Best Hiking Trails in Jasper National Park

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Best Hiking Trails in Jasper National Park

First, congratulate yourself on choosing to travel to one of the most glorious and grand of North America’s national parks. If you’re a mountain-loving, alpine-aspiring outdoor enthusiast, this is the park for you. Within Jasper National Park, you’ll find a huge network of trails with something for everyone and all hiking abilities. Stroll the shoreline of Maligne Lake or watch the rushing waters of Athabasca Falls after a short walk from the parking lot. Go one step further and tackle the more moderate trails of Edith Cavell and Wilcox Pass. Or, challenge yourself with a trek up Wilcox Pass and be rewarded with some of Jasper’s most inspiring views. From paved paths to steep, rocky inclines, these trails open up the wonderland that is Jasper National Park.
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1. Maligne Canyon
Length: 2.4 miles out and back
Estimated time: 1-2 hours
 
See the result of thousands of years of rushing water, discover fossils, admire the lush plant life and marvel at the lush forests around Maligne Canyon – all in one easily accessible hike. Interpretive signs along the trail point out unique canyon formations and features. Start from the parking lot and then pick and choose your adventure along the many branching trails, each leading to varying viewpoints over the rushing river and dramatic canyon.
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2. Valley of the Five Lakes
Length: 2.7 miles out and back
Estimated time: 1.5-2 hours
 
Aim to arrive at the trailhead of Valley of the Five Lakes as early in the day as possible to avoid crowds and mountain bikers. The lakes are especially serene at that time. Set out on a half-day adventure that passes by five gorgeous turquoise lakes. Tip: Throughout Jasper National Park, you’ll see sets of iconic red Adirondack chairs for sitting in and enjoying the views. One of those special sets is at the third lake you’ll pass on this hike, so take a moment for a photo and to rest your legs.
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3. Athabasca Falls
Length: 0.9 miles out and back
Estimated time: Less than 1 hour
 
Witness the raw power and beauty of the mighty Athabasca Falls, in the shadow of Mount Kerkeslin. Hikers of all levels can get right up close to the falls, directly from the parking lot. Wander farther down the flat, family-friendly trail to a bridge that goes directly over the falls to more vantage points and photo ops – feel the refreshing spray of the falls as you pass. From this side, you’ll also be able to see Mount Kerkeslin. Follow the river to the left to see Brussels Peak or go right for more canyon views. Please stay on the designated trails because the surrounding rocks are slippery.

Moderate Hikes

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1. Wilcox Pass
Length: 5.8 miles out and back
Estimated time: 3-4 hours
 
With a moderate amount of effort, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular alpine views on this stunning hike. The trailhead is off the Icefields Parkway and is the perfect opportunity for a half-day fresh-air adventure. Climb up into alpine meadows, with views of the massive Athabasca Glacier, and stop for a photo op in those famous red chairs. One of the perks of this trail is that you start at 6,693 feet (at the Wilcox Creek Campground), so you’re already immersed in high-elevation beauty when you start off.
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2. Edith Cavell Meadows
Length: 3.6 miles out and back
Estimated time: 2.5-3.5 hours
 
Get front-row seats on the amazing Angel Glacier right at the start of your Edith Cavell Meadows trek. Along the way, you’ll see mountains, alpine meadows, hanging glaciers and more. There are two viewpoints at the mid-way point of the trail – and a third via a fairly steep ascent.
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3. Opal Hills
Length: 4.8 miles out and back
Estimated time: 3.5-5 hours
 
For some of the best views in Jasper National Park, consider this local favorite. The Opal Hills hike is moderately difficult, yet is varied enough to keep it interesting. You’ll pass through alpine meadows and up a few different inclines and make your way to various viewpoints. In the spring and early summer, you’ll see wildflowers in bloom everywhere. Up at the ridge, look for Maligne Lake below you and the Bald Hills across the valley to the south. Keep an eye out for mountain goats, sheep – and, yes, grizzly bears.

Challenging Hikes

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1. Sulphur Skyline Trail
Length: 4.6 miles out and back
Estimated time: 4-5 hours
 
Treat yourself to a hearty breakfast for this challenging, half-day summit hike. Your reward? Some of the very best views of the entire Jasper National Park. You’ll start from the Miette Hot Springs parking lot (an excellent way to finish as well, since you can jump into hot and cold plunge pools to soothe your weary legs). From the top, you can see Mt. Utopia to the south, Mt. O’Hagan to the southwest and Slide Mountain to the southeast.
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2. Bald Hills
Length: 7.9 miles loop
Estimated time: 4-6 hours
 
The views along the Bald Hills hike are like a postcard come to life, making it totally worth the challenge. You’ll see Maligne Lake, the Rockies and more from the summit. There are several steep ascents interspersed with alpine meadows, where you can catch your breath. Atop the barren alpine field near the end of the hike you’ll see across to Leah Peak, Samson Peak and Maligne Mountain, complete with their dazzling glaciers. There’s an option to continue up the ridge, affording you views down into a pristine valley and Trowel and Evelynn peaks.
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3. Verdant Pass
Length. 11.6 miles out and back
Estimated time: 6-8 hours
 
This lesser-known hike is one of the most challenging within Jasper National Park, but also a favorite of avid trekkers – and with good reason. You’ll wind your way up through alpine meadows on the backside of Mount Edith Cavell to a glorious mountain pass. Tackle this one if you’re an experienced hiker, as some of the trail is less obvious and not as easily navigable as others in the park. Views encompass the valley of Franchere and Chak Peak, the Throne Valley and Chevron Mountain.

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