At the bottom of the Overlander Mountain Lodge driveway, at the turn onto the Yellowhead Highway, go left.
Go left. And then travel fifteen minutes into the town of Hinton.
From there, follow the signs to the Beaver Boardwalk and get ready to discover what locals to our area have always known: that some of this region's most spectacular, most memorable wonders of nature exist just outside of Jasper National Park.
Now, when you arrive at the Boardwalk, whether you have struck out in your favorite flip flops or your best pair of hiking boots, whether you are holding the hand of a child, holding a paintbrush or holding a pen, you have arrived in the perfect place.
This Park, named for its most industrious resident, whose dam work and lodge are its centerpiece, is an active and productive wetland. A place not only set aside for nature, but as a family friendly destination, designed to be experienced by everyone, of almost any ability, who loves to step out into nature.
And nature in this place amounts to an explosion of life.
In season, this life starts at, and even below, your feet.
Here you may find more wild and water flowers, grasses and sedges in one place than many people will see in a lifetime of looking. Even the beaver lodge itself features a colorful, living roof of tiny, wild blooms.
Up a little higher from the ground and water, squadrons of dragonflies’ dart after insect prey, while higher still, whiskey jacks and cedar waxwings, along with choruses of mountain songbirds, hop and flit through the trees.
By day, there are red squirrels and muskrats, white-tailed deer, elusive moose and, as with everywhere in these Alberta wilds, the possibility of big cats and bears.
By dusk, bats, including the big brown and eastern red take flight into this enchanted forest, which is also occupied by owls.
At the beaver's pond, a cul-de-sac at the bottom of Maxwell Lake, a diversity of ducks’ bob and dive among the water smartweed and other aquatic plants.
Along the trails, from various lookouts and watchtowers, you can listen for frogs "quacking," and watch for salamander and also sticklebacks—closely related to sea horses—as they swim and raise their broods.
As for the beaver, some people say that dawn and dusk are the best times to see this iconic Canadian animal. Others swear by taking a seat between five and six o'clock on a spring, summer or autumn evening.
Even without a sighting, however, the architect of this wetland is ubiquitous in this place, attracting not only wanderers, but those seeking to reconnect with their own nature.
We here at Overlander Mountain Lodge hope you will choose to do just that.
When you come to stay with us, when it's time to go out into the wilds to find yourself, make your way to the bottom of our driveway and from there, go left.
Go left and discover the wonders of nature that lie just beyond the park.