Fall road trip season is here – is Jasper on your radar? Here’s what to do while you visit:
Every summer, we make our way to Jasper a handful of times, and experience the magic of walking across Jasper Lake with the kids, taking a float tour with Jasper Rafting Co. or spending time marvelling at the clear water at Lac Beauvert.
This year, we visited during a fall weekend, for the first time.
Families with children ages 6+ can visit the top of the Skytram, with an expert from the Jasper Planettarium for an exclusive stargazing and dining experience on the Skytram. You’ll get 1km closer to the stars, and have the chance to view hate night sky through one of hte most powerful telescopes in the Canadian Rockies, in one of the darkest skies in the Rockies.
Available Saturdays through September and October, you can get a closer view at a meteor, or the Northern Lights, and experience the Skytram under a dark sky. This one is on our list for next month, and we can’t wait to experience the top of the mountain.
We can’t visit Jasper without a visit up the Skytram to try and spot marmots, marvel at the gorgeous mountain views, or this time around, get lost in the clouds. Even if it’s cloudy when you visit, it’s magical. This time around, we may not have had the view, but we did get the chance to walk into the clouds – and we made it up further the mountain than we’ve ever made it before with those little three-year-old feet.
Yes, I’m serious. This motorcycle tour will take you on a one or three hour adventure, and let you feel the wind in your hair (er, helmet), staying cozy with a heated vest while you ride (yes, that’s a real thing). Jasper Motorcycle tours have tours suitable for families (go with the shorter version) and our three year old rode comfortably in the side car, after getting suited up in her motorcycle leathers.
The coolest part about the tour is that it’s so customizable to what you’ve seen, and where you’ve been, in Jasper. In our case, we hadn’t spent very much time up on the ski hill road, so we rode up and learned about ‘The End of the World’ trails, which leads us to the next thing to explore with your kids.
This is one of my favourite kid-friendly trails because a. the trailhead is short (like five minutes walking with a three year old short) and the views are incredible. Bear in mind that you are travelling to a literal cliff lookout, so prepare any adventurous kids with safety information before you reach the lookout. There are trails to either side, for further exploring past the lookout – again, be safe. The trail gets pretty popular in the afternoon for a ‘secret’ trail, so consider heading out first thing in the morning for a more quiet experience.
You can’t visit Jasper without making a visit to the candy store. Whether you’re choosing classic Kool-aid packages, or you find a PEZ dispenser on the full wall of PEZ characters, it tops the list for our kids when we visit. I mean, I can’t blame them, with that selection. Plus, Ana Lea’s Candy Lane has the weirdest selection of sodas that we’ve ever seen.
TIP: Don’t forget to pack masks when you visit Jasper – masks are mandatory in all spaces when you’re walking around in the townsite.
Another relatively easy, but uphill, trek, this is another trail that’s perfect for families visiting Jasper. The glacier views at the top, and the glacier pond below you, it’s absolutely lovely during any season, but during fall there’s the gorgeous contrasting colours of the changing trees, and the cool glacier blues. Plus, the drive up to Edith Cavell is one of my favourite drives in Jasper.
We’ve done the wildlife tour multiple times while in Jasper, but never during the fall season. Every time we’ve experienced this tour, it’s been so much more than a wildlife tour – it’s been an inside glimpse into the stories and local spots, where you may have never discovered without a local guide. It’s the chance for children to come up close and personal with animal artifacts, have all of their questions answered, and have a local guide bring you to the spots where you’re most likely to see wildlife.
You have the chance to see: elk, deer, bear, moose and mountain goats on the tour. Our experience was so much more than animals, we discovered three new lookout points that we had never noticed, our leader was a local expert, and entertained the kids with ghost stories that they’re still talking about, a week later.
This time around, we didn’t have luck with the wildlife – but we learned so much about the local area, foraged for wild berries, visited Medicine Lake, and had an impromptu family photo session at Lac Beauvert –
Kid-friendly Take Out In Jasper
We’re still not at the point where we’re eating out, in public indoor spaces, with kids – they’re in school now, and they come in contact with many children on a daily basis, so when we visit out of town, we like to lay low, and reduce our contact while enjoying the many outdoor activities in our own backyard.
Here are some of our favourite kid-friendly takeout spots in Jasper:
Jasper Brewing Co. Your kids are going to love the spaghetti from the kids menu. Generous portions, with great options to go if you’re not yet comfortable spending time indoors in a restaurant (we opted for take out, and had plenty of room at Jasper Inn & Suites for the kids to eat in our suite).
Coco’s Cafe. Delicious breakfasts, packaged to go. Soft scrambled eggs, delicious sourdough toast, and breakfast potatoes that are so flavourful. Chai lattes, coffee and the perfect morning start before an adventure, there is a socially-distanced small-scale patio, and if you can’t find a spot there, you can grab and go, for a breakfast picnic.
Jasper Pizza Place. Don’t skip the barbecue chicken pizza, it’s our go-to while we spend in Jasper. This time around, we tried the hot chicken and waffles (it was spicy, so if you’re ready for some spice, try it!)
Athabasca Hotel. Come hungry if you’re having breakfast at Athabasca Hotel. It’s the largest order of side pancakes, for kids, that you’re going to find in town. Fluffy pancakes, delicious omelettes that could feed two people, or one really hungry person, and heaping skillets are what you’ll find at this local hotspot. One of Jasper’s earliest buildings, the Atha-B, has been there for over a hundred years. The breakfast, decor, vibe, we’re here for all of it.
We were hosted by Tourism Jasper to create this feature guide.