Jon and I just returned from a 3 day mini-road trip to Jasper. I took way too many pictures to recap everything in one post so I’ll be writing a short series about our trip. We travelled from Calgary to Jasper along the Icefields Parkway to the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge and then back again. You can read about our trip to Jasper here.
We woke up pretty early on Wednesday – probably around 7:30 – and had some coffees on the deck. It was a little chilly for actually sitting outside, but as typical Albertans we usually just dress for the weather and make the best of it. At home I wouldn’t put on my toque and down jacket to sit outside right now in the morning, but when you’ve got a view of the mountains…
After our coffees we headed into Jasper for some breakfast. I’m sure the breakfast at the Lodge is yummy, but at $25 for a classic eggs breakfast it seemed a little steep. We arrived in town just as the Parks Canada office was opening up so we stopped in to get some info on some hiking and a map. Then we walked over to Coco’s Cafe for breakfast. We were both a little underwhelmed by the food – I’m not sure if it was because they seemed to be training a new cook – but it at least filled us up. On our way back to the car we stopped at the Bear’s Paw Bakery for some hiking treats.
We’d decided to hike to Old Fort Point and determined from our map that it could be accessed from the Lodge using some other trails so we headed back to park at our room. It wasn’t warm (maybe just above zero) so we bundled up, put a few snacks in our little pack and headed out.
JPL is located on the shore of Beauvert Lake and the hiking trail that runs around the lake connects to the trail system for Old Fort Point so we were able to start hiking from our accommodation by simply walking across the lawn of the lodge to the gravel trail by the edge of the lake. The free visitors guide has a map of the trails close to town right in the middle so you can tear it out and stuff in your pocket but the trails are also very well marked. The numbers on the map confused me until I realized that they corresponded to markers along the trail.
We walked clockwise around the lake (on the 4a) to the 7b and then followed that to the 1 – the trail that loops through Old Fort Point. We started the loop clockwise (the northern most trail) and followed it as it gradually climbed through the forest.
The grade gets a little steeper and the trail a little rockier but still remains an easy hike.
Then it opens up into a thin forest and you can see the surrounding mountains.
We scrambled a little off trail to find some red chairs on the “second summit” of Old Fort Point (which was actually the first summit we reached).
From there the trail goes to real Old Fort Point where you can see the town of Jasper, the river, more mountains and even the Lodge. We tried out the selfie function on our new camera and ate our snacks in a spot slightly out of the wind.
From there the trail heads down, quite steeply, as a combination of trail, rock stairs and finally a wooden staircase to the parking lot. We felt that not only would coming up this way be more work, it would also take away from the view you get as you descend.
From the parking lot we took the trail along the river (7) towards the Beauvert Lake. It turns out this trail isn’t actually along the river, so we cut across when we could to 7b and finished our hike by walking the rest of the trail around Beauvert Lake back to the lodge.
The trail around the lake is flat and I imagine it it quite busy in the summer with lodge guests. We weren’t paying as much attention to our surroundings as we might if we’d been on a more remote hike and ran smack into a small group of elk. We were only a few feet away before I realized they were there – the closest I’ve ever gotten. I was thankful that they didn’t pay any attention to us and we were able to quickly move by.
We arrived back at the lodge about 2 hours after we’d left for a total of about 8 km between the two hikes. We both agreed that this wouldn’t have been an enjoyable hike for us in the summer but is a good option in March without crowds.
As a treat, I’d booked us each a massage in the afternoon and then we spent time in the steam rooms and hot tub to further relax. The spa is attached to the pool facilities so you can use everything after or before your massage. I usually get sports massages so it was a treat to have a relaxation massage. We’re both just getting back into hiking shape so it felt nice to have a less active afternoon.
After we were done soaking and steaming, we got dressed up(ish) and headed to the main lodge building for dinner. The Emerald Lounge is something I remember from previous visits as a child and not much has changed over the years. We had a few very (pricey) cocktails and shared some items off the menu and indulged in some people watching. While I love being outside, this was probably Jon’s favourite part of the vacation so I’m glad we managed to schedule a day that indulged both of us.