Jasper National Park (established in 1907, size 10 878 km2
) rests amid the unforgettable splendour of the Rocky Mountains. It is the most northerly of the 4 adjoining mountain parks (see BANFF NATIONAL PARK
, KOOTENAY NATIONAL PARK
, YOHO NATIONAL PARK
). Snow-capped peaks, mineral springs and glacier-fed lakes and rivers attract some 3 million visitors each year.
The combined forces of wind, water and glacial ice have carved Jasper's U-shaped valleys, which sweep upwards to mountain peaks as high as 3747 m (Mount Columbia). The resulting landscape supports a rich blend of alpine meadows, subalpine forests and montane vegetation. On its course, the Maligne River runs underground after draining Medicine Lake and resurfaces near Maligne Canyon. This section of 16 km makes the Maligne one of the world's longest sinking rivers and promises still larger CAVE
systems waiting to be discovered (see also KARST LANDFORM
Wildlife is a main attraction in the park. Many species can be seen along park roads, including moose, elk, mule deer, BLACK BEAR, coyote and bighorn sheep. Grizzly bears roam the back country. The highest ledges are inhabited by mountain goats, golden eagles, ptarmigan and ravens.
The park's history is rich with the adventure of the fur trade and of exploration for a route to the West Coast, including David THOMPSON
's 1811 discovery of the ATHABASCA PASS
and Jasper Hawes's establishment of a trading post near the present town of JASPER
. The Icefield Parkway provides direct access to some of the most outstanding scenery found on the planet, including the COLUMBIA ICEFIELD
. In 2011, the ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY OF CANADA
designated Jasper as a dark sky preserve, making it the largest such reserve in the world.
The 23-metre Athabasca Falls in Jasper National Park is one of the most powerful falls in the mountain national parks (Corel Professional Photos).
Jasper National Park (courtesy Parks Canada).
More than nine million people annually visit the seven preserves along the Alberta-British Columbia border (photo by Wayne Lynch).
Links to Other Sites
Jasper National Park of Canada
This illustrated Parks Canada website describes the ecology, geography, and history of Jasper National Park of Canada.
Friends of Jasper National Park
This non-profit organization promotes understanding, appreciation and respect for the natural history and cultural heritage of Jasper National Park. Find out about their interpretive programs, publications, and park improvement projects.
A travel website for various scenic tours in and around Lake Louise, Banff, Lake Minnewanka, Jasper, and the Columbia Icefield. From Brewster Inc.
A tourist guide to major attractions in the Canadain Rockies. From concierge.com.
Surveying the Rockies and Arthur O. Wheeler
View a photograph of A.O. Wheeler on Lynx mountain during the 1911 Smithsonian-Alpine Club of Canada Mount Robson expedition. Also listen to a description of the exhibition "Surveying the Summits" at the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies.