Travel Diary: Jasper, Just Before Winter
Last week, we headed off to Jasper for a quick one-nighter to show Craig’s mom the sweet little mountain-side town. You might have already seen a sneak preview in our Weekly Update #3, but here is our full travel diary just before the winter snow hit. Jasper is a completely different feel to Banff. While they’re both equally magical, Jasper feels a bit more like a National Park with the town right in the middle of everything and wild animals like Elk and Deer at every turn — you might want to come prepared with bear spray just in case! This time, we were extremely lucky: we spotted Deer, Goats, Caribou, Moose and even a Wolf!After reading this, I cannot wait to visit Jasper National Park! Click To Tweet
DAY ONE: ARRIVING IN JASPER
The drive to Jasper only takes 4 hours from Edmonton, so it’s the perfect little, quick-getaway to the mountains. We always stop half way, in Edson, for a coffee stop before we get to the National Park entrance. You usually pay an entry fee into the park, but this year entry into all of the parks are free.
The drive does mean you’re usually still on the roads during lunchtime, unless you leave really early. We started out at 10am and got to Jasper around 2pm, starving! We headed straight to Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge for a quick bite to eat in the Emerald Lounge, where you can grab a seat in front of a fire. In the summer, you can sit on the patio with the view of the lake (below).
Stroll around the Incredible Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge:
The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is by far my favourite place to stay in Jasper National Park. If the lakeside cabins with views of the mountains don’t sell you, I don’t know what will. That said, the luxurious accommodation option comes with a luxurious price-tag. So, if you don’t get to stay there, you should definitely take advantage of their dining options or even their spa. Craig and I did just that on one of our previous visits, and we had one of the best couple massages of our lives — its no wonder they’ve been voted one of the best spas in Canada. When visiting, you should also take some time to stroll down to the lake to walk alongside the water, exploring the large, picturesque property.
Pyramid Lake & Island:
Another must visit is Pyramid Lake and Island. If you have time to plan a head, this little spot would be great for a little picnic lunch or dinner, bearing in mind the weather! There are cute little log benches all over the island with incredible views that you could stare at for hours.
If only we were lucky enough to stay at the Fairmont, it is by far the best place to stay in town. Instead, we booked in centrally at the more reasonable Best Western. It didn’t break the bank, and we were planning on being out and about more than we would be cosying indoors. Here’s a list of other accommodation spots nearby.
Best Coffee in Jasper… is at a laundromat!
Snowdome Coffee Bar and Laundromat is my favourite concept ever. It’s so unassuming and simple, yet it boasts the best coffee in town. I’ve tried all the others. I promise, this is the best! And, bonus, if you need a place to do your laundry too!
For a quick and easy dinner, I would recommend Famoso’s Pizza (which serves GF pizzas) or Earls. We opted for pizza on this particular night but Earls has amazing variety on their menu — plus some healthier options.
DAY TWO: EXPLORING MALIGNE LAKE
Breakfast in the Dark at Coco’s:
We woke up early (as usual), while the rest of the town was clearly all still asleep, to have a quick breakfast before we set out to explore. Luckily, Coco’s Cafe is open from 6 am and serves up celiac foods plus great coffee in their tiny cafe. From a granola bowl to breakfast wraps and bagels, I had quite a variety to choose from!
Maligne Lake at Dawn:
It’s about a 30 minute drive from town, up into the mountains to get to Lake Maligne (pronounced like “Malene”) so while we may have started the drive in pitch darkness, we arrived to the sunlight peaking over the mountains onto the lake — perfect timing, if you ask me. There was only one other photographer alongside the lake when we arrived so it felt like we were the only people for miles.
Driving back down the mountain, and out of the Park, presented a picture-perfect moment at each turn and bend. If you’re a nature lover, Jasper is one destination you cannot miss. Every time I think about how difficult it was to adjust to new life in Canada (you might have read all about it here), I remember how incredibly blessed we have been to experience all these new places — and to have this in our backyard!
“The Mountains are calling and I must go” — John Muir
Hope you enjoyed our little getaway travel diary in Jasper! Can you believe in two weeks we will be back in Vancouver again!? And a week after that, I’ll be off back to South Africa. SO. MUCH. TO. COME! Stay tuned! 🙂
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