Adventures in Jasper For People Who Are Slightly Scared of Adventure

Adventures in Jasper For People Who Are Slightly Scared of Adventure

Tucked away beneath the snow-capped Rocky Mountains, Jasper National Park in Alberta, #Canada remains a hot spot for #nature lovers. We had no problem staying #active, making our way across a massive frozen lake.


Two weeks ago I visited Jasper National Park in Alberta just in time for Jasper Pride Festival. It was also my first time in the Canadian Rockies during the winter. Attending a gay pride fest is always an adventure, especially when you’re straight and you don’t actually know anybody at all. But amid all the drag queen shows and burlesque events and social mixers, I actually managed to fit in some outdoorsy stuff too.

The highlight for many festival-goers was the gay ski at Marmot Basin. I, however, do not ski. I cannot ski. It’s not a matter of will I ski? But will I die if I ski? I’ve tried a dozen times, on bunny slopes and cross-country. I am terrible.

I actually managed to fit in some outdoorsy stuff too

Fortunately! If you’re semi-adventurous but not adventurous enough to ski or go ice climbing, Jasper Pride Festival has a whole slew of other activities organized for you. So here’s what I did instead.

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Jasper National Park of Canada Tour

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 Jasper Park Lodge, AB, Canada
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Maligne Canyon Icewalk Tour

Maligne Canyon Ice Walk

Jasper Pride Festival paired with SunDog tours to offer a bunch of organized excursions, and so the first one I signed up for was the Maligne Canyon Ice Walk. You strap some grips onto your boots, and then you’re led deep into the gorge.

At first I was kinda like, meh, this is all right I guess. In the summer, this canyon turns into a roiling, boiling, churning river – in the winter it’s a lot of ice and snow. But for the best views, you really have to get down onto the canyon floor.

Going down into the gorge
Going down into the gorge

You SHOULD NOT do this without a guide. Falling ice is a real threat, so the SunDog guides always take a trip into the canyon in the early morning to check for soft spots or problematic areas. You definitely do not want to fall knee-deep into a freezing river, or get hit over the head with a chunk of ice. Plus your guides will show you where you can actually climb into the canyon – otherwise you’d probably miss it.

And if you don’t want to ice climb, you can at least admire the climbers from below.

This doesn't look like much, but see how small that climber looks?!
This doesn't look like much, but see how small that climber looks?!

This canyon is over 50 metres deep and 365-million years old. But she doesn’t look a day over 40.

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Maligne Canyon Icewalk Tour

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 Maligne Canyon, Jasper, AB, Canada
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Jasper National Park of Canada Tour

Snowshoeing Maligne Lake

Maligne Lake gets a lot of attention in Jasper National Park, which makes a lot of sense considering how bloody beautiful it is. And I say this despite the fact I forgot my sunglasses while on my hike and I nearly went snow blind.

A gorgeous, snowy scene
A gorgeous, snowy scene

The element of adventure on this SunDog tour is marginally higher than Maligne Canyon, mostly because you’re walking across a frozen lake at least 97-metres deep. You can also cross-country ski the lake, or take a fat bike out there (our guide kept talking about fat bikes and I had no idea what he meant…it’s basically a mountain bike with fat tires). We traversed about half the length of the lake before looping back around, and then paused to crack open a bottle of bubbly.

Taking a second to pop a bottle of bubbly? I'm totally down for that!
Taking a second to pop a bottle of bubbly? I'm totally down for that!

It was pretty well the finest day you could ask for in the middle of the Canadian Rockies at minus temperatures.

We made a rainbow!
We made a rainbow!

We unintentionally formed a pride rainbow. “Are you going to write a blog post titled ‘Candice and The Lesbians?’” asked my new friend Kathy. I thought about it. I’m still thinking about it.

Wildlife Viewing

I suppose this is the least adventurous of the three trips as you mostly sit in a van and get toured around looking for wildlife. BUT seeing as how it’s early spring and the grizzlies are starting to emerge from their dens, there’s still that unpredictable element of surprise that may involve dashing to the van to escape a rampaging bear.

A hell of a day in the Rockies
A hell of a day in the Rockies

(I’m kidding – that rarely happens.)

We didn’t see grizzlies, sadly. But we did see bighorn sheep, tons of elk, some Canadian geese, and even a magpie or two.

I spy some sheep
I spy some sheep

There’s a lot more adventure to be had too, from ice-skating to curling on Lac Beauvert in front of the Fairmont Park Lodges. And dog sledding, when there’s actually enough snow. And contrary to popular belief, it surprisingly wasn’t THAT cold. It’s way colder over here on the East Coast, folks. I only needed to wear one parka.

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