Your guide to the hidden treasures in Jasper National Park – some of Jasper’s best kept secrets are now out.
Jasper National Park is oft forgotten as a remote part of central Alberta, with the adjacent Banff National Park taking the spotlight for most visitors. As the relatively quiet and secluded cousin of tourist hotspots in Lake Louise and Banff, Jasper’s charm is unrivaled, from the quaint town frozen in time, to ancient glaciers along one of the most scenic drives in the world. Not to mention the thrill of discovering Jasper’s best kept secrets.
Among the allure of visiting Jasper is the solitude it provides away from the hubbub of crowded national parks in spring, summer and fall as well as vast snowy slopes in the winter for skiing and snowboarding that you can get all to yourself.
Once you have decided to visit this laid-back haven, we suggest exploring these hidden gems, off-the-beaten-path and experience the park’s pristine preserved natural beauty.
Old Fort Point
This is on the top of our list for this hour-long hike loop provides the absolute best view of Jasper. To get to the highest point, you will encounter some very steep climbs. But it’s worth the extra effort to take in the spectacle 360 degree views. Starting at the Athabasca river, the hike starts nice and easy with several sights on the way to the top. Once at the peak, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the town of Jasper, the Athabasca River Basin, Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, Lac Beauvert.
Even more spectacular is doing this hike at night to bask in the starlit sky and watch the milky way twinkling.
Expert tip from Parks Canada: Your guide to spotting and naming all the mountains from this viewpoint and impressing a few friends “Mt. Edith Cavell (always snow-streaked) to the south, The Whistlers (mountain with the tramway terminal near the top) to the southwest, the valley of the Miette River leading west toward Yellowhead Pass and B.C., the town of Jasper across the Athabasca River, the reddish quartzite of the Victoria Cross Range to the northwest beyond the town (the peak with a microwave relay station on top is Pyramid Mountain), Lac Beauvert and Jasper Park Lodge to the north (other lakes visible northward: Annette and Edith), the gray limestone of the Colin Range to the northeast, rounded Signal Mountain and the cliffs of Mt. Tekarra to the east, and to the southeast, Mt. Hardisty (sloping layers) and Mt. Kerkeslin (layers bowed gently down).”
The population of these beautiful Bighorn Sheep are abundant throughout Jasper national Park – and Jasper’s best kept secret in every season. They can be spotted on slopes and along the famous Icefield Parkway in all seasons – watch the Rams butt heads in the Fall during mating season. Experience the wildlife via self-guided or expert-guided tours.
Best kept secret: Disaster Point is a great place for spotting mountain goats and Bighorn Sheep.
This is heaven for backcountry lovers. The landscape in Tonquin valley is out of scifi movie – vast barren mountains of the unmistakable Ramparts, acres of wildflowers, Amethyst Lake and massive glaciers.
There are several trail options for both medium to hard hikes. Opal Hills and Cavell Meadows being the shorter, quicker trips and those seeking longer more challenging hikes can choose Maccarib Pass. None are likely to disappoint.
Best kept secret: The valley is home to bears and caribou, marmot and a large diverse wildlife.
Chasing lakes and waterfalls in Jasper National Park is an adventure sport on it’s own. The hikes to the first Geraldine Lake is a 3.6 km loop is forested with the first waterfall visible just off of the lake. The climbs gets steep from hereon to the second Geraldine Lake. For the super adventurous, looking to up the challenge, there are two additional Geraldine Lakes to continue this hike.
Horseriding in Jasper
Did you know you could get private horse riding lessons at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge? The experience of going around Lake Annette and the Athabasca river trails is enhanced on horseback as you meander through old growth forests and learn the equestrian art. Try your beginner or intermediate course today.
What are some hidden gems you’ve found while exploring Jasper?