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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

Skin-Care Rules to Always Follow When You Travel

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With the holiday season nearly upon us, most of us are hit with a bout of wanderlust. Traveling will take us to different places, and these places likely have completely different climates from what we are used to. Nobody wants to have a skin breakout or any other type of skin problem during vacation. To prevent this problem, this article will give you Skin-care rules to always follow when you travel.

Every time you step on a plane, your skin is exposed to a whole different condition. You are plagued by stale, dry, circulated air that can do wonders to your skin (in a bad way, of course). And that is just your flight. Your actual vacation can be a nightmare for your skin. From weird hotel products to bad sunscreen, to stress from forgetting stuff at home or from family members and a host of other problems.

Thankfully, there are things you can do to keep your skin looking great despite the challenges of travel.

  1. Drink Water…a lot of water

Staying hydrated is extremely important. Being hydrated inside and outside is one of the most important skin routine tips at all times, even when you are not on vacation.

The switch from a hot to a cold climate or from a hot to cold climate can cause skin dryness and irritation among other things. Even the air on the plane is dry and can sap all the moisture from your skin. Therefore, make sure your drink a lot of water. That would keep you hydrated inside.

For your skin, you should liberally apply moisturizers to keep your skin looking radiant and beautiful.

  1. Use Sunscreen

Next to staying hydrated, sun protection is one of the most important routine for your skin type.  While travelling, you should be extra diligent about your sunscreen.

It might sound strange, but you should apply sunscreen even while on the plane. Why? Because you are in a metal container 10,000 feet close to the sun. In fact, you are likely to get a sunburn while in a plane than on the ground. You might want to close the shades, but others might want of view. Hence take precautions and apply the sunscreen.

When you are travelling, it can be easy to forget to use sunscreen, or you might run out of sunscreen. You can go the extra mile by setting a reminder on your phone either to use sunscreen or buying a new one before the current one runs out.

  1. Use Minimal Makeup

During your vacation, leave out heavy foundations and other heavy makeup products. If you are traveling to a location with extreme weather, your makeup will wear off fairly easily. This not only leaves you looking silly, but the heavy makeup can clog the pores of your skin and result in breakouts.

If you choose to use makeup at all, use breathable makeup. Preferably it should be water-resistant and offer protection from hot climates.

  1. Take your facial cleanser and moisturizer along with you

To keep your face looking great even in extreme climates, your facial cleanser and moisturizer are very important. The daily cleanser helps to clean impurities on your face, while the moisturizer will feed your skin with the important nutrients required to keep it healthy during the duration of your trip.

  1. Use trusted products

Trying out new products is fun, but you should be very careful doing this while on vacation. The change in climate is enough stress on your skin. If you add new products to your skin, you might be increasing the stress on it. Invariably, this might lead to skin breakout and other issues.

Therefore, stick to what your skin is familiar with. When you go back home, you can try out new products. To make it easier to keep using your familiar products, you can buy travel-sized versions of your moisturizer, lotion, cleanser and other stuff.

  1. Have a medical emergency kit

This should contain smoothening calamine, aloe vera potion and other things that can be used in case of skin emergencies.

To enjoy your trip, no matter where that might be, follow these skin-care rules. Your skin will thank you for it!

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Adventure Travel

Scottsdale – Come for the Sights, Stay for the Experience

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Scottsdale, Arizona is one of the most popular destinations in the Grand Canyon State. Known for its resorts, natural trails, and association with nightlife, the city has become a must visit for anyone who wants to experience contemporary life in a former desert.

Scottsdale is very famous for its modern hospitality and geographical sights. Keeping this in mind, it wouldn’t be surprising to know that finding a Scottsdale nightclub is on the minds of many tourists who pay the city a visit – even those who do so to explore one of its mountainous ranges.

If you are planning to head down to the Copper State anytime soon and enjoy life, then Scottsdale may prove to be a great summer destination.

To help you understand what the city would have to offer in terms of recreation, here are some of the top Scottsdale vacation and dining options that make the West’s Most Western Town, a must visit.

Old Town Scottsdale

Old Town Scottsdale is perhaps the most popular destination in the city. With its unique lineup of culturally rich events, this colorful area has a vibe that defines old West meeting its modern counterpart to a T.

While Scottsdale remains famous for its modern nightlife, club scene, and luxurious resorts, Old Town Scottsdale brings about the old Western charm for tourists to experience firsthand. Old architecture, preserving museums, and cultural activities are just a few of the many things that you could experience at this destination.

With an array of fine dining restaurants that prove to be the best in the state, you could grab a bite in luxury after roaming around in the sun.

