Jasper National Park has turned out to be one of our favourite places that we’ve visited while living in Canada. The small, quaint village of Jasper is beautifully located within Jasper National Park and is the hub of the area, so we made a brief stop for a picnic on our way to the Pocahontas Campground at the Northern end of the park. This campground is much smaller than a lot of the others in Jasper and is really private and isolated – just remember to book in advance!
While we were nearby the village we decided to visit some of the top tourist attractions in the area such as the Athabasca Falls and Maligne Canyon which were both beautiful but unfortunately jam-packed with tourists. We also popped in to visit Medicine Lake and the famous Maligne Lake. We much preferred Medicine Lake, as it was not only beautiful but really interesting as well – the Lake disappears and re-appears every year. Maligne Lake was nice but is basically a tour bus stop – there are much more interesting and beautiful sights to see in Jasper National Park.
One of our favourite spots in Jasper National Park was Horseshoe Lake where you can do cliff jumping. There were not many people here and we could really appreciate the scenery. However, the water was freezing! The boys were brave enough to jump in a few times but I only got in once before gasping and scrambling out.
The best thing we did while in the park was to go on a couple of hikes. The first one we did was nearby where we were staying at Pocahontas Campground – the Sulphur Skyline Trail (8km return). It is a steady uphill climb of 700m elevation gain and took us about 3.5 hours in total. It really is worth it as at the top you get breathtaking 360 degree views of the area, however, it is very windy so bring a jacket! The trailhead for the Sulphur Skyline hike is right at the entrance to Miette Hotsprings. So after the hike we popped in and soaked ourselves in the hot pools. Its only CA$7 per person entry so definitely worth it to pop in.
Taking a drive down the Icefields Parkway towards Banff is a must-do in the rockies. It is one of the most beautiful drives in the world to do, with towering mountains, waterfalls and beautiful valleys the whole way.
Right at the edge of Jasper National Park (right near Banff National Park) we stopped to do our second hike in the area – the Wilcox Pass hike. Apparently this is a great place to see Bighorn sheep, we unfortunately did not see any Bighorn sheep but we were greeted with spectacular views, especially of the Athabasca Glacier from above, and a lot of cheeky marmots eyeing us up on the trail. The hike is not too difficult at 8km return and 400m elevation gain – it took us about 2.5hrs.
Although we were a bit disappointed to miss out on the male Bighorn sheep, we did see quite a lot of other wildlife in Jasper National Park while driving around. We both female and male Elk, some of the males’ antlers were enormous! We managed to catch a glimpse of a shy coyote, a white-tailed deer and came across some very scraggly looking female Bighorn sheep.
Overall, our time at Jasper National Park was incredible and I highly recommend you visit. Cost wise, if you camp, you are looking at very similar to our Mt Robson costs.