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Jasper for Thanksgiving

Vancouver, Canada
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Jasper for Thanksgiving

My boyfriend and I are looking to spend Thanksgiving in Jasper, arriving Saturday, and leaving Tuesday. Neither of us has ever been, and we won't have a car, but are considering renting one. We want to have time to relax, but we also want to go out exploring, and do all the "must-do"s. I'm having trouble deciding on what to do, as it is apparently the last week of the tourist "summer" season, and several of the Maligne lake tours will have already ended.

Any suggestions/hidden gems/must-dos?

Thanks in advance!

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: Jasper for Thanksgiving

Hi xrina ~

I'm not sure if the 3-4 days you mention include your travel time or if it is purely time IN Jasper. Maybe you are flying into Calgary to rent the car or renting the car in Vancouver to drive the two days to Jasper.

Jasper, Canada
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2. Re: Jasper for Thanksgiving

You will need a car to see the for the "must do and see" locations, unless you are willing to spend more to go on day excursions. The townsite is a good base for meals and overnight, but the park's scenic attractions are spread out in all directions - like spokes radiating from a hub.

Here are a few ideas ... If the road is still open (it usually is), drive up to Mt. Edith Cavell; walk the short "Path of the Glacier" trail. Although the boat cruise is not operating. visiting the Maligne valley is still worthwhile - Athabasca Overlook, Maligne Canyon, the Medicine Lake viewpoint and Maligne Lake - walk the short Mary Schaeffer loop. Drive part of the Icefields Parkway to the Columbia Icefields - the snocoach tour on Athabasca Glacier is still operating, or just enjoy the scenery and the interpretive exhibits at the toe of the glacier, and the incredibly scenic drive. You can stop to see Tangle Falls, Sunwapta Falls and Athabasca Falls. Or, you could drive one hour west to Mt. Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, and visit Rearguard Falls and Overlander Falls.

Thanksgiving tends to be a fairly busy weekend, so book your accommodation soon - within the next month or so.

Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: Jasper for Thanksgiving

Thanks so much krp329! I think I'll get on booking accomodation and a car asap.

Kalispell, Montana
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for Glacier National Park, Santa Fe, Sedona
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4. Re: Jasper for Thanksgiving

Yes, you must rent a car and enjoy the sights leisurely. Thanksgiving is a stunning season to be in Jasper...cool and crisp, lots of wildlife in the morning and evening, and best of all...no huge numbers of tourists and humongous busses...even if it IS Thanksgiving.

First, go to the log-cabin style Visitor's Center in the very center of Jasper Townsite (across from the railroad station), the rangers there are EXCELLENT and can give you up to date advice on what is open, trail or road closings...make it your first stop after arrival!! There will be so much info there...brochures, maps, dining info, and unless you go into the gift shop for a souvenir, it is all free!

In my opinion Mt. Robson is a too-long drive down a main highway east out of town. I consider the drive to be in "Tree Jail" and a little boring. Once you get to Mt. Robson, it is most often clouded in and you can't see anything...short on time, I would skip that side trip.

I'm guessing the boat trips on Maligne Lake will not be running at Thanksgiving, they were not when we were there. If there is no snow, there is a hike you can take that follows the shoreline. They only way to get to the iconic view of Spirit Island is via boat. Another longer drive for minimal rewards. Below is a link about the boat trips.

Spirit Island Cruises - Maligne Lake

www.malignelake.com/act_cruise.html

The 90 minute interpretive tour aboard glass enclosed and heated boats has been ... (between July 5 and August 24)

Taking off down the Icefields Highway and seeing the sights along that road will be a good bet for you, and you WILL have gotten that good advice from the rangers at the Visitor's center! :)

Drive over to the Jasper Park Lodge. It will be decorated for Christmas, enjoy a lunch or dinner there, walk around Lake Beauvert from the Lodge, or simply have a drink and enjoy the view from the lobby or lake-side veranda.

Have a coffee and wonderful baked good at the Other Paw Bakery in Jasper, explore the downtown shops and galleries. Drive the streets of town to get the flavor of it and see if you can find the resident Elk Herd...usually hanging out on the lawn or near the Best Western Hotel up against the mountain on the way to Patricia Lake.

Take the short drive up to Patricia Lake...wildlife and two beautiful lakes and a couple of nice hiking trails.

Get a really good map of all the local roads and streets and just explore them. There you will come across lots of beautiful things.

Hike the trail that goes across the bridge at Athabaska Falls...follow it down through the narrow Pancaked rock formations all the way to the river below.

Thought on accommodations...Splurge= Jasper Park Lodge, Budget= Patricia Lake Bungalows or our favorite...Beckers Cabins on the River, just south of Jasper township.

Beckers Cabin Jasper - TripAdvisor.com‎

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Edmonton, Canada
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5. Re: Jasper for Thanksgiving

Tip to any Americans following this thread: Canadian Thanksgiving is in October.

For American Thanksgiving, bring skis. :)

Jasper, Canada
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6. Re: Jasper for Thanksgiving

The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge will be decorated up for Christmas, in November when American Thanksgiving is (which is not observed in Canada), but not for our Canadian Thanksgiving. JPL boosts their slow season occupancy with a series of "Christmas in November" weekends through the month, with festive-themed food and drink, and home décor sessions with noted chefs and experts in those fields. November is such a dreary time in most of Alberta and these weekend get-aways are marketed primarily to Edmontonians and other Albertans.

Most of the cabin accommodations including Beckers Chalets are seasonal, usually closing immediately after the Thanksgiving weekend (the holiday is Oct. 13 this year ... it's always the second Monday in October); by November, the only cabins available are at the Fairmont JPL or Pyramid Lake Lodge.

The Maligne boat cruise operation shuts down just before Thanksgiving weekend - I think their closing date is Oct. 3 this year. I am not sure why they close that early - there is no ice on the lake until at least a month later, but I am guessing that either the dropping visitor numbers once October comes just don't warrant continued operations, or perhaps their seasonal license to operate up at the lake expires on a particular date and they have to have things all shut down by then.

Kalispell, Montana
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7. Re: Jasper for Thanksgiving

Oops, that little detail slipped my mind because some of our holidays are so close together during the same week. Anyway sight-seeing suggestions remain the same except the Christmas Decorations will not be up and the weather should be warmer...my bad.

Calgary
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8. Re: Jasper for Thanksgiving

And for fun: We don't have Rangers in Canada, that is a US term.

They are Wardens. Plus Mt. Robson is west of Jasper.

Jasper, Canada
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9. Re: Jasper for Thanksgiving

Re: Wardens/rangers ... Actually, unless you break the law, you're unlikely to ever meet a warden. They are peace officers whose main duties are law enforcement (mainly National Park Act laws, although they also do assist the RCMP with traffic enforcement etc.)

The park staff have very specialized job roles and the ones most often referred to as "rangers" are usually either the park interpreters (these are mostly seasonal positions for the people who give talks about nature, animals etc.) and resource conservation personnel (some of whom are biologists doing research in areas of specialty like aquatic life, caribou etc.) or the wildlife specialists, who are the brave ones who haze aggressive elk away from townsites and campgrounds, and deal with problem bears etc. Most of the visitor centre personnel are seasonal (summer only), and usually hired for their customer service and second/third language skills.

Kalispell, Montana
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10. Re: Jasper for Thanksgiving

Kottbuler: Gotcha...fun isn't it!? I'll bet you have lots of friends.

krp329: Thank you for a thoughtful and friendly interpretation of the terms.