And if you feel a bit more adventurous, then you could do that exploration while riding on a Segway instead of using your good old feet. With plenty of Segway tours being conducted each day, you will easily be able to find something that suits your schedule.

Taliesin West

As the winter home to famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Taliesin West boasts of an unmatched architectural design.

Now a museum, the destination doesn’t only showcase the building in all of its glory, but also offers insights into Wright’s work and his mind through detailed tours of the facility.

It is due to these reasons that Taliesin West ranks as one of the topmost destinations to visit in Scottsdale among many professional guides.

Since the building or its experience cannot be replicated elsewhere, it remains a must visit for whenever you are in Scottsdale.

Scottsdale Fashion Square

Want to visit the biggest shopping mall in Arizona? You would find it to be located in the heart of Scottsdale.

With around 2 million square feet of shopping space, the Scottsdale Fashion Square is one of the biggest malls in the whole country. Made up of high end, luxury retail locations, it is literally the one stop shop for upscale items that you may not find elsewhere in the city. With that, the mall holds plenty of fine dining locations as well. What more could you want from a shopping destination, really?

Due to its modern inventory and access to high fashion, the Scottsdale Fashion Square could be a must visit before you hit the popular nightclub scene of the city. Whether you are finding some club wear or just want to spruce up your existing outfit with some Loboutins, this mall would provide you with plenty of choices and fun to boot.

Scottsdale Has Something for Everyone

Depending upon your personal preference, Scottsdale has plenty to offer.  Whether you want to indulge in the city’s party scene or just explore its natural history, you would find that the destination has something for everyone.

So the next time that you are about to visit the Wild West, don’t forget to put Scottsdale at the top of your list. You won’t be disappointed with what you get to work with.

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Adventure Travel

5 Fun Adventure Activities in Vietnam

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A stunning country with glorious scenery and an amazing culture, Vietnam offers many attractions for the modern tourist. It would be easy to spend a holiday in Vietnam just sightseeing and immersing yourself in the culture – which thanks to a heavy French influence, is different to its South Eastern Asian neighbours – but why pass up on some of the fun adventure activities in Vietnam?

Sandboarding

Also called sand surfing, sandboarding is an extreme sport, exactly like snowboarding, but on sand dunes instead of snow. Regularly named among the best sandboarding destinations in the world, are the Mue Ne Dunes. A series of red dunes around the resort town of the same name, sandboarding has not yet hit the professional heights here but is more of a fun cultural experience. Women in cone hats rent out boards to everyone from kids to saffron-robed Buddhist monks.

Mue Nie is also home to the magical Fairy Stream. This small shallow river winds through moon-like rock formations and is fun to walk through. You can watch the fish as you walk up to two kms in the water or you might try your hand at fishing. You’ll need some basic tackle including rod and reels. Check out these great options for beginners.

Take on Mount Fansipan

Nicknamed “the Roof of Indochina”, Fanispan at 3,143 metres is the highest mountain in the region. Located in Sapa, a town in the Lao Cai province in Northern Vietnam, the mountain can be conquered via two main climbing routes, one categorised as 2D1N, the other a longer 3D2N route. Both climbs require a guide. For those who prefer an easier way to the summit, the Fanispan cable car takes just 15 minutes to achieve what climbers do in 2-3 days, travelling on cables high above primitive forests.

Ride a Motorbike from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi

One of the enduring images of Vietnam is the streets of Ho Chi Minh crowded with motorbikes, but motorbikes are also popular outside the cities and Vietnam has become known for some amazing motorbike routes. One of the favourite journeys is from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi. There are various routes to cover the distance of more than 2,000 kms, all taking you through gorgeous scenery and fascinating towns and villages.

Marble Mountain Rappelling Tour with Temple and Cave Exploration

You might think that abseiling down a vertical rock face is for experienced adrenalin junkies but not so on a rappelling tour in the Marble Mountains in Vietnam. Located just north of the popular resort city of Hoi An, the Marble Mountains are known locally as the “Five Elements Mountains”. Tours start in the city and once in the mountains, all equipment and instruction is provided to complete at least two rappels (depending on the tour company you choose). Besides the rappelling, the tours have spectacular views of the coast and include trekking through the mountains, visiting caves and temples

Canyoning

Canyoning is a thrilling adrenaline rush of an adventure sport wherein you jump into a fast-flowing mountain stream and allow yourself to be carried at high speed downstream. The most popular place for canyoning in Vietnam is Dalat. Dalat is in the Central Highlands and is a lovely resort town near a lake becoming renown as a destination for honeymoons as well as the adventure sports of cliff jumping, waterfall rappelling, natural water slides, and hiking, as well as canyoning. Various companies offer canyoning tours in Dalat all at similar prices for similar itineraries, so just choose which appeals most.

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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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