Just like Banff and Lake Louise, Jasper has its own luxurious lodge, built during the railroad days. The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is located on the opposite side of the Athabasca River from downtown Jasper — a location that will keep you from taking a quick walk into town, but at the same time, isolates the resort from all of Jasper’s hustle and bustle.
To get to the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge from downtown, head northeast out of town on Highway 16, then turn towards Maligne Lake. As soon as you cross the river, make a right, onto the entrance road (which also provides access to Lake Edith and Lake Annette).
The visitor parking area is a short distance behind the main lodge, and you’ll have to walk past some of the dozens of cottages that are spread out around the resort. The lodge faces Lake Beauvert, a small lake that could give you a beautiful reflection of the surrounding mountains (but not during my visit).
These days, the Jasper lodge is owned by the same company that operates the ones in Banff and Lake Louise: Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. But in the beginning, this hotel was a rival of its southern neighbors. The hotels in Banff and Lake Louise were built by the Canadian Pacific Railway. It was the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway which ran through Jasper — and in 1915 the lodge started as a tent city, in association with the GTP. Construction on the bungalows began in 1921.†
The current lodge was built in 1953. It replaced a lodge that burned the previous year. The old structure was believed to be the largest single-level log structure in the world.†
A flat, easy 4 kilometer (2.5 mile) trail circles the lake.
A Canada Goose — how appropriate! There were quite a few of them living at the edge of the lake. A word of warning: they leave behind a lot of “evidence” of their presence.