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Jasper Solo Camping

Edmonton, Canada
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Jasper Solo Camping

Hello all, I'm going camping, most likely solo, the last week of August in the Whistlers campsite in Jasper. I'm 19, a city kid with a limited budget coming from Edmonton, but wanting to see the outdoors. I've got a few questions then to demystify some of the relative "newness" of this experience.

*I know hiking in groups is recommended, in regards to bears, so what would you recommend for me as a solo hiker? I'd like to really explore the trails, but would it be safer to keep to more public ones?

*What are some of the main sites to see/things to do in a 5 day period? I know of Mount Edith Cavell, Icefields Parkway, Miette Hotsprings, and Mount Robson. I'm interested in exploring any hiking spots, lakes, etc.

*I don't want to be intimidated by the whole bear, or even cougar, possibilities in Jasper, but just how common is it to see wildlife such as this on an average hike?

That's it for now, I might think of some more things later.


Jasper, Canada
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for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
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1. Re: Jasper Solo Camping

Hi Colin and welcome to the TripAdvisor forums!

If you are a bit nervous about hiking alone, it's best to stick to the busier, more used trails (which most of the "front country" ones, the day hikes, are). Encounters with animals are not all that common - I hike/walk a lot and might encounter a black bear on a trail a couple of times a season (usually at quite a distance). My husband, who runs on trails at least a couple of times a week, might have a half dozen encounters in a year. I have never met a grizzly on a trail but see them roadside a few times a year. I have seen bear tracks (both kinds) on trails fairly frequently, so I know they are out there. ;-) I have lived here in Jasper for thirty years and have never seen a cougar and only know a few people who have, so count yourself very lucky if you get a sighting.

All large animals should be given lots of respect and space. Elk are actually the most dangerous animal in the park, in terms of the numbers of aggressive encounters and injuries each year. Moose, and even deer or bighorn sheep can get ornery sometimes.... with sheep, it's mostly with dogs (which they perceive as a threat). I've never felt really threatened by a deer, but I had an unusual encounter with one last summer near Old Fort Point; she was being quite fearless and bold, following and approaching us, and I am certain there was a fawn bedded down somewhere nearby. We just continued on our way, and cleared out of there. After we were what she deemed was an acceptable distance away, she stopped following us down the trail, and suddenly bolted to one side of the trail and trotted back from where she'd come, doing this psycho bucking bronco bit on the way. I've never seen that behaviour before.

Old Fort Point, as mentioned, is a nice, short hike. Also, the Valley of the Five Lakes. Both these are popular trails so you will see other hikers. At Mt. Robson, Kinney Lake (the first lake, 4.5 km, on the Berg Lake trail) is a great day hike - it's also a popular trail. Btw, just because a trail is well used doesn't mean you won't meet an animal (it's just less likely), so you still have to stay alert, make some noise etc. You might also want to hike from the upper tramway terminal, to the summit of The Whistlers, and even beyond, into the alpine meadows on the other side.

Stop in at the Visitor Centre and have a chat with someone in the Parks Canada trail office. They have a brochure with maps, can fill you in on animal sightings, warnings, closures etc., and will have lots of suggestions based on current conditions.

I thought I would also mention that besides camping, one other less expensive way to stay in the park are the hostels, at about $30 per night. The HI Whistlers hostel is just a couple of kilometres from the campground. You would meet other people there, and if you have a vehicle, I'm sure there will be other visitors who would love to join you to hike, since it's tricky to get to many trail heads without a car and a lot of people staying at the hostel don't have one. There are other hostels too - they're all on the HI (Hostelling International) website.

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2. Re: Jasper Solo Camping

If you have a car and are sleeping in a tent there are nicer "wilderness" campsites to stay that Whistlers. That is a huge campsite with many RVs and trailors. Wabasso, which is just 15 minutes up the road is much nicer.

There are some nice hikes in the Maligne Lake area (but check to make sure the road is open). The trail into Summit Lake is fairly flat and goes through some nice forest. You can hike the first part of the Skyline Trail from Maligne Lake - that is quite nice as well. Parker Ridge and Wilcox Pass up in the Icefields area are quite nice.

There are lots of bears around this time of year so you might want to have some bear spray on hand. I always have some when hiking in the Rockies. Just make sure you have it handy in a holster and not buried in your pack.

Going to the visitors center in Jasper is an excellent idea. They are very knowledgable and very helpful.

You should plan a return trip to Jasper when there are not so many tourists around (i.e. October and in the spring before July).

3. Re: Jasper Solo Camping

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