When I last left off we were leaving Revelstoke, BC and headed to Jasper, Alberta! Jasper is similar to Banff, but smaller, more rustic and less busy and touristy. Probably because it’s a bit of a hike. It was about a five and a half hour drive from where we were in Revelstoke, and three and a half hours north of Banff (you basically have to pass Banff if you are coming from either Revelstoke or Calgary directions). Jasper is so, so worth the drive though. It is beautiful, and you have to take the Icefields Parkway, which has the most stunning views I’ve ever seen while driving (and that is saying a lot because our entire road trip had stunning views). I had only been to Jasper once before, when I was about 10, but I remembered the beauty of it.
We made a few pit stops because how can you not?! Once again the pictures do nothing justice. Absolutely nothing.
Okay that one maybe you can get an idea of how beautiful it is to drive through. It is breathtaking, the entire way.
The icefields that the parkway was named for…
That is the Athabasca Glacier that leads to the Columbia Icefield. You can do a tour on an Ice Explorer that will take you up to theglacier and you can get out and walk around on the ice and stuff. One day! I definitely want to come back here with Evan and do more hiking – there is SO MUCH to do. There are so many smaller mountain lakes all around Jasper that you can just drive to and hike around (I remember doing this when I was younger with my family). But by the time we arrived it was the early evening and we were exhausted from driving all day so we really only had one full day there.
The town of Jasper is cuuuuute.
Just the cutest little mountain town. Actually the entire town is located inside Jasper National Park, just like in Banff. We were staying just outside of town in the Whistlers campground of Jasper National Park, two nights in this sweet yurt!
I highly, highly recommend the yurt (actually it’s called an oTENTik officially). I’m so glad we weren’t actually camping here – the temperature had dropped even further to high of about 8 degrees C. On Thursday and Friday mornings it was only 1 degree! I brought a lot of layers and I was prepared for it to be chilly, but I was not prepared for winter. Luckily, our yurt was heated. Not full heat but enough to take the chill off and it was pretty comfortable in there. The inside was pretty awesome.
Three beds that each slept two, and a little table and chairs for chill time.
We got subway for dinner as you can see. All we did Wednesday night was eat our subway dinner, locate a shower (it had been a while), and go to bed. We didn’t even have a campfire.
In the morning we got up bright and early and got started on our adventuring. We went out for breakfast at an Italian restaurant in town, and afterwards we explored the downtown a bit.
I don’t usually enjoy shopping, but the exception is shopping in small towns because I like to explore all the kitschy shops and look at all the cute touristy things.
I especially love touristy shopping in little Canadian towns because they have all the quintessential Canadian things – lots of bears, lots of moose, and lots of beavers. And usually Mounties.
I guess that’s really what we’re all about.
After a couple hours in town we dropped Yamina off at the yurt (her hip was in a lot of pain from all the driving, she had an old snowboarding injury that acted up so unfortunately she had to skip out on a lot of our adventures) and Lisa, Sherrie and I headed to Athabasca Falls for a little hiking action.
It was absolutely beautiful, even if it was rainy and foggy and we could barely see the mountains.
I googled it and this is normally what that looks like.
So, Mother Nature hated us but what can you do? We had a limited time so we made the best of the situation.
And it was still real pretty!
I loved all the limestone!
Athabasca Falls are known for their strength more than their height, because of the crazy amount of water that comes rushing through there.
You walk down a path where the water used to come through, and it eventually leads to a beautiful river.
That water is just crazy blue.
Highly recommend checking out the falls if you go to Jasper. Hopefully you have nicer weather than we did!
After our rainy hike we were cold and wet so naturally we hit up the Miette hot springs!
We went to the hot springs later in Banff also and I have to say, the Jasper ones are so much nicer. They’re larger – they have four pools, two hot and two cooler ones (so you can switch between if you are feeling ballsy, but it was cold out and we were not) – and the Jasper springs are not as rammed with people. Although, we did go to the Jasper hot springs on Thursday and the Banff ones on Saturday so that might have had something to do with it. But we really enjoyed. The view is gorgeous and it’s nice to just submerge yourself in hot water. There’s also a hike you can do on the mountain where the springs are located, but we were just in leisure mode. The drive there was a hike in itself, the road was SUPER windy through the mountains.
It was also like African Lion Safari: Canadian Edition. Like Canadian Bear Safari maybe. Animals everywhere! We saw an entire family of elk right by our campsite, so we got to watch them for a bit up close (up close from the car).
It’s currently elk mating season so the rangers told us not to actually get too close to the elk or they may try to make sweet love to us (or charge at us, whatever). And we saw four giant male elk on the way to the hot springs, lying down on the side of the road.
They’re pretty well camouflaged so I have circled them for you. We could see them pretty well from where we were standing and maaan their antlers are huge and crazy.
Then we drove a little further and saw a bunch of mountain goats just chilling on the side of the road.
About a dozen of them. They were cute.
After the hot springs it was back to the yurt, sweet yurt. We had visitors coming! Our friends Emily and Corey happened to be doing a similar road trip and they were about a day behind us and also staying in Jasper Thursday night. Em and Cork were staying in a trailer in a different campground, no yurt for them, but they happened to drive by our campground on the way to theirs so of course we were all “COME OVER!!! YURT PARTY!!!” so they came and they brought their beautiful baby Marcus with them!
Ahhh I just want to snuggle him. I can’t imagine driving for that long (or staying in a trailer for that matter) with a baby, but they said he was just being a little dream and was liking the traveling. I think he was happy to be out of the car and reunited with his aunties.
I love his little Canada mitts.
We were talking about how crazy it was that we all happened to be in Jasper at the same time, clear across the country from where we live – a good few days drive or four hour plane ride, and in the middle of nowhere. Seeing them felt like being home, and after almost a week on the road I was feeling a little homesick. It was quite the party.
Sherrie and Corey like to pretend they’re a happy couple together. From the above photo I’m thinking Emily doesn’t mind at all.
We made burgers over the fire and hung out with Em and Cork until it was time for them to leave and locate their trailer. We had a good fire that night and the next morning we headed to Banff, the last leg of our adventure!