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A Guide to Visiting Jasper National Park

If you are going to visit, or work in Canada, then you have to consider Jasper National Park as your home away from home. Check our travel tips guide.

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A Guide to Visiting Jasper National Park

Visiting Jasper National Park, Edge of the World Jasper

Visiting Jasper National Park

Where do I begin? What is the best part of visiting Jasper National Park?

The awe-inspiring jagged mountains, the abundance of wildlife, the picture perfect lakes or the fact that it is an adventure lovers dream? Around every corner in Jasper National Park is a view worthy of a postcard and there is always something to keep you entertained.

Living in Jasper National Park for a year was hands down one of the best experiences of my life. As a city girl the prospect of moving to a town with a population of just under 5,000 was a little worrying. However I could not have chosen a better place to start my Overseas Experience with Cole.

Jasper is located in the largest National Park in the Canadian Rockies and over 2 million tourists every year flock to Jasper from all corners of the world. Most of them come to experience the adventure activities on offer.

Visiting Jasper National Park,Fishing in Pyramid Lake Jasper

With 10,878 square kilometers of mountain wilderness and a world class ski resort, Jasper boasts an unlimited amount of adventure activities to experience. You name it they got it: Hiking, Mountain Biking, Cliff Diving and Lake Swimming, Fishing, Kayaking, White Water Rafting, Snowboarding and Skiing, Wildlife watching and more.

And the best thing about the park is that these activities are not just designed for pros as there is something for everyone at every level. In fact, Jasper not only introduced me to mountain biking, it made it one of my passions.

Visiting Jasper National Park for the first time brings a new meaning to the word insignificant. You crane your neck to take in the rugged snow-capped mountains that loom over you from every angle and you realize just how small you are compared to the stunning environment.

One of my favourite things about visiting Jasper National Park is that the landscape differs dramatically from winter to summer which adds to the magic of the place. In winter the ground is blanketed in snow as far as the eye can see.

Visiting Jasper National Park, Moon Athabasca River

Rivers and lakes disappear under layers of blinding white snow and ice and you almost feel as if you are stuck in a giant snow globe. It is as if you are cut off from every other place in the world, surrounded by miles of snow covered wilderness. In fact sometimes you are as the snow falls so softly but in such quantities that the roads can be closed.

As the temperatures rise and the snow slowly begins to melt the park transforms. After months of white being the dominant sight you are suddenly greeted by bursts of color. Emerald lakes, lush green forests, an array of different color rock formations.

Visiting Jasper National Park, Swimming and Cliff Diving Horseshoe Lake

And do not even get me started on the flowers!  It’s as if the locals in Jasper try to make up for the months without color by hanging or standing flower pots in every possible location.

Wildlife in Jasper National Park

In summer the wildlife comes out to play. Elk, Caribou, Moose, Deer, Mountain Goats, Bighorn Sheep, Grizzly and Black Bears, Beaver, Hoary Marmot, Wolves, Coyotes, Mountain Lions and Wolverines all roam the streets. Literally roam the streets…

On every walk or bike ride we were guaranteed to see some wild animals. There is nothing like careening down a hill on your bike before riding through a large herd of deer grazing between the woods.

Not so fun when it’s a mother bear and her cubs!

The Elk often wander through town as if they own the place and it is not unusual to see one cheekily hanging out in your back yard.

Visiting Jasper National Park

At least they obey the road rules

Tourists are always warned of the dangers of wildlife especially when out on the Hiking and Biking trails. Unfortunately these warnings often fall on deaf ears and it’s not unusual to see an ignorant tourist less than a meter from an elk with their camera stuck rudely in their face.  We have even seen some step out of their car to try and get closer to a bear!

While the park is a tourism hot spot, Jasper National Park has managed to keep its small town charm unlike its big brother Banff which is crawling with tourists and chain stores just 4 hours away.

Jasper has a very relaxed and friendly feel to it.

