Japer National Park
|Welcome to Canada!|
|Map of Jasper NP|
I flew into Calgary
to meet Ted (he had been backpacking in the Kootenays for several days), and we drove north, then west, starting
our camping trip in Jasper National Park.
The first night, we camped at Snaring River, where the only sites available were a
couple of walk-in sites. We grabbed one and used my wheelchair to
help carry the large and heavy car camping gear. After several trips down a
medium-packed gravel path, we ended up enjoying what was probably our best –
most private and best view, not far from a flowing river – campsite of the
trip. We camped here for a night
and then set off down the highway.
The following blogs provide a recounting of the sights, sites, and
trails we experienced or heard about during our 10-day trip from north to south
|Walk-in camping (wheelchair style)|
Medicine Lake: On the
way from the canyon to the lake, you pass a
picturesque lake, which is actually a valley that fills up with meltwater
each summer, after which the water drains through the karst lake-bed to an underground river,
disappearing every year. There is a pull-out at the north end of the lake for
Maligne Lake: The view of the lake was beautiful, but we couldn’t see the surrounding
mountains because of the smoke from nearby forest fires (one of the forest
service staff said the fire was not actually in the park boundaries, but he had his
backpack packed, just in case). However,
I have seen pictures of the view taken on a clear day, and it is
|Young eagle at Maligne Lake|
We made the mistake of
trying the lakeside trail on the west side of the lake. The trail was wide enough for a
wheelchair and the scenery was beautiful, but the trail was so full
of large roots that it was no fun, and at some point it even forced us to turn
|West side of Maligne Lake|
Mary Schaeffer Loop , a two mile trail on the east side is supposedly paved and
accessible. We meant to go there, but after bad directions (on our part), we had battled the roots on the west side and were too tired to try the east side.
I also heard that the 6.5 mile (return) Bald Hills trail out of Maligne Lake was accessible in that it was up an old
fire road, but not very accessible in that it was always uphill. I
was advised to at least try to go to the old hitching post, if not top of hill,
where first glimpse of view was. Unfortunately, by the time we got
these tips, it was too late in the day for us to try. We got this advice
from an employee of the resort, after trying unsuccessfully to find out similar
information from various rangers.
The Maligne Lake Resort itself was barely accessible and the outhouses
around it were pretty non-accessible. The resort employee
told us that this issue had come up many times over the past several years
during their talks with park officials, so park officials definitely knew about
and acknowledged the problem. Yet,
nothing was ever done to improve it.
Beaver/Summit/Jacques Lakes trail: At the north end of Maligne Lake is an old
fire road that goes for 1 mile to Beaver Lake and then 1.5 miles more to Summit
Lake, before continuing as a hiking trail to Jacques Lake. Because the trail to Beaver and Summit
Lakes is a fire road with minimal elevation gain, it may be appropriate for
wheelchairs; on the other hand, it may be too rooty or muddy.
Jasper: The public washroom across from the information center in
Jasper town is accessible, as is the nearby outhouse at Palisades.
Jasper SkyTram: We didn't go up, but according to the website, the tram itself is wheelchair accessible, the upper terminal with a restaurant is mostly wheelchair accessible (not the second floor), and the1.2 km trail from the upper terminal to the summit is a dirt path.
Pyramid Lake Island: This hike was one of my
favorites – beautiful views, great trail, and a baby elk! The island is reached by a wooden
bridge leading from a parking lot about ½ mile from the Pyramid Lake Resort.
There you’ll find a short path of hard-packed dirt around the island,
passing by a couple of viewpoints over the water to mountains. As an extra bonus, the elk frequent the
water at morning and evening. During our visit, a small herd went
into the water off of the mainland.
Later, a mother and her spotted baby crossed the wooden bridge over to
island. Once the other annoying
camera-snapping tourists left, we just hung out with them (or they with us) while
we stared at a windsurfer sail beneath Mt Edith Cavell.
|Elk bathing in Pyramid Lake|
|Bridge across Pyramid Lake to PL Island|
|Pyramid Lake Island trail|
|Mother and baby elk keeping us company on Pyramid Lake Island|
|Windsurfer and Mt Edith Cavell at Pyramid Lake|
|Lake Annette trail|
Lake Annette: Lake
Annette loop trail is a paved, designated wheelchair-accessible trail around
the lake. Unfortunately, we didn’t
have time to try it out.
|Mt Edith Cavell glacier|