The king is asleep.

Jasper National Park, AB

Backpacker - - NEWS -

There may be no bet­ter place on the con­ti­nent to ex­pe­ri­ence win­ter than Jasper National Park. And you can tour the palace while the griz is gone. From late De­cem­ber to mid-March, Jasper’s 100 res­i­dent brown bears hi­ber­nate, leav­ing the vast lake basins and Rocky Moun­tain sky­scrapers to the rest of the food chain. Pair a low­ered guard with a mel­low route that of­fers a chance to take in the quiet forests, snow-frosted sum­mits, and the Milky Way from the world’s largest dark sky pre­serve. In the Maligne Lake zone, start with a 1-mile ap­proach to Medicine Lake, keep­ing alert for bull elk and wood­land cari­bou. From there, the 8-mile trek to Jac­ques Lake gains just 500 ver­ti­cal feet to camp­sites span­gled with starlight (all but guar­an­teed) and the shim­mer of the North­ern Lights, which are more com­mon dur­ing win­ter. Both make a fit­ting light show for this ice-bound par­adise.

TRAIL­HEAD 52.870660, -117.806103; 16 miles west of Jasper on Maligne Lake Rd. PER­MIT re­quired; C$9.80/per­son per night CON­TACT

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