Canada has a number of national parks; Jasper is one of them. From the Calgary area the trip takes about 5 hours, but we stopped in Banff on the way so it took a little longer. Banff is the most famous of Canada's national parks, but Jasper is another beautiful location about 3.5 hours away from Banff.
We drove to Jasper in mid-April. We had some family visiting us from England, so we all went to Jasper as a big group for the first time. The best part about the journey was the drive there. It's always a wonderful experience to be so close to the snow-capped mountains.
To get to Jasper we took the Trans-Canada Hwy/AB-1 W, toward Banff, and then exited at the Alberta 93 exit toward Jasper.
The weather was quite nice for our trip, though we all packed warm clothes because it tends to get quite cold up in the mountains.
So before we got to Jasper, we arrived at Banff and took a walk around the town.
I like Cascade mall in Banff town, where the Old Spaghetti Factory is. We didn't stop there though. We spent most of our time outside, strolling around, and then we got some popcorn from Mary's Popcorn shop in the Town Centre.
After visiting Banff Town we went to Lake Louise. The lake was still frozen over, so we walked across it. It's such a beautiful sight to be there, with the open space of the sky, and what would usually be the lake. Lake Louise is a gorgeous place to see in both summer and winter. A couple of summers ago we were in that same lake canoeing, but you almost would not believe it.
Anyway, after that short stop we made our way to Jasper. Since we left the house early at about 8 am, we arrived in Jasper with plenty of time to relax. We stayed at Chateau Jasper and we were really pleased with it. We had a leisurely, slow-paced evening. After our long journey, we settled in our hotel room and had a cup of tea, then at about 6 pm we ventured into Jasper town to have dinner.
There were like 3 or 4 restaurants on Connaught drive, but Jasper Pizza Place caught our attention. It was probably the most lively of all the resturants on that street, and we were interested on checking it out ourselves. From the Chateau Jasper Hotel to the Pizza Place it was about a 10-15 minutes walk. The weather was beautiful so we walked, it was also good exercise after sitting in the car all day.
I liked the Jasper Pizza Place menu because it had quite a few options to choose from (many dishes besides pizza). I ordered a Margarita and what was called their Pyramid Pizza, which has onions, sour cream and chorizo. The food was pretty good.
After dinner, we had a lovely walk back to the hotel and made use of the swimming pool and hot tub facilities.
The next morning, we went to Earls on Patricia Street and had brunch. We spent a long time there actually, 2 or more hours I think, mainly because the food took a long time to get out. After brunch, we went to Circle K to grab some snacks, then we got gas and headed back home.
The highlight of our trip from Calgary to Jasper was the beautiful views we got to observe on the way and going back home. My favourite experience on the trip to Jasper was seeing the Columbia Icefields. It just looked spectacular. I think the drive back looked even more amazing than the drive there.
Overall, I enjoyed our trip from Calgary to Jasper. Like I said, we had been to Banff and wanted to try another National Park. Banff has a lot more action than Jasper - its town is larger and has more to do. If you appreciate outdoor activities you'll love Jasper, but if you're looking for places to go indoors, you might find it dull?
We only spent one night in Jasper, but next time I would like to stay longer and go hiking. It was a great first visit though!
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