Jasper National Park in a wheelchair
Jasper National Park in a wheelchair? Definitely, yes! In 2017 my husband and I went on a stunning trip through British Columbia. First, we spent three days in Banff National Park. And then we drove towards Jasper along the world-famous Icefields Parkway. So here is my accessibility review for you.
After three beautiful days in Banff and Lake Louise, we left Banff National Park behind. We decided to take a short detour to Lake Emerald in Yoho National Park before continuing our journey to Jasper along the Icefields Parkway, which is an adventure on its own.
General accessibility of Jasper National Park
First things first: Almost all of the sights we visited were entirely wheelchair-accessible. Furthermore, the viewing areas all have handicapped parking as well as wheelchair-accessible restrooms. There are also a few wheelchair-friendly trails, like the paved section of the Mary Schaffer Loop, Maligne Lake, Lake Annette Loop, and Pyramid Isle in Pyramid Lake.
Columbia Icefield Visitor Center
Jasper (Museum, Skytram)
Miette Hot Springs
(only one viewing spot)
(upper viewing area only)
(upper part only)
Leach Lake on Highway 93a
(steps to viewing area)
Mount Edith Cavell
(very steep trail on the top)
Accessible Columbia Icefield
Our first stop on our way to Jasper was Columbia Icefield, the largest ice field in the Rocky Mountains. The scenery of the glaciers is indeed breathtaking! The Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Center is the starting point for the Glacier Adventure, where a massive ice explorer takes you directly onto the ice field of Athabasca Glacier. The tour is wheelchair-accessible. However, you have to call the Discovery Center in advance (Brewster +1 888 285 0376).
Athabasca Falls and Athabasca River
Next, we went to Athabasca Falls. There are a few more scenic viewpoints along the way to the famous falls. Upon arrival, I had to find out that, unfortunately, only the viewing area next to the parking lot is accessible because of some steps on the trail to the other side.
Finally, we moved on to Jasper taking Highway 93a instead of continuing on the Trans-Canada Highway. Highway 93a is much less frequented, and you pass through a fantastic landscape. The city of Jasper itself is small but pretty wheelchair-accessible. We spent two days in Jasper and drove to Medicine Lake, Lake Maligne, Lake Edith & Lake Annette and Miette Hot Springs.
Medicine Lake and Lake Maligne
In mid-May, we were unlucky weatherwise while in Jasper. Lake Maligne was still covered in snow and ice, and the sky was sadly grey. But the lake surely is magnificent in the summertime.
If you love to hike in a wheelchair, consider the trail around Lake Annette. Handicapped parking, two wheelchair-accessible restrooms, and a great picnic area are available.
Miette Road to Miette Hot Springs
Last but not least, my dream came true! Were fortunate and saw a black bear with her cup while driving along Miette Road. Miette Road is known for its regular bear sightings. Still, you can meet bears anywhere and anytime in Jasper National Park because it is home to several Grizzly and black bears. Bears are adorable mammals, but you should avoid bear encounters for your safety. Always respect those majestic animals by keeping your distance. It was a true pleasure to peacefully observe these two bears from the inside of our rental car, doors safely locked and windows closed.
Summing up, I can clearly say that Jasper National Park is pretty wheelchair-accessible in most parts. Wheelchair users can equally enjoy most of the spectacular natural sights and major tourist attractions. So please give it a go and explore this beautiful park in the Canadian West.
Have you already been to Banff or Jasper National Park? How did you like it? Tell me more about your thoughts in the comment section below or get in touch by email.