provincial Park BC

Driving Distances

Banff - Jasper - 285km (177mi)
Lake Louise - 226km (143mi)
Calgary - Jasper - 410km (255mi)
Edmonton - Jasper - 365km (227mi)
Red Deer - Jasper - 415km (257mi)
Vancouver - Jasper - 853km (540mi) via the Trans Canada Highway

Local distances from the town of Jasper

Athabasca Falls 30km
Columbia Icefields 102km
Maligne Canyon 11km
Maligne Lake 50km
Marmot Basin 19km
Medicine Lake 27km
Miette Hotsprings 60km
Mount Edith Cavell 30km
Mount Robson 90km
Sunwapta Falls 55km

Road Reports

 

Mountain Biking

Jasper boasts a lot of great mountain bike terrain with just short of 300km of trail. The four sisters Yoho, Kootenay, Banff and Jasper have over 600km of mountain bike trails combined. There are 15 park trails consisting mostly fireroad and jeep track with some single track in certain areas. The trails include Mina Lake Trail, Jacques Lake Trail and South Boundary Trail, Overlander Trail, Fryatt Trail, Merlin Pass Trail, North Boundary Trail, Saturday Night Lake, Old Fort Point and Valley of the Five Lakes, Palisade Fireroad, Fortress Lake Trail, Geradine Fireroad. If you have the panniers and the fitness this is a great place for mountain bike camping.

Athabasca River/Trail #7: Easy - Intermediate, 22km, loop. The trail starts on the southern edge of the town of Jasper, at Old Fort Point, where it heads up towards Maligne Canyon behind Jasper Park Lodge and Annette and Edith Lakes, climbing towards Maligne Canyon. The canyon section is closed to mountain bikes between the 1st to the 5th bridge. You can get around this by crossing Maligne Road at the Fifth Bridge to pick up the trail. After the detour you're in for a nice descent. Follow the river back, where you'll have to do a road stretch before you're back on the trail and on your way back to the starting point. The is a shared use trail, watch for horses and hikers and of course make way for wildlife.

Fortress Lake Trail - Easy - Intermediate, 16 km one way. The trail begins at Sunwapta Falls at the opposite side of the bridge, which is about 55 km south of the town of Jasper on the Icefields Parkway, highway 93. For the most part, the trial is relatively flat and follows along the valley. The turn around point comes at the suspension bridge where backpackers can continue on to the campsites.

Fryatt Trail - Easy - Intermediate, 11.4km. Working its way through the forest, the trial is relatively flat for the first 8km with some water crossings along route. The turn around point (or overnighting point if you have the gear) is at the Fryatt campsite. Access is from the parking lot for ht Fryatt Valley on the Geraldine Fire Road.

Geraldine Lookout - Intermediate, 8km. The trail follows along the Geraldine Fire Road and continues passed the gate to the Geraldine Lookout which presents some splendid views of the Athabasca and Whirlpool Valleys.

Mountain Climbing

There are boundless opportunities for mountain climbers in the park. Both the trail and warden offices have copies of the Canadian Parks Service "Climber's Guide To Jasper National Park". Backcountry huts maintained by the Alpine Club of Canada and are available for climbers and ski mountaineers. Contact them through thier web site for more information. Alpine Club of Canada

Huts

Fryatt Hut - Fryatt Valley Trail, Alpine Club of Canada
Mount Colin Hut - Alpine Club of Canada
Wates-Gibson Memorial Hut - Astoria River Trail, Tonquin Valley, Alpine Club of Canada

Rock Climbing

There are boundless opportunities for mountain climbers in the park. Both the trail and warden offices have copies of the Canadian Parks Service "Climber's Guide To Jasper National Park".

 

Backpacking

There are over 1,000 kilometres of established backcountry trails in the park. The park has a quota system, a limit on the size of groups, a "Wilderness Pass" permit system and special use restrictions. Sounds like a lot to deal with, but it's really just a way of ensuring that the area isn't overused and that those who do head out can have an enjoyable wilderness experience. Jasper Trail Report

Athabasca Pass Trail: Expert, 51km, linear. To get to the trailhead from the town of Jasper follow highway 93 south, then take 93A and watch for the Moab Lake fire road on your right about 10km along the 93A. Follow the fire road for 6.4 km. The trail follows the Whirlpool River valley where you will be traveling through large gravel flats, passing glaciers and ultimately making your way to the Hooker Icefields, if you hike the whole distance.

