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(Above photographer Tom Gross at Maligne Lake)
Jasper National Park Photography Hot Spot
The Canadian Rockies mountain system comprises the southeastern part of this system, laying between the Interior Plains of Alberta and Northeastern British Columbia on the east to the Rocky Mountain Trench of BC on the west. The southern end borders Idaho and Montana of the USA.
The Canadian Rockies have numerous high peaks and ranges, such as Mount Robson (Sometimes called Mount Bella) (3,954 m (12,972 ft)) and Mount Columbia (3,747 m (12,293 ft)). Much of the range is protected by national and provincial parks, several of which collectively comprise a World Heritage Site.
Jasper National Park is the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies, spanning 10,878 km2 (4,200 sq mi). It is located in the province of Alberta, north of Banff National Park and west of the City of Edmonton. The park includes the glaciers of the Columbia Icefield, hot springs, lakes, waterfalls, and mountains. Wildlife in the park includes elk, caribou, moose, mule deer, white-tailed deer, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, grizzly bears, black bears, coyotes, beavers, Rocky Mountain pikas, hoary marmots, gray wolves, mountain lions, and wolverines.
It takes about 1-2 days to photograph the main areas of the park depending on how you cover it. If you are a photographer, who wants to spend time getting every angle and cover every square inch plan two days. The Columbia Icefields Parkway is one of the world’s most scenic drives that stretches 232km’s (144miles) between Lake Louise and Jasper. There are many great things you will be able to stop and photograph along the drive up icefield parkway to get to Jasper: Peyto Lake, The Columbia Icefields, The glacier walk and Bow Lake (one of our favorite spots on the planet earth.) Start your journey early up the Icefields Parkway towards Jasper. To see Bow Lake and Peyto Lake information in detail go to our Canada Hot Spot Page.
There are several lakes in Jasper National Park and the main tourist attraction is Maligne Lake, under a half hour drive from the center of town. The lake is covered with tourist if you go in the summer and parking can be a hassle. We went there for this article, but we probably will not go back. Jasper is a 4-hour drive up the icefield parkway to get there from Banff. There isn’t as much incredible dynamic scenery compared to the southern Canadian Rockies. The drive up Icefield Parkway has some stops that make this trip worthwhile, but we were not all that impressed with Jasper overall compared to the Banff area. Maybe we have just been too many incredible places in Banff, Yoho, and Revelstoke. The most amazing spots on this journey are the waterfalls. Athabasca and Sunwapta are the two best places not to miss. Lake Maligne although beautiful, was covered by tourists in the summer. There are a few other lakes: Patricia and Pyramid that are good. The other lakes did not give us any dynamic photos. There is also Maligne Canyon to hike and photograph which gives the opportunity for some compelling images. The Maligne lookout is just a lookout. We call these pictures tourist shots from these type of locations. You can stop there and get some good images. Try to do something different than the same old shot of the island that every person in the world gets.
Keep your eyes out for wildlife. There is an abundance of elk especially early in the morning. We went during a heat wave when wildlife is known to stay in the wilderness. We did see some bears on our journey.
You MUST have an ND filter for waterfall photography