Jasper National Park and the Icefields Parkway 4


We continued our journey through Canada down the  stunning Icefields Parkway to Jasper National Park where we settled into Whistler’s Campground. The following day, we hoped into the Jeep and drove into the town of Jasper for brunch. Then we headed back down the Icefields Parkway to explore. First stop was the Icefield Centre. The Centre has info on the Athabasca and other glaciers in the area, as well as the massive Columbia Icefield that they’re a part of. The Icefield is the largest in the Rockies and straddles the Continental Divide. In fact, Snow Dome (the mountain just north of the Athabasca Glacier) is the point of a triple continental divide with run-off flowing either west to the Pacific Ocean, north to the Arctic Ocean, or east to the Atlantic (a journey which takes an entire year). We rode on a SnoExplorer vehicle out onto the Athabasca Glacier. Once parked, you’re allowed to walk on a small portion of the glacier for 20 minutes before being driven back to the center. We scooped up some run-off in our water bottles and it was cold! It was a short adventure but worth it.

Athabasca Glacier Athabasca moraines Athabasca runoff Athabasca Athabasca 2 Athabasca blue Athabasca explorer Athabasca getting a drink

On our Parkway drive, we also saw a bear and 2 bighorn sheep but the shoulders were too narrow to pull off for photos.We did get pictures of some mountain goats, and beautiful Sunwapta Falls.

IcePky Mountain Goat IcePky Sunwapta Falls IcePky Sunwapta zoom

The last stop of the day was at Athabasca Falls. The Athabasca River is formed by run-off from the glacier, with other streams joining in along the route. Although the main falls only drops 40 feet, the gorge is quite narrow and it throws up a tremendous amount of spray. It was truly impressive.

Athabasca Falls Athabasca Falls gorge

Our last day in the Park, we headed up Whistler’s Mountain to the Jasper Sky Tram. The tram offers spectacular views of the town of Jasper and the surrounding mountains. It takes you up above the treeline and you can hike through the rocky terrain to the summit. Along our way we saw a hoary marmot and a pika! What a nice way to end our time in this awe-inspiring area.

Jasper sky tram Jasper hoary marmot Jasper Pika Jasper wildflowers

 


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