10 Shots That Will Make You Want to Pack Your Bags For Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge
Our Canada’s web editor recently took the trip of a lifetime on board the legendary Rocky Mountaineer. One of the highlights of his high-altitude adventure? A stay at the iconic Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge.
Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge: The Great Canadian Lodge Experience
At nearly 11,000 square kilometres, Jasper National Park is the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies. Protected since 1907, the unspoilt wilderness is home to significant numbers of elk, moose, and bighorn sheep—not to mention the legendary Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge.
I recently had the chance to check the iconic lodge off of my Canadian bucket list while riding the rails on the luxurious Rocky Mountaineer. Here are some of my favourite shots from my weekend in the wilderness.
You don’t have to venture far to get up close and personal with the wildlife at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. As I was preparing to head out for a hike on my first morning, I was greeted by a herd of elk grazing on the grass just outside my cabin door. (Surely the most eco-friendly lawn mowers I’ve ever encountered on my travels!)
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Brave little blossom
Even in early spring, when you can still see your breath in the mid-morning air, there are signs of life on the scrubby mountaintops surrounding the hotel. I was utterly charmed by this resilient little prairie crocus, which stubbornly refused to the let the grey skies and drizzle stand in the way of its spectacular blooming.
A pool with a view
Although the emerald waters of Lac Beauvert may look enticing, you’d need to supplement your swim trunks with a full wetsuit to brave those bone-chilling temperatures. The lodge’s heated outdoor pool is a much more comfortable setting for your morning laps (absolutely essential after indulging on the restaurant‘s incredible Italian cuisine), or to simply soak in the spectacular views beyond.
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Big hike, big payoff
I encountered this trio of bighorn sheep near the summit of one of the mountains surrounding the lodge. From a preservation (as well as safety) standpoint, it’s important to admire the wildlife from a discreet distance, and refrain from feeding them. As the lodge’s walking and biking trail guide states, “This is their park, and we are the visitors!”
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Land of the Silver Birch
I couldn’t help but hum the old Canadian folk song, “Land of the Silver Birch,” as my hiking path wound its way through an ethereal forest of barren white trunks. I wondered how different this scene would look in a month or so when those elegant birch branches are cloaked in a dense canopy of green.
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The view from here
If you make the short, steep hike from Jasper Park Lodge up to Old Fort Point, you’re rewarded a truly impressive photo opp. From this charming alpine meadow (no pesky trees to get in the way of your perfect shot!), you can make out the Jasper townsite hundreds of metres below. Although two-million people visit Jasper each year, the town’s permanent residents number a mere 5,200.
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The mighty Athabasca
From the other side of Old Fort Point, you’re afforded an awe-inspiring view of the mighty Athabasca River. The frigid waters of this Canadian Heritage River originate from the Columbia Icefield (which ultimately flows into three different oceans!), and wind their way through the Canadian Rockies.
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Rocky Mountain luxury
After a long day’s hike, it’s nice to be able to treat yourself, and at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, that means a frosty pint at the Emerald Lounge. Choose a local beer from the menu, and you can’t go wrong. Each of the beers made by the Jasper Brewing Company use mountain water sourced straight from the Rockies themselves. Now that’s refreshing!
Fun fact: the hotel has hosted several royal guests—including Queen Elizabeth!
A farewell to Jasper
Although my stay in Jasper was all too brief, I felt I’d packed a week’s worth of activity into a mere 48 hours. Bidding adieu to my little log cabin (and packing away my well-worn hiking boots), I hopped on the coach to Jasper’s charming heritage train station to begin the next leg of my travels—the two-day train trip back to Vancouver.
Next, discover 10 great things to do in Jasper.