I know, I know! One day is never enough time to spend in Jasper. But with limited vacation, we had to make best use of the available time.
Jasper deserves more credit (and much needed hype) than it is currently given. Because of its close proximity to Calgary, Banff is much more popular than the far, yet utterly beautiful and peaceful Jasper.
Grab a breakfast at Bear Paws Cafe
After a light breakfast at Bear Paws Café with white chocolate raspberry scone, “Meet the Greek” and some caffeine (Latte and Cappuccino), we drove to take the Jasper Skytram. Thank god, we arrived early; we beat the crowd and the heat on the Alpine summit.
Take the Jasper Skytram to the crest of Whistlers Mountain
If you are an avid hiker, walk from the base to the summit of Whistlers Mountain and it takes 6 hours!!! We boarded the sky tram and in less than 10 minutes climbed over 1000 metres to reach the summit! Pretty neat, wasn’ it? And the views – incredible!
Utterly gorgeous panoramic views from the top! From Mt. Robson, the tallest peak in the Canadian Rockies to several other rolling glacier covered mountains, to the gorgeous Jasper town (in the shape of the letter “J”), to the turquoise blue glacier fed lakes, one can never get enough of it. Be on the lookout for ground squirrels and beavers hidden underneath the rocks. The tour guide said that the Mt. Robson peak wasn’t visible until the day before, so I guess we picked a good day to come here!
Buy a sandwich from Patricia’s Café
After taking the Jasper skytram, we reached Jasper town at around 11.30am. We weren’t hungry, but know we will be, a bit later. Considering there are no eat-out options near the Maligne Canyon, our next destination, we decided to get to-go lunch before heading out there.
The best option for quick to-go lunches that can be eaten anytime later are sandwiches. But, I detest them! But, I had no other option. So, we went to Patricia’s Café, highly rated on Yelp, to buy a couple of sandwiches.
Subway concept – you pick your bun or wrap, meat, veggies, sauces and cheese. We got a multi-grain bun and sundried tomato wrap. Our choice of meat was chicken. We added all the veggies and chose a number of sauces with jalapeño havarti cheese.
The sandwiches turned out to be very delicious!
Hike along the Maligne Canyon
After hiking the Maligne Canyon, you’ll know why it was named so. The Maligne River steadily flows between deep gorges, looks scary at times and mind blowing at other times. The hike from the parking lot was very enjoyable; the trail is downhill and along the canyon. Peek in at viewpoints to capture the beauty of the river gushing through the narrow and deep canyons and swirling around at certain places, forming ink pots.
The view from the 3rd bridge is my personal favorite. Here’s the spot where you can feel the spray; much needed on a sweltering day.
We hiked for about 30 minutes one-way and returned. The trail back to the lot is not so cool – It is mostly uphill.
Picnic by the Maligne River
While driving from Maligne Canyon to Medicine Lake, we came across a lovely picnic spot by the Maligne River and stopped there. The clouds alternatively hid the sun for a bit and paved the way for the sunlight to pierce through, gleaming the river.
See the lovely Medicine Lake that disappears during winter
From the Maligne Canyon, we drove on a narrow road bordering the beautiful Athabasca River. Keep your eyes peeled out for wildlife along the way – A bear crossed the road right in front of our car. A turn around the mountain suddenly unfolds a lovely view of a large, deep green color lake, which often disappears during winter. It is the Medicine Lake!
The lake was untouched, calm and clear. Occasionally, you see swarms of geese fluttering in the lake.
Of course, it is intriguing that such a big lake can disappear during winter, but the mystery has been uncovered. During winter, the water from the south drains into the sinkholes before reaching the Medicine Lake. During summer, when the glaciers melt, the water swells over the sink holes and flows into the Medicine Lake.
Visit the Maligne Lake and take the boat tour to the popular Spirit Island
This lake should be renamed. Something so beautiful should never be named as “malign”. This lake is one of the safer places for novice paddlers and kayakers.
We booked a boat tour to the Spirit Island, one of the most photographed locations in the Canadian Rockies. During the 30 minutes boat ride to the Spirit Island, we saw the Maligne Glaciers. Only 10% is seen from one side of the mountain and it is massive as it is. Leaves you wondering how colossal the unseen 90% is.
Another glacier, though smaller compared to the other glaciers in the Canadian Rockies is the biggest that is visible from the boat tour. We even saw a waterfalls flowing down the tall mountain cliffs from the melting glaciers.
As we gaped at the tall mountain peaks hugging the lake and the massive glaciers, our boat turned towards the Spirit Island. The beauty of this part of the lake, is not just the Spirit Island itself, but the turquoise blue waters surrounding it and the Coronet glacier immaculately serving as its backdrop.
The water color changes from green to blue, depending on the amount and density of glacier silts in the water. Since we visited during summer, most of the glacier silts were probably deposited and the others were evenly spread out, absorbing all but the blue color of the sunlight.
Mary Schaffer, who found this lake said that if God’s ever do come down to Earth, here’s where they would meet. And I couldn’t agree more!
End the lovely day by eating dinner at Downstream
We ended our day at Downstream. I had couple of chocolate martini’s, which was so good (hence ended up buying another drink). The bison ribs were flawlessly cooked, the meat was so tender that it fell off from the bone. So damn good. Perfect way to end our day in Jasper!