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Jasper, Alberta
At the heart of the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies is the town of Jasper, a laid-back alpine community.

Jasper

Another turn-of-the-century railroad and resort town, Jasper has a population of only about 5,000 people. In 1923, the Canadian government formed Canada’s second transcontinental railroad. While starting out with the purpose of serving the railway, it became the headquarters for the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies, Jasper National Park. The park provides visitors with breathtaking scenery, including hot springs, lakes, glaciers, mountains and waterfalls. It is also home to a mix of wildlife, including elk, moose, black bears, grizzly bears, mountain goats and eagles.

Like Banff and Lake Louise, a lodge soon followed the rail line. The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge started out as a tent city and wasn’t owned by the railway until the 1920s. The upgraded lodge brought a different class of tourists. Unlike the massive structures at Banff and Lake Louise, the lodge offers a village of luxury cedar chalets and log cabins. The lodge also offers one of the most scenic golf courses in North America, the Jasper Park Lodge Golf Course. The course was designed in 1925 by Stanley Thompson, whose design philosophy has been described as “natural artistry.” Visitors enjoy taking scenic photos at Hole 14, the course’s signature hole, which boasts a magnificent mountain view.

Jasper is a huge skiing and snowboarding destination. Twenty minutes south of Jasper visitors can find Marmot Basin, which hosts four mountain faces containing 86 named ski runs. The terrain is balanced, with plenty of slopes for novices, intermediate and advanced skiers.

The final onboard journey takes two days to cover the 500 miles from Jasper to Vancouver, with a final overnight stop in Kamloops. Passengers see plenty of scenery changes on the trip back as they depart from the beautiful and majestic Canadian Rockies toward the semi-arid desert region of British Columbia and into the temperate rainforest of the Pacific Northwest. Between Jasper and Kamloops, the Rocky Mountaineer travels through the Yellowhead Pass. Yellowhead Lake stretches out from the tracks, with majestic Mount Fitzwilliam and Mount Rockingham serving as backdrops.

Having spent days gazing at one beautiful mountain after another, it’s difficult to imagine the most magnificent mountain of the journey lies ahead. At 12,972 feet, Mt. Robson is the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. The Rocky Mountaineer provides one of the best ways to view the sheer sides and snow-capped crown of one of the most prominent mountains in North America.