At the northern end of the Icefields Parkway, Banff National Park comes to an end and Jasper begins. And though this park may not be quite as busy as Banff it’s equally as impressive in its own way. However, with fewer campgrounds, reservations in Jasper National Park are still essential.
Just off the Icefields Parkway is Sunwapta Falls. This native word meaning ‘turbulent water’ is certainly indicative of what you’ll see here, as the water pummels its way through the narrow gorges. The upper falls have very easy access or a short hike gives you views of the lower falls as well.
In the town of Jasper you’ll find restaurants, shops and grocery stores so this is a good place to stock up on provisions before leaving on the next leg of your road trip. And from the town, Jasper National Park’s most popular attractions are all within a comfortable drive.
The road to Maligne Lake is fine for both cars and RVs, and along the way you’ll pass by scenic Medicine Lake. Maligne (pronounced ma-leen) is definitely the highlight though. From the visitor center side of the lake you really can’t get the full benefit of just how beautiful this is, so either take a hike around the shoreline or better yet take a scenic boat tour out to Spirit Island, one of the most photographed places in the park.
Another popular sight to photograph is Mount Edith Cavell. A short hike (2.4 miles one way) brings you to Cavell Meadows and a closer up view of the north face, while Angel Glacier can also be seen from here. If you want to do more than simply seeing Angel Glacier from a distance, sign up for our Jasper Guided Hike which takes you up to the glacier for great views.
Another highlight in Jasper National Park is Miette Hot Springs. Take a relaxing dip in nature’s own hot tub, made just the right temperature by the combination of an extremely hot spring and the cooling of the mountain!
- In terms of area, Jasper National Park is actually the largest park in the Canadian Rockies, covering a vast area of 4,200 square miles.
- Jasper was named after the operator of a trading post for the North West Company, called Jasper Hawes. The park was established in 1907 as Jasper Forest Park and became a national park in 1930.