Affectionately referred to as the “Gentle Giant of the Rockies,” Jasper National Park offers guests endless outdoor adventures, breathtaking scenery, and an abundance of wildlife in their natural habitat.
Jasper Park was originally established in 1907 as one of Canada’s first and largest national parks. To this day Jasper National Park offers a more laid-back mountain lifestyle when compared to nearby Banff National Park. Jasper is also a little less travelled.
Just 256 miles (412km) northwest from Calgary and 180 miles (290km) from Banff, Jasper National Park is home to over 4,200 square miles of evergreen forests. There are over 80 species of songbirds that offer up background music to your visit. Jasper is also home to Alberta’s tallest mountain, Mount Columbia, and has Canada’s longest underground drainage system!
Here are our top Jasper National Park attractions and sights to see during your visit to Jasper National Park with Caravan Tours.
1. Maligne Lake
Maligne Lake is just 27 miles south of the town of Jasper and is yet another sparkling blue green lake of the Canadian Rockies. History tells that the Stony Indians of the Kootenay Plains knew of this legendary lake for hundreds of years and it wasn’t until Mary Schaffer explored the area in 1908 and wrote about it in 1911 that Maligne Lake became famous. From the shores of Maligne Lake you can view three glaciers: Charlton, Mount Unwin, and Maligne Glaciers. A highlight of visiting Maligne Lake is Spirit Island, thought to be one of the most photographed locations in the Canadian Rockies if not the entire world. A few trees grow on this tiny “tied island” that is connected to the shores by beach materials.
2. Icefields Parkway
The Icefields Parkway in Jasper is famed as the “Most Spectacular Journey in the World”. This 144-mile stretch of highway takes you through the heart of the Canadian Rockies, past vast wilderness, pristine forests, mountain lakes, ancient glaciers, and stunning valleys. The journey along Icefields Parkway typically begins in Banff and takes you past Lake Louise, Peyto Lake, Saskatchewan Crossing, Columbia Icefield (largest in the Rockies!), and into the town of Jasper, Alberta. Travelling back in the opposite direction gives completely new views, as your eyes will focus on new stunning scenery you didn’t notice on your first trip.
3. Athabasca Glacier Tour in Jasper
Athabasca Glacier is one of six “toes” of the Columbia Icefield and the most visited glacier in North America because it is so easily accessible. Situated between Banff and Jasper along the Icefields Parkway, Athabasca is approximately 3.7 miles long, covers 2.3 square miles, and is between 300 and 980 feet thick! Each year the glacier recedes 16 feet; over the last 125 years it has lost half of its volume. One of the highlights of visiting Athabasca Glacier is riding in an all-terrain Ice Explorer vehicle up to the glacier where you can see and touch the ice close up. The weather can be very cool up at Athabasca Glacier with strong winds; proper clothing and shoes are recommended.
4. Maligne Canyon
Maligne Canyon is voted as Trip Advisor’s #2 thing to do in Jasper, right after a visit to Athabasca Falls. Parks Canada has created an enjoyable interpretive trail along the canyon with plenty of informational signs along the way. There are four bridges across the gorge giving plenty of unique views. At some points, the canyon is less than six feet across yet 164 feet deep. The longer Maligne Canyon hike features two more bridges that take you even lower down into Maligne canyon.
5. Jasper National Park Lodging
Accommodations in Jasper Park range from inns and lodges, to bungalows, cabins, and luxury hotels depending on your preferences. Many Jasper hotels incorporate the natural setting around them to create family-friendly accommodations with awesome views and opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. Currently Caravan Tours features Jasper House overlooking the Athabasca River, offering charming old world hospitality.
Caravan Canadian Rockies Tour Includes Jasper National Park
Come experience the Canadian Rockies’ greatest National Parks including Banff and Jasper National Park with Caravan Tours. Current Canada Tour packages include two nights stay in Jasper Park as well as ride through the world-famous Icefields Parkway, Maligne Lake, Maligne Canyon, and a drive across Athabasca Glacier on a Columbia Icefield’s tour.
See also, our blog post on Western Canada Tours.
Here’s what some past Caravan Tours guests had to say about their Jasper Canadian Rockies vacation:
“I loved Jasper because of the woods, river and wildlife. This was my first motor coach tour. I like the fact that I did not have to drive to see the sights. I would definitely go again.”
Mr. & Mrs. J.E., Floral Park, New York
“Glacier, Banff, and Jasper National Parks are so beautiful. There were many photo opts.”
Mr. & Mrs. K.D., Warwick, Pennsylvania
“Jasper and the area around it was absolutely gorgeous and ‘wild.’ That area symbolized the Canadian Rockies for me. I would love to spend more time there some day. We’ve been home three weeks and when someone asks how was our trip, we still are enthusiastic about the whole experience. We would recommend this Caravan Canadian Rockies Tour to ANYONE!”
Mr. & Mrs. J.S., Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Read all Caravan’s tour reviews for Canadian Rockies and Glacier Park tour.
Call 1-800-CARAVAN (227-2826) to reserve your vacation today!