The wild expanse of Jasper National Park is almost twice the size of more southerly Banff National Park, also part of the UNESCO Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site, but with far fewer visitors. The seemingly inconspicuous gateway town of Jasper is located at the intersection of the flat Alberta plains to the east and a natural pass through the Rockies to the west – now called the Yellowhead Pass. Historically this made it a convenient trading post for many years before the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway was built and it became a more significant transportation hub.
Given its international status and importance in the national rail network, the town has remained relatively small, and for most of the year to locals quietly go about their business. However, in the summer month is becomes a bustling hub as visitors embark or disembark the rail services to and from Vancouver, or base themselves here for a few days of adventure activity or sightseeing in the national park. Nearby Maligne Lake provides a fabulous lake vista whilst the Miette Hot Springs is a popular place for a soak in the super-heated ‘healing’ waters. The surrounding area is fantastic for walking and wildlife spotting, with black bear, coyotes, elk and deer common sightings, and if you are particularly lucky an elusive wolf can sometimes be heard, if not seen.