 
 
The icefields are half in Alberta and half in British Columbia, in Hamber Provincial Park. All of the major river crossings are bridged. All of the major river crossings are bridged. This trail should take at least 7 days to complete. The elevation gain is 560 meters and the maximum elevation on route is 1800 meters. Backcountry campsites, pit privies and fire boxes (where fires are permitted). Contact the park for details, maps and backcountry permits and the availability of bear poles at the campsites.This is a multi-use trail. Maps: Athabasca Falls 83 C/12, Amythyst Lakes 83 D/9, Athabasca Pass 83D/8

Fiddler River Trail: Expert, 25km one way, linear. The trailhead for this route is behind the old pool at Miette Hotsprings, which is about 60 km northeast of the town of Jasper. From Jasper take highway 16 north and turn south on the road to Miette Hotsprings. The trail is isn't as well developed as you move away from Miette, so expect to do some river fording. There are three wilderness camping areas on route at Utopia Creek (5.7km), Slide Creek (13.0km, hikers and horsepackers) and at Whitehorse Pass (24.6km). Once you've reached the last campground, pitch your tent and hike the rest of the way to Whitehorse Pass (Fiddlers Pass) for some nice views of the valley. It should take at least 4 days to complete this route out and back.The elevation gain that you can expect on this trail is 1025 meters and the maximum elevation will be 2120 meters. Contact the park for details, maps and backcountry permits. Backcountry campsites, pit privies, and fire boxes (where fires are permitted). Check with the park regarding bear poles at the campsites. The trail is best hiked during the dryer months. This is a multi-use trail. Maps: 1:50,000 83 F/4 (the trail is not marked on the map). A special wall sized topo of Jasper is available at a scale of 1:200,000.

Fortress Lake: Intermediate-Expert, 24.2 km one way. The trail begins at Sunwapta Falls at the opposite side of the bridge, which is about 55 km south of the town of Jasper on the Icefields Parkway, highway 93. The first part of the trial is relatively flat traveling along the valley. There is now a a bridge crossing the Athabasca River but you must still ford the Chaba River, which if high, can be difficult. There are two camping areas on route, Big Bend at 7.8km and Athabasca Crossing at 14.2km. It should take at least 3 days to complete this trek. The maximum elevation will be 1400 meters on this trail. Contact the park for details, maps and backcountry permits. Remember Jasper's rivers are most often glacier fed and deep crossings are usually very cold. Contact the park for details, maps, backcountry permits and the availability of bear poles at the campsites. Maps: 1:50,000 topographical maps 83 C/12 Athabasca Falls, 83 C/5 Fortress Lake.

Jacques Lake Trail: Beginner/Intermediate, 12km one way, linear. The trail begins at the south end of Medicine Lake, which is 28 km from the town of Jasper. From Jasper take the 16 north a few kilometres to the Maligne Lake Road, which you take to the picnic area at Beaver Creek, where you'll find the trailhead. This is an easy hike and a great introduction to backpacking in Jasper. You start with a walk along a fire road for 1.6 km to Beaver Lake and the rest is a an easy hike into the campsite at the far end of Jacques Lake. The elevation gain that you can expect on this trail is 90 meters and the maximum elevation will be 1555 meters. This is an over night trip. Contact the park for details, maps, backcountry permits and the availability of bear poles at the site. Maps: 1:50,000 topographical maps 83 C/13 Medicine Lake

 

Hiking

There are more than 1200 kilometres (660 miles) of hiking trails for both overnight and day trips. 

Athabasca River/Trail #7: Intermediate, 22km, loop. The trail starts on the southern edge of the town of Jasper, at Old Fort Point, where it heads up towards Maligne Canyon behind Jasper Park Lodge and Annette and Edith Lakes, climbing towards Maligne Canyon. The canyon section is described in the Maligne Canyon hike. The loop back is a decent, then you'll follow the the river back where you'll have to do a road stretch before you're back on the trail and on your way back to the starting point. The is a shared use trail, watch for horses and bikers and of course keep your eyes open for wildlife.

