July 31, 2018

3 day summer itinerary in Jasper National Park

Jasper in the summertime offers endless adventures for all levels. With trails that wind through beautiful forests up Rocky Mountain peaks, pristine lakes surrounded by gorgeous vistas, and all the comforts of home, Jasper is the base of summer adventure.

Day 1

Morning

Start your Jasper visit with an exhilarating road tour through some of the national park’s highlights. Jasper Motorcycle Tours offers sidecar tours on legendary Harley-Davidsons, driven by professional riders. Get fitted into riding leathers and experience the thrill of wind in your hair and mountain peaks in your sights. Carrying two guests per sidecar motorcycle, your personal guide/driver will stop for photo opportunities allowing you to switch positions from the back of the bike to sidecar. One, two, or three hour tours are available. In 2007, Jasper Motorcycle Tours established the first adventure of this kind in North America, and has become a Destination Canada signature experience.

Afternoon

Jasper has many lakes --  get a feel for one of its most famous with Wild Current Outfitters’ guided tour of Pyramid Lake. Two to six guests can fit in each hand crafted canoe (which are designed for maximum stability) and each person can choose to paddle or simply relax and take in the views during this half day tour. In addition to the vessel, Wild Current also provides paddles, life jackets, a waterproof bag with blanket, binoculars, map, whistle, and home-baked treats with hot drinks. Keep cameras handy in case of wildlife such as osprey, beaver, moose, black bear, elk, or coyotes. Got more time? This outfitter also organizes multi-day rafting adventures on the mighty Snake Indian River.

Evening

Experience fine dining in a "cabin in the woods" at Tekarra Restaurant. With a menu inspired by regional products such as AAA beef, wild boar, free range chicken and arctic char, this off-the-beaten path eatery is well worth leaving Jasper’s main drive. Surrounded by towering pines, this unpretentious yet artful restaurant also features an intimate patio with mountain views and a path that leads to the Athabasca River. Inside, large wall art adds to the Canadiana appeal, and the appetizers follow a similar theme, with regional charcuterie boards, elk carpaccio, and poutine with bacon jam to name a few.

Day 2

Morning

Descend steep walled gorges and follow water as it’s actively creating new canyons, all while using rope to control your movement. Book a guide with Rocky Mountain Canyoning to explore Two Valley Canyon. Departing from downtown Jasper, this 4.5 hour tour takes visitors deep inside a world that is unlike any other, where you must navigate wet, slippery surfaces and rappel from heights up to 15 meters. All technical equipment will be provided including helmet, harness, wetsuits, neoprene socks and booties, long hydroskin thermal layer, and splash top.  Other longer tours explore Morro Canyon and Ogre Canyon. Canyoning involves jumping, walking, scrambling, sliding, wading and more, so this trip requires a moderate fitness level (and willingness to get soaked.)

Afternoon

Being in the mountains means being prepared for any kind of weather. Ensure your safety (while also snagging a super stylish and useful souvenir) at Edge Control. This retail store got its start in 1978 as a revolutionary overnight ski tune-up and repair shop. Now conveniently located on Connaught Drive, Edge Control offers high quality clothing made for and inspired by the mountains, along with footwear and rental equipment. Stocking high end brands like Mountain Hardwear, Helly Hanson, Eider and Kombi, entering this store is like a trip to the candy shop for anyone with a passion for the outdoors. Summer or winter, you are well advised to drop in.

Evening

Bid adieu to the day from Lac Beauvert, where you can rent kayaks, canoes, clipper boats, paddle boards and paddle boats throughout the summer from the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge Boathouse. If the sun is out, this natural, glacier-fed lake’s emerald green colour shines, making for a phenomenal place to admire the views. Pause and ponder the fact that the water you’re floating on came via a fascinating underground cave system (known as the Maligne Karst, it’s the longest subterranean drainage system in Canada) that filtered out all the glacier sediment, allowing for the crystal clear waters. Bike rentals are also available if you’d prefer to observe the lake from the trail that encircles it.

Day 3

Morning

A trip to Jasper wouldn’t be complete without hitting the trails. Join Walks and Talks on a 9:30 a.m. guided trek of the Maligne Canyon’s five bridges. Explore a unique route along this Jasper geographical icon toward bridge #5. Feel the spray of the waterfall and learn about the mysterious underground drainage system as you descend along the coursing turquoise waters along the lower portion of this fascinating gorge. Munch on lunch at the lower Maligne Canyon picnic site before hopping in van to enjoy a scenic drive past disappearing Medicine Lake and toward Maligne Lake. Expect 90 minutes of walk time and picnic and three to four hours of drive time. Fancy a different trail? Check the website for their other options to explore Pyramid Lake, winter hiking and more.

Afternoon

Get a true Western experience while exploring the natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains. Jasper Riding Stables offers tours with wonderful views and high probability of wildlife spotting (don’t worry -- the horses are selected for their family-friendly temperaments). Choose between a one hour trip with stunning vistas of the Athabasca River Valley and three mountain ranges, or the two hour Ridgeline and Cottonwood Loop, which follows along Patricia Lake, past beaver dams, waterfowl and woodland life as well as the beautiful open ridgeline of the Athabasca River. The three hour Cowboy’s Way excursion offers the scenery of the first two rides as well as the rolling terrain that overlooks the breathtaking Pyramid Bench.

Evening

See Jasper from a whole new perspective when the Jasper SkyTram whisks you up Whistler’s Mountain to an elevation of 2,277 metres for stunning vistas over six mountain ranges, glacially fed lakes, rivers and of course the town below. On a clear day, you can even see the white pyramid of Mount Robson in nearby British Columbia. This is the longest and highest guided aerial tramway in Canada, lasting seven minutes, during which a flight attendant will point out sights and answer questions. The upper station features interpretive exhibits that explain the high alpine environment, and a hiking trail that leads to the summit of the mountain.

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