Town of Jasper, Alberta


There’s no denying that Jasper is a tourist town, but compared to Banff, it’s a lot more down-to-earth.  Businesses (mostly the locally-owned variety) line up along Connaught Drive (the “main” road through town, which parallels Highway 16) and Patricia Street, one block north (seen here).

No matter where you stay in town, you’ll probably be in walking distance of the downtown business district, so save some time on at least one evening to visit the stores and explore.

I found a good dinner at Something Else restaurant on Patricia Street.  It’s a Greek restaurant that serves just about everything (including this baked pasta dish, which certainly is not Greek).  It was a bit more expensive than I would have preferred, but I hadn’t eaten at a restaurant in a few days, so I was due a good meal.

Walk across busy Connaught Drive, to get a look at Jasper’s train station.  The Jasper Heritage Railway Station is on VIA Rail’s main line from Vancouver to Toronto, and is also served by other VIA Rail lines.

The train isn’t cheap.  A round-trip fare between Vancouver and Jasper costs $268 (CAD) in 2009.  A round-trip to Toronto costs $728.  You can check fares here.

If you’re lucky, there will be a train waiting to provide the perfect photo opportunity, with the Rockies in the background.

For a great view of Jasper and the surrounding area, take the Jasper Tramway to the top of Whistlers Mountain.  The $29 (CAD), 7-minute ride lifts you up nearly a vertical kilometer, and ends with spectacular views of just about everything nearby.  The tramway is located off 93A, just south of downtown Jasper.

A word or two about “Accommodations”…

While Jasper is definitely a tourist town, it doesn’t have a lot of hotels and motels — and the ones it does have are well over $100 (CAD) per night, putting them out of my price range.  So in addition to its conventional hotel rooms, Jasper has a lot of “accommodations”.  What is an “accommodation”, you ask?  Well, it can be just about anything, from a traditional bed & breakfast room, to a bed in the basement of a private home.  Since I was trying to be as frugal as possible, I decided I could survive for a couple of nights without all the luxuries of a conventional motel, so I booked a room at Roony’s Accommodations…

… which it turns out, is down this alley…

… in the basement of this house, a few blocks from downtown Jasper.  Notice the small window at ground-level.  This was not my bedroom window.  My window was underneath the porch.

Staying here was actually a smart move, and despite the subterranean setting, it was surprisingly comfortable.  There were three rooms available in the basement of this house, two of which shared a common area.  I ended up with the more private room, which had a chair, refrigerator, and TV in the room itself.  Although I didn’t have a view, I had a comfortable, clean bed.

The only big inconvenience was the shared bathroom, which was across the hall.  A few times, I needed it when someone else was in it.  And when I was in it, I felt like I had to hurry, to avoid inconveniencing anyone else.  It wasn’t spotless, but there were cleaning supplies provided, so I could spray everything down — making it almost as clean as any other hotel bathroom.  It was also a pain to lock my room and take the key, every time I crossed the hall (and remember to take the proper towels, washcloths, and clothes with me, too).

If you’re going to Jasper and you want to save money, I recommend Roony’s.  Just be aware of the inconveniences before you go.  You can also check out dozens of other accommodations, if you’d like to find one with more amenities.

Drivelapse Video

Here’s the time-lapse dash-cam video of the drive from Jasper to Pyramid Lake.  Fast-forward to the end for more of downtown Jasper:

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