Jasper National Park is one of the highlights of any tour through western Canada. Its imposing mountain peaks, crystal clear lakes, dense fir forests and glaciers, which almost reach the driveway, characterize the largest national park in the northern Rockies, which is also part of the UNESCO “Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks” World Heritage Site. The unique alpine mountain world of Jasper National Park extends over an area of 10,800 square kilometers west of Edmonton and northeast of Vancouver, in the Canadian province of Alberta.
The national park was established in 1907. Jasper Hawes, who maintained a base for the North West Company in the region, acted as the namesake. Jasper offers itself as a starting point to discover the beauty and originality of the territory. The place is located in the middle of the national park and can be easily reached via the Yellowhead Highway. The local area is at an altitude of 1,062 meters and emerged from a previous fur trading post of the Hudson Bay Company. Visitors can learn about the history of the national park at the Jasper Yellowhead Museum.
The territory is accessed through the Icefield Parkway. The route is one of the most beautiful panoramic roads in the world and runs between Lake Louise and Jasper. Jasper National Park is famous for its diverse and abundant wildlife. It is home to elk, black bears, elk, lynx and wolves. With a bit of luck, you will come across forest caribou in the valley of the Maligne River.
The biggest attraction in the national park is the Columbia Ice Field. The impressive relic of the last ice age covered the entire valley 100 years ago. Today, the years on the signs along the Icefield Parkway illustrate the brutal decline in the ice masses. The Columbia Icefield Center offers guided tours into the bizarre world of ice.
Maligne Lake is the largest lake in the Rocky Mountains and is fed by the water from the glaciers. A boat trip takes you to the picturesque Spirit Island, which has become a landmark of the Canadian Rockies. The Medicine Lake, whose water level is subject to constant changes, is shrouded in legend. One of the highlights of a stay in Jasper National Park is a bath in the hot springs of Miette. Two whirlpools and a pool café are available to visitors. Skiers are drawn to the Marmot Basin. A 900 meter long slope leaves nothing to be desired.
Mount Edith Cavell can also be reached from Jasper on short distances. The 3,363 meter high mountain giant was named after the nurse Edith Cavell, who was executed in World War I. She had helped British, French and Belgian prisoners of war to flee to the neutral Netherlands during the German invasion of Belgium. In 1915 she was executed as a spy by the German occupation forces. A gondola lift leads up to the 2,285-meter-high Whistlers Mountain. When the weather is favorable, the view extends to Mount Robson, the highest point in the Rocky Mountains.
Jasper National Park highlights
- Alberta’s highest mountain, Mount Columbia at 3747m
- the hydrographic peak of North America (in the area of the Columbia Icefields), where water flows from one point into three oceans (Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean and Arctic Ocean)
- the longest underground drainage system known in Canada (the Maligne Valley Karst)
- the northern tree line of the Douglas fir in Alberta (Brûlé Lake)
- the last fully protected pastureland for caribou in the Rocky Mountains (Maligne Herd)
- the most accessible glacier in North America, the Athabasca Glacier
Did you know that …
- Jasper National Park protects over 10,800 square kilometers of the Rocky Mountain ecosystem, which offers a variety of animals, plants, rivers, lakes, glaciers and magnificent mountains?
- Jasper National Park has over 1,200 km of hiking trails with impressive waterfalls and colorful mountain meadows to offer?
- Jasper National Park is one of four national parks (Jasper, Banff, Yoho and Kootenay) and three BC (British Columbia) Provincial Parks (Mount Robson, Hamber, Mount Assiniboine), which together constitute the “Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks” World Heritage Site?
- on September 14, 1907, the then government founded the Jasper Forest Park with a total area of over 13,000 square kilometers?
- In 1930 the Jasper Forest Park with an area of just over 10,000 square kilometers was declared a national park (Jasper National Park)?
- the Icefields Parkway, Highway 93, for a total of 230km from Jasper to Lake Louise, always follows the shadow of the great watershed?
- the Icefields Parkway crosses two passes; the Sunwapta Pass at 2035 meters and the Bow Summit at 2069 meters? These passes take visitors to the edge of the treeless, alpine tundra.
- 69 naturally occurring species of mammals live in the Canadian Rockies? It is very common to see deer, roe deer, ibex, coyotes, and black bears all over Jasper National Park.
- the largest glacial lake (glacier-fed lake) can be found in Jasper National Park? Maligne Lake is 22km long and up to 97 meters deep.
- In 1916 “Mount Edith Cavell” was named in honor of a courageous British nurse who helped prisoners to escape during World War I in Belgium, which was occupied by German troops?