Touring Around Jasper National Park
Mount Edith Cavell was named in honour of a heroic British nurse in 1916. Edith Cavell was executed during WW1 for assisting prisoners of war to escape German-occupied Belgium. Maligne Lake is the second largest glacier-fed lake in the world, second in size only to Lake Baikal in Siberia. Patricia Lake was the site of Operation Habbakuk, a top-secret WWII military project assigned to build an aircraft carrier out of ice! The purpose was to try to find a way to create an “ice ship” out of wood plankings and ice. Although they succeeded in building a prototype, it was never used and eventually melted, carrying with it refrigeration units, which now sit at the bottom of the lake. Today, divers can explore the remains.
The Athabasca River has been carving a gorge through the Rocky Mountains for many thousands of years. The 23-metre Athabasca Falls are located 32 kilometres (19 miles) south of the Jasper townsite, offering visitors a breathtaking view of jagged cliffs and brilliant flashes of spray. They may not be the tallest falls you will ever see, but this may be the most exciting picnic you will ever enjoy! Please remain on the safe side of the trail at all times; the rocks are slippery—you could easily be washed over the falls. You wouldn’t want that much excitement on your holiday!
Another breathtaking series of waterfalls is just 55 km (33 miles) from the Jasper townsite. “Sunwapta” means “turbulent river” in the language of the Stoney Nation, and a more apt description could not be found for this unpredictable watercourse plummeting over the cliffs into a deep canyon. These stepping waterfalls are located where the Chaba Valley joins the Athabasca Valley, with a deep gorge below the footbridge. You will have to watch out for slippery rocks here as well!
Mount Edith Cavell
Named for the selfless British nurse of the WW1, this 3,368-m mountain is one of the most beautiful mountains in Western Canada. Only 30 kilometres south of the Jasper townsite, your visit wouldn’t be complete without seeing the Park’s most famous mountain. A close up view of the north face of Mount Edith Cavell is visible after a short hike to Cavell Meadows, as is Angel Glacier. Found at the base of Angel Glacier is Cavell Pond, a cold-water lake that is fed by the glacier.
11 kilometres southeast of the town of Jasper, along Maligne Lake Road, the Maligne River carves a 50-m (165-ft) gorge through the solid limestone of the Canadian Rockies. The Maligne Canyon may be viewed from the first four bridges of six that cross the Maligne River. The lower two bridges cross the river and do not include interpretive information. You can even visit the frozen canyon during the winter, when a guide will take you through its mysterious icy twists and turns.
Just 20 kilometres further along from Medicine Lake (or a total of 30 miles from downtown Jasper) is the largest natural lake in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Maligne Lake, in the gorgeous Maligne Valley, offers a variety of recreational activities, including guided fishing and boat cruises across its vast 22-kilometre length. Summer visitors will want to hike trails in the area, while winter visitors will enjoy fabulous cross-country skiing. The restaurant and shops are open during the summer season.
The view from the top of The Whistler’s Mountain has inspired visitors for generations. The Jasper Skytram takes visitors up to an elevation of 2,285 metres (7,496 feet) for the most spectacular views of the area. Just eight kilometres (4.8 miles) south of the Jasper townsite, the tram is open from the early spring through the late fall and offers the opportunity to learn about the alpine environment and area hiking trails through an interpretive exhibit. There is also an excellent restaurant and gift shop located at the Skytram.
Lakes Edith and Annette are small, pleasant recreational lakes very close to the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. Visitors will enjoy the sandy beaches, excellent picnic areas, refreshing swimming at both lakes and the excellent bicycle trails around Lake Edith.
Serving as the backdrop for the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, visitors can explore the trails that weave around beautiful Lac Beauvert. In the winter, nearby Mildred Lake is a popular spot for outdoor winter skating. The lake has several ovals that are cleared, as well as lighting for nighttime skating.
Patricia and Pyramid Lakes offer fishing, canoeing, windsurfing, sailing, hiking, cycling, picnicking, horseback riding and many other activities. Winter is magical at Pyramid Lake for cross-country skiers and ice skaters alike. Patricia Lake offers the opportunity for cold-water divers to explore the remains of Operation Habbakuk, a top-secret WW11 military experiment.
Separated by a series of dunes, Talbot Lake neighbours Jasper Lake and is visible from Hwy. 16, approximately 20 minutes north of Jasper. The waters are shallow and clear, making it an ideal location for pike fishing.
There are many options open to the visitor on how to see Jasper and the surrounding area. There are many tour companies that can take you but an excellent alternative would be to rent a car from National Car Rentals and explore the numerous attractions and points of interest yourself.