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24 Hours in Jasper

Sep. 7, 2016
By Naomi Witherick

Planning a trip to Jasper National Park but pressed for time? Fitting it all in won’t be easy. It’d take a lifetime to explore this stretch of peaks, glaciers, waterfalls, lakes and pine forest.

But with a little local knowledge you can see the best bits in a day. Take a sky tram to mountaintop views and canoe on pristine emerald lakes. And don’t forget Jasper townsite, a quaint settlement rich in history and spoilt for choice when it comes to eating out. Here’s how to make the most of 24 hours in Jasper.

Jasper Skytram, Jasper sightseeeing

Get an eye-full of Jasper’s sights on a one-day visit. Image: Jasper Skytram

Arrive

Jasper has plenty of accommodation options. Check into a downtown hotel where you’ll be close to boutique shops and laid-back bars. Or get a taste of the wilderness at an out-of-town cabin. There are plenty of campsites in the area too. Set up at Whistlers Campground or Wapiti Campground.

Eat and Stargaze

Jasper has a varied food scene. Many restaurants are owned by international proprietors who settled in town, bringing with them authentic Greek, Indian and Korean recipes. Canadian favourites aren’t overlooked though; you’ll find steakhouses and local dishes in places like Olive Bistro and O’Shea’s Restaurant.

After dinner, sample Jasper Brewing Co. beer. They use local glacial water to brew premium pints that are fresh, modern and crafted for all tastes. Can’t decide which to try? Get a six-glass sampler for $19.

Jasper dark sky, Jasper stargazing, Jasper Planetarium

Stargaze beneath Jasper’s vast dark sky preserve. Image: Ryan Bray

And don’t miss your chance to stargaze. Jasper has one of the largest dark sky preserves in the world. Go to the dome show at 8:45 pm or 9:45 pm at the Jasper Planetarium, where you can use the telescope to spot constellations and planets.

Breakfast and Sightseeing

Start the day with an all-Canadian breakfast at Smitty’s or Papa George’s then head to the Jasper SkyTram. Peak times later in the day mean it’s good to get there early. This seven-minute tram ride to the top of Whistlers Mountain is a visitor favourite.

Jasper SkyTram, Jasper sightseeeing

Jasper SkyTram’s seven-minute ride is great for speedy sightseeing. Image: Jasper SkyTram

From the 2277-metre height, you’ll get an incredible view of Jasper town, the surrounding peaks and dozens of turquoise blue lakes. Hike 1.2 km to the summit, wander on the interpretive boardwalks and grab a morning coffee from the Summit Café.

Town and Lakes

Back at the base, jump in your car and return to Jasper. You’ll have time for a self-guided walk of the town, starting at the historic Information Centre on Connaught Drive and walking past the Heritage Railway station with a 1923 CNR steam engine.

Get a gourmet sandwich and baked treat at the Other Paw Bakery. Then, take the Pyramid Lake Road to Patricia Lake Bungalows where you can hire a canoe from $25.

Pyramid Lake, Jasper sightseeing

Take a stroll through the beautiful woodland on Pyramid Island.

Spend an hour on the water then continue to Pyramid Lake where there’s a footbridge to the lake’s island. It’s the ideal place for a romantic stroll, with stunning views of Pyramid Mountain from the wooded shorelines as you watch the sun set on a perfect day in Jasper.

TIP: Leaving Jasper to drive to Banff? Schedule time for sightseeing on the Icefields Parkway. The drive is dotted with endless viewpoints, along with the acclaimed Glacier Adventure and Skywalk at the Athabasca Glacier. If you’re driving in the evening stop overnight at Sunwapta Falls Lodge, Num ti Jah Lodge or a HI hostel cabin to enjoy the sights by daylight the next day.

See more Jasper activities and tours.

>> For more Canadian Rockies activities, shops, restaurants and entertainment, read our digital magazine.

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