Backpacking trails in Jasper National Park

Region in Alberta, Canada

Jasper National Park is the largest park in the Canadian Rockies and host to unbelievable landscapes replete with towering peaks, turquoise lakes, ancient glaciers, and diverse wildlife. Much of Jasper National Park is accessible to anyone who wants to venture out along the Icefields Parkway and take a day hike, however the unbelievable views and escape into nature are saved for those with a pack and a desire to sleep under the stars.

Backpacking in Jasper National Park is an amazing experience. There are over 1,200.0 km of trails with varying degrees of accessibility. There are exceptionally beautiful routes with well-maintained campsites and trails that can make for a fairly easy and safe trip. Backpackers can also find respite from the crowds and truly get into the wild along some less frequented routes and possibly unmaintained trails that require a little more work. Whatever type of backpacking experience you are seeking, you will not be disappointed backpacking in Jasper National Park.

THE TOP 10 BACKPACKS IN JASPER NATIONAL PARK, ALBERTA

  1. Skyline Trail (40.9 km, 1,500 m, 3-4 days): Being Jasper's highest backpacking trail, The Skyline is a great way to experience the best the Canadian Rockies and Jasper National Park have to offer. Over 20.0 kms of this trail are above treeline, and the majestic views continue into what seems like unreachable distances. For those new to the sterile beauty of the crumbling Rocky Mountains, three days spent on this trail will serve as an excellent introduction to backpacking in the Canadian Rockies, and definitely leave you wanting more!
  2. Maligne Pass and Replica Peak (38.7 km, 1,758 m, 2-3 days): Maligne Pass is a wonderful alpine pass in a rarely-visited area of Jasper National Park. Here you will find one of the largest alpine passes in the Rockies, dotted with tarns and wildflowers and surrounded by some of the largest peaks in the Rockies.
  3. Tonquin Valley (42.2 km, 966 m, 3-5 days): The Tonquin Valley is a wide, 5.0 km long pass with over 50.0 km of hiking trails winding their way through this backcountry paradise. The prize of the trip is hiking below the Ramparts, a series of 10 castellated peaks atop a 1,000 m wall of limestone. Catch stunning reflections of this massive in the interconnected Amethyst Lakes. It is also one of the few remaining areas where it is still common to see the shy and elusive mountain caribou, an endangered species. The backpacking trip can be completed in three days, but many prefer to stay longer, allowing time for day trips to the Eremite Valley and Moat Lake.
  4. Berg Lake Trail at Mount Robson (56.6 km, 910 m, 3-5 days): Mount Robson is the highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies. The Berg Lake Trail is technically outside Jasper, but so close we added it here. The Berg Lake Trail is renowned as one of Canada’s best, and for good reason, it’s stunning. You’ll pass through lush valleys, impressive waterfalls, and rocky slopes to reach the aptly-named Berg Lake. The views of the Berg Glacier toeing off into the lake are unforgettable, and the day hikes from here will take you to icefields, caves, and stunning viewpoints.
  5. Cairn Pass (62.3 km, 1,984 m, 3-5 days): Cairn Pass is one of the most isolated passes in the Canadian Rockies; you’re more likely to encounter bears than people on this route. Alpine meadows, the Medicine Tent River, and alpine lakes make up the variable scenery along this remote trip.
  6. Cataract and Cline Pass (37.2 km, 1,315 m, 2-3 days): The trip to Cataract and Cline Pass covers vast meadows, uniquely-coloured rock, glacial streams, and high glaciers of Cataract Pass, making this a truly unique backpacking destination in Jasper National Park.

If you don't want to plan your own trip to Jasper, then have a look at these incredible Alberta Tours! You can find tours that are specific to Jasper National Park or other parts of Alberta, such as Banff National Park. You can also find Alberta Hiking Tours and Alberta Bike tours if you know exactly the type of tour you are after.

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Best Backpacking trails in Jasper National Park

Open details for Skyline

Skyline

Moderate
40.9 km
1,500 m
2-3 days

Being Jasper's highest backpacking trail, The Skyline is a great way to experience what the Canadian Rockies have to offer. Over 20.0 kms of this trail are above treeline, and the majestic views continue into what seems like unreachable distances. For those new to the sterile beauty of the crumbling rocky mountains, three days spent on this trail will serve as an excellent introduction to backpacking in the Canadian Rockies, and definitely leave you wanting more!

