Jasper in 36 hours
We love going on winter road trips and (very last minute) decided to book a trip to Jasper. Winter trips are really difficult with kids because the cold weather makes it tough to do much so we decided to make it super short and leave the girls with our family and friends for a couple of days. Saying goodbye was harder than I thought it would be and I've never left Georgia before but they were in good and loving hands.
Jasper is a large National Park located in the Canadian rockies. It is quite similar to Banff with beautiful lakes and mountains. At this time of year, most of the lakes are frozen over but they are a beautiful turquoise colour in the warmer months. We have been to Banff so many times so we decided to try something a little different and we surprised to find that Jasper is just as fantastic as Banff!
SO can you do Jasper National Park in a day and a half? No; but you can do a lot! There are so many awesome things to see that are very close to town. I found that everything was much more accessible than Banff and wayyyy less touristy as it is less known. It is very much a hidden gem.
Things We Did
1. Maligne Canyon Walk
We started our day with a 3 hour walk through Maligne Canyon. We did stop to take photos and explore a lot so this walk can be shorter or longer. The ice wasn't thick enough to go right into the canyon as it is unseasonably warm but it was so cool seeing everything from above. Seeing the frozen waterfalls is amazing! I recommend going early. As the day went on it got busier and busier.
2. Talbot Lake
This lake was really cool and we were the only people there! There was no snow on the ice and a cool little path that lead out onto the lake. On the other side of the road is the Athabasca River which is also very beautiful.
3. Pyramid Lake
There were only a handful of people there when we went at the end of the day. The sunset on these mountains is dreamy and there are lots of little walks you can do including one on a little island. The lake was frozen and they had an area for ice skating. If we had the energy we would have gone skating but we decided to just stroll around.
4. Explored the Town
The town of Jasper is super cute and has many awesome restraunts and shops . It was decorated for Christmas and had a very friendly, welcoming vibe. Unlike Banff, you don't have to fight past crowds for a coffee or to get into a shop. It wasn't overcrowded with tourists and everyone seemed to be very respectful and kind.
Places We Ate
There are so many amazing places to grab food in Jasper! Our favourites were:
Bear's Paw Bakery
They have the best coffee! They make lots of delicious treats as well.
The Raven Bistro
This is a Mediterranean style restaurant that serves a lot of fantastic vegan food as well. I had the chickpea and kale strudel which was SO good.
Things To Know
Mountain weather in the winter can change suddenly making the roads unsafe to drive on. They often close the highways due to accidents so be prepared to have to stop and wait if you are driving.
There are lots of wildlife that hang out on the side of the roads so be cautious when you are driving around.
70% of the park is infected with pine beetles making the pine trees appear brown. This is kind of sad actually.
Most of the lakes and rivers are frozen over but you never know so it's best to take extreme caution when walking out onto frozen water.
You need to book accomodation in advance as most hotels sell out fast!
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