Jasper is always another place that everyone absolutely must visit but no one’s ever really sure why? It’s a mini Banff and in Jasper town itself there’s not masses to do. Which is why we stayed in the nearby logging town of Hinton. Where there’s even less to do. Work out that logic.
Hinton is basically one long strip of hotels and restaurants. But it’s cheap, and a good base to see loads of cool stuff.
And boy did we see cool stuff. I would go so far as to say that the couple of days we spent in and around Jasper were my favourite of the whole holiday. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, once you’ve paid your national park entry fee, you really are just free to drive around and see what nature has to offer.
On our first full day, we headed out to Maligne Lake. As if the lake wasn’t beautiful enough, getting there was quite an adventure. We managed to see many and Elk, got held hostage in the car by some mountain goats, and saw an actual, for real Canadian Moose at the side of the road. I could have been done for the day with that little haul.
The lake itself is another azure blue wonder and was relatively quiet as we went for a little 3k walk around it’s periphery (including getting slightly lost in the woods on our way round). On a clear day (as was when we visited) you can also see three glaciers and Spirit Island. There are boat tours available going out into the lake which reminded me a lot of the fjords you see in Norway, however, not being the most seafaring of couples, we kept our feet on terra firma and just enjoyed the views from the shore.
After stopping and having a leisurely lunch overlooking the lake, we drove down to Maligne Canyon, which is a slot canyon eroded out of the Palliser Formation which is over 50 metres deep (thanks Wikipedia!) and, like most other canyons we’ve seen. Is very, very impressive. It’s hard to describe all this stuff really and the pictures don’t do them justice. Of all the canyons and waterfalls we’ve seen, it’s the sound of the water or feeling the spray of the water on your face which makes them so mesmerising.
Far be it for me to rave about a car park, but the car park at Maligne Canyon is pretty lovely. There’s a extremely overpriced gift shop (isn’t there always) but outside there’s a fire pit which we sat in front of for a good hour chatting with some other tourists and the young Australian lad who worked there.
We had a few other stuff in mind to do and the order in which we did them didn’t matter all that much so we decided to take it easy and head over to the Miette Hot Springs, which was the ideal way to watch the sun go down and end our first magical day in Jasper. Nestled deep in the Fiddle Valley, it takes about half an hour up a windy road to get there from the highway but when you do it’s totally worth it! The water in the geothermal pools flows from the mountain at 54°C and is actually cooled down to 40°C to make sure you don’t burn your botty as you get in. It’s really cheap to go in, costing only about $8 each and you can stay as long as you want. Cossies are available to rent for a couple of dollars if you fancy stopping by but don’t have your kit with you. Even Moley got in on the action. There’s also some freezing cold plunge pools to ‘cool off’ in if that’s your thing but seeing as it was -2° when we were there, we stayed in the warm.
Day two we had a bit of a lie in and went for a walk around Jasper town before having a drive 5 minutes outside to see some of the lakes. Pyramid lake was probably my favourite, named because you get a great view of Pyramid Mountain from it, but also it had a cute little island you can walk out to in the middle of it, which was really pretty and would be a great place to get married, if you were in the market to do so!
I’ll be perfectly honest, hold my hand on my heart and say that by this point, I was pretty fed up of seeing lakes and mountains. Not that they aren’t lovely of course, but you can get a bit ‘laked’ out when you’re looking at your twentieth lake of the day. So I played the bratty wife card and insisted that we actually ‘do’ something.
That something ended up being the Jasper Skytram, which was another of my favourite things we did on this trip. It whisks you up 2,263 metres (in about 7 minutes) and provides easy access to a boardwalk and hiking trails in the alpine zone of the Canadian Rockies. The views at the top are pretty breath taking and you’re able to hike up to the summit to get some fantastic 360 degree views of Jasper and the surrounding area. You can hike up to the top. I however, parked my bum on an icy bench and watched Dave hike up to the top, as, much as I loved my skechers, which were the MVP of my wardrobe game on holiday, they weren’t quite up to this icy terrain. I had fun chatting to some tourists, taking lots of videos and doing some Instagram stories (always influencing). Adventure Dave, however, bossed it up to the top and reported back the views were, indeed, spectacular. He’s a goddun isn’t he?
Since we were heading off to Kamloops the next day, we thought we’d best just try and squeeze in another couple of canyons and rapids just for good measure, which was nice, as the road we drove down was about to shut the week later for Winter, so it was super quiet. We did manage to meet a lovely Asian couple though who insisted on taking the perfect picture of us on a boardwalk, with our reflection in the water and mountains in the background. I mean, it took about an hour and a half, but we got the shot in the end!