2015 Montana, Calgary Stampede, Icefield Parkway travel blog

Jasper, AB - Whistlers Campground - site 59A

Jasper, AB - Whistlers Campground - site 59A, another view

Jasper, AB - Whistlers Campground - site 59A - a large elk...

Jasper, AB - Whistlers Campground - site 59A - and she poses...

Banff to Jasper, AB 0 - our route - 185 miles

Banff to Jasper, AB 1 - the Icefields Parkway

Banff to Jasper, AB 2

Banff to Jasper, AB 3

Banff to Jasper, AB 4

Banff to Jasper, AB 5

Banff to Jasper, AB 6

Banff to Jasper, AB 7

Banff to Jasper, AB 8

Banff to Jasper, AB 9

Banff to Jasper, AB 10

Banff to Jasper, AB 11

Banff to Jasper, AB 12

Banff to Jasper, AB 13

Banff to Jasper, AB 14 - this and the next five pictures...

Banff to Jasper, AB 15

Banff to Jasper, AB 16

Banff to Jasper, AB 17

Banff to Jasper, AB 18

Banff to Jasper, AB 19

Banff to Jasper, AB 20

Banff to Jasper, AB 21

Banff to Jasper, AB 22

Banff to Jasper, AB 23

Banff to Jasper, AB 24

Banff to Jasper, AB 25

Banff to Jasper, AB 26

Banff to Jasper, AB 27 - Jasper Townsite

Banff to Jasper, AB 28

Banff to Jasper, AB 29

Banff to Jasper, AB 30

Banff to Jasper, AB 31

Banff to Jasper, AB 32

Banff to Jasper, AB 33

Banff to Jasper, AB 34

Banff to Jasper, AB 35

Falls Trip 1 - the Athabasca River

Falls Trip 2 - the highway condition sign

Falls Trip 3 - a black bear crossing in front of us

Falls Trip 4 - it was big and healthy

Falls Trip 5

Falls Trip 6 - Sunwapta Falls

Falls Trip 7 - Misty managed to snap one of this bear...

Falls Trip 8 - Athabasca Falls

Falls Trip 9

Falls Trip 10

Glacier Trail 1

Glacier Trail 2 - Angel Glacier on the right but it doesn't...

Glacier Trail 3 - looking back down the valley from the trail

Glacier Trail 4 - here you can see both wings of Angel...

Glacier Trail 5 - the little bit that is left of Cavell...

Glacier Trail 6 - Cavell Pond in front of the glacier -...

Glacier Trail 7 - but he trail is now closed down to...

Glacier Trail 8

Glacier Trail 9 - the old trail to the pond

Glacier Trail 10 - a closeup of the tail of Angel Glacier...

Glacier Trail 11 - some pretty flowers along the trail

Glacier Trail 12 - and a Christmas Tree, though it's only about...

Glacier Trail 13 - some of the trail up the mountain to...

Glacier Trail 14 - Doris with Misty behind on the way down...

Glacier Trail 15 - a view up the valley from one of...

Trip 1 - on the way out of Jasper on Highway 16...

Trip 2

Trip 3 - the Athabasca River flowing beside Hwy 16

Trip 4

Trip 5 - ya just can't get away from it!

Trip 6 - outbound encounter with the Bighorn Sheep

Trip 7

Trip 8

Trip 9

Trip 10

Trip 11

Trip 12 - the Pocahontas Mine Trail

Trip 13 - a room built into the side of a hill

Trip 14 - the power plant foundation

Trip 15 - lots of wildflowers

Trip 16 - this is about the size of a softball

Trip 17

Trip 18 - one of the scenes along the trail

Trip 19 - another Bighorn herd on the way back

Trip 20

Trip 21 - it rained off and on the whole 2,000 foot...

Trip 22 - but it's a beautiful drive

Trip 23 - Medicine Lake

Trip 24 - you can see the burned forest around Medicine Lake

Trip 25

Trip 26

Trip 27

Trip 28 - Lake Maligne

Trip 29

Trip 30 - the Maligne River leaving Lake Maligne

Trip 31 - one of the many beggars at a turnout

Trip 32

Trip 33

Trip 34 - the Maligne River coming by that turnout

Trip 35

Trip 36 - another just being at the right place at the...

Trip 37

Trip 38 - the small air strip just west of Jasper

Maligne Canyon 1 - the Maligne River starting down the canyon

Maligne Canyon 2 - it's now in the gorge it created

Maligne Canyon 3 - a very high waterfall will lots of water

Maligne Canyon 4

Maligne Canyon 5

Maligne Canyon 6 - the canyon widens a bit here and is...

