British Columbia Travel Guide
The unofficial BC Travel & Tourism Guide
Located in the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains, the town of Jasper is situated within Jasper National Park, the largest of the four mountain parks in Canada. The small cousin of bold tourist town Banff offers an abundance of recreational possibilities for everyone, and is small enough that most places can be easily walked to.

The many lakes in the vicinity of Jasper townsite are popular with swimmers, boaters, fishermen, photographers and birdwatchers. There are over 800 lakes and ponds in Jasper National Park, many of which were created by melting blocks of glacial ice at the end of the Wisconsin Glaciation, such as Lac Beauvert, Edith Lake and Lake Annette. They are popular for picnicking, bird-watching and swimming, as well as fishing (mostly rainbow and brook trout).

Tour companies offer bus service to most of the popular tourist destination, such as The Columbia Icefields, or Maligne Lake and Spirit Island. The best way to see the wonder of this lake is to take the boat cruise (1.5 hours round trip).

Not far away from the townsite, the Jasper Tramway provides the visitor with a unique possibility to explore the Alpine, offering quick access to “The Whistlers”. The aerial tramway with a vertical rise of 937 m, spans a three ecoregions of the Rockies, the montane, subalpine and alpine. Hikers can walk up an eight kilometer trail, leading to the mountain crest and offering spectacular views of the Athabasca Valley, and the lakes and mountains around Jasper. With a bit of luck, one can see pikas, ravens, white-tailed ptarmigan and the hoary marmot. From the upper terminal, a rough trail leads to the summit of “The Whistlers” (2464 m). Visitors should be prepared for high winds, cold temperatures and intense sunlight.

Jasper offers a wide range of accommodation choices for everyone – from luxury hotels to affordable motels, Bed & Breakfasts as well as hostels. There are plenty of things to do, and recreational activities are without doubt the heart and soul of Jasper – whether you go biking, canoeing, caving, fishing, golfing or Heli-hiking, skiing or snow-shoeing.

Also, dining, shopping and the night life should not be missed. Jasper offers a great range of dining experiences, from casual buffets to fine gourmet meals. In addition to the hotel restaurants, the town has several noteworthy dining spots as well as numerous restaurants catering to the hungry skiers and outdoors-folk.

A proposal to build a second transcontinental railway in Canada led to the founding of Jasper, Canada’s seventh national park. In 1902, the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway approached the federal governement to build a more northerly line, linking New Brunswick with British Columbia, and crossing the Rockies via Yellowhead Pass. Jasper Forest Park was established in 1907.

The town of Jasper had its humble origins in 1911 as a railway town called Fitzhugh – nothing more but shacks and tents of a railway construction camp. The same year in August, the railway steel reached Fitzhugh, and crested Yellowhead Pass in November. It wasn’t until 1914, that the completion to Prince Rupert on the Pacific coast was achieved.

Jasper House, a Hudson’s Bay Company supply post, had been a well known feature of the lower Athabasca Valley for 70 years, and the name Jasper was in common use to describe the surrounding area. When boundaries were officially surveyed, the name Jasper was a logical choice for both park and town.

In 1922, the newly formed Canadian National Railway began construction of Jasper Park Lodge, whose central building claimed to be the world’s largest log structure. For a few dollars, guests slept in log cabins and socialized in the main lodge. On July 15, 1952, the main Lodge burned down, but was immediately replaced by the present structure. Today, the Jasper Park Lodge offers accommodation for 430 guests year round.

In 1931, the Jasper-Edmonton Road opened and was paved 20 years later.

Jasper is 362 kilometres west of Edmonton, and 290 kilometres north of Banff, Alberta, with the Icefields Parkway connecting the Jasper townsite to Lake Louise in Banff National Park.

Jasper Accommodations

Jasper Things to Do