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.3
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Advanced (Diamond)
Suitable for advanced experience level looking for a solid adventure.
Open details for Maligne Pass and Replica Peak

Maligne Pass and Replica Peak

Moderate
38.7 km
1,758 m
2-3 days

Maligne Pass is a wonderful alpine pass in a rarely-visited area of Jasper National Park. Maligne Pass is one of the largest alpine passes in the Rockies, dotted with tarns and wildflowers and surrounded by some of the largest peaks in the Rockies.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.8
Technical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Open details for Tonquin Valley

Tonquin Valley

Hard
42.2 km
966 m
2-3 days

The Tonquin Valley is a backpacking paradise. The prize of the trip is the Ramparts, a series of 10 castellated peaks atop a 1,000 m wall of limestone, reflected in the connected Amethyst Lakes. It is also one of the few remaining areas where it is still common to see the shy and elusive mountain caribou, an endangered species.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.8
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Open details for Berg Lake Trail – Backpacking

Berg Lake Trail – Backpacking

Moderate
56.6 km
910 m
3-5 days

Yes, Berg Lake isn't in Jasper, or Alberta, but it's often associated with trips to Jasper, so we included it. The Berg Lake Trail is renowned as one of Canada's best, and it would be hard to find someone who disagrees. You'll pass through lush valleys, impressive waterfalls, and rocky slopes to reach the aptly-named Berg Lake, below the towering Mount Robson. The views of the Berg Glacier toeing off into the lake are unforgettable, and the day hikes from here will take you to icefields, caves, and stunning viewpoints.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
10.0
Technical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Open details for Cairn Pass

Cairn Pass

Very Hard
62.3 km
1,984 m
3-5 days

Cairn Pass is one of the most isolated passes in the Canadian Rockies, and we list this route for people that just want to get away from it all. You’re more likely to encounter bears than people on this route. Alpine meadows, the Medicine Tent River, and alpine lakes make up the variable scenery along this trip.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
10.0
Technical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Expert (Double Diamond)
Suitable only for experts looking for a challenging adventure.
Open details for Nigel, Cataract and Cline Pass

Nigel, Cataract and Cline Pass

Hard
37.2 km
1,315 m
2-3 days

The trip to Nigel, Cataract and Cline Pass covers vast meadows, uniquely-coloured rock, glacial streams, and the glaciers of Cataract Pass, making it a truly unique backpacking destination. This trip takes you into the White Goat Wilderness Area, and you will be random backcountry camping, a unique opportunity for backpackers in the Canadian Rockies.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
10.0
Technical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Open details for Saturday Night Lake Loop Backpacking Trail

Saturday Night Lake Loop Backpacking Trail

Moderate
23.8 km
816 m
2 days

The Saturday Night Lake Loop is accessible from the town of Jasper and a great trip for beginners and families. This relatively easy backpacking circuit can be done in two or three days. The route gains elevation to High Lakes in the centre of the loop and descends again back to the trailhead.

User Ratings
No Reviews
Open details for Jacques Lake Backpacking Trail

Jacques Lake Backpacking Trail

Moderate
24.0 km
207 m
2 days

Backpacking to Jacques Lake is a great way to find solitude without a lengthy mission. It is a short and easy hike to the campsite. The trail gains very little elevation before reaching Jacques Lake Campground, which rests next to the lake itself. Watch for Moose as they are known to frequent the area around dusk.

User Ratings
No Reviews
Open details for Fiddle River Backpacking Trail

Fiddle River Backpacking Trail

Hard
38.6 km
1,085 m
3-4 days

The Fiddle River trail starts outside of Jasper National Park in the Whitehorse Wilderness Area. This rough wilderness route is the perfect adventure for those looking to escape the crowds and immerse themselves in nature. The trail follows an incredible valley and leads hikers over high passes before descending to the popular Miette Hot Springs.

User Ratings
No Reviews
Open details for Fryatt Valley Backpacking Trail

Fryatt Valley Backpacking Trail

Hard
36.8 km
652 m
2-4days

Fryatt Valley is a 36.8 km out-and-back route that takes backpackers through an incredible and diverse alpine landscape. It is one of Jasper’s crown jewels and offers three camping options and an alpine hut. Groups of all abilities can customize this trip to meet their needs, making this an excellent trip for all.

User Ratings
No Reviews

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