Jasper National Park, located in the province of Alberta (North of Banff National Park), is the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies and it came highly recommended to us by fellow travelers.
On the way up to Jasper we decided to stay one night at the Columbia Icefield Centre situated across from the Athabasca Glacier, the most visited glacier on the North American Continent. We had scouted out the location from our base in Banff and we knew that the “campground” was just a large parking lot to the left of the visitor center main parking – but with a front row view of the glacier that was just too tempting to pass up. Arriving early, we picked a spot where we would be able to see the glacier from the dinette window and unhooked Tex with the slide only slightly extended. Admittedly we were a little nervous about leaving the trailer unattended in a parking lot while we explored the icefield trail of the glacier but we didn’t expect to be gone more than hour or so and we certainly didn’t expect to find the lot packed to the gills upon our return. One obviously new RV driver (driving a rental) squeezed his rig in between another and ours. He eventually took the door off the other rig! When the chaos all ended in the early evening we were left with dropping temperatures, howling winds and few others around. We ended up hooking Tex back up and moving the trailer so that the nose met the wind to reduce the noise and keep us a bit warmer. Lesson learned – don’t camp in a parking lot no matter how magnificent the view!!!
Arriving in Jasper on the Monday of the Labor Day holiday weekend we had no problem getting a real campsite at Whistlers. It felt good to once again be surrounded by trees and grass and we had no problem leaving Skyler for some much needed doggie rest while we explored the town of Jasper and the surrounding area. Skyler, needless to say did not think much of the prior night accommodations either.
Drawn like a moth to a flame we soon made our way to Miette Hotsprings. Mountain goats briefly impeded our progress to the springs but were no match against our desire to soak our weary muscles and to take in the breathtaking scenery. Emerging from the hot springs on a cold September day dressed in short sleeves and flip-flops we felt like kids on Christmas morning.
As a new day dawned we made our way out to the magnificent Maligne Lake, complete with Canadian geese.
From our base camp at Whistlers, we also backtracked down the Icefields to see Sunwapta Falls and Athabasca Falls, Sunwapta being our clear favorite for its deep canyon and hike to the Lower Sunwapta Falls.
In total we spent two days in Jasper exploring the park by day and gazing at the millions of stars at night. Thoroughly enjoying our time in Canada, we now felt ready to return to the U.S.
With a brief visit to Mt. Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, we made a mad dash for the border.
Next Up: Back in the States