Our journey to Jasper kicked off with a stormy beginning. If the vast wilderness of Western Canada is what you are looking for, then stormy weather should not bother you at any time of the year: At its highest point, just near the turnoff to iconic Peyto Lake, the road from Lake Louise to Jasper leads over a pass 2,000 meters above sea level. This is higher than most of “our” ski resorts in the European Alps even, meaning: Everything can happen. My sweetheart Georg and I didn’t let ourselves be put off, though, driving our super well equipped “Dodge Ram Van” with likely more than 300 horsepower to keep us going. Somehow, it’s positively reassuring to have such a big, heavy, strong car … We also had plenty of time, so after our departure from beautiful Emerald Lake Lodge we simply said to each other: Let’s go on an adventure! And: See you for dinner, Jasper.
We left Austria with only autumn clothes packed, but as I said: Better you layer up for the Rocky Mountains at any time of the year. I bought my winter jacket with the typical “Hudson Bay stripes” (a well-known Canadian brand) on the spot; good footwear, too, is a must (if necessary, hiking boots with thick socks will double for winter boots and still do the job in freezing temperatures).
Jasper, this tiny Rocky Mountain town of about 5,000 inhabitants, finally awaits us after some 200 kilometres, or three hours drive.
A few calculated hours of driving however quickly become more if you add the many stops to simply gaze at the surrounding landscape. Ideally, you should set aside a whole day for the route from Banff or Lake Louise to Jasper: Half way, at the Saskatchewan River Crossing, you may also find an (overpriced) restaurant, a motel and a souvenir shop for taking a break. Finally, Jasper receives us with warm cafés, restaurants and possibilities to explore the huge national park nearby.
First of all though, we are off doing something completely different: A Jasper Food Tour, that is.
Definitely book a tour with her when you’re in Jasper: https://jasperfoodtours.com has all the dates and different tours available.
The evening of the same day took me out on another memorable experience: A “Dark Sky Event“, organized by Jasper National Park. Did you know that Jasper is one of those world regions with the least light pollution, together with only a few other places such as Chile or Australia? From now on, this region is also particularly worthy of protection and is known as the “Dark Sky Reserve“: A dark sky reserve is a place with particularly little artificial light pollution so that the night sky is all the more accentuated, its views unperturbed. Determined to forget the -4C° cold, I stand for an hour and a half, gazing at an admittedly beautiful, starry night sky and listen to the National Park ranger’s countless tales about star signs, planets and celestial bodies. Wow.
Check out more information about Jasper’s dark sky mission here: https://jasperdarksky.travel.
If wilderness is what you love, then go out and check Maligne & Medicine Lake in Jasper National Park.
Very often in this part of Canada, the trip alone is worth the journey. Passing beneath circling eagles, and next to a huge grazing moose, it’s those very views that make us hold our breath (and our our) again and again. It takes about two hours to reach Maligne Lake from Jasper, but better take the whole day: Walks, hikes, photo stops, picnics, lake views etc. will all claim your attention again and again. There is nothing except wild, stunning, untouched mountain scenery here and (during summer season) a few boats, a café, as well as a small information centre for visitors at Maligne Lake. In autumn, however, we already have the snow-covered valleys and mountain peaks almost entirely to ourselves. Check this out.
You can find even more travel stories about Banff & Banff National Park on my blog:
- Romantic getaway at Emerald Lake: Road trip through the Canadian Rockies: Romantic Hideaway at Emerald Lake Lodge.
- Tips for exploring Banff: Roadtrip through the Canadian Rockies: Three tips for exploring Banff & around.
- Skiing in the Canadian Rockies: #SkiBig3 in the Canadian Rockies : Shredding Powder in Banff National Park.and Visiting #myBanff during winter: Ski, Hot Springs & Snow Delights in Western Canada
- Planning your next road trip: Between Banff & Jasper: The most beautiful 300 kilometres on Earth.
- Train travel tips: #VIARail Train Travelling across Western Canada: Travel Tips, Insights & Advice.
More pictures are here, too:
So when is your next trip to Jasper and into the Rocky Mountains? 🙂
Disclaimer: We have been supported by Tourism Jasper on this trip to Jasper, Canada. All opinions are my own.