A Weekend in the Wild at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge
If you find yourself dreaming of snow-capped peaks and emerald lakes, where nature paints the winter sky, and moose, bear and elk roam free, the Canadian Rockies are calling. The best way to answer this summons is to plan a stay at the sumptuous Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. Its luxury log cabins and spacious suites make the perfect base from which to explore the wild glory of Jasper National Park, an Alberta treasure and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Great Canadian Lodge
More than seven hundred acres of forest and rough-and-tumble mountains surround Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge; paired with the blue-green waters of Lac Beauvert your landscape will never be without natural beauty. Gather your family, pets included, into one of the 10 Signature Cabins, each with delightfully comfy beds and calming decor that contrasts perfectly with the dramatic views out every window.
Stroll about the grounds on winding brick pathways, catching glimpses of wildlife, including elk, deer, bald eagles, beavers and loons. You might even spot a wolf or bear in the distance. Circle Lac Beauvert on a lovely, hour-long walk with fantastic photo opportunities of Mount Edith Cavell reflected in the lake's calm waters. As a guest you'll find the trail, #4a, right outside your door. Lookout points scattered along the trail offer unobstructed views across the lake to Rocky Mountain peaks.
After a day filled with activities, jump into the heated outdoor pool (year-round), where you will continue to find gorgeous lake and mountain views. For even warmer water, take a dip in the indulgent hot tub, with the same breathtaking views. In the evening, treat yourself to the delectable braised veal osso buco at ORSO Trattoria, and be sure to save room for s'mores and hot chocolate by the blazing bonfire on the shores of Lac Beauvert.
Golfers won't pass up the chance to go 18 holes on the award-winning Jasper Golf Course, a challenging and picturesque course rated by SCOREGolf Magazine as Canada’s #1 Golf Resort for twenty consecutive years. Designed to match the majestic natural setting, Canada's premier golf-course architect Stanley Thompson has crafted fairways that plunge through thick forests, and holes that align with mountain views. Over 90 years after its unveiling, the unsurpassed beauty and unique experiences continues to leave players speechless.
Wet and Wild Summer Adventures
What better way to experience the wilds of Jasper, a park graced by many pristine lakes, than by spending time out on the water? Since Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge snuggles right up to shoreline curves, Lac Beauvert is the closest and easiest splash. Rent a canoe, kayak, paddleboat or paddleboard at the Boathouse or indulge in an evening clipper boat tour.
When you're ready to adventure outside the Lodge grounds, head northeast on the access road to Maligne Lake, a magical, glacier-fed pool of brilliant blue surrounded by jutting, snowy peaks. The hungry Maligne River has eaten a stunning whip of a canyon into the limestone – 3m wide but some 46m deep – from the lake to the Athabasca River far below. Enjoy coffee and fresh baked goods on the large deck of the lakeside coffee shop, then take the 90-minute boat cruise to Spirit Island, the tiny jewel of land in the middle of the lake. First Nations lore has it that Spirit Island was the secret meeting place for young lovers from feuding tribes. When the girl's father forbade her from returning to the island, her young man waited for her there until his death, and his spirit still remains.
Spectacular Wilderness Hiking
So many trails, so little time. When you select an adventure from Jasper's 1,000km of hiking trails, don't think you have to go with the toughest, roughest climb. Gorgeous scenery, rugged mountains, crystal lakes and wildflowers await you on even the easiest hikes. Pick up the brochure Day Hikers' Guide to Jasper National Park at the Jasper Information Centre for details of dozens of Park hikes.
Locals love the beautiful Valley of the Five Lakes hike for its summer wildflowers and wildlife viewing. The hike is 4.5km round-trip and takes about two easy hours, where you'll pass through a stretch of lodgepole pine trees offering welcome shade in summer, then across a broad meadow. You'll see five small lakes in the distance, with differing depths creating a mottled palette of jade and blue. The first lake is about a 20-minute walk.
Sliding and Gliding
Jasper is glorious in summer but also looks good in winter white, and The Lodge welcomes guests all year long. If you adore skiing Banff but hate the crowds, visit thrilling Marmot Basin, just 19km west of Jasper on Highway 93. With quick queue lines, enjoy more time exploring the 86 runs groomed for all skill levels while left speechless by the majestic beauty of the surrounding mountain vistas.
Nothing says winter like gently gliding on the surface of a frozen lake. Fairmont Jasper Park Lodgegrooms a skating rink on Lake Mildred, a five-minute walk from the main lodge, and visitors can rent skates at the Winter Rental Shop. With four full hockey rinks, one curling sheet and a 1km skating loop there’s something for everyone. After a day of adventuring be sure to visit the Spa and warm up in the eucalyptus steam room or heated outdoor swimming pool.
A Bird's-Eye View
Massive glaciers, ancient as the planet, crystal lakes, raging waterfalls and soaring jagged mountain peaks – places like Jasper National Park are just too wondrous to observe from ground level alone. Gasps and gaping are all but guaranteed when you get a whirlybird's-eye view of nature's magnificence from a helicopter.
Helicopter tours in and around Jasper can take you over the famed Columbia Icefields, Mount Robson, or any of the impressive lakes, cliffs and valleys in the region. Or sign up for heli-hiking or heli-yoga, where you'll be transported to a remote spot for a supremely serene experience. Talk to the concierge or contact Rockies Heli-Tours to book.
Teo Spengler has written more than 1,000 travel articles for such publications as USA Today and SF Gate. In addition, she has written extensively for such brands as Choice Hotels, JetBlue and United Airlines. Her work has covered the world’s best luxury hotels and resorts, especially those in European cities.
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Lake Beavert Reflections by woodwizard12000
Spirit Island & Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park by Jiazouphoto
Third Lake, Valley of the five Lakes, Jasper National Park by Bjorn Alberts
Columbia Icefields by graphicjackson