The best way to experience the true beauty of Jasper National Park and to take in the unrivaled views of the Canadian Rocky Mountains is to gently traverse the terrain via the Jasper Tramway. Jasper, winner of a Travelers' Choice Award in 2008, is nestled in the Athabasca River valley in the western part of Alberta, Canada and is only 80 km from Hinton and 50 km from the Overlander Mountain Lodge, basically a 45 minute drive. Guests to the lodge not only get to enjoy luxurious accommodations in hotel-style rooms and vacation homes modeled after chalets, but the best part about their stay is the majestic scenery surrounding Hinton and Jasper National Park.
Construction of the tramway was started in 1963 by a German company that specialized in aerial tramways, and visitors have flocked to the location ever since the construction was completed in 1964. Visitors enjoy views of glacially fed lakes, Alberta's longest river, Athabasca River, six mountain vistas and scenic downtown Jasper. The journey starts at the Lower Station, where visitors board a completely safe enclosed tram cabin. The elevation of the Lower Station is 1304 meters. After a seven minute ascent up Whistlers Mountain to the Upper Station at 2277 meters, they start their Canadian Rocky Mountains adventure.
An experience on the Jasper Tramway
includes more than just a ride up the mountain; it is a chance to learn about the area from well-trained tour guides who are happy to answer questions and point out key tidbits of interest about the local flora and fauna. A touch of information on the historical background of the area makes the experience even more complete for history buffs.
Children and adults alike enjoy looking for the alpine wildlife like bighorn sheep, furry little pikas or birds such as the White-tailed Ptarmigan.
Well crafted boardwalks with interpretive plaques make the walking trip a little less stressful on the body, especially for visitors who want a little easier travel experience at the Upper Station. Visitors who want a bit of adventure can take a variety of hiking trails to the summit.
What would an excursion be without a bit of shopping and dining thrown in? Jasper Tramway has it all, from gorgeous scenic views to a unique treetop dining establishment, The Treeline Restaurant. The restaurant is situated on Whistlers Mountain, 2286 meters above sea level. It has a self-serve atmosphere and is perfect for quick nutritional snacks or full meals. In the main seating area, guests can enjoy 260 degree scenic views. If they prefer something a little less formal, a snack shop in the Lower Station has sandwiches and other tasty treats.
Gift shops are found at both of the Jasper Tramway stations with a large selection of goodies like customized souvenirs of the area.
As always, it is important to dress for the weather. A jacket and sturdy walking shoes can make all the difference between a pleasant Alpine experience and one a little more tasking.