Aug. 10, 2016
By Naomi Witherick
For centuries Indigenous people navigated the Canadian Rockies on horseback. And when traders like David Thompson arrived in 1811, horses were used to negotiate northern trading routes and establish trade posts.
Follow in their footsteps and have an old time western adventure in Jasper. Here are the horseback rides, rodeo events and country style steakhouses not to miss this summer. Cowboy hats at the ready…
Discover the mountains like the early explorers on a trail ride with Jasper Riding Stables on Pyramid Road and Jasper Park Stables at the Fairmont Park Lodge. The former offers one-, two- and three-hour rides through rugged wilderness and landscapes that have been unchanged for centuries. Try the Ridgeline and Cottonwood Loop ride, a two-hour excursion that passes beaver dams and wildlife.
Or go on the Happy Trails ride with Jasper Park Stables, taking you along the Athabasca River and ascending to stunning viewpoints on a trail where there’s a good chance of bear sightings. Trips offered by both companies are suitable for all experience levels and are led by knowledgeable guides who share tales of horsing history along the way.
If you’ve got little ones or elderly family members, take a wagon ride instead. Both stables run short carriage rides in Jasper town or in the award-winning grounds of Jasper Park Lodge.
Don’t miss the Jasper Heritage Rodeo, August 17 to 20, which has been a long-standing Jasper tradition since 1926. Competitive events include bull riding, bare back, saddle bronc and tie down roping. But it’s not just for burly cowboys. There’s a Sticky Pony Parade (August 17 at 10 am) and Lil’ Britches Corral (daily 11 am to 1 pm) for kids, with entertainment for the whole family.
And if the good old western fun works up an appetite, get a hearty pancake breakfast at Jasper Fire Hall (daily 9 am to 11 am) and a flame-grilled lunch at the fundraising BBQ in the CIBC parking lot (daily 11 am to 2 pm).
In the evening, relax in one of Jasper’s rustic steakhouses. Prime Rib City serves sizable juicy steaks with horseradish, vegetables and potato – a classic western feast. Enjoy the warm cabin-like atmosphere at Embers Steakhouse in Marmot Lodge with a stone fireplace and chophouse menu. Or choose Villa Caruso’s wild game specialties; sit on the balcony and watch the sunset behind the rugged mountain surround.
See more Jasper activities and tours.
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