Tour Jasper in a vintage-style coach and learn about local legends with Open Top Touring!
For a unique rain-or-shine experience, explore Jasper with Open Top Touring! On an engaging 90-minute sightseeing tour, you will visit some of Jasper’s most scenic spots while being regaled with tales of local legends. The experience begins with guides in vintage-themed uniforms welcoming you to climb aboard the open top coach. With a design similar to the vehicles used by Jim Brewster in the 30s, and modern amenities like luxurious, leather seats and USB ports to charge your phone, this is no run of the mill tour bus!
Each row has its own door, and as guide April says, “celebrities never open their own doors.” All you have to do is buckle up, get cozy, and enjoy the ride in style. Expect impeccable service, amazing sights and stories, and a short stop where you can get out and enjoy a refreshing beverage (and take some epic photos).
Waving at bystanders is encouraged (the open top vehicles are super cool so everyone checks them out), but make sure you keep your camera handy. Elliot the Elk and his harem are often seen near the town of Jasper; as are deer and bighorn sheep. On our tour, we even saw a bear!
Disclosure: I was hosted by Pursuit Banff Jasper, but all words and opinions are my own.
Myths and Legends
There are tall tales and true tales, but they all add to the experience of the Open Top tour.
Jasper’s history is steeped in myths and legends, and our guide knows tons of them. As we leave the town of Jasper, waving jazz hands at pedestrians, and passing herds of elk, April tells us tells us tales of wild shenanigans at Jasper Park Lodge (you’ll never guess who got kicked out!) and how the Yellowhead Highway got its name. Rather than being named for a bird, as we’d always thought (incorrectly), it was named for Pierre Bostonais, known as “Tête Jaune” (French for yellow head), a blonde Iroquois-Métis explorer and fur trader hired by the Hudson’s Bay Company.
After crossing the Athabasca River, we wind our way down Maligne Lake Road. Deer graze in a meadow, and up the hill, a black bear lumbers along the side of the road. We pull over for a few seconds to watch it, then continue on to a scenic lookout. April sets the stage with the aboriginal story of Old Man Mountain, then points out the face and headdress from the panoramic viewpoint when we get out.
En route to Pyramid Lake, we learn of the inspiration for the Open Top vehicles, David Thompson’s sasquatch sighting and card games with the Devil, and the story of the 10-foot ghost at Jasper Park Lodge. Later, we hear about Agnes and Mona, the Harrigan sisters who were the first female guides in the Canadian Rockies; and how Jasper, formerly known as Fitzhugh, got its name. There are tall tales and true tales, but they all add to the experience of the Open Top tour.
The rich stories and beautiful scenery of the Legends of Jasper Tour will stay with you long after you’ve left the mountains. And since the tour is only 1.5 hours, you will still have plenty of time to hike, paddle, explore the town of Jasper, or take the Maligne Lake Cruise!
Know Before You Go
The 90-minute tour starts and ends at The Crimson Hotel and includes one short stop at a scenic overlook.
Bring your camera and a zoom lens for wildlife photos. Spotting wildlife is almost guaranteed in Jasper!
Pack a jacket; the weather changes quickly in the mountains. The open top has blankets on board and a canvas canopy (or glass panel in shoulder season) to keep you warm and dry.
If you are prone to motion sickness, you may wish to take Gravol. Once you leave the townsite, the mountain roads are pretty twisty but beautiful.
Kids 5 & under ride free if they sit on their parents lap.
The Open Top Touring coaches seat 20, and masks are optional.
Where to Stay
Marmot Lodge has cozy rooms, suites (suites with kitchens available) with motel-style exterior entry a short walk from downtown Jasper. Enjoy the indoor heated pool, indoor hot tub, sauna, and outdoor hot tub!
For More Information / To Book Tickets
For more information, or to book your tickets now, visit Pursuit Banff Jasper Collection | Open Top Touring. The Legends of Jasper tour runs from July 1, 2022 until September 4, 2022.