Hiking in Jasper National Park
Jasper National Park offers hikers a dizzy variety of trails and adventures. Here are a few of the more than 1,000 kilometres of hiking trails. Remember to choose one that suits your ability. Pack warm clothing (even in the summer) and plenty of snacks and water. Look out for wildlife and leave a safe distance between you and the largest animals.
HIKES IN & AROUND JASPER
Time: 1-2 hrs Distance: 3.5 km Elevation Gain: no elevation gain Difficulty: Easy
Starting Point: Begin from the lodge or from the parking lot at the end of Old Fort Point Road.
Trail Description: You couldn’t choose an easier, more leisurely hike than the trail around Lac Beauvert at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. With the clearest water you will ever see, Lac Beauvert offers beautiful views from the well-used path skirting the water’s edge.
OLD FORT POINT LOOP
Time: 1-2 hrs Distance: 3.5 km return Elevation Gain: 70 metres (217 feet) Difficulty: Moderate
Start Point: Turn left off the Old Fort Point exit off Hwy. 93A just after crossing Hwy. 16. Find a place to park after crossing the bridge, walk to the trailhead.
Trail Description: This trail is not for the faint of heart, but offers beautiful views of the Jasper townsite, as well as the Miette and Athabasca Valleys. Hikers enjoy 360-degree panoramic views from the top, and some get to see big horn sheep that roam through this area.
PYRAMID LAKE LOOP
Time: 5-7 hrs Distance: 17.4 km (11 miles) Elevation Gain: 70m (217 feet) Difficulty: Moderate
Starting Points: Jasper Activity Centre parking lot (in town, near start of Pyramid Lake Road), Cottonwood Slough parking lot (2 km up Pyramid Lake Road), Pyramid Stables (3.5 km) or Pyramid Lake (end of road).
Trail Description: The Pyramid Lake Loop offers one of the most beautiful views of the Athabasca Valley. Every footstep is worth the view from Pyramid Bench, the destination of many hikers in Jasper National Park.
MALIGNE CANYON (FROM THE 6th BRIDGE)
Time: 3 hours Distance: 7 km (return) Elevation Gain: 110 m (328 feet) Difficulty: Easy
Starting Point: Sixth Bridge, 10 km east of Jasper via Highway 16 and the Maligne Road.
Trail Decscription: From the Sixth Bridge, cross the bridge over the Maligne River and turn right onto the trail, which runs upstream along the Maligne River towards the canyon. Once you arrive at the fifth bridge stay on your left, and keep going straight ahead up the canyon trail. From this point the sharp canyon walls start to form and the trail now has a steel guard rail. Keep working your way up the canyon and cross the lookout bridges 4, 3, 2 and 1. The upper trail offers outstanding views of crystal clear pools that have eroded into the rock, several waterfalls, canyon walls and the canyon bottom.
OPAL HILLS LOOP (MALIGNE LAKE AREA)
Time: 4-6 hours Distance: 8.2 km (return) Elevation Gain: 460 m (1,509 feet) Difficulty: Hard
Starting Point: From Highway 16, turn onto the Maligne Road. Follow it 44.3 kilometres to Maligne Lake. Turn left into the first parking area, just before the lodge. Stay left to reach the third and highest lot.
Trail Description: Hikers work hard along this trail, gaining 460 metres of elevation in only three kilometres, but they are rewarded with spectacular views of the Maligne Valley, including the vast, turquoise Maligne Lake, and an abundance of alpine wildflowers.
SULPHUR SKYLINE (MIETTE AREA)
Time: 4-6 hours Distance: 8.0 km (return) Elevation Gain: 700 m (2,297 feet) Difficulty: Hard
Starting Point: Park in the Miette Hot Springs pool lot and walk up the steps toward the entrance. A wide paved path branches from the loop, leading uphill past the trailhead information kiosk.
Trail Description: If you would like to reach the summit of a peak, choose this challenging trail. At the summit, the views of the Fiddle River Valley, Utopia Mountain and Ashlar Ridge are spectacular.
VALLEY OF THE FIVE LAKES
Time: 1.5-3 hrs Distance: 4.3 km return Elevation Gain: 80 metres (262 feet) Difficulty: Easy Map
Starting Point: Along the Icefields Parkway, 9 km south of the traffic lights at Jasper.
Trail Description: This popular hike begins in a forest of lodgepole pine and crosses a footbridge over Wabasso Creek. Beyond, the trail climbs across a flowery meadow to a junction. The trail has markers leading to each of the five small lakes, which are the highlights of this outing, each a different depth and thus a different hue of blue and jade. This is a popular area to spot wildlife.
Time: 1-2 hrs
Starting Point: 1.8 km south on Hwy. 93, turn right onto Whistlers Road and follow it 2.8 km to an unpaved access road on the left, leading a short distance to the parking lot. You can ride the Skytram almost to the top of Mount Whistler, then hike another 200 metres to the summit.
Trail Description: Views from here are outstanding making the ride up the Tramway very worthwhile. On a clear day you can see Mt. Robson to the West, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. Mt. Edith Cavell and the Icefields Parkway can be viewed to the South. Pyramid Mountain, Pyramid Lake, Patricia Lake, Lakes Edith and Annette, as well as the Jasper townsite can all be seen to the North. On the summit, you'll find a mounted brass monument with mountain markers pointing outward, identifying the prominent peaks that can be seen.
PATH OF THE GLACIER LOOP
Time: 45-60 minutes Distance: 1.6 km return Elevation Gain: 70 metres (217 feet) Difficulty: Moderate
Starting Point: End of Cavell Road.
Trail Description: This short, well-used trail takes you toward the Cavell Meadow fork and then levels off the rest of the way to Cavell Pond. A spectacular view of Angel Glacier rewards the hiker. There are excellent interpretive signs at the beginning of the trail for those wanting to know more about the glacier, or of Edith Cavell, herself.
POPULAR HIKES NEAR THE COLUMBIA ICEFIELD AREA
TOE OF THE ATHABASCA GLACIER
Time: 30-45 min Distance: 2 km (1.2 miles) Elevation Gain: 50 m/165 feet Difficulty: Gentle but steady uphill with short, steeper sections
Starting Point: Directly across from the Icefield Centre building, turn off Hwy. 93 onto the access road for the Athabasca Glacier. Turn right soon after, into the parking lot.
Trail Description: Follow the footbridge across the stream to the toe of the glacier. Once across the bridge, you’re walking on glacially smoothed limestone surfaces that were under the ice in the 1950s. The upper loop gives great views of the toe of the glacier and surrounding features. Take time to read all the trail plaques and signs along the way. Wear sturdy shoes, as it is rocky, and bring a sweater or jacket since the breezes off the glacier can be chilly even on the warmest day.
WILCOX PASS (THE PASS AND BACK)
Time: 3-4 hrs Distance: 8 km (4.8 miles) Elevation Gain: 335 m/1,100 feet Difficulty: Easy
Starting Point: 3.1 kilometres south of the Icefield Centre at the entrance to the Wilcox Creek Campground.
Trail Description: The trail heads up through a spruce forest then enters the alpine zone into beautiful meadows and outstanding views of the Columbia Icefield area. The surrounding peaks, Mt. Athabasca, Mt. Andromeda, Snow Dome, and Mt. Kitchener, are all glaciated. Along the ridge towards the summit of Wilcox Pass you can see the full 6-km length of the Athabasca glacier.