You may have heard that the Tour of Alberta is coming to town.
This five-day competition is Canada’s top professional cycling event, attracting 120 of the world’s top racers and commanding the attention of some 45 million TV viewers world-wide. It’s a pretty big deal.
When the Tour rolls into Jasper National Park on September 4 and 5, there will be disruptions to how visitors and residents get around.
For those who want to take part in the festivities, we’ve compiled a short how-to guide for embracing the Tour. For those who are more interested in what makes Jasper wild year-round, it’s worth it to take a read below so you can maximize your enjoyment of the park without running into race delays. Either way, if you’re in Jasper for September long weekend, it’s going be busy. Practice patience and plan ahead.
TOUR OF ALBERTA NAVIGATION GUIDE
local road closures
Closures will be minimal in the townsite on Thursday, but on Friday the Westbound lane of Connaught Drive will close to traffic (the eastbound lane will support traffic in both directions), as well as the downtown portion of Patricia Street and a small portion of Miette Avenue. The alleys will remain open but residents should walk or bike into the downtown area and visitors ought to take advantage of the public parking lots, marked detours and shuttles to overflow parking lots.
What it means to you:
If you don’t want your JNP experience impeded by the Tour of Alberta, plan on arriving to Jasper on Thursday or early Friday morning, visiting the south part of the park (Valley of the Five Lakes, Columbia Icefields Centre, Edith Cavell meadows) on Friday and the attractions which require travelling eastbound on Hwy 16 (Miette Hot Springs, Maligne and Medicine Lakes, Maligne Canyon) on Saturday. Head out before 11 a.m. and arrive back to town after 4 p.m. to avoid delays.
For the best spectating experience on Friday, you’re going to want to either be at the top of the mountain when the racers arrive, or near the Jumbo-Tron at the Athabasca Park Info Centre, which will broadcast the live feed to viewers. To get to the top of the Miette Road, take a shuttle from the Freson Bros grocery store in Hinton (contact the Jasper Park Chamber of Commerce for more info). To get to the Info Centre, walk or bike.
On Saturday, access to the mountain-top finish party at the top of the Marmot Basin Road will be decidedly easier. Shuttles will depart from the Jasper town site. Hop in for $10 return ($5 for kids) and get whisked to the BBQ, band and beer sales at Marmot Basin. There will be a second Jumbo-tron broadcasting the race live from there. Organizers are also inviting spectators to cycle to prime viewing spots, such as the top of Portal Hill on Hwy 93A. From there, after watching the peloton zoom by for the first two laps, spectators can cycle up the Marmot Basin Road for the grande finale. If you are biking, remember to bring walking shoes, water, food, sunscreen (a book) and proper clothing to comfortably take in the all-day event at Marmot Basin.
Access to Miette Road from Pocahontas Cabins to Miette hot springs will be controlled from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; only staff and visitors with reservations at Pocahontas campground and Miette Hot Springs Bungalows will be allowed on the road. The road will remain open to cyclists, except during race time (approximately 2 p.m.-3 p.m.). The hot springs will be open all day on Friday, however, there is no vehicle road access or parking available.
Cavell Road will be closed to vehicles from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Bicycles will be allowed on the road.
The Horseshoe Lake parking lot will be closed to all use from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. as an official feed zone.
The Marmot Road will be accessible for private vehicles to park on the right-hand side (going up) but rolling restrictions apply, and there will be no access from approximately 12 p.m. - 12:30 p.m. and again from 2 p.m. - 4:30 p.m., or when pro cyclists are on the course.
See you at the finish!
Information complied by Bob Covey from source documents courtesy of Jasper LOC, Parks Canada, Tourism Jasper and the Municipality of Jasper.