Maligne Canyon 1st Bridge to 6th Bridge/Trail #7: Easy, 3.0km, Perhaps Jaspers most popular hike. Take Maligne Lake road for 6.4km to the trailhead where you'll find parking or hike up to the Canyon from Jasper along the Athabasca River/Trail#7. The hike takes you through the 50m deep limestone canyon carved by the Maligne River as its squeezed through through the gorge. Bridges cross the river back and forth allowing you to get multiple perspectives of the spectacle and have a look at the variety of habitats that surround the river. The hike should take you about 1.5hrs, there are interpretive signs in the Canyon.

The Whistlers #5: Expert, 14km return. To get to the trialhead take the 93 south from Jasper about 1.8km then head west on the Whistlers Mountain Road. About 2.8km down, just before the hostel, you'll find a gravel road on the left which will take you to the parking. From the trail head you'll hike up through montane forests, to the forest of the sub-alpine and then into the alpine itself. Follow the switchbacks up to the terminal point of the tramway (yes you could have rode up but thats no fun) then follow the interpretive trail to the summit. The reward is awesome views of the valleys. The trail ascends a total of 1200m along its length.

Path of the Glacier Trail: Easy, 1.6km. The trail is in the Mount Edith Cavell area and can be reached from the parking lot at the end of Edith Cavell Road, which is about 5.5km south of the 93 and 93A junction below the town of Jasper. This trail is a short loop that climbs up to a viewpoint overlooking the valley bottom. Across the valley you see the famous Angel Glacier, wings spread out onto Mount Edith Cavell the highest peak in the region. You then follow the trail down to the valley bottom and the shores of Cavell Lake at the bottom of the hanging glacier then follow the creek back to the start. This is an interpretive trail with signage.

Cavell Meadows Trail: Expert, 8km return. The trail is in the Mount Edith Cavell area and can be reached from the parking lot at the end of Edith Cavell Road, which is about 5.5km south of the 93 and 93A junction below the town of Jasper. This trail takes you to subalpine forests and meadows at treeline with unique views of Angel Glacier. In mid summer, mountain wildflowers are in bloom and you might get a glimpse of marmot, pika or perhaps a ptarmigan. It’s a demanding trail with sections moving over a large ridge of boulders and switchbacks which climb up to the treeline but the effort is worth it.

Canoeing

Campsites for overnight trips are located along the shores of Maligne Lake and the Athabasca River. Contact the Trail Office for more information.

Kayaking

Campsites for overnight trips are located along the shores of Maligne Lake and the Athabasca River. Contact the Trail Office for more information.

White Water Paddling

The park has lots of paddling opportunities and several companies which provide rafting trips on the Athabasca River. See our resources section for more information.

 


Backcountry and Cross Country Skiing

There are miles of backcountry and cross country skiing in the park. For a ski trail brochure or a current report on cross-country ski trails, drop by the park informatin centre or check with the wardens office. Avalanche forecasts and snow pack conditions are available at the park visitor centre, warden offices, at Marmot Basin, or by phone. Consult the Canadian Avalanche Association for more.

Snowshoeing

Rentals are available from several retailers in the town of Jasper. There are a number of designated trails and maps are available from the park information centre.

 
 

Snowboarding and Skiing

Within Jasper's boundaries you'll find excellent trials and facitlities at Marmot Basin.

Snowboarding, Skiing, Telemark Skiing, Hiking, Restaurant, Chalet, Ski School, Nursery, Lounge, Online Lift Tickets 897m (2,944 ft) Vertical, Avg. Annual Snowfall 400cm (12.3ft)

For more information go to their web site at Ski Marmot

Winter Camping

Wapiti Campground is the only campground in the park open during the winter. Backcountry camping and overnights at some of the parks huts provides other possibilities. Contact the park for details on fees, access, conditions and requirements. The Alpine Club of Canada maintains the parks hut system. Contact them throught thier web site for more information. Alpine Club of Canada

Front Country Camping

Whistlers Campground: 777 sites, 177 serviced. The campground is just 3km south from the center of town. Follow the 93 south and take Skytram Road west and then watch for the campground sign. There are showers, kitchen shelters, flush toilets and a trailer dump in the campground. Some facilities are wheelchair accessible, check with the park for details.

