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Jasper

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Jasper [1] is in Jasper National Park in the Rocky Mountains of Canada. Is the largest of Canada's Rocky Mountain Parks and part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Jasper spans 10,878 square kilometres (4200 square miles) of broad valleys, rugged mountains, glaciers, forests, alpine meadows and wild rivers along the eastern slopes of the Rockies in western Alberta. There are more than 1200 kilometres (660 miles) of hiking trails (both overnight and day trips), and a number of spectacular mountain drives.

Get in

Located in the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains, Jasper is the shy cousin to bold, brassy Banff and offers a more serene experience. Approximately four hours north of Banff and four hours west of Edmonton, capital of the province of Alberta. Most people enter the park via Edmonton.

It can be reached by road or train. Highway 16, the Yellowhead Highway, connects Jasper to Edmonton, which has an international airport and is served by many major airlines. Highway 93, the Icefields Parkway, connects south through the Rockies to Lake Louise and onto Banff. Drivers will have to pay for a park admission pass as the town of Jasper is located within Jasper National Park. There are bus and train connections from Edmonton, Banff and Vancouver.

Those driving to the park should be aware that a park fee of $7/adult per night (max $14/carload per night) applies. Annual passes are available for $89.

Get around

There is no public transit. A few taxis and rental cars are available, and bikes can be rented in the summer.

Hitchhikers report that getting a lift in Jasper is very easy.

Jasper is small enough that most places can be easily walked to. Tour companies offer bus service to most of the major tourist destination including Maligne Lake, The Columbia Icefields and Miette Hot Springs. The two major companies in town are Brewster and SunDog. Both these companies offer similar tours at the same price. The only difference is the size of the tour group: Brewster uses large buses (seating approx. 50) and SunDog has smaller vehicles (seating approx. 12).

See

  • Maligne Lake, which has regular boat trips to see the wonder of a lake with water two different colours in different parts. Spirit Island, made famous by a photography competition, is in the middle of Maligne Lake. The only way to see it is to take the boat cruise (1.5 hours round trip).

Do

  • Excellent camping in the summer. Cross Country and downhill skiing [2] in winter.
  • Rent a bike. Plenty of sport shops offer bikes, which are a great way to see the area.
  • Miette Hot Springs, [3], are an excellent place to go and relax after a day of hiking.
  • Jasper Tram, [4].
  • Maligne Canyon, [5]. The river, up near Maligne Lake, flows in a mighty torrent. When it enters Medicine Lake (named in reference to bad medicine) it does so with great volumes. It does not, however, appear to flow out. Indeed, through the summer months Medicine Lake disappears until, in mid autumn all that is left is a thin channel that itself disappears into the shoreline. In Winter, walk on the canyon bottom to see masses of blue ice where waterfalls flow in the summertime!
  • Athabasca Falls - The Athabasca River thunders through a narrow gorge where the walls have been smoothed and potholes are created by the sheer force of the rushing water carrying sand and rock. Parking and restroom facilities. Paved trail and picnic sites available.
  • Columbia Ice Field [6]
  • Mount Robson (The park's namesake peak is the highest in the Canadian Rockies at 3954 metres. Mount Robson Provincial Park is 217,200 hectares of stunning mountains, valleys, and waterways. Forests of spruce, fir, balsam, cedar and alder are home to an abundant array of wildlife including mountain goats, moose, deer, elk, marmot and squirrels and chipmunks. The Rearguard Falls of the Fraser River is the furthest migration point of the Pacific salmon.
  • GyPSy Guide, Take a guided tour in your own car. The GyPSy Guide is a small electronic device that uses GPS technology to automatically trigger commentary about history, geology, directions and quirky Canadian stories, through your car stereo.

Buy

  • Connaught Dr..

Eat

Most of the hotels in or near Jasper have restaurants that will meet or beat your expectations for dining in a small community. Some are higher-toned than others, but across the board food is generally very good and portions tend to be hearty. In addition to the hotel restaurants, the town has several noteworthy dining spots as well as numerous restaurants catering to the hungry but penny-pinching skiers and other visiting outdoors-folk.

  • Andy's Bistro, 606 Patricia St. This central-European restaurant is one of the best in a town of excellent dining choices. The room is not large, and - truth be told - not particularly enticing. But the food is an innovative take on the satisfying cuisine of Germany and Austria: hearty dishes cooked with notable flair and quality. Prices are moderately high, but not out of line for the finer restaurants in Jasper.
  • Dead Dog Bar & Grill, a favorite among locals, the $5.00 burger & fries deal is probably the cheapest meal in town. Happy hour is on Fridays. Located on Connaught Street.
  • Spooners, 610 Patricia St. Juice bar, gourmet coffees, teas, smoothies, homemade desserts and pastries, sandwiches, soups and salads.
  • Something Else, 621 Patricia St. A Greek restaurant that serves up a variety of cuisine, and pizza.
  • North Face Pizza, 618 Connaught Dr. Excellent pizza, great after a day at Marmot Basin!
  • Sorrentino's Bistro Bar, 96 Geike St. Italian restaurant, popular Canadian chain.
  • Denjiro Japanese Restaurant, 410 Connaught Dr. Japanese cuisine, sushi.
  • Becker's Gourmet Restaurant - French / Canadian cuisine
  • Kimchi House, 407 Patricia St, +1 780 852-5022. Korean cuisine.
  • Jasper Brewing Company, 624 Connaught Dr, +1 780 852-4111. Unique in Jasper, beer is brewed on-site.
  • Le Petit Marche, 96 Geikie St (at the Chateau Jasper). The elegant Brasserie features buffet, a la minute and carving stations, plus a la carte menu.
  • Earls, 600 Patricia St. Western Canadian cuisine. A restaurant and bar in one, this can get fairly packed out. The staff aren't fantastic, but the food more than makes up for the wait to be seated.

