Rockies Insider Guide: Best of Jasper with Peter Amann

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Written by Patrick J. Smith posted on Friday, July 2nd, 2010

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In our continuing series with Rockies insiders, we’re still working with Jasper National Park guide and mountaineer Peter Amann.

Jasper offers endless options for vacationers. Let us help you narrow it down.

Since 1992, Amann has been the president of the Jasper section of the Alpine Club, Canada’s official mountaineering organization. He’s also a Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG) certified guide, and has been guiding hikes, mountaineering and backpacking tours in the Canadian Rockies for 25 years, and helps the Canadian military with search and rescue training.

The common problem people vacationing in Jasper find is that there is so much to do, how do you decide how to spend your time? You’ve got dozens of Rockies, activities, thousands of square kilometres of park to see, as well as great restaurants, shops and hotels.

To help you sort through it all, we asked Peter for things he recommended all visitors to Jasper do on their vacation. Not surprisingly, he focused mainly on hikes.

“If they’re into hiking,” says Amann, “I would say Wilcox is the classic hike in this area.”

On this hike, you’ll get an excellent view of the Columbia Icefields area, the peaks around it, the Athabasca Glacier and Mt. Athatbasca. Basically, you’ll see almost all of Jasper’s most famous sites in one quick hike.

Along the way, he says, you’ll also get the chance to see mountain goats, sheep, lots of wildflowers and other natural Jasper sights.

The hike is about 8 km, and can take between 3 and 4 hours to complete. You’ll find the trailhead about 3 km south of the Icefields Centre on Icefields Parkway.

“For people wanting to get out for just a nice wander, I would say Valley of the Five Lakes,” Peter said, continuing with his hiking recommendations. “It’s a nice, low-land trail, gets you into some nice lakes and view points, it’s well marked, it goes through a number of different ecosystems.”
This hike is a 5k loop, and takes between 1 and 2 hours to complete. You’ll find it along Icefields Parkway, about 10k south of town.

“Another one that’s great on the list, that’s a great viewpoint is the Bald Hills, up at Maligne Lake,” Peter continued. “It’s a fire road that leads you into the alpine. That leads you up into a nice alpine area, with great views of the Maligne Lake area, it’s easy to get up and down, pretty easy, you’re not going to get lost.”

After a good hike, the first thing on your mind will probably be food. It’s almost inevitable. So naturally, that was Peter’s other suggestion for Jasper. Make sure to visit the restaurants. He had a couple particular ones in mind.

“There’s a number of good restaurants,” he says, “but I’m kind of partial.”

“I’d have to say Andy’s Bistro is the place to go if you want to spend a bit more, but have a real great dining experience. It’s justly one of the busiest restaurants in town,” he says. You’ll find Andy’s on 606 Patricia Street in Jasper.

Peter also recommended Evil Dave’s Grill, a Jasper restaurant serving “globally inspired food.”

“It’s pulling up to be one of the finer places in town,” says Peter. “It’s quite nice. I know a lot of locals are starting to go there now.”

Well, that’s it for this edition of the Rockies Insider Guide. Get a good view of Jasper and the surrounding park with our Jasper webcam. You can also read Peter’s easy Jasper hike and intermediate/advanced Jasper hike recommendations.

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