Dreaming of adventure again, soon? You can’t be any more immersed in the wild than at the incredible Jasper Park. With sweeping majestic views and unparalleled access to nature, the Canadian Rockies are a bucket list destination for many around the world. A four-hour drive north from Banff National Park (and the picturesque Lake Louise), here’s our guide to experiencing everything Jasper has to offer. —Cassandra Gill
stay. There’s no roughing it at the luxe Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. The unique property was built in 1922, and features 442 signature cabins and guest rooms situated on the breathtaking Lac Beauvert. The lake’s stunning emerald-green colour is more than Insta-worthy, with scenic mountains and trees adding to the postcard-like scenery. Fun fact: the ultra-luxe Outlook Cabin is where Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip stayed during a 2005 visit and is a replica of the one HRH’s parents stayed at back in 1939 (the original was lost in a fire). Each room or cabin includes all the Fairmont essentials, including the lovely Rose 31 scented toiletries by the one-and-only Le Labo and their signature Lot 31 teas.
dine. For a breakfast on the go, grab a coffee and white chocolate raspberry scone from Bear’s Paw Bakery located in the quaint Jasper village. Even Oprah has reportedly snacked one of the delicious baked goods. Just down the street, make a dinner reservation at the award-winning Syrah’s Of Jasper. Chef Jason Munn’s offers an innovative take on Alberta small- and large-plate classics including the must-have steak, elk wellington or boar chop along with an extensive wine list (the white chocolate goat cheesecake is to die for). If you’re in a pasta mood, Fairmont’s Orso Trattoria features curated fare with a different set menu each night or enjoy a glass of vino and charcuterie in their cosy fireside den. A window-side lunch date at the Fairmont’s Great Hall Gastropub is another way to soak in views of the gorgeous lake.
spa. Unwind after a morning walk around Lac Beauvert with a day at the Fairmont spa. The magical oasis features a number of signature treatments inspired by the region, including the must-try Jasper wrap. Aromatherapy oils are key to this 60- or 90-minute experience, which relieves muscle tension and detoxification through soothing massage and dry brush exfoliation. Guests can also indulge in the forest therapy massage and mud mask, custom facials and more. For those travelling with their significant others, the neroli blossom for two is the ultimate escape, including a therapeutic meditative massage and eucalyptus infused foot cleansing ritual.
adventure. For the summer visitors: cool off on a sunny afternoon with a leisurely boat ride on Lac Beauvert. Rentals are available via the resort’s Boathouse, with canoes and single or double kayaks available. Stand-up paddle boards are also an option for those wanting to explore the gorgeous glacier water lake. Another feature of Jasper Park is the incredible wildlife. Approximately 80 moose call the area home, along with elk and caribou and other animals you won’t likely see elsewhere. Book an excursion with SunDog Tour Co. for an intimate guided adventure and a look at some incredible views. The Maligne Canyon Ice Walk is also a must for winter visitors, offering an up-close look at ice caves and frozen waterfalls that look straight out of a certain Disney movie. Finally, Jasper is one of the few places to get a good look at the iconic northern lights (formally the aurora borealis), best seen during the Dark Sky Festival in late October. For the more adventurous types, the Valley of the 5 Lakes trail takes hikers through several other gorgeous spots in the area—but be sure to bring proper footwear.
detour. If you have an extra day or two, add Banff to the list. Get whisked away to Canada’s castle in the Rockies, a.k.a., the Fairmont Banff Springs. A visit to the waterfall plunge pools inside the Willow Stream Spa is a must. Unwind after with a high tea in the Rundle Lounge and work off the carbs with a hike to Surprise Corner, where you can get a photo with the hotel in the distant background. There’s plenty to see and do in the Banff Village as well, including fondue at The Grizzly House, ice cream at Cow’s and plenty of adorable boutiques.