The Jasper Experience in the Canadian Rockies

Gem’s daughter Marie-Anne & family at Jasper

Patrionizing things that are Canadian including travelling is a patriotic gesture at this time of Covid-19 pandemic. With the Canadian-United States border crossing still impossible (i.e., at the time of this writing), we might as well shell out our green bucks within the confines of our territorial boundary by exploring our own backyards and at the same time contributing to our ailing economy.

The Jasper experience is “wonderful, formidable by nature”. Unforgettable are the whitewater rafting at the Athabasca River, horseback riding and exploring the Maligne Canyon, riding the Jasper Sky Tram, strolling at the Columbia Icefield Walk, and enjoying the ameneties of the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge.

The Fairmont Jasper Park lodge

Jasper, named after Jasper Hawes who operated a trading post in the region, is an alpine town in the Province of Alberta, the Wild Rose country of Canada. With a population of 4,590 (as of 2016) tucked away amid the lofty mountains of the Canadian Rockies, it is the commercial centre of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Jasper National Park.

Staying at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge makes it quite comfortably convenient to have access to all the must-sees included in our bucket list. Quintessentiallty Canadian, the lodge – a village of log cabins connected by picturesque paths – has a picture-perfect view of the lake with majestic mountains in the backdrop.

With the nice weather of beautiful sunshine and blue sky we experience all the excitement of our week’s adventure.

The enjoyable “Cowboy’s Way” horseback riding through the Maligne Canyon (the deepest canyon in Jasper National Park) after learning the art of the sport from the professionally trained guides takes us through the forest of waterfalls, underground streams, birds like ravens and black swifts, and lush plant life by crossing the six bridges built across the various points of the canyon. A hike along the trails of the canyon is also an ultimate way to experience this natural landmark.

For me, the most exciting outdoor adventure is the whitewater rafting. Starting at the base of the Athabasca Falls, we raft for so many kilometres through the foamy turbulent rapids of the Athabasca River down the Athabasca Valley.

A wonderful high country experience for every member of our family is the ride on the Jasper Sky Tram (the gondola) , the only reversible type aerial tramway in the Canadian Mountain National Parks. Built in 1964, it is also the highest and longest guided aerial tramway in the country. It goes to a height of 2,263 metres (7,425 feet) above sea level. The 7.5 -minute travelling time offers amazing panoramic views of the Canadian Rockies, all of the town of Jasper and Mt. Robson, the highest mountain of the Canadian Rockies. There is a small gift shop and restaurant here.

Last but not the least is the Columbian Icefield Walk, the latest tourist attraction unveiled in Jasper National Park. Here you feel the adventure as you walk along the glass-bottomed bridge jutting out from the cliff edge high above from the Sunwapta Valley down below. Again, you’ll be surrounded by fantastic views. The walk costs $36 for adults (kids under 5 are free) and you must book it in advance.

Come winter, Marmot Ski Resort awaits for downhill skiing . See you there!

Gem horseback riding at Maligne Canyon