The Canadian Rockies: Jasper National Park by Brenda Koller
From its humble beginnings in 1811 as the earliest fur-trade post in the central Rockies, to Canada's third most visited national park, Jasper National Park offers a distinctive Rocky Mountain experience. The largest -11,228 square kilometres (4,335 square miles) - and most northerly Canadian Rockies National Park includes the foothills to the east, the Continental divide to the west along the Alberta/British Columbia border and extends to the Columbia Icefield in the south. The mighty Athabasca River, a Canadian Heritage River, flows north and east from its origin at the toe of the Columbia Glacier through Jasper Park for 168 km (104 miles) toward the Arctic Ocean. If, heaven forbid, you are only able to visit one Rocky Mountain Park, I recommend this one. Jasper offers more than 1,300 kilometres (808 miles) of superb walking, hiking and backpacking trails in the front and backcountries and excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing. Snow-capped peaks, an abundance of waterfalls, expansive valleys, sparkling glacial lakes and soothing hot springs fill the landscape. The town is less commercialized than its sister park Banff, yet if offers a full complement of tourist services including many restaurants, diverse accommodations and a variety of attractions and shopping. The author grew up in the Canadian Rockies and has been exploring them since she was a child. The Canadian Rockies are one of the world's most popular tourist destinations, with four million visitors annually. Covered in detail here are all the great parks of Alberta and British Columbia. Easily accessible adventures include walking, hiking, mountain biking, fishing, boating, horseback riding, skiing and wildlife viewing -- with some of the most spectacular animals in North America. Where else can you spend the morning hiking through spectacular wilderness and by afternoon enjoy high tea in one of the grand hotels? The guide is filled with inside information on how to avoid the tourist traps and where to find the special places off the beaten path that the tourists don't know about; the most worthwhile outdoor adventures and indoor activities; the hotels and restaurants at all price levels that are the very best; plus tips on places to avoid. Each chapter covers transportation to and around the park, where to stay and eat, attractions and shopping, plus adventures, from drives to day hikes, rafting to cycling. Competing guides focus on the standard tourist sites (where the crowds can ruin your experience), while we take you to the lesser-known spots (restaurants, lodges, hiking paths), which are often more rewarding. We travel to grow - our Adventure Guides show you how. Experience the places you visit more directly, freshly, intensely than you would otherwise - sometimes best done on foot, in a canoe, or through cultural adventures like art courses, cooking classes, learning the language, meeting the people, joining in the festivals and celebrations. This can make your trip life-changing, unforgettable. All of the detailed information you need is here about the hotels, restaurants, shopping, sightseeing. But we also lead you to new discoveries, turning corners you haven't turned before, helping you to interact with the world in new ways. That's what makes our Adventure Guides unique.