Jasper — Day 1 of a 2-Day Trip to the Canadian Rockies
Jasper, Alberta is surrounded by mountains and has activities during the winter and the summer. The Jasper National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We visited during the February long weekend and the area is beautifully covered in snow. Make sure to bundle up because it is cold during February!
After arriving at the Edmonton Airport (YEG), we grabbed dimsum at Beijing Beijing (a 20 minute drive from the airport) before beginning our 4 hour drive to Jasper. We headed straight to our hotel, the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, to check in. The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge has lodges scattered throughout the hotel grounds. It offers free daily winter gear rental for its guests — cross country skis, downhill skis, snow shoes, skates, etc. It was quite late by the time we got to Jasper, so we headed to downtown Jasper after dropping our bags in our room.
We went to the Raven Bistro for dinner. As the appetizer, we shared the bison and boar belly flatbread.
For the main course, we ordered the three pharoahs and the lemon sesame schnitzel. Both were good. The three pharoahs had three meats — beef, chicken, and lamb — served on naan and orzo. The lemon sesame schnitzel was deep fried goodness with a chorizo potato salad and green onion aioli on mixed greens.
After dinner, we walked around Jasper downtown briefly. However, there was not much in the area and it was too cold out. Before heading back to the Fairmont, we stopped at the small grocery store to pick up bagels, cheese, and deli meat for the next day’s breakfast.
Note: This is our first official full day in Jasper. The first activity for Day 1 was a Sun Dog Tour of the Maligne Canyon. After having our bagels for breakfast, we walked around the Fairmont Main Lodge and enjoyed the landscape.
We waited in the lounge for our pick-up time. The Sun-Dog Tour provides you with boots, ice cleats, and a helmet. The ice cleats are a must, it makes the walk much easier. The tour was good — it was informative and the canyon sights were gorgeous — but was not too difficult and we could have done the walk on our own.
We walked past a few frozen waterfalls. The rivers below the waterfall sounded like washing machines due to the frozen upper layer but rushing water underneath. At the exit of the Maligne Canyon, there is a small natural rock slide. To finish the tour, we walked along the river.
We got back to Fairmont around 1pm. We headed to the lodge for lunch and shared an order of nachos. An order of nachos was huge, but the ingredients were not well spread out. There were a lot of ingredients on top of the nachos, but not as much in between the layers. After lunch, we each grabbed a pair of skates from the rental spot and headed out to the Lake Mildred. Lake Mildred is located on the Fairmont grounds and is available to non-staying guests as well (although, finding parking may be tricky). The lake is frozen over during the winter and the hotel grooms the ice into an oval shape skating path and hockey rink in the centre. A zamboni smooths the ice every morning. We enjoyed the view of the mountains in the back as we skated.
After skating, we found a hidden pathway next to the lake leading to the Athabasca River. In the distance, there were elk roaming about. The mountain landscape was charming.
We had a massage scheduled for the evening at the Fairmont, so we headed back to the main lodge. After the massage, we headed downtown Jasper for dinner at Evil Dave’s Grill. We ordered the cowboy sushi to start. The cowboy sushi consisted of beef tenderloin rolled up in rice and nori, then deep fried. For our mains, we ordered the El Diablo and the Tekarra Meatloaf. The El Diablo was a rice bowl with chicken as the protein. The Tekarra Meatloaf was my favourite! It was a mix of ground bison and wild boar with a savoury gravy. So tasty!
It was a very cold evening (once again). After dinner, we headed back to our room to relax for the evening.
Note: Alternatively, you can go to the Raven Bistro for dinner (where we had dinner the night before).
Complete Day 1 Itinerary
*Travel times may vary. Check Google Maps for most accurate travel details.
8:00am: Have breakfast near your hotel. Alternatively, grab some breakfast from the nearby grocery store.
9:00am: Head out to Maligne Canyon (13 minute drive from downtown Jasper). Make sure to rent out ice cleats. Take in the Maligne Canyon sights. There are a few companies offering guided tours. One option is Sun Dog Tours.
1:00pm: Head downtown Jasper (13 minute drive from Maligne Canyon). Grab lunch at a restaurant.
2:00pm: Go skating at Lake Mildred (8 minute drive from downtown Jasper). You can rent skates at the rental house at the Fairmont (there is a rental fee if you are not a staying guest)
4:00pm: Enjoy a massage at the Fairmont (8 minute walk from Lake Mildred).
6:00pm: Enjoy dinner and drinks at Evil Dave’s Grill or the Raven Bistro (12 minute drive from the Fairmont).
2-Day Jasper in the Winter Itinerary
Click “Download” below for an excel version of my 2-Day Jasper in the Winter Itinerary. Feel free to use the excel file as a planning template for your own trip in the Jasper!