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Jasper National Park

With an area of 11,228 square kilometres (4,335 sq. mi.), Jasper is the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies. Two main driving routes traverse the park: the east-to-west Yellowhead Highway and the north-to-south Icefields Parkway. If you really want to enjoy Jasper's uncommon beauty, get out of the car. This swath of land straddling the Continental Divide is a glorious wilderness of snow-covered Canadian Rocky peaks, gem-colored lakes and frozen waterfalls, ice fields and glaciers. The park also is a natural habitat for wildlife, including elk, mule deer, mountain goats, moose, big horn sheep, black bears and the seldom-encountered grizzly.

AAA/Frank Swanson
For lovers of the great outdoors, Jasper is a magnet. Stunning mountain views and deep valley vistas inspire jaunts to the woods. In both summer and winter, the recreation menu is nearly endless—hiking, climbing, golfing, canoeing, mountain biking, skiing, ice-skating and snowshoeing only start the list of fun things to do. Campers have their choice of road-accessible sites or backcountry campgrounds.

Andrey Popov/
If taking it easy is more appealing, Jasper also accommodates leisurely pursuits. Soak in hot springs, relax on a lake cruise, take in a twilight performance staged in a meadow and savor the sunset's alpenglow. The town of Jasper is a friendly and charming hamlet with outfitters, coffee shops, restaurants, bookstores and craft galleries lining the main streets.

Jasper National Park is a place that lends itself to hyperbole, but in this case, gushing descriptions are genuine. Perhaps the signs at the gates say it best: “Welcome to Jasper. Venture Beyond.”

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