But its laid-back town vibes and untouched wilderness are as enticing as Banff National Park. And its lack of traffic and people may be all the more reasons to book a trip to Jasper National Park.
Make sure you stop and see at least these four sights when you visit.
1. Patricia and Pyramid Lakes
Located in the Athabasca Valley and only 10 minutes from the town of Jasper, Patricia and Pyramid Lakes are perfect getaway spots.
There are miles of trails in the woods above the lakes to hike and mountain bike, while the lake itself is great for fishing, paddling or just lounging on the beach.
Don’t forget to hike out to Pyramid Island where benches, picnic tables and an open wooden shelter await you. The Overlook Loop is a good 3.3-mile round trip hike that offers the best views of the area from high above town.
2. Maligne Canyon
Waterfalls and potholes are just two of the many wonders at Maligne Canyon. Maligne River originates from Maligne Lake and flows underground from Medicine Lake until it reaches Maligne Canyon.
The canyon has been worn down by the river and has a maximum depth of 160 feet, but it’s only 6.5 feet wide in certain places. There are four bridges across the canyon with two additional bridges lower in the gorge.
There are many hiking options along the Maligne Canyon Trail. For a unique experience, visit Maligne Canyon in the winter to ice climb or hike the frozen canyon floor (a guide is recommended when visiting in the winter time).
3. Valley of Five Lakes
South of Jasper are five small lakes that vary in depth which causes different hues of blue-green in each individual lake.
The Valley of Five Lakes trail is a popular way to experience the crystal clear lakes. The trailhead is located off the Icefields Parkway and is a 2.7-mile loop hike.
Another great way to explore the trails and lakes is on a mountain bike; visit here for information about the challenging, but super fun mountain bike route.
4. Mt. Edith Cavell Area
Mt. Edith Cavell is one the most prominent peaks in Jasper National Park. Towering over 11,000 feet, don’t miss its rugged beauty and the spectacular views of Cavell Glacier and Angel Glacier that the Mt. Edith Cavell area offers.
Sometimes icebergs can be seen floating in the lake at the base of the mountain. The 4-mile round trip Cavell Meadows trail meanders through fields of wildflowers in the summer and upper-subalpine forests.
But be prepared, once you visit you’ll be drawn to hike many more trails in the area.