View the Edmonton to Jasper Getaway travel package to experience an Authentic Indigenous journey featuring Jasper Tour Company.
The Canadian Rockies are known to some Indigenous people living in Alberta as the "Shining Mountains" or the "Backbone of the World.” To Joe Urie, a Métis guide and owner of the Jasper Tour Company, these mountains are simply "home."
Urie comes from a long line of proud Métis who have been living and guiding along the Athabasca River since 1860. The first of his people arrived on these shores from the Métis Settlements at Red River, in what is now Manitoba.
Urie, who considers the Athabasca River to be “the blood in my veins,” invites you to experience this region of Canada through his eyes, whether it’s viewing the grandeur of the Rockies, hearing stories of the region’s First Peoples or learning about the wildlife that roams here.
When out exploring with Urie, expect to encounter animals such as deer, moose, black bears, wolves, marmots, pikas, eagles, grizzlies and elk. What people see depends on everything, he explains, from the season to the time of day.
“Tourism is an awesome means to tell our stories, and there are so many stories to tell about this part of Canada,” says Urie, adding that his tour company, which specializes in half day tours year round, offers an excellent introduction to Jasper and its surrounding areas. “People often do a tour with us before their bigger adventures in the area, just to get a handle on where they are.”
Ultimately, he says, the Jasper Tour Company avoids “cookie-cutter” experiences.
He keeps groups intimate so guests can connect with each other, and with the natural world around them. “Humanity is so disconnected from nature,” says Urie. “My hope is our guests will go home, reflect on their experience and try to bring more nature into their daily lives.”
The Métis guide says it’s not uncommon for people to tell him post-adventure that they’ve just had the best tour of their lives. "Have a look at our reviews on TripAdvisor and you’ll see what I mean!” says Urie. "The money, the business side of things, is just to pay the bills. The fact that our guests are having so much fun is what fuels me and makes me most proud.”