Wapiti: 362 sites, 40 serviced. The campground is located just to the south of the town of Jasper about 4km on the 93 (Icefields Parkway). There are flush toilets, kitchen shelters and showers in the campground.Some facilities are wheelchair accessible, check with the park for details.

Wabasso: 228 unserviced sites. The campground is located about 16km south of Jasper. Take the 93 to the 93A, the campground is about 4.5km south of the split. There are flush toilets and a trailer dump but no showers in the campground.. There are several walk-in sites.

Pocahontas: 140 unserviced sites. The campground is located off the 16 about 44km north of the town of Jasper. Take the 16 to the turn off for Miette Hotsprings, the campground is a short distance down the road. There are flush toilets but no showers in the campground.There are several walk-in sites.

Snaring River: 66 unserviced sites. The campground is located about 16km north of the town of Jasper. Take the 16 to the short side road into the campground. There are vault toilets and kitchen shelters in the camground. There are several walk-in sites.

Mount Kerkeslin: 42 unserviced sites. The campground is located 36km south of the town of Jasper on the 93 (Icefields Parkway). The campground has vault toilets. Athabasca Falls are just 6km from the campground.

Honeymoon Lake: 35 unserviced sites. The campground is located 52km south of the town of Jasper along the 93 (Icefields Parkway).The campground has vault toilets. Sunwapta Falls are just 3km south of the campground.

Jonas Creek: 25 unserviced sites. The campground is located between the Columbia Icefields (km 103) and Sunwapta Falls (km 55) about 77km south fo the town of Jasper along the 93 (Icefields Parkway). The campground has vault toilets. Almost half of the sites are walk-ins.

Columbia Icefield: 33 unserviced tent sites. The campground is lcoated just near to the famous icefields about 109km south of the town of Jasper on the 93 (Icefields Parkway). There is a kitchen shelter and vault toilets in the campground. Over 10 of the sites are walk-ins.

Wilcox Creek: 46 unserviced sites. The campground is about 111km south of the town of Jasper on the 93 (Icefields Parkway) just above the north entrance to Banff National Park. The campground has vault toilets, a trailer dump and kitchen shelters. .

Walk-in Sites: Walk-in sites are available at Wabasso, Pocahontas, Snaring River, Jonas Creek, Columbia Icefields.

Reservations can be made through the parks website via Parks Canada Camping

Hostels

Athabasca Falls - 32km south of the town of Jasper along the Icefields Parkway (93)
Beauty Creek
- 87km south of the town of Jasper along the Icefields Parkway (93)
Maligne Canyon - 11km east of the town of Jasper
Mount Edith Cavell - about 30km south of the townsite off the 93A along Mount Edith Cavell
Whistler Mountain - 7km southwest of the town of Jasper, along Whistlers Mountain Road.

Other hostels in the area include those in Banff and Yoho National Parks. There are no hostels in Kootenay National Park.

 
 

Books

The Friends of Jasper National Park have an extensive list of books and maps for Jasper National Park. The friends sell books and more online as well as at the information centre in the town of Jasper. Friends of Jasper National Park

The following are all recommended reading depending on your area of interest:

 

The Canadian Rockies Trail Guide by Brian Patton & Bart Robinson, Summerthought Books
Backcountry Biking in the Canadian Rockies by Doug Eastcott & Gerhardt Lepp, Rocky Mountain Books
Canadian Rockies Access Guide by John Dodd & Gail Helgason (Leslie & Mark Degner), Lone Pine Books
Sports Climbs in the Canadian Rockies by John Martin and Jon Jones, Rocky Mountian Books
Selected Alpine Climbs in the Canadian Rockies by Sean Dougherty, Rocky Mountain Books
Canadain Rockies Whitewater - The Central Rockies by Stuart Smith, Headwaters Press
Ski Trails in the Canadain Rockies by Chic Scott, Rocky Mountain Books


Pets

Pets must be on a leashed at all times. For their protection, never leave your pet unattended. Bears, coyotes, and elk and even deer (particulary females) may present a danger to your pet.