Locals make a point to spend time chatting to each other from their cars while driving down the roads. Kids can be heard laughing and shrieking as they toboggan down hills and during winter there is a free community dinner in the town hall every Sunday for everyone (donations appreciated).

Oh, and get this, McDonalds left the town after the locals boycotted it for being too commercial!

Where to eat in Jasper National Park

Not only does the town offer a variety of outdoor activities but there is also a lot of excellent wining and dining to be done. I’m sure the plethora of restaurants and bars could accommodate the permanent residents of Jasper ten times over. There are some top quality restaurants in town as well as cute local cafes and bars. Do keep in mind it is a tourist town so it can be a bit pricey in some places.

Must eat’s are the Bears Paw Bakery (cabinets full of sweet treats), Wings Wednesdays at the Sawridge Hotel (a hot spot for seasonal workers as you can get 20 chicken wings for $2.50 and very cheap jugs of Kokanee beer) and Tonquin Prime Rib Village for a tasty steak as it says on the tin. To wash it down then explore Jasper’s own Brewing Company which brews specialty beers unique to Jasper with Honey Beer their most popular.

Wings Wednesday Jasper National Park

To sum up this fantastic town; if you are looking for a life changing work experience or even an unforgettable holiday then Jasper is the place to go. We dare you to find anyone who would not love it!

We have loads of posts from our time there so make sure you keep checking back or read some of our existing posts from our life in Jasper National Park:

Snowboarding at Marmot Basin Ski Area

White Water Rafting in Jasper National Park

Maligne Canyon

Adela is one half of the New Zealand Adventure Couple who have been travelling since 2009. She loves the outdoors and has a real passion for Snowboarding, Mountain Biking and Surfing (apart from being scared of sharks). She loves food and writes all our food posts. Consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Bret@ Green Global Travel

    December 16, 2011 at 3:10 PM

    Sounds like a great experience! I grew up in the city as well, but I always find myself more at peace when I’m out in the middle of nature.

    • Cole and Adela (fourjandals)

      December 16, 2011 at 7:47 PM

      Thanks Bret it really was. We feel the same about being “one” with nature. At the moment we are enjoying living in Edinburgh but only because we can get out of the city within about 10 minutes. We wouldn’t be able to live in one that was any bigger because we would feel claustrophobic I think.

  2. Pete Heck

    December 16, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    Nice! Many times Jasper was a destination of mine growing up in Edmonton. If I had to choose between Banff and Jasper, Jasper would win hands-down.

    • Cole and Adela (fourjandals)

      December 16, 2011 at 7:45 PM

      Lucky you being raised in Edmonton Pete… Just teasing we loved the World’s largest mall! I spent a month next to it in the hospital unfortunately. We wish we could go back to Jasper it was amazing.

  3. Natalie

    December 16, 2011 at 4:27 PM

    In a way it is nice to read about a place where animals and humans live side by side. Sure they may be wild but I read so many stories where animals are pushed out of their habitat by humans.

    • Cole and Adela (fourjandals)

      December 16, 2011 at 7:48 PM

      It is amazing being able to look out your back window and literally have an Elk eating out of your garden! Also a little bit scary haha. The locals are really passionate about Jasper and keeping it natural. They have halted all land expansion and you are not allowed to build outside of the existing development boundaries so then animals habitats won’t be destroyed. Pretty neat!

  4. Nomadic Samuel

    December 16, 2011 at 8:49 PM

    I often visited Jasper when I went to university in Edmonton. You picked a great place to spend a year!

    • Cole and Adela (fourjandals)

      December 18, 2011 at 1:03 PM

      Lucky that you got to visit a lot. Being from NZ we think a long drive is about 2 hours but it’s funny how in Canada 4 hours from Edmonton to Jasper is nothing due to the size!

  5. Bohemian Trails

    December 17, 2011 at 2:30 PM

    Great post guys! Living in NYC, sometimes I really just crave some one on one time with nature.