Maligne Canyon 7 - and narrows again

Maligne Canyon 8

Maligne Canyon 9

Maligne Canyon 10

Maligne Canyon 11

Maligne Canyon 12

Maligne Canyon 13

Maligne Canyon 14

Maligne Canyon 15

Maligne Canyon 16


The trip from Banff to Jasper, AB is one of the most beautiful drives in North America. It covered 185 miles and traveled the Icefields Parkway for most of the trip. About halfway, you cross into Jasper National Park from Banff National Park. The scenery is remarkable as you view peak after peak and glacier after glacier. About halfway is also the Icefields Discovery Centre positioned in an area that has five glaciers viewable from one spot. The largest of those five is the Athabasca Glacier and they have specially configured buses that will take you out on to the glacier and let you hike a little on it. We didn't do that as it is very expensive and we have spent enough time hiking on glaciers when we went to Alaska in 2009. We did stop at the Discovery Centre for a little break as they have a huge parking lot and easy in and out access for the Mothership.

We are staying at Whistlers Campground inside Jasper National Park, just outside Jasper Townsite. We have a 30 amp full hookup site that is fairly large and very woodsy. We did see two elk in the campground shortly after arriving and one in someone's yard when we went into town. We were able to get a satellite lock but the signals are only strong enough to get the one satellite so we are restricted to SD and no HD reception, but I think we will survive!! We do have good Verizon reception but of course only use it for texting with an occasional short call. Our Global Verizon plan for Canada gives us unlimited texting but only 250 minutes of voice and 250 MB of data per month. We cannot do much with that so avoid voice or data use 99% of the time.

Thursday, we headed back down the parkway a bit to see Sunwapta Falls and Athabasca Falls, the two largest falls along the parkway. We did get to see two black bears on this trip, though very briefly. The Sunwapta River flows along the parkway from the Discovery Center down to where it joins the Athabasca River about 30 miles south of Jasper. Just before it joins the Athabasca, it goes through a gorge that constricts the flow and gives a pretty nice falls. After it joins the Athabasca, the Athabasca goes through another gorge and creates a dramatic display as it passes through it. It then parallels the Parkway the rest of the way into Jasper.

Friday, we hiked the Path of the Glacier Trail a little south of Jasper. It is only a one-mile trail round trip but it is almost straight up going to the glaciers and then straight down coming back. It does get the heart beating! We also did this trail in 2009 and it has changed quite a bit. There used to be the three glaciers on Mount Edith Cavell: Angel, Ghost and Cavell. In 2012, what was left of the Ghost Glacier slid off the mountain and avalanched down into Cavell Pond just under the Cavell Glacier causing a flash flood and destroying a good bit of where the trail used to lead down to Cavell Pond. When we were here in2009 we hiked to the shores of Cavell Pond and if you check our 2009 blog entry for Jasper you can see pictures of the hike then. That trail is now closed off about a quarter-mile from the pond and you are not allowed down there as they fear a future avalanche as well.

It rained all day Saturday so we just stayed inside the Mothership and relaxed but Sunday we put over 120 miles on Libby as we journeyed west on highway 16 out to a small hike at the Pocahontas Mine area. The trail wasn't significant, other than a few pretty wildflowers, but we did run into a herd of Bighorn Sheep going out and back so that made the trip worthwhile. Coming back east towards Jasper, we then turned back south to Medicine Lake and Maligne Lake. The area around Medicine Lake was where they had a significant fire just a couple of weeks ago and much of the road, though open, is still restricted to no stopping for a good distance around the lake due to avalanche danger. Medicine Lake itself is very beautiful with its blue-green glacier water though access to it now is very limited, including being able to stop and take pictures.

Just a few miles farther south is Lake Maligne which is a very popular destination. It is also fed by the same glacier stream and is larger than Medicine Lake. We were able to stop there and get a couple of decent pictures. On the way back into Jasper, we just missed a black bear sighting but were rewarded with a moose cow wandering down that same stream. She was a long way off but we managed to get a couple of shots from behind.

Monday we returned to the Lake Maligne Road and hiked the Maligne Canyon. This was the highlight of all our hikes here in Jasper and also gave us the biggest workout, of course. Similar to the Johnston Canyon hike in Banff, it seems we saved the best for last! Remarkably, during our first visit to Jasper in 2009 we were not even aware the Maligne Canyon existed. We had traveled the Lake Maligne road, visited Lake Maligne and hiked the Moose Lake Trail near it but were completely unaware of this gem. DO NOT miss it if you are ever in the area. It can be strenuous as you hike down the mountain next to the canyon which isn't very bad but what goes down must come up and that will get your heart pumping!

Today, Tuesday, was spent just puttering around the Mothership, getting this blog entry uploaded and posted, and getting ready for the trip back down the Icefields Parkway to Lake Louisa from which we will take Misty back to Calgary for her plane home. We will then stay in Lake Louise until we depart back in the USA to St. Mary, MT on August 5.

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