Wheelchair Access

Some facilities are available for campers at the Wapiti and Whistlers Campgrounds. Some of the trails that are wheelchair friendly are Pocahontas Coal Mine, Miette Hotsprings, Lake Annette, Athabasca Falls, Maligne Canyon, Sunwapta Falls and Maligne Lake. Contact the park for details.

Maps

Location Map - From Out-There

1:50,000 Topographical Maps Covering the Park


83 E/5, 83 E/6, 83 E/8, 83 F/5, 83 E/3, 83 E/2, 83 F/4, 83 D/15, 83 D/16, 83 C/14, 83 D/9, 83 D/9, 83 C/12, 83 C/11, 83 C/10, 83 D/8, 83 C/5, 83 C/6, 83 C/7, 83 C/4, 83 C/3

The list includes maps with very small sections on the edges of the park.

There is also a wall sized 1:100,000 scale map available of Jasper as well as a special wall sized topographical map at 1:200,000 that covers Banff, Kootenay and Yoho National Parks, 107cm x 104cm (42"x 41").

Yoho National Park has an individual toporgraphical wall map at 1:50,000, also has details on the park Approximately 125cm x 90cm (48"x36")

 
 

Resources

Jasper is one of Canada's most famous National Parks. It is one of the four parks, (Jasper, Banff, Kootenay & Yoho) that were declared a World Heritage Site in 1985 by the United National Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Large numbers of elk, bighorn sheep, mule deer and other large animals live in the park. Of course, this includes their predators such as grizzly bears, mountain lions, wolves and wolverines. Jasper National Park is one of the great protected ecosystems remaining in the Rocky Mountains.

Friends of Jasper National Park

Jasper Trail Report
Jasper Avalanche Report
Jasper Alpine Climbs - Dave Stephens
Jasper Scrambles - Dave Stephens
Hiking Jasper - Personal Page

Jasper Tramway
Jasper Air Tours
Ski Jasper
Rocky Mountianeer Railtours
Icefields Snowcoach Tour
Miette Hotsprings
Ski Marmot Basin

Travel & Transportation

Via Rail
Rocky Mountianeer Railtours
Jasper Taxi - (780) 852-3600
Air Canada
Calgary International Airport
Edmonton International Airport
Hertz and National car rental have offices on Connuaght Drive


Adventure Guides and Outfitters
 
Maligne Rafting - Rafting
Rocky Mountain River Guides - Rafting
Maligne Tours - Snowshoeing
Ward Alpine Guiding Services - Hikes and Horsepacking
Pyramid Lake Canoe Rentals - Canoeing
 

Gear - Rental and Sales

Gravity Gear
Jasper Sports
Totem Ski Shop

Accommodations and Restaurants


Wild Mountain Willies - Restaurant Bar
Papa Georges - Restaurant
Dead Dog Bar and Grill - Connuaght Drive
Jasper House - Log Cabins
Astoria Hotel - Hotel, Town of Jasper
Jasper Inn - Hotel, Town of Jasper
Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge - Lodge, Town of Jasper
Overlander Mountain Lodge
The Whistlers Inn
Sunwapta Falls Resort
Ember's Steakhouse -  Restuarant, (780) 852-4544, Connaught Drive
Jasper Pizza Place - Restaurant, (780) 852-3225, Connaught Drive

Tonquin Valley Lodge - Backcountry Lodge
Sunwapta Falls - Resort and Cabins

Employment


Jasper Employment Center
Banff-Jasper Jobs

Area Guides


Visit Jasper
Jasper Booster
Explore Jasper

Rocky Mountain Parks


Banff National Park AB
Yoho National Park BC
Kootenay National Park BC
Mount Robson Provincial Park BC

Beautiful Photos of Jasper from Jasper Tourism and Commerce


National Parks in Alberta - Locator Map
Road Reports
Weather


Official Site: Parks Canada
Jasper Tourism and Commerce
Alberta Tourism

 

 
 
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