    • Cole and Adela (fourjandals)

      December 18, 2011 at 1:06 PM

      We love NYC. Spent 5 days there last year and wish we could go back again soon. It is nice visiting giant cities after living in a smaller town but that one on one time is just such an amazing experience. Would choose it every time if we could 🙂

  6. dtravelsround

    December 17, 2011 at 9:53 PM

    I love that the local Mc’s went away b/c it was too commercial. There are only two places in the world where I did not see a McDonalds — Rwanda and Bosnia. I’m glad it doesn’t exist everywhere!

    • Cole and Adela (fourjandals)

      December 18, 2011 at 1:08 PM

      Unfortunately they still had a KFC and Pizza Hut so they hadn’t totally won. You can definitely tell how remote places are by whether they have Macca’s or not haha. And super jealous of you travelling to Rwanda and Bosnia.

  7. AlexBerger

    December 18, 2011 at 11:34 PM

    That elk shot had me laughing out loud. Great shot!

  8. Bobbi Lee Hitchon

    December 19, 2011 at 1:20 AM

    That looks stunning. Great overall guide. I can’t believe the color of the water there.

  9. Laurel

    December 23, 2011 at 12:23 PM

    I love Jasper, but unfortunately have only been as a visitor not a resident. I find I see a lot more wildlife in Jasper than I do in Banff as well, although I’m partial to the peaks in Banff.

    • Cole and Adela (fourjandals)

      December 23, 2011 at 1:32 PM

      Don’t get us wrong we love Banff as well but definitely preferred Jasper. I think you see more wildlife because it is a LOT quieter than Banff so they probably don’t feel as threatened.

  10. Abby

    January 7, 2012 at 7:33 PM

    So beautiful and wintery! Love the photo of the sun’s reflection.

    • Cole

      January 8, 2012 at 9:51 AM

      Thanks Abby. Have you been to Jasper? It is such a gorgeous place!

  11. James Shannon

    October 20, 2012 at 10:42 PM

    Cole and Adela,

    I lived in Jasper for three years from Summer 2009 to January 2012 … did you work at Marmot during your winter there? If so, I was a busboy at the Paradise Cafeteria at mid-mountain … best place to work on the whole hill in my opinion! Additionally, I was a tour guide at Maligne Lake for three summers … did you make it up for canoeing/backcountry camping? If not, you need to come back and cross that off your bucket list … the scenery back there (20 km up the lake) makes it a life-changing experience!

    Glad to hear you enjoyed your time in our Rocky Mountain paradise, come back soon, eh!

    • Cole Burmester

      October 28, 2012 at 11:55 AM

      Hey James, thanks for stopping by the blog! We did indeed work at Marmot Basin during the 09/10 winter. I was a lifty and Adela worked in the rental shop. We stuck around for summer and I worked at Rocky Mountain River Guides and Jasper Pizza Place. Good times and would love to go back and visit. Maligne is definitely one of the most beautiful spots in Canada.

      Hopefully see you back there one day…

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Adventure Travel

Hammock vs Tent Camping

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Camping with a hammock is slowly but surely becoming more popular in recent years with new and improved hammock designs being preferred by some campers, compared to the traditional tent.

In this article we will discuss some of the key benefits and drawbacks of sleeping without a tent, and analyze key criteria so that you can choose your preferred shelter choice!

Weatherproof

Most tents work well in the rain; however, you’ll need to bring a tarp if you’re using a hammock. Traditional hammocks are not waterproof, and are generally open at the top, allowing water to find itself inside if you don’t have an adequate tarp. Moreover, a decent under quilt is also a good idea so that you can stay warm and cozy during cold and stormy nights.

Packing up your hammock after a long night of rain isn’t too bad, whereas packing up a soaking wet tent is always annoying. You almost always get wet in the process.

Setup

For first time campers, pop-up tents are the simplest to setup. All you need to do is find flat ground, and bam, your setup is complete! The beauty of pop-up tents is that you don’t need to worry about figuring out where to insert the poles and erect the tent. Although, traditional tents are usually more robust, and have a longer life span.

