I’m back with my final Canadian vacation recap: hiking Jasper National Park! If you’re just joining me and want to see our full trip itinerary, you can see it here: Western Canada Hiking Trip Itinerary.
Previous recaps: a weekend in Vancouver + hiking Lake Louise in Banff National Park + Hiking Johnson Canyon and Ink Pots + Hiking Kootenay National Park + Driving the Icefields Parkway. What an awesome trip – it’s been fun to relive it through these write ups!
Jasper was the end of the hiking portion of our trip – we were there right before driving west to Vancouver for the trip finale. It was also our last couple days with our friends Melli and Moritz – we said farewell to them in Jasper. Sad – we always have so much fun traveling with them!
We had two nights and one full day in Jasper so we had to make the most of it. Our first stop was an off the beaten path gem: the Edge of the World hike. Matt posted a thread on Reddit asking for Jasper recommendations and someone recommended that – it was hard to find but so worth it! Short and stunning.
From there, we headed to the Valley of the Five Lakes hike, which is about 9 km south of Jasper on the Icefields Parkway. It’s a relatively easy and beautiful 4.5km loop that features – you guessed it – five lakes! They are each a very pretty shade of green/blue.
The big excitement on this hike was that we saw a BEAR! It was the only bear of the trip that we saw while actually hiking vs. driving; thankfully it was across the lake from us. Whew! Can you spot it in the picture below strolling right next to the water?
Here he is zoomed in!
After the bear excitement, we forged on loudly in hopes the bear wouldn’t continue walking and be near us (the other side of the lake connected with the area we were hiking towards)!
Loved the wildflowers!
We had lunch during our Valley of the Five Lakes hike (our usual bread + hummus + guac + veggies that we packed with us). Yum!
We didn’t have any specific hiking plans for the afternoon, but on our way back to Jasper we stumbled upon a nice lake – Patricia Lake – and decided to hop out of the car and do a little exploring.
We hiked around one side of it and then found a trail that led back to the street through a beautiful birch forest. Magical!
That evening was our last night all together as a group – so sad! We had a fun dinner out together at The Raven Bistro – their seafood stew was awesome. (I also recommend Syrahs in Jasper, where we went the first night but I didn’t get any photos because it was dark – it has a cozy ambiance and great upscale food.)
The grand finale of our time together was a trip to see Jasper the Bear, the town’s mascot…
… and a trip to Tim Horton’s for donuts! We were told by Melli and Moritz that we basically weren’t allowed to leave Canada without trying Tim Horton’s – apparently it’s a Canadian classic! We saw it everywhere and the only two police officers we saw the entire time we were in Canada were in Tim Horton’s, so I have to assume their statement was true. 😉
I will leave you with a tip: if you find yourself making the drive from Jasper to Vancouver, break up the drive by staying overnight in or near Clearwater and Wells Grey Provincial Park! And keep your eyes peeled for bears on the drive: only about 15 minutes outside of Jasper we saw two grizzlies just chilling on the side of the road. Whoa! (This is zoomed in!)
Another tip: on the drive to Clearwater, about 45 minutes outside Jasper, stop for a hike at the Berg Lake trail.
It’s a long overnight camping trail but we just did the first 5k to a pretty lake before turning back for 10k total. Nice way to break up the drive! It was a bit drizzly when we were there but still gorgeous.
If we did the drive again we’d make time to quickly stop at Helmcken Falls in Wells Grey Provincial Park on the way, too – I mistakenly thought it was on our way to Vancouver so we saved it for the next day but turns out it would have made more sense to go on the way from Jasper to Clearwater. It would have been too out of the way to check it out the next day – oh well!
To break up the drive to Vancouver, Matt and I stayed overnight at an adorable spot off a very rough country road out in the middle of nowhere near-ish to Clearwater called Alpine Meadows Resort.
It was such a cute and cozy place – they have a restaurant on site that was really good and also have a lake with free kayaks, paddleboats, and canoes that you can take out whenever you like.
What a fun adventure we had in Canada – thank you for sharing it with us through my recaps! If you like my travel posts, check out my travel page – it includes both personal and blog-related travel of note, so there’s a lot more where this came from. 🙂
What does your ideal vacation look like? In case you couldn’t guess, mine is like this trip – almost entirely outdoorsy adventures! 🙂