Jasper National Park of Canada
Jasper in the Rain
Thanks to winter snow and summer rain, Jasper's landscape is rich and green.
Weather plays an important role in shaping life in Jasper National Park. The park receives roughly 4 metres of precipitation annually, over an average of 144 days of the year. You happen to be visiting Jasper on one of those days, and have the opportunity to watch the landscape revitalise.
You've come a long way to be here (hey, thanks for coming!) and we know you want to make the most of your holiday. If you feel that your plans need to change today, this guide will help, with suggestions for outdoor exploration and indoor fun.
Ideas for exploring Jasper in the Rain
Outdoor Activities Don't let the rain stop you from enjoying the great outdoors. You'll get a little wet, but you'll have a good time doing it. You'll also earn that hot chocolate and that sticky bun.
Rain, Schmain, We're Going Hiking
Our first idea is not to change your plans one bit. Hike that trail. The flowers in the meadow don't go indoors in the rain; they're still there. The trails feel even wilder in the wet. And when the mountains are shrouded in cloud, there's a sense of mystery you don't get on a sunny day. Remember back when you were a kid and how fun it was to get really wet? After the first splash, it didn't matter any more, it just got more fun.
Our Summer Trails brochure has descriptions and maps of the most popular hiking trails. Everything from ten minutes to ten hours. Information Centre staff can help you find just the right trail for you.
Load everyone into the car and go for a drive. Even when the clouds are low there are things to see. The mountains are majestic and inspiring when they break through the clouds, and the canyons and waterfalls are always visible and impressive. Parks Canada's Mountain Guide is available for free at the Information Centre and will guide you to all the "must see" spots in the park. It also provides information about the animals you may see along the way. Be sure to respect their space and stay in your vehicle if you do come across any wildlife. If you don't have a car, there are many private tour companies who offer guided explorations of Jasper National Park.
Both the Friends of Jasper National Park and Parks Canada host regular interpretive programs in the summer. A complete list of events can be found at the Information Centre.
You're going to be wet anyway, so take a trip on the Athabasca, Sunwapta or Fraser rivers. Several companies offer trips of varying difficulty. The Sunwapta and Fraser trips are the most adventurous.
Miette Hot Springs Pool
Many people consider hot springs to be at their finest when the weather is bad. So treat yourself to a soothing soak in a pool fed by the hottest hotsprings in the Canadian Rockies. Located 61 km east of Jasper townsite, the Miette Hotsprings are open early May until Thanksgiving weekend. Bathing suit and towel rentals are available.
Rainy days offer the kind of soft, diffused light that's perfect for many kinds of photography, particularly close-ups and short scenery shots. Landscape photography can also be magnificent in cloudy weather. Take a drive to Mount Edith Cavell and hike the short Path of the Glacier trail. The image of the Angel Glacier emerging from a clouded summit makes an exceptional composition. And if you are out and about when the sun breaks through, you will be rewarded with dramatic light and landscape.
Try your hand against the cunning of an elusive trout. There are those who say that fishing is at its best when the weather is at its worst. (Hungry fish don't care much if it's raining!) You'll need to purchase a National Park Fishing Permit available from campgrounds, information centres and local fishing shops. Make sure you read the regulations carefully as there are often closures or special restrictions in effect. If you don't have the gear or expertise, hire a guide and take a lesson in the subtle art of fly fishing.
The romance of the trail is just as potent with a slicker on. Guided horse trips are available from local outfitters and they'll take you on some more sheltered trails. Trips from one hour to full day rides.
If you are soaked right through, it might be time to head indoors. Here are some dry indoor ideas to engage you.
Going to a movie can be a great way to deal with a rainy afternoon. Located on Connaught Drive across from the Jasper Heritage Railway Station, Chaba Cinema (852 4749) has two theatres with daily matinee and evening presentations (evening only in the Fall/Winter). Summer also sees local theatre performances. Ask about the events and programs on offer this year at the Information Centre.
Jasper Municipal Library 852 2652
Located in a historic police station at 500 Robson Street, the library offers reading material, internet access, use of a computer, photocopier and fax machine.
Jasper Aquatic Centre 852 3663
Okay, it's wet in here but it's also warm. Located next door to the Activity Centre at 401 Pyramid Lake Road, The Jasper Aquatic Centre offers a 25-metre pool, waterslide, children's wading pool, whirlpool and steam room.
Local Art Galleries
Jasper boasts several artists whose works are displayed around town. Check JAG (Jasper Artist Guild) and their satellite galleries dotted throughout town. (Inquire for this summer's locations.) Jasper's Originals at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is a commercial gallery featuring strong Canadian Rockies themes.
Send an electronic note home to a friend to tell them how great the weather is. There are many local internet providers, many of whom also offer a range of digital services, including CD burning for your digital images. A complete list is available from the Information Centre.
Jasper Activity Centre 852 3381
Here you'll find a weight room, racquetball/squash courts, skateboard park, indoor/outdoor tennis, climbing wall and showers open to the public. Drop by at 303 Pyramid Avenue for more information on times and prices.
Jasper-Yellowhead Museum and Archives - 852 3013
Dedicated to preserving Jasper's history and heritage, the museum is located at 400 Pyramid Lake Road across from the Aquatic Centre. It hosts permanent displays, temporary exhibits and videos focusing on the people and events that helped shape Jasper's history. The museum also holds occasional art shows. It's open daily and admission fees apply.
The Den Wildlife Museum - 852 3361
Here you will find a selection of mounted Canadian Rockies wildlife specimens. The Den is downstairs in the Whistlers Inn across from the Heritage Railway Station. It's open daily and admission fees apply.
Icefield Centre - 852 6288
The Icefield Centre is 103 kilometres from Jasper on the Icefields Parkway. The world class Glacier Gallery is a wonderful place to further investigates the Columbia Icefield and the Athabasca Glacier. The centre is open May to October. Tours on the Ice Explorer bus or guided ice walks depart from the Centre and are a great way to get a closer look at the glacier.
There are several spas and registered massage practitioners to pamper you in Jasper. If it's miserable out, why not spoil yourself with a massage?
Video Stop and Tags rent videos. DVD players are available for rent from Video Stop.
Jasper has a wide variety of shops that are usually open seven days a week until late in the evening. The majority of shops are located along Patricia Street and Connaught Drive. Jasper Park Lodge also has a promenade of shops in the lower level of the main lodge. All proceeds from the Friends of Jasper Store, located in the Information Centre on Connaught Drive, are returned to the Park.
Stop into the office of the Friends of Jasper at 415 Connaught Drive to lend a helping hand.