A Road Trip in the Sensational Jasper National Park

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Jasper National Park is so beautiful just like Banff National Park. The Rocky Mountains have by far been the best views I’ve seen in Canada. Unfortunately, we only spent one day in Jasper as I was unwell and needed a cheaper doctor. We spent the day travelling up to Maligne Lake and back. I would definitely like to spend more time in Jasper National Park next visit.

To gain access to all national parks in Canada; you need a pass. Day tickets are around CAN$10 or you can purchase a year pass for around CAN$70. If you are visiting many national parks the years’ pass is more costive effective.

The Icefields Parkway Drive Through Jasper National Park

Icefields Parkway is the main highway through Jasper National Park. The Icefields Parkway runs for 230km from Lake Louise to the Town of Jasper. Driving it in both directions is a must. The views are breath-taking and some of the best you will ever see. Both directions are unreal.

Bow Glacier Falls Hike, Bow Lake

I was so excited to do this hike. We set off on this hike thinking it was 2km to the Bow Glacier Falls. The trail is in fact 8.7 km there and back. The trail is so pretty as it runs alongside Bow Lake. The hike takes you along the side of the river. Next, at a small clearing, the hike continues along the river bed. If you end up going up and through trees, you’ve missed the exit to the river bed. It is perfect weather not too hot or too cold for a change. A constant temperature so you weren’t always laying up and delaying. A refreshing change.

Me standing on the shore of Bow Lake in Jasper National Park
Bow Lake

I hike in flip-flops most of the time unless I know it’s going to be a long one. I find it comfier than trainers or hiking boots. We were on the hike for maybe an hour and a half then the worst thing happened. Unfortunately, flip-flops can be easy to break and yes that happened to me on this hike. Okay! Not quite the worst thing but it did put a stop to the hike. I tried to go on but it was all stones. Stones are my weak point and I cannot walk on them. So, we missed out on the Bow Glacier Falls. I felt gutted. If only I wore my trainers. Oh well, hindsight is a wonderful thing!

Viewing the Breath-taking Colour of Peyto Lake

The bright blue Peyto Lake in Jasper National Park
The Beautiful Peyto Lake

By the time we arrived at this lake, it was packed with tourists. However, that didn’t mean we could miss it as it is a must-see. It is a short 2.9 km hike to the viewing platform. This platform overlooks Peyto Lake. One word. Wow! The colour of Peyto Lake was incredible. You couldn’t even imagine it to be this good. I was still shocked even though I had seen many pictures of the lake. It is the rock flour that gives this glacier-fed lake its vibrant-blue colour. The colour simply pops and it will leave you speechless. Nothing compares to seeing this lake with your own eyes.

A Stop by Mistaya Canyon

Mistaya Canyon Jasper National Park
Mistaya Canyon

Mistaya Canyon was an early morning stop. After parking the car on a highway pullout, it is about a 5- 10 minute walk. The canyon is clearly signposted, so getting lost is impossible. As you walk along you can hear the river roaring past. After a short downhill walk, you reach the bridge. That is when all of a sudden the impressive slot canyon is insight. This canyon is truly a beautiful, natural wonder of nature.

The Hike Along Parker Ridge

Parker's Ridge Jasper National Park
The Valley on the Parker Ridge Hike

Parker Ridge hike was a simple 5km and after 2km you are hiking along the ridge. It wasn’t too strenuous. But I was ill so there was plenty of stopping along the way. The path zig-zags up the mountain before hiking along the steep ridge. It takes a small effort to climb the steep section at the start but after that, it’s all flat. However, you are then rewarded with great views of the Saskatchewan Glacier.

Athabasca Glacier and The Columbia Icefields

As the highway continues North you reach The Columbia Icefields section. The Columbia Icefields are the largest in North America covering around 325km squared and an average elevation of 3000m.

