Our first trip to Jasper, Alberta! I can’t believe that after 12 years of living in Calgary, we’ve never taken the time to visit one of Alberta’s most beautiful destinations. It’s not always easy occupying your children in a new place so I’ve put together a list of 5 Things to do in Jasper with Kids! Not only are these family-friendly but they are also the absolute best places to capture photos as well.
5 Things to do in Jasper with Kids
Like most families, we’ve been exploring more of our own province this year so that we can remain close to home. I can’t imagine a more beautiful time to visit Jasper, than autumn. The fall colours in yellow and orange made an already picturesque place, even more vibrant. The sites were not very busy or crowded and we felt very comfortable moving about and visiting the tourist destinations. If you love Banff, but don’t love the crowds, then Jasper is for you! Jasper is all about enjoying the outdoors and it’s a great place to make memories with your family.
The drive from Calgary takes about 5 hours. Make sure to stock up on fuel and snacks because much of the drive will leave you without amenities or cell service. I’ve done a lot of driving in this country and this is by far the MOST BEAUTIFUL drive I’ve ever experienced. You will love it!
On this trip to Jasper, we stayed at The Pyramid Lake Resort. It’s a chalet-style hotel, located right on the shore of Pyramid Lake. You’ll wake up in the most peaceful surroundings, surrounded by forest, water, and mountains. Does it get any better than that? The drive to get here is about 8-minutes from downtown Jasper and this windy road is where we saw the most wildlife on our trip! If you’re looking for elk, then this road is where you may find it. Or maybe even a bear! There is also a really great restaurant on-site so you won’t have to venture off the property if you don’t want to.
Pyramid Lake is known for calm morning waters, where Pyramid Mountain reflects crisply in the lake’s reflection. It’s an absolute must-see. I knew it was going to be such a beautiful spot so I packed some matching buffalo plaid shirts so that we could capture a few family photos!
The lake has a nice sandy beach on its shore that would be perfect for a summer or fall picnic. Your kids will love the large dock and I highly recommend taking out a paddleboat, canoe, or rowboat while you are there! These can be rented by the hour or half-hour from the small chalet right out front. Life jackets are provided with your rental. We took out the paddle boat (I call it a pedal boat because my thighs sure felt it!) and it was a great way to explore further out and along the shoreline.
Pyramid Lake Island
If you’ve come all the way to Pyramid Lake, then you have to take some time to explore Pyramid Lake Island. Pass right by the Pyramid Lake Resort and continue down the narrow Pyramid Beach Road until you come to some parking spaces. The wooden bridge is another perfect spot for photos! You can explore the paths on the island or take a rest on one of the picnic tables or benches and just admire the view.
Maligne Canyon is the deepest canyon in the Rockies and a site that’s not to be missed. This is a very easy trail for children to follow and doesn’t take long to explore the three bridges. You’ll likely feel weak in the knees when looking over into the canyon that’s more than 50 metres high. But you’ll be rewarded with stunning waterfalls at each stop. There is the option of a longer hike, if you’re interested!
After visiting the canyon, settle down to a fabulous meal at the Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen. This was our absolute favourite meal on the trip and they even have a delectable kids menu. I highly recommend the Wilderness Platter as you’ll get to taste so many of the delicious menu items arranged charcuterie-style on a hand-made cutting board. You will NOT leave hungry!
Maligne Lake Cruise and Spirit Island
Spirit Island has been on my bucket list for some time. You’ll likely recognize the iconic photo above, so let me tell you how to make this dream a reality!
The Maligne Lake Cruise is the easiest way to visit Spirit Island. To get there you’ll take Maligne Lake Road from downtown Jasper and drive about an hour’s time. If you’ve come all the way to Jasper, then you can’t miss this attraction! It’s best to book your cruise ahead of time as they are operating at limited capacity due to COVID restrictions. We were warm and comfortable in our “Curly Philips” boat and loved the entertainment and information provided by our boat’s hostess. My son is currently studying Alberta in grade 4 so the geography lesson on exploration, glaciers, and lake formation was perfect for him. Extra points for educational right?
The cruise takes 1.5 hours total including 15 minutes to explore Spirit Island. When you dock, you’ll be free to do a loop on the pathway and take as many photos as you’d like! The Island itself is considered sacred native land so you are not able to venture off the path. If your kids are older and your family is more adventurous, you can also rent canoes and kayaks from the boathouse and make the 17km trek on your own to Spirit Island.
You can’t get a true feel for a city until you’ve strolled along the downtown sidewalks and storefronts. Downtown Jasper is located along the railway and Athabasca River. It’s small enough that you can easily walk around with kids or a stroller. Masks are currently mandatory in Jasper and temperature checks and COVID screening questions are also compulsory at attractions, hotels, and restaurants. Since this is a town that thrives on tourism, I did appreciate these extra precautions. There are lots of little souvenir shops along Connaught Drive that you’ll enjoy browsing. Make sure to stop in at the Bear’s Paw Bakery for a treat!
See my other Alberta destinations and travel guides here!
This blog post was made possible by Pursuit. All thoughts, opinions, and ideas are my own. Check out even more amazing attractions at www.banffjaspercollection.com/
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