Drink

  • Buckles Saloon, Maligne Lodge, W end Connaught Dr, +1 780 852-7074.
  • De'd Dog Bar & Grill, Bsmt, 620 Connaught Dr, +1 780 852-9449.
  • Villa Caruso, Corner, Connaught Dr and Hazel Ave, +1 780 852-3920.
  • The 'B' Ale House, 510 Patricia St, +1 780 852-3386.
  • Chateau Jasper, 96 Geikie St, +1 780 852-5644.
  • Nick's Bar, Juniper St between Connaught Dr and Geikie St, +1 780 852-4966.

Sleep

Budget

In the summer, there is excellent camping in the campgrounds operated by Parks Canada. Throughout the year, it is possible to stay in private home accommodation - rooms or suites in residents' homes. Prices vary, but standards are high - full details of what is available can be found in the tourist office in town, or at [7].

  • HI: Maligne Canyon, Maligne Lake Rd (turn south off highway 16 just east of the townsite), +1 780 852-3215 or +1 877 852-0781, fax +1 780 852-5560, [8]. Closed Wednesdays Oct-Apr, open all other times. Check-in between 5PM and 11PM, checkout by 10AM. This small, 24 bed hostel, is an excellent place to get away from things for a while. Though it lacks running water, you'll not miss anything else...there's a good sized kitchen, a supply of drinking water, and a very friendly and relaxed atmosphere. $15/person for HI members, $20/person for non-members.

Mid-range

There are numerous motels and inns within the town, as well as in Hinton, just outside the eastern entrance to the park.

  • Austrian Haven B&B Located at 812 Patricia Street, +1 780 852-4259. Owned and run by a very friendly and welcoming Austrian lady. There are only 2 rooms, which are beautifully decorated with the biggest most comfortable beds you will ever sleep in. Both the rooms have excellent views of the mountains around Jasper.
  • Mount Robson Inn 902 Connaught Drive, +1 780 852-3327. A comfortable well equipped two storey motel style inn. All rooms have air conditioning, cable television, and plenty of room. Reasonable prices.
  • Patricia Lake Bungalows, +1 780 852-3560.
  • Chateau Jasper Offers exceptional accommodations and amenities complemented by a young, personable staff who extend a warm and sincere welcome. Each guest room is beautifully appointed and retains the charm of the majestic Rockies. A restaurant and conference facilities are available on-site. CAD $140 - $462.
  • Sawridge Inn and Conference Centre Rates: CAD $115 - $360.
  • Maligne Lodge, +1 780 852-3143. Come and enjoy the warmth and hospitality of the Maligne Lodge. A stones throw away from the historical locations of the town centre. CAD $86 - $473
  • Mount Robson Inn, 902 Connaught Drive, +1 780 852-3327. Offers 80 luxurious, well appointed rooms and suites. CAD $94 - $325.
  • Jasper Inn Alpine Resort, 98 Geikie Street, +1 780 852-4461. Cozy and tastefully appointed fireside accommodation, comfortable amenities and casual fine dining amid the rugged beauty of the Canadian Rockies. Rates: CAD $93 - $413.
  • Marmot Lodge, 86 Connaught Drive, +1 780 852-4471 Distinctive rooms and suites reflect a commitment to quality and fine detail. Look out upon the beauty of the mountains rising above the park-like grounds and the forests beyond. Featuring heated indoor pool, sauna and whirlpool as well as kitchen suites. Rates: CAD 70 - 260.
  • Lobstick Lodge, 94 Geikie Street, A favourite among the skiing crowd, Lobstick Lodge features a restaurant onsite, as well as FIVE hot tubs and an indoor pool. Rates: varies with season; Fall has the cheapest rates (<$100 is common), while summer is high season (June - August).
  • Amethyst Lodge, Connaught Drive, An excellent motel 5 minutes walk from the centre of Jasper. The rooms are spacious, although rather dark, with clean bathrooms. Complimentary Fatport wireless internet is available throughout the motel. The buffet breakfast is extensive and tasty, with fruit, cereals, bagels, muffins, croissants, many types of bread, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, sauteed potatoes, french toast and pancakes. Rates: CAD $200.

Splurge

  • Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, Old Lodge Rd (turn south off highway 16 just east of the townsite, and make a quick right after crossing the river), +1 780 852-3301 or 800-257-7544 (jasperparklodge@fairmont.com, fax 780-852-5107), [9]. The Jasper Park Lodge is the premier hotel in Jasper, and one of the most famous and storied mountain resorts in the Canada. Started as a tenting site in conjunction with the Grand Trunk Railway in 1915, it has grown into a renowned destination resort. $400 and up.

Get out

VIA Rail [10] runs routes through Jasper, which you can often include as a free stop-over if heading between Vancouver and Edmonton.

It is also popluar to travel down to Lake Louise and Banff, making stops at Athabasca Falls, Peyto Lake, Crowfoot Glacier, and Bow Lake.

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