5 WAYS TO EXPERIENCE
JASPER LIKE A LOCAL
By Tourism Jasper
Jasper National Park is vast and its attractions plentiful, with travellers across the globe visiting year-round to appreciate. With so much to take in, a little insider know-how can be the perfect touch in making the most of your adventure in the Rockies.
Being prepared is at the core of any successful adventure. While there’s a certain sentimentality in throwing together a last-minute travel pack and going wherever the wind takes you, any seasoned traveller will tell you that investing time in getting to know your destination beforehand can go a long way in making the most of your trip.
As Canada’s base of adventure, there’s plenty about Jasper that make it a truly unique destination; its authentic wilderness, remote location, and small but passionate community to name but a few. And as a national park in the Canadian Rockies, it is also a place that attracts millions of visiting explorers every year.
Anyone can Google the best places to stay and eat for a specific destination, but having a bit of local insider knowledge in your back pocket can help you better enjoy and appreciate your adventure. Here are five tips to keep in mind to help you venture beyond like a local on your next excursion to Jasper:
1/ Be prepared for “train days”
VIA Rail and the Rocky Mountaineer are two extremely popular ways to experience the Rocky Mountains, and as such they bring a significant amount of visiting explorers to Jasper each week. Trains roll into town almost daily, but Wednesdays and Saturdays are the busiest. Unless you’ve booked your hotel or cabin in advance, you’re likely going to have a difficult time finding accommodations on those days (especially during those busy summer months!) Want to really embrace a train day? Book yourself a ticket and experience the Rockies by rail!
2/ Visit popular attractions during meal times
The awe-inspiring vistas and natural wonders throughout Jasper National Park have been known to inspire feelings of serenity and tranquility. If you’d like to experience places such as Pyramid Island, Athabasca Falls, or Edith Cavell at your own pace and without the swell of other visitors, consider planning your visits during meal times. While the crowds are off having lunch or dinner, you’ll be enjoying some quieter quality time with Mother Nature.
3/ Plot your course in advance
Sometimes explorers forget that Jasper sits in the middle of an 11,000 square kilometer park. This means that some of the attractions – like the Miette Hot Springs, the Glacier Skywalk or Spirit Island at Maligne Lake – are a bit further than a stone’s throw from town. Maximize your time and avoid disappointment by plotting your points of interest on a map, and plan your adventure accordingly! (This is also a good reason to think about transportation before you get here. Bikes are great for in and around town, but you may need to rely on a car or a shuttle like SunDog Tours for the places that are out in the park).
4/ Travel during shoulder seasons
It’s no surprise that summer and winter are popular times of year to experience Jasper; most natural attractions are accessible during the summer and skiing is at its prime during the winter. But spring and autumn have a lot to offer too, and with fewer people to navigate around. May is generally when the ski season wraps up and when most warm-weather attractions open, with the season extending right to the Thanksgiving weekend in October or later. October is also home to the annual Dark Sky Festival – a must-attend experience for anyone who prefers to power down and look up.
5/ Invest in an annual Parks Canada pass
To visit any national park in Canada, all vehicles must obtain a Parks Pass. While short-term passes are always available, the timing has never been better to invest in an annual pass. Not only will it give you unlimited access to Jasper and the other Mountain National Parks, but in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday the pass will be good for all of 2017 as well!
If you’re planning your own Jasper adventure, there are many great resources to assist you. Check out Jasper.Travel, speak to a knowledgeable travel counsellor at the Visitor Information Centre or speak to a local when you arrive!
Jasper is your base of adventure: an awe-inspiring and authentic Rocky Mountain destination – the entry point to Canada’s most epic experiences. It is from here that the greatest personal expeditions begin; where explorers and wanderers from around the world converge to enjoy the activities, accommodations, restaurants, and businesses of the town of Jasper, before taking on the real Canadian Rockies of Jasper National Park.
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