Jasper National Park: Family Friendly Activities to do in the Fall
School has started and life is starting to return to normal. Stepping outside, the cool morning air feels crisp and fresh. Tourists are slowly heading home, and with their exit comes a sense of serenity. It's the perfect time to visit some of our more popular national parks. Jasper is a small mountain town with a great vibe but less hustle and bustle of similar towns such as Banff or Whistler. There is no shortage of things to do here, so I just quickly compiled a list of some of our favourite Fall activities. No Pumpkin Spice Lattes will be found in this post.
I strongly advise that you pack lots of layers when visiting the area. While this September has been a warm one so far, the weather in the mountains is temperamental at best. The higher you go in elevation the cooler it gets, and the more exposed you are to wind. With a little planning though, you will be able to enjoy one of the most beautiful seasons in the mountains.
It's not every day that you can reach the top of a mountain without significant effort. The tram knocks off a few hours of hiking and a lot of elevation making this a great trip for families. Take the tram to the Upper Station (2,263 meters) and just enjoy the views. If you're feeling adventurous follow the summit trail 1.2 kilometers to the Whistlers Mountain Summit. There are plenty of benches along the trail and places to stop and enjoy the scenery. My favourite times to go are during the evening or early morning.
Return tickets run approximately Adult/$45, Child/$23, 5&Under/Free. Family passes are also available. The skytram is seasonal (they usually stop running November- May) so make sure to check the website for up to date hours of operation. Find more information at Jasper Skytram.
Looking for a challenge? Hike the Whistlers Trail (8Km) from the parking lot to the Upper Station and only pay for the ticket down. Not recommended for young children.
How to get here from Jasper: Follow Highway 93 South approximately 2 kilometres, turn right at "Whistlers" sign. Follow road to end and there will be parking for the tram. If feeling ambitious, the entrance to the "Whistlers" hiking trail is on the left shortly before the hostel.
The smoothly sculpted walls and powerful waters of Maligne Canyon are something not to miss. I have a bit of an elusive relationship with this canyon because I have a hard time taking good photos here. Attempting to balance the light, positioning, and composition while trying to keep a 6 year old safe and entertained is tiring.
There are two well used entrance points, one at "Fifth Bridge" and one at the Maligne Canyon Teahouse. You can follow the trails 7 and 7f for as long as your heart desires but keep in mind that you will have to return to your chosen parking lot. The Canyon is also available as a guided tour.
How to get here from Jasper: Follow AB-16 towards Edmonton for approximately 2 Km, turn right on Maligne Lake Road. Follow road until you see signs for corresponding parking lot.
On your way to Miette Hotsprings (see below) don't forget to pull over at Jasper Lake. This lake is so shallow that it pretty much just becomes a giant beach as winter nears. There are many little hikes that you can do to get a better view of the area (just follow a path!) or take your shoes off and enjoy a stroll on the beach.
How to get here from Jasper: Follow AB-16 towards Edmonton for approximately 30 km. Lake Jasper will be the huge beautiful lake on the left. Watch for the parking lot on the right hand side of the road.
Soaking in hot springs seems to just warm the soul, especially on those brisk Autumn days. These wonderful waters are a little ways outside the town of Jasper but if you're longing for a soak in hot water complimented by two cool pools and panoramic mountain views, then this is your place. There are a few options for gentle- moderate hikes around the area including the Sulphur Skyline (10 Km return) which we were hoping to do but didn't due to time/weather constraints. Maybe there will be a future blog post on that one. Passes are available as Day Passes or a One time Soak and range between $5-$8/person. Children under 3 are free.
Just a reminder, always check the updated hours and days of operation. These are seasonal hotsprings and they often close early October. More information at Miette Hotsprings.
How to get here from Jasper: Follow AB-16 for 40 Km, turn right onto Miette Rd. Follow until you reach the end of the road ( 17 Km).
OLD FORT POINT
My absolute favourite casual hike in the Jasper area. Just across from town and perfect for an after dinner or mid-afternoon stroll. Gaia and I have been rocking this hike for a while, and some of these photos are a bit older since I keep forgetting to take updated ones. The trail is 2.4 km and you often have the chance of seeing animals.
How to get here from Jasper: Follow Hazel Ave across Highway 16 and turn left onto Old Fort Point Rd. There is a small parking lot once you cross the bridge.
And that's all for now, but I do have a few posts on this area in the works. Jasper is such a beautiful place to visit, what are some of your favourite activities to do there?