Essentially, a tent is simple, but a hammock can become a little more complicated for first timers. You’ll need to find 2 trees facing a good direction and tie each end of the hammock to them. If your hammock setup is too tight, you will generally wake up with sore ancles, but if it’s too loose, you run the risk of the hammock touching the floor, and insects crawling in with you.

If your campground doesn’t have many trees, or if the trees are dead (they could break and injure you), hammock stands come to the rescue! Basically, hammock stands allow you to pitch a hammock if there are no trees nearby. They are portable, adjustable, and are easy to setup. The only drawback is that the ground should be relatively flat, whereas if you were to hang a hammock between 2 trees, there won’t be any stands touching the ground, so a rocky floor wouldn’t be a problem.

Comfort

One of the main reasons for choosing a hammock is the comfort that it provides you! It has a basically has in-built seat which is arguably more comfortable than a standard blow up mattress. You need to pick your tree’s wisely though! You don’t want a pinecone falling on your face mid-sleep.

If you have constant back pain and find it hard to sleep inside tents, you should give hammocks a try as they cause you to sleep sideways, similar to a banana shape, which a lot people find much more comfortable.

Price

Hammocks are usually lighter and don’t include a wealth of poles and gear that tents do. Depending on the type of hammock that you purchase, they are usually quite similar to tents. You can however, find very cheap tents <$60, but they most likely won’t last long.

A good tent or hammock can cost between $200-500 without accessories. If you need a hammock stand, that will add to your cost, just like a mattress and other tent necessities will to its cost.

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Adventure Travel

Yacht Charter Destination Of The Month: The Middle East

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Mysterious and exotic, the Middle East is full of surprises, blending fascinating cultural heritage with stunning contemporary architecture. What’s more, with guaranteed sunshine and warmth, the winter months of November and April are the perfect time to visit. That’s why we’ve made the Middle East our yacht charter destination of the month.

What makes the Middle East such an exciting yacht charter destination?

Dubai: Glamour and shopping

An ideal starting point for your luxury yacht charter, Dubai is famous for its tax-free designer shopping, five-star resorts and world-class gastronomy. Thrill seekers can head into its vast desert for four-wheel-drive adventures across the dunes, while families will love the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, Legoland, or the magnificent water park at Atlantis on The Palm.

Abu Dhabi: Art and architecture

Neighbouring Abu Dhabi offers a more relaxed yacht charter destination – here, lovers of art and architecture will appreciate the iconic Louvre Abu Dhabi, which boasts some 9,200 m2 of galleries within its striking contemporary design.

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is one of the world’s largest, and its open-door policy encourages visitors from around the world. The elegant Qasr Al Hosn museum, former home of the ruling family, is Abu Dhabi’s oldest standing structure, and displays artefacts dating back to 6000BC.

Oman: An understated gem

The understated, hidden gem of the Middle East, yacht charter destination Oman has an abundance of natural beauty, from spectacular mountains and wind-blown deserts to a pristine coastline.

At its northernmost tip, visit the red-hued fjords of the Musandam Peninsula. Action-seekers can admire the rugged Al Hajar mountain range by microlight, while land-based activities include desert sand-boarding, jeep rides and quad biking.

Capital city Muscat is steeped in history, with centuries-old souks where you can pick up fine pashminas, spices and frankincense, or even dazzling jewellery in the Gold Souk.

The Kingdom of Bahrain: Home of diving

It is said that diving was invented in Bahrain, and pearl diving is considered the quintessential Bahraini experience. Expect to find up to 30 types of coral and over 200 species of fish, too, making this yacht charter destination ideal for underwater enthusiasts.

Bahrain’s rich trading history is palpable in the Qalat al-Bahrain fort and museum, a registered UNESCO world heritage site. The Bahrain National Museum, found next to the Art and Cultural Centres, blends cultural heritage with contemporary ambience. Or, to indulge in some retail therapy, enjoy a traditional shopping experience at the Manama Souk, selling natural-oil perfumes and incense, fabrics and handicrafts.

