Hikes in Jasper National Park
Jasper hikes offer an incredible outdoor experience like no other place. Hiking in Jasper National Park allows you to witness some of the most diverse and enchanting scenery in the Rockies, from incredible ice fields and glaciers to lush valleys and meadows. It’s the ideal spot for a challenging hike, and even