Jasper National Park is 10,878 square kilometre (4,200 square mile) park, Canada’s largest in the Rocky Mountains. The park contains rugged mountain peaks, year-round glaciers, crystal clear lakes, thundering waterfalls, deep canyons, evergreen forests and abundant wildlife. This scenery makes Jasper an international year-round destination with first-class facilities and services.

Take a hike out to the Pyramid Lakes north of town, or drive over the thundering Athabasca River to Maligne Canyon just north of town. You can also golf at the nearby Jasper Park Lodge. For a longer drive, keep driving, up to scenic Maligne Lake, the largest lake in the Rockies.

Drive a half hour south of town, to see the thundering Athabasca Falls. Keep driving south (another half hour) to see the Columbia Icefield, the continent’s largest glacier with a mile-deep icecap.

West of town is the Yellowhead Pass, which was the original planned route for the Canadian trans-continental railroad, before the southerly Kicking Horse Pass was discovered. It is named for Pierre Bostonais, a blonde-haired Iroquois who guided for the Hudson’s Bay Company in the 1820s. The Yellowhead Pass has an elevation of only 4,071 feet (1,245 m) and is the most gentle crossing of the Continental Divide.

Jasper townsite, viewed from Marmot ski hill
Jasper townsite, viewed from Marmot ski hill

Jasper History

Te Athabasca River Valley was populated by Aboriginal people who hunted in the grassland meadows beneath the peaks.

Jasper began as a fur trading post on the Athabasca River (the primary highway of the day), and was established and managed by two of Canada’s fur trading heavyweights: Hudson’s Bay Company and North West Company. The town and park are named for a voyageur who was one of the post’s managers: Jasper Haws. The cabins built later by local Métis families helped establish Jasper’s cabin-loving culture.

In the late 1850s, Jasper was already receiving its first tourists, coming for the mountain scenery. Over the 1860s, The Overlanders, a group of 150 adventurers, y journey through the Yellowhead Pass to seek fortune in the many newly discovered B.C. goldfields, enduring many hardships along the way. In 1998, the Columbia Icefield is discovered.

In 1907, the government protected the area as Jasper Forest Park, just as Canada’s second transcontinental rail line was set to pass through. The hamlet here (1911)_ was first called Fitzhugh, but as the town grew, in 1913 it was renamed Jasper. At 11,228 square kilometres (4,335 square miles), Jasper National Park is also Canada’s largest park in the Rocky Mountains.

In 1916, Mount Edith Cavell is named to honour a heroic British nurse. She was executed during World War I for helping prisoners of war to escape from German-occupied Belgium. in 1928, the road between Jasper and Edmonton opens. In 1930, the Jasper park is officially established as a National Park.

In 1970, the Yellowhead Inter-Provincial Highway is officially opened. It’s now known as the Trans-Canada Yellowhead Highway 16. in 1971, The importance of the Yellowhead Pass as a travel corridor receives official recognition. It’s designated as a national historic site. In 1984, Jasper National Park, along with Canada’s other parks in the Rocky Mountains, is declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Jasper-Athabasca River Canyon below falls-sliver
Jasper-Athabasca River Canyon below falls-sliver

Jasper Attractions

Here are the attractions in and around the town of Jasper (from northeast to southwest). You will need a car to see these, as they are more than a short walk from the town.

Maligne Canyon

This canyon has 23 m (75 ft) high walls of limestone bedrock, created by the Maligne River. This is the longest and deepest limestone canyon in the Canadian Rockies. A self-guiding trail, crossing over six footbridges over the canyon, leads up to a teahouse.

Jasper Park Lodge

The Jasper Park Lodge was built originally in 1922, and rebuilt after a fire in 1952, is the creme-de-la-creme stop for Jasper’s tourists. It lies on the shores of Lac Beauvert, has its own 18-hole golf course, offers horseback riding, and has its waiters deliver room service meals on bicycle.

Old Fort Point

This landmark is where the original Henry House Fort was built for the North West Company in 1811. Later, in 1829, it was replaced by Jasper House built on the shores of Brule (“Broo-Lay”) Lake, east of the National Park.

 

Jasper – Jasper Tram cable car (Joe Breuer)-sliver

Jasper – Jasper Tram cable car (Joe Breuer)-sliver

Jasper Tram

Just 3 km from town
Box 418, Jasper, T0E 1E0
780-852-3093 Fax: 780-852-5779 Toll Free: 1-866-850-8726

Just 3 km from town, the Tram takes you 937 m (3,063 ft) up The Whistlers. There are several hiking trails from the top to nearby peaks, with snow-covering extending into the middle of summer. The Tram provides great views of the town, the Athabasca River, and pyramid-shaped Mount Robson (Canada’s second highest mountain) over 60 kilometres away to the northwest. Mount Robson is so tall it often has its own weather system!

Jasper, Alberta Area Map

Jasper Tours & Experiences

These Jasper Tours & Experiences depart from Jasper, AB.