The Jasper National Park

Jasper National Park in the Canadian Rockies is less well known and crowded than neighboring Banff – but no less beautiful. It’s thelargest National Mountain Park in Canada with utterly breathtaking scenery and is home to anincredible array of wildlife; elk, moose, deer, mountain goat, coyotes, mountain lions, bears, birds of prey, wolves, and caribou.

Caribou Conservation

Caribou used to range across West Canada but are now named as a species at risk. Banff only has four animals left, while Jasper has 200 to 350 but their numbers have also declined. There are two distinct herds in the park – the northern herd that roams in North Jasper in the mountains and the southern one that roams through the Maligne, Tonquin, Jonas Creek,and Poboktan Pass areas.

Parks Canada has been conducting a research project into why the caribou numbers are dwindling and how the caribou and wolf communities are affected by human influences. So far, they’ve been able to establish that wolves use roads and seismic lines to increase their efficiency when hunting caribou. The number of caribou in this area has stayed pretty consistent but have failed to increase.


There’s infinite trekking possibilities in Jasper. The best way to enter Jasper National Park is from Banff along the Icefields Parkway, one of the world’s great scenic drives. The Icefield covers 125 square kilometers and it’s the largest body of ice in the Rockies. While most of the Icefield lies hidden,a part of it known as the Athabasca Glacier can be experienced up-close.

Once in the park there are almost infinite trekking possibilities and Jasper is renowned for its backcountry trails which are excellent for hiking or cycling. Highlights include:

  • Mount Brazeau, 3470 meters  high, it is named after Joseph Brazeau who was a fur trader in the 1830s before he joined the Hudson’s Bay Company. Despite its beauty it can be a very dangerous and you shouldn’t come up here without a guide.
  • The Miette Springs, situated at the base ofthe mountain, are naturally hot springs – the hottest in the Canadian Rockies. The water flows from the mountain at 54C and is cooled to a comfortable temperature of 40C.
  • Maligne Canyon is one of the Canadian Rockies’ most scenic gorges with sheer limestone walls that plunge down over 50 metres.  You can follow an interpretive trail from above or take a Canyon Tour across the bottom.
  • Maligne Lake is the world’s second largest glacier-fed lake with picture perfect clear waters. Around here you can try fishing, hiking, horseback riding as well as cross country skiing in winter.
  • The Athabasca Falls are dazzling in their power, fuelled by the thundering Athabasca River that channels through a narrow gorge.