Since we have basically been home since March (thank you COVID), we decided that a Jasper Weekend was in order for a much needed change of scenery.
Bright and early Friday morning we packed up with car, we hit the road for the 400 KM drive to Jasper.
The drive to Jasper has to be one of the most beautiful in the World. To get there you drive through the town of Canmore, Banff National Park, the Columbia Icefields and a good part of Jasper National Park before arriving in the town of Jasper.
If you do decide to make the trip, Peyto Lake is definitely a highly recommended stop.
After several photo stops along the way, we arrived in Jasper around 2 pm.
Since it was too early to check in at the hotel, we decided on a late lunch at Jasper Pizza Place. They have a great covered rooftop patio and the pizza was delicious!
After lunch we decided to drive up to the hotel to check in. Jasper is pretty small and there aren’t many hotel options but we opted for the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. This was our first time at a hotel with all the COVID restrictions. I have to say that they had thought of pretty much everything and it felt pretty safe.
After checking in, we decided to check out the Emerald Lounge for drinks. The view there is pretty great and the cocktails were good too.
While planning our trip, we had decided that the Maligne Canyon hike was a must. So, we were up early on Saturday morning to go hiking.
On our way, we stopped by the Bear’s Paw Bakery for coffee and a snack.
Since we were so early, we were the first ones to arrive at Maligne Canyon. Maligne Canyon is known as the deepest canyon in the Rockies. Hikers of all abilities can explore this incredible natural landmark by crossing six bridges built across various points of the canyon.
We made it all the way to the 5th bridge, which was just shy of 5 km or 3 miles. Overall, the hike is pretty easy but the views are incredible. There is much more to say but I think it deserves its own post.
After the hike, since it was still early morning, we decided to keep driving along Maligne Lake Road to see what we could see.
Along the way, we stopped at Medicine Lake to snap a quick picture since it was so beautiful.
And, we kept on driving until we reached Maligne Lake. Maligne Lake is a 22 km long lake and the home to Spirit Island.
The only way to get to see Spirit Island is to paddle out, by electric boat or a Maligne Lake Cruise. Before our trip we had done a bit of research but had decided against the cruise, mostly because the forecast wasn’t great and we didn’t want to waste our money. After seeing how beautiful the lake was, we decided that rain or shine a cruise was worth it. So, we booked our spots for the next morning.
On our way back, we stopped by Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen for a late lunch. The menu is focused on locally sourced ingredients and smokehouse flavors. The food was excellent!
Once we got back to the hotel, we decided to take advantage of the nice weather and took a pedal boat out on Beauvert Lake. Plenty of other people had the same idea since there were many kayaks, canoes and paddle boards out on the lake.
For dinner, we decided to visit Jasper Brewing Company. After the hike and the afternoon on the lake, we had worked up quite the appetite. Their cast iron nachos and pint of Crips Pils was the perfect way to end the day.
Early Sunday morning, we headed back to Maligne Lake for the boat tour to Spirit Island. It was raining but still definitely worth it. It’s truly a magical place. The boat ride is only about 25 minutes and safe for people that suffer from seasickness.
We had a very lazy rest of day, just relaxing around the resort.
Refreshed from our weekend in nature, early Monday we were back on the road headed home.
Jasper National Park is incredible and there is so much to do. Hopefully it won’t be another 10 years before we plan another Jasper weekend. There are plenty more hikes to do and sights to be seen.
Finally, this was our first trip in the new COVID world and all of its social distancing guidelines. Since we were in a very large park, social distancing wasn’t really a challenge. Everywhere we went felt very safe and everyone seemed to be doing their part to social distance.
Wary Travelers Tip
In Canada, while visiting a National Park a park pass is required. So, to go to Jasper you will need a pass. The lines to pay can be quite long, if you attempt to pay at the park entrance. A good tip to avoid the lines is to purchase your pass online before heading out. Click here for all the details.
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