Known for its small-town charm and stunning scenery, Jasper is one of Canada's best photo spots and is the place to be if you love outdoor adventures. Surrounded with crystalline lakes and wildlife-filled mountains, this little town is also very LGBTQ+ welcoming and friendly. Here are just 5 of the many reasons to visit Jasper:
Marmot Basin Ski Resort
Located in the heart of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, Marmot Basin features the highest base elevation of all Canadian ski areas, providing guests with amazing skiing and snowboarding adventures. And if you need a little help, or have no clue what you are doing, Marmot Basin offers lessons in a really nicely set up beginners area that’s not too crowded! Rental equipment is also available. The resort is open from early November through early May, and is closed during the summer, so make sure you plan your visit.
The seven-minute enclosed flight is the longest and highest guided aerial tramway in Canada, boosting stunning views of Jasper, including six mountain ranges, glacially fed lakes, and rivers. At the top, you can stay along the boardwalks to enjoy the view or you are welcome to snowshoe to the summit during the winter or hike up in the summer. The ascent only takes around 30-45 minutes depending on the weather and conditions, and it is well worth the effort, as you will be rewarded with even more spectacular views. At an elevation of 7,472 feet, the views are breathtaking! If you work up an appetite, check out the Treeline Restaurant for a nice meal with an amazing view. Instead of taking the tram up, you also have the option to hike all the way (around 9km and over 1,000m in elevation gain). If you are brave enough to take this route, you can buy a one-way ticket back down on the tram at a discounted rate.
The largest ice field in the Rocky Mountains, the Columbia Icefield, is breathtaking, and the experience of seeing it in person is indescribable. Not only can you enjoy stunning scenery, but you also have the opportunity to admire the local wildlife. Cool fact: The water from the melting ice is pure and sweet, so make sure you bring a bottle or cup with you so you can drink it. Guided tours available include the Columbia Icefield and Glacier Skywalk tour. This five-and-a-half hour excursion from Jasper takes visitors on the perfect outdoor adventure along Alberta’s Columbia Icefields Parkway and the Athabasca Glacier. Most tours also include the Glacier Skywalk, buffet lunch, and round trip transportation from Jasper hotels. You can also drive yourself to the Columbia Icefields Discovery Center where you can buy tickets to get on an Ice Explorer bus that will take you onto the glacier.
Located at the foot of the Pyramid Mountain, this is an amazing place to canoe, kayak, go sailing, and fishing (make sure you check out the required licenses. Also, bait is banned). The Pyramid Lake is the ideal spot for selfies and Instagram photos, especially on a calm day when the mountains are perfectly reflected in the lake. During the winter, you can ice skate, snowshoe along the lake trail, and even go on sleigh rides. There is also an island in the lake—the Pyramid Lake Island, which has a picnic shelter that was built in 1933.
Jasper is the host of the third-largest Pride in Alberta, and it is the home to one of the most unique Pride celebrations. Get ready to trade in the short shorts for some rainbow snow pants, because Jasper Pride is held while winter activities are happening on the ski hill. The whole community comes together to celebrate Pride, proudly displaying Pride banners all along the town’s main street. Most of the storefronts also participate with cute rainbow decorations, and there is a contest for the best window display. Even outside of Pride, the Jasper community is known for treating visitors like family.
There are plenty of things to do in Jasper year-round and the wonders don’t stop there. It's a super-friendly community ready to welcome you.
Tourism Jasper is a proud IGLTA member.
This article was written by Barry Joy (aka asianmapleleaf), ambassador of all things travel. Barry was born and raised in Toronto and currently lives in New York City. Follow his adventures on asianmapleleaf.com or on Instagram @asianmapleleaf.