Crowfoot Glacier on Crowfoot Mountain

Crowfoot Glacier Jasper National Park
The Melting Crowfoot Glacier

The Crowfoot Glacier is visible from a lookout point on the side of the Icefields Parkway Highway. It is a glacier on the North-Eastern side of Crowfoot Mountain, overlooking Bow Lake. Simply put it’s shaped like a crow’s foot hence the name. However, it is melting therefore when we saw the crow’s foot, it had already lost a claw. The glacier water flows into the remarkable Bow River. This river runs from Bow Lake all the way to Calgary. Craving a remarkable flow of water through the valley.

Maligne Lake, Jasper National Park

Maligne Lake is 22km long and the second largest lake in the Canadian Rockies. The colour of the azure blue is unbelievable. Also, it looks very inviting for a swim but don’t be fooled, it is way too cold for that. Maligne Lake has an elevation of 1,670 metres above sea level.

Lake Maligne Jasper National Park
Lake Maligne in Summertime

Here we took the boat trip on offer at Maligne Lake. We were extremely lucky as we didn’t book in advance. I would highly recommend the boat ride as well as booking in advance. The boat ride isn’t the only option to explore Spirit Island, you can also rent kayaks. However, I was too ill to do any more exercise. The Hike up Parker’s Ridge was enough for me.

Our tour guide was new to the job but this didn’t hinder the experience. She was awesome and provided us with all the facts as we travelled up to Spirit Island. The Canadians gifted our Queen (Great Britain) a mountain range for her birthday one year. The Queen Elizabeth Mountain Range sits on the shoreline of Maligne Lake. This mountain range as it’s shaped like a ‘J’ making it different from the standard linear-shaped ranges. Very unusual.

Travelling Back Down the Icefield Parkway Highway

So, we missed some stops on the way up. Yet, planned to hit them on the way back down. The joys of travelling the road both ways. I highly recommend doing the drive in both directions. You get very different views but all equally as beautiful and breathtaking. You can stop at the highlights in any order you would like. The joys of road tripping.

Athabasca Falls, Jasper National Park

Athabasca Falls sits at 23 metres, not the tallest waterfall within Jasper National Park. However, it is the most powerful due to the sheer volume of water that flows from the Athabasca River. Another mind-blowing canyon falls. Yet if you visit in the evening can witness an incredible alpenglow on the mountainous backdrop.

Sunwapta Falls, Jasper National Park

A short walk from the car, two waterfalls flow into the River Sunwapta. We didn’t do any of the hikes on offer as time was pressing on. The falls were great to view due to the gorgeous mountain backdrop and descend into a limestone gauze.

From the highway, you can see Kerkeslin Lick Goats. All you do is slow the car down and witness the mountain goat licking the salty minerals left behind. These are about 15 minutes North of Sunwapta Falls.

Tangle Creek Falls

This is a little waterfall on the side of the Icefields Parkway. Delicate multi-tiered waterfall on a cliff face. You can view it straight from your car as it is on the side of the road. Yet, it was nice to get out and stretch my legs. I had already done so much driving and had plenty more to do.

Big Bend Viewpoint

You can’t miss it, it is quite literally a big bend when you come back South from Jasper. We pulled in here to enjoy the view but I noticed that my car felt cold. I lifted the bonnet of the car to find that the oil cap had come off. However, it didn’t dampen my spirits because the view was incredible.

At this point, there is no cell phone service. Therefore, we kept going until we got to the motel at Saskatchewan Crossing. It all worked out in the end. We called BCAA and got a tow truck instead of risking the car. It was a welcome relief not to drive the last 200 km to Canmore. We made it safely to Canmore where we went straight to sleep.

Summary of Jasper National Park

Overall, the national park didn’t disappoint in any way. It was amazing just like Banff National Park. It was all breathtaking and I love nature so I felt right at home exploring the trails. I wish we had more time to really explore Jasper on longer hikes but I needed rest and a doctor. Jasper National Park is worth the visit even if you only have a day like us.

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