The Red Sea: Reefs, diving and beaches

The Red Sea is another popular Middle Eastern yacht charter destination due to its year-round sunshine, warm water, coral reefs and incredible dive sites, including one of the world’s best wreck dives, the WWII British cargo ship SS Thistlegorm. In the south, the relatively undiscovered Marsa’ Alam promises incredible shore or beach diving around its natural fringing reef.

Mysterious, timeless and alluring, the Middle East is a yacht charter destination full of contrasts and surprises. Better still, it’s best visited in winter. What are you waiting for?

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Adventure Travel

Hiking Adventures in Bryce Canyon National Park

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If you are on the lookout for the perfect environment for an adventurous and challenging hike, look no further. Located in the Southern Utah region is the best park that is most suitable for your hiking adventure, the Bryce Canyon National Park. This is a great option to relaxed after you are through playing in $5 minimum deposit casinos.

This park hosts hike lovers from time to time and people even come from other countries in the world to experience the wonder of this park. The landscape and beautiful trails make this a choice venue. There is a rental service at this location if you love to stay behind.

You can enjoy the priceless glimpse of the sunrise and sunset from the different landscape. The part also permits visitors to create traditional camps at different locations for a more adventurous experience.

There are a couple of trails that you can choose from for your hiking adventure, and no matter your level of experience in hiking, you will find a track that matches your taste. Even if you are totally new to hiking, there is something for you at the Bryce Canyon National Park . Below is a list of some of the trails to try when you take a trip to this park.

The Rim Trail

This is the most accessible trail at Bryce Canyon National Park. It is suitable for those who just want to have a good time walking around and savoring the magnificent scenery of the park. From any part of the park, you can connect to this trail as it goes all the way around the park.

When lodging at the Bryce Canyon Lodge, it is a good idea to start your hike from the place known as the sunrise point. Just as the name implies, if you wake up early to start your walk, you’ll be able to watch the sunrise. If you have a camera with you, you’ll take some fantastic pictures.

Also, you’ll get a clear view of the Bryce amphitheater from this point. Just like in an adventure movie, you have to find a way to link up to boat Mesa, and on your way, you walk through some sites like the Mormon temple and Queen garden. This hiking trail is easy, and all you have to deal with is a total of approximately 200 feet elevation. You will surely have a nice time on this trail.

Navajo Loop Trail

On the order of difficulty, this trail comes next after the rim trail. The starting point of this trail begins from the sunset point around the southern area of the Bryce Canyon Lodge. Just like for the rim trail, the trail presents a nice view of the sunset, and with a good camera, you’ll be able to take exciting photo shoots.

Walking this route involves a visit to the Silent City, which is an aesthetic combination of limestone and urban expansion. During the hike, you will also walk through Wall Street, which happens to be a distinctive attraction at the Bryce Canyon park. You won’t ever want to miss the narrow walls. From this point, you may decide to go back to the sunset point or take other shorter hikes like the Peekaboo loop trail and Queen garden trail. Both routes are challenging and adventurous, but you will enjoy every bit of the challenge. After you have done this, you can then go ahead to have some fun in a $5 minimum deposit casino.

Mossy Cave Trail

This Trail presents an entirely different sight than the one that we have previously mentioned. From this trail, you will be able to catch the view of the towers in the park nearby without descending to the amphitheater. This hiking course begins at approximately 4 miles from the entrance to the Bryce Canyon park. However, if you visit this park and would like to enjoy something completely different from the other common tracks, then this is an exciting hiking trail for you to try.

Hiking is more than a walk, it is a fun and adventurous experience. All trails at the Bryce Canyon National Park are worth trying on your next visit. Whether you seek to have some fun or you just want to catch some beautiful scenery and feel close to nature, you will find the right place that suits you. Get ready to have an amazing hiking experience.

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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