Everyone knows I love adventure, and living in The Rockies means I have unlimited access to it, but working in the Hospitality and Tourism industry means that time to explore can often be limited.
So what happens when you find out your adventure buddy has the same two days off as you and the same adventure-seeking attitude as you? Go to Jasper of course.
So what do you do in Jasper exactly? which is a 6 hour journey one way from Invermere, on a budget, wanting to explore everything, but also find time to relax, in just two days?
So here is my little guide to fellow clumsy adventurers on what we did to get the most out of Jasper in two days and how I tried to keep upright.
Clumsy Moments: No trip of mine would be complete without me falling over or driving the wrong way down a street, and naturally Jasper would be no different.
Time of year: This is important, because Jasper is on the top of everyone’s list to see, so in the height of Summer it is super busy, and in winter, not a lot of the roads are open so you cant see a lot. So we went mid May, where the highway is clear and most of the sites to see are accessible. Plus the coach loads of tourists from around the world are still yet to arrive.
Accommodation: There are not many hotels in Jasper due to it being a National Park, so finding somewhere to stay is often limited and expensive. Of course you can stay in the HI Hostel, but this is normally booked up, and this time it was just cheaper to book a hotel. We stayed at Pocahontas Cabins, which was about 45km North of Jasper Town site. We had our own cabin which had a kitchen and bathroom.
Food: I purposely booked somewhere with a kitchen, so we could cook and prepare meals for our stay without spending a fortune on over priced food. We spent $100 on groceries, which fed us breakfast/lunch/dinner for two days and had food left over to take back home. There also aren’t many places to eat once you leave Jasper Town, so pack a lunch so you don’t get hungry!
Getting There: We decided to leave after work on the Tuesday to get to Jasper, however that did mean we didn’t get there until after 1am, but I’d rather do that than travel in the morning of your arrival. Extra exploring time!
First things first: Head into Jasper and the information centre. You will need to get yourself a park pass for however long you are staying there. We also grabbed a good old-fashioned map as there is no cell service in the park. There is something quite fulfilling from finding your way using a map and not using Google Maps. Just make sure you know what way north is, so you don’t go in the wrong direction, not talking from experience of course.
What to see first: I always like to get the most out of anything, so planning is a must. If you are staying for two days like us, do everything the furthest away. On the second day, do everything that is on the way out of the park. This not only makes sure you see more but also makes your journey home much more pleasant and does not feel as long
Pyramid Lake: This is one of my favourite places in Jasper, it is so stunning and beautifully romantic that you can imagine why people choose this spot to have a wedding ceremony here. There is Pyramid Island which you have to walk across an insta-worthy bridge to get too. Most people don’t explore this tiny island, but make sure you go to the far side and sit and admire the great Pyramid Mountain, and you understand where it gets it name.
Medicine Lake: Head out towards Maligne Lake and just take in the beauty of this road. If you are the driver however make sure you do you keep your eyes on the road, often my buddy would be looking scared as I swerve into the other side of the road. Medicine Lake is a must see. It is a unique experience as it is surrounded by forest fire devastation, and at this time in the season the lake is hardly full. Don’t just view the lake from the car lot, take a walk down to the shore lake and see how far you can throw rocks.
Maligne Lake: This lake in May is still frozen, but you can see it is close to melting. In warmer weather this would be a great place for a lunch stop at the side of the lake. We just took some easy strolls around and admired the historic Maligne Lake Boathouse.
Clumsy Moment: In the wake of the lake defrosting, it leaves a lot of mud. Which of course is where I decide to walk, rather than the trail, and I still have a pair of very muddy boots.
Maligne Canyon: This is where we stopped for lunch. We took our packed lunch and wandered around the Canyon and stopped at a bench overlooking the falls. Also if you are in need of caffeine, which by this point I most definitely was, there is a cute cafe and gift shop.
Evening Fun: This is where having your own or access to a kitchen comes in handy. Cook up a storm, open a bottle of wine and relax on the porch and watch the sun set over the mountains. Mountain Bliss
Breakfast: We took off back into Jasper Town and treated ourselves to some Avocado and Eggs on Sourdough that Shoreditch hipsters would be proud of. Coffee was not half bad either, so good in fact, we took another one for the road.
Highway 93A: Rather than taking the main route of just the 93, take the A road. Until recently this road was more of a dirt track (way more fun) but now paved. It is much quieter and you can take your time enjoying the beautiful surroundings. If you are lucky enough like we were, we saw a stunning Mama Bear and her two baby cubs.
Clumsy Moment: You do need to be prepared to see wildlife here, be prepared with your camera at all times. Unlike us who were munching away on snacks as I saw a grizzly bear in the distance, and I almost threw the tub of trail mix out the window in order to get my bud to grab his phone to take a picture.
Athabasca Falls: Second to Pyramid Lake, this is my favourite place that I will visit again and again. We spent about an hour here, and that’s without doing any of the trails. Make sure you notice the battle that was had between the water and the rock and it really leaves you thinking how powerful Mother Nature really is.
Athabasca Glacier: On the way back through the Icefield’s we stopped for a little stroll around the bottom of the glacier. This glacier recedes 5 metres every year and has lost over half its volume in past 125 years. Insane!! There are a few parking lots depending how far you really want to walk.
Clumsy Moment: There are lots of rocks and creeks to cross while trailing around here, don’t go climbing on the rocks like an excited 5 year old expecting not to fall over.
Other things to do but we didn’t: Book yourself into the Glacier Skywalk. Apart from the astonishing views being the draw to this attraction, learning about the sheer engineering in building the Skywalk is enough to draw me. On your drive home stop off at the Peyto Summit and get a snap of the lake at sunset that will make all your instagram followers jealous!
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