Jasper, Alberta on the map. National Park Jasper (province Alberta) on the map of Canada

Atlas of North and South America

Free download  detailed map of North and South America

 

Jasper, Alberta on the map. National Park Jasper (province Alberta) on the map of Canada

Jasper, Alberta

Established: 1907   Acreage: 2,688,000

The largest of Canada's Rocky Mountain national parks, Jasper spans broad valleys and rugged mountains along the eastern slopes of the Rockies. The mountains were created millions of years ago on the floor of a great inland sea, and layers of sedimentary rock of the sea bed were pushed up and folded by forces deep beneath the crust of the earth, leaving long, parallel rows of mountains. Today, this mountain landscape consists of glaciers, rivers, lakes, forests and alpine meadows, where a wide variety of exquisite wildflowers thrive during the summer.

The park is home to bighorn sheep, elk, mountain goat and both black and grizzly bears. During much of the year, mule deer, elk and moose inhabit the lower slopes and meadows, along with the smaller mammals, such as the coyote and marten. Wildlife has been known to venture into the streets of the village of Jasper. The bird population at Jasper is smaller than on the wetter, western side of the Rockies. Gray jay, raven and magpie are most commonly seen, but eagles, pipit and ptarmigan are found at the higher altitudes.

The human history of the park includes stories of Indians, fur traders, geologists, railroad surveyors, mountaineers, naturalists and prospectors. Transient campsites and workshops nearly 3000 years old have been uncovered in the park, but no permanent camps have been found, perhaps because wildlife was scarce in the past. The first white explorers ventured into the Jasper region in the early 1800s in search of a trade route across the mountains. With the coming of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway line through the Yellowhead Pass in 1907, the federal government decided to preserve the area as a national park. A local trading post operated by Jasper Hawse provided the inspiration for the park's name.

Today, many of the park's striking features—the Athabasca Glacier, Sunwapta and Athabasca Falls and Miette Hotsprings—are accessible by road. Visitors can drive a switchback road right to the base of one of the highest peaks in the area, the glacier-covered Mount Edith Cavell. Visitors can also ride the Jasper Tramway on Whistler Mountain—the easiest way to see life above the timberline. A spectacular gorge—the deeply-gouged Maligne Canyon—and the brilliant beauty of glacial-fed Maligne Lake are just some of the many attractions.

Above right, top: The rugged, snow-covered peaks of the Morning Sentinels in Jasper National Park.

Canoeing on Pyramid Lake (above right, center) is a popular summertime activity in the park. In the winter, park visitors enjoy cross country skiing (right).

Facing page: The essence of perfection—snow-covered Medicine Lake in winter.

Jasper, Alberta on the map. National Park Jasper (province Alberta) on the map of Canada