Jasper and Jasper National Park
The Town of Jasper
Jasper is a tourist destination resort area hosting visitors from around the world. It is an internationally recognized four-season destination with so much to see and do to suit everyone's tastes. Jasper is located in the Rocky Mountains in Jasper National Park approximately 420 km north west of Calgary, 380 km west of Edmonton, and 30 km east of the British Columbia border.
Jasper offers first-class visitor attractions, activities, facilities and services within magnificently scenic wilderness surroundings of unparalleded beauty. Jasper National Park is Canada's largest Rocky Mountain Park and one of North America's largest natural areas, spanning 10,878 sq. km. (4200 sq. miles) of awesome inspiring scenic splendor.
The Early Days
The town of Jasper sprang up in 1911, when the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway was laying steel up the Athabasca River Valley toward Yellowhead Pass. So you might think that this area's history is rather short. Actually, it goes back further that any other community in the Canadian Rockies.
David Thompson, Canada's great fur-trade-era explorer and mapmaker, saw to it that Jasper's first permanent habitation was built in 1811, one hundred years before the railway arrived. It happened this way. One of Thompson's men, William Henry, was left behind at Old Fort Point while Thompson and the others pushed on up the Athabasca looking for a gap in the Rockies that would become famous as the route of the North West Company and Hudson's Bay Company fur brigades. Athabasca Pass was used for 50 years. The tired voyageurs carrying their loads of fur would overnight at Henry House, the post built by William Henry as he awaited Thompson's return.
There's a monument to Henry House near Lac Beauvert, though nothing is left of the actual building and even the exact location has been lost. A pile of chimney stones marks Jasper House, a fur-brigade way-station built in the eastern end of Jasper Park in 1813. Jasper Hawes was a long-time clerk there. Known far and wide, his name settled over the whole district.
Fur trading declined after 1850, and there were few travellers in the area until the railway arrived 60 years later. But adventurers and mountaineers trickled through; people such as Paul Kane, the artist; the Overlanders, a 100-strong group of goldseekers bound for British Columbia; and Mary Schaffer, the woman who followed old Indian trails to hitherto-unknown Maligne Lake.
Jasper National Park was founded in 1907, a great block of unexplored wilderness. Increased accessibility prompted the federal government to establish Jasper National Park to protect the natural beauty of the area.Today, in spite of its highways and its railroad, the park looks very much like it did when David Thompson first saw it. Jasper townsite serves as the visitors' centre, built slowly and carefully over the years by the park employees, outfitters, railroadmen, hotel owners and shopkeepers who foresaw the eventual influx of visitors from all over the world.
The Town of Jasper
The climate in Jasper varies dramatically with the season. Winter temperatures fall to well below zero; annual snowfall in the townsite averages 136 cm (53.5 inches) and increases to as much as 1000 cm (400 inches) in the high country. Summer brings mild temperatures of 22 degrees C (72 degrees F) and often warmer. Because of its northern latitude, Jasper's summer days have over seventeen hours of sunlight, while winter has only seven daylight hours.
The town of Jasper is located within the Jasper National Park (West Central Alberta) and is at the edge of a broad, open valley where the Miette and the Athabasca Rivers meet. Jasper has three entrances, each guarded by sentinel mountains. The most spectacular gateway is considered to be through Sunwapta Pass on the Icefields Parkway. The town is also on the Canadian National Railway's transcontinental line.
Jasper National Park
Jasper National Park is famous the world over for its spectacular scenery. This beautiful park includes Maligne Lake and Spirit Island, Mount Edith Cavell, the Columbia Icefields, Miette Hot Springs, the Athabasca River and Falls and many other well known mountain sites. It is also a wildlife sanctuary for countless bear, elk, moose, deer, mountain goat, wolves, big horn sheep and much more wildlife.
Jasper National Park adjoins Banff National Park at the Columbia Icefields. The park is a ragged rectangle approximately 320 kilometres long and 90 kilometres wide at its widest point. Hikers and trail riders can take advantage of approximately 1,000 kilometres of trails traversing mountains, glaciers, lakes and rivers. The northern portion of the park offers genuine wilderness seclusion while the southern half presents dramatic glacial scenery. Many people consider Jasper National Park to be the preeminent backpacking area in North America
Jasper National Park Area - 10,878 sq. km. (4200 sq. mi.)
Canada's largest Mountain Park - Wildlife Sanctuary.
Jasper Town Year Round Population - approximately 5400.
Jasper Town Elevation - 1064 metres (3500 ft.).
Visitor Statistics - Jasper is now averaging more than 2 million visitors each year.
Distances from Jasper:
- Calgary - 415 km (260 mi.) ~ 4.5 hrs.
- Edmonton - 365 km (230 mi.) ~ 3.5 hrs.
- Vancouver - 865 km (540 mi.) ~ 9.5 hrs.
- Banff - 280 km (175 mi.) ~ 3.0 hrs.
- Lake Louise - 225 km (140 mi.) ~ 2.5 hrs.
- Kamloops - 450 km (280 mi.) ~ 5.0 hrs.
- Kelowna - 600 km (375 mi.) ~ 7.0 hrs.
- Radium Hot Springs - 360 Km (225 mi.) ~ 4.0 hrs.
- Prince George - 365 km (230 mi.) ~ 4.0 hrs.
- Prince Rupert - 1100 km (685 mi.) ~ 13.0 hrs.
More Distances from Jasper:
- Athabasca Falls - 30 km (20 mi.) ~ 25 min.
- Columbia Icefields - 104 km (65 mi.) ~ 75 min.
- Jasper Tramway - 8 km (5 mi.) ~ 10 min.
- Lake Edith & Lake Annette - 5 km (3 mi.) ~ 10 min.
- Maligne Canyon - 12 km (7.5 mi.) ~ 10 min.
- Maligne Lake - 55 km (35 mi.) ~ 50 min.
- Marmot Basin - 19 km (12 mi.) ~ 20 min.
- Medicine Lake - 27 km (17 mi.) ~ 30 min.
- Miette Hot Springs - 60 km (38 mi.) ~ 45 min.
- Mount Edith Cavell - 29 km (18 mi.) ~ 30 min.
- Mount Robson - 90 km (56 mi.) ~ 60 min.
- Pocahontas - 45 km (28 mi.) ~ 30 min.
- Pyramid Lake - 7 km (4 mi.) ~ 8 min.
- Sunwapta Falls - 55 km (35 mi.) ~ 40 min.