If the Jasper Dark Sky Preserve were some otherworldly landscape within the Star Wars universe, then Mike Gere would definitely be Yoda. A longtime local and photography guide, Gere helps amateur shutterbugs learn how to wield and capture light even during the blackest of hours. He also uses a lot of tools that look suspiciously like light sabers. In the sixth episode of Venture Beyond: The Series, this master of light tells his story.
Be one with the force and follow Gere's plan for an ideal two days in Jasper.
Morning - Sunrise at Pyramid Island
As one of Jasper's most iconic spots, Pyramid Island is beautiful anytime of the day, year-round. But for extra solitude and some golden hour photography goodness, try to go for sunrise. Luckily in the autumn and winter, you won't have to get up extremely early in order to greet the sun.
Afternoon - Beauty Creek Hike to Stanley Falls
If you're heading down the Icefield Parkway then don't miss this hidden gem of a hike. Under 4 kilometres long (out and back) and with only 139 metres of elevation gain, this is a family-friendly hike that ends at a lovely waterfall.
Evening - Maligne Canyon
Finish your day with another easy to moderate walk along a geological marvel. Maligne Canyon is the deepest canyon in the Rockies and the moderately steep hike along its ridge takes about a half an hour one-way. In winter, the rushing water carving through the canyon drains away and it's possible to walk along the frozen floor.
Morning - Cavell Meadows
Although the long, winding approach road to Mount Edith Cavell is now closed for the season, Gere highly recommends working this scenic hike into your future visit plans. Typically, the road remains open to vehicle traffic through summer & fall seasons until the first significant snowfall or October 15. Cavell Road opens to vehicle on June 21, weather permitting.
Afternoon - Jasper SkyTram and Whisters Summit hike
Open until Oct. 31, the Jasper SkyTram is an easy, time-efficient way to reach and explore the alpine. From the Upper Station, it's a short >2 kilometre walk to the tippy top summit of Whistlers Mountain.
Evening - Stargazing in the Dark Sky Preserve
The entire national park is designated as a dark sky preserve, but Gere recommends heading out of town for the very best stargazing spots. If you'd like to learn a bit of astrophotography, Jasper Photo Tours has a night sky photography tour to help.