Jasper Aerial Tram, and Hiking Whistlers Summit

The main adventure for our second full day in Jasper was riding the aerial tramway. Cathy’s not a big fan of getting into the air that way, but did want to see the view so agreed to come with me. This was Day 41 of the trip – Friday, June 3.

We could see the upper terminal of the tramway from our campsite at Whistlers, so it was hard to ignore. I’d ridden it once before, many years ago, but it was early in the season, the weather wasn’t great, and there was too much snow at the top to hike further. This would be Cathy’s first ride on it.

Upper terminal of the Jasper tramway
The first job of the day, though, was to move the motorhome. We had reserved the serviced site, #52J, for 2 nights, but decided to stay another night, and no serviced sites were available. So, for $27, we moved to an unserviced site, #30GG. What a difference! This is apparently a very old part of the park, and both design and maintenance are at a lower level. The site wasn’t nearly level, the trees were close, and even the picnic table was old and in need of paint. Oh well…

Unserviced site 30GG at Whistlers campground in Jasper
Planning for a full day of exploring, we were at the tram just after 09:00, an early start for us. I like to be able to see what makes this sort of rig work – large windows make that easy here.

Machinery at the Jasper aerial tram
Starting up on the 7-minute ride, looking to the west up the valley of the Miette River. Two busloads of teenagers followed us up on the next “flights”.

Riding up the Jasper aerial tram
Nearing the upper terminal at 09:28. The lower terminal is at 1,258 meters (4,127 feet), the upper is at 2,263 meters (7,424 feet).

Riding up the Jasper aerial tram
The view to the north. Look down, look waaay down, to the Jasper townsite at 1,062 meters (3,484 feet).

The view from the upper station of the Jasper tram
I really wanted to do some hiking, and the 1.2-km trail to Whistlers Summit looked to be about perfect. It’s a 400-foot climb to 2,470 meters (7,847 feet).

Whistlers Summit trail, Jasper National Park
Despite the signs, some people still build cairns at the summit, using the rocks that were put in place to mark the trail.

Whistlers Summit trail, Jasper National Park
Cathy started walking with me, but soon went off on a less-steep trail to the side. The elevation no doubt compounds the steepness of the trail.

Whistlers Summit trail, Jasper National Park
The TrailPeak.com summary of the complete trail that starts in the parking lot (not using the tram) says: “The final kilometre to the summit is a cake-walk compared to the rest of the trail. Weaving in and out of hyperventilating and often ill dressed tramway riders will give you an ego boost that’ll put a spring in your step.”

Whistlers Summit trail, Jasper National Park
There’s no shortage of excuses to stop and enjoy the views and catch your breath for a minute. There was plenty of huffing and puffing going on among the students on the trail as well as those of us not quite so young.

Whistlers Summit trail, Jasper National Park
The final climb crossed a few patches of snow even on the 3rd of June.

Whistlers Summit trail, Jasper National Park
The rounded summit of Whistlers Mountain. As hard as it is to believe at almost 8,000 feet elevation, it seems to me that a glacier must have rounded it off.

Whistlers Summit trail, Jasper National Park
The views from the summit were definitely worth the climb. This is to the north, with Pyramid Peak to the left.

Whistlers Summit trail, Jasper National Park
Mount Edith Cavell to the south.

Mount Edith Cavell from the Whistlers Summit trail, Jasper National Park
The summit monument seems an odd choice of places to live, but some hikers might be quite generous. These are Golden-mantled ground squirrels (Callospermophilus lateralis).

Golden-mantled ground squirrels on Whistlers Summit trail, Jasper National Park
None of the students, many very poorly dressed, lingered on the windy and chilly summit, but many of us did, savouring the views.

Whistlers Summit trail, Jasper National Park
Climbing some of the huge glacial erratics was irresistible to some 🙂

Whistlers Summit trail, Jasper National Park
Looking down on the Canadian National Railway, Pyramid Lake Road, the meandering Miette River, and the Yellowhead Highway (Highway 16).

The view down from the Jasper Tram
Rejoining Cathy at the upper tramway terminal, we decided to extend our stay by having an early lunch at a window table. The burger was very good.

A burger at the Jasper Tram
A glass of water wasn’t available in the cafe, only bottled water. Given the logistical problem of getting water up there, that wasn’t surprising. It was surprising to see water available for the dogs who come up on the tram or trail, though – two thumbs up, tram operators.

Dog water at the Jasper tram upper station
On our way back down at 11:30.

The Jasper Tram
We spent the rest of the day wandering around the town, and playing with Bella and Tucker at the leash-free park. I was surprised by the length of the VIA Rail trains – I thought that rail travel was still on the decline.

VIA Rail train at Jasper
Molly always lets us know when she wants to join her family outside. It doesn’t happen very often, and she’s always great with a harness and leash to keep her safe.

Our cat Molly relaxing with Murray outside the RV

On Saturday, we’d continue on to Hinton for a 4-night stay, after doing a bit of hiking at Mount Edith Cavell.


Jasper Aerial Tram, and Hiking Whistlers Summit — 1 Comment

  1. I have really enjoyed reading your blog as we did parts of this in early June this year. I also attempted a hike to the summit of Whistler Peak, forgetting that I have a healthy fear of heights. almost three quarters up the summit trail I had a meltdown and had to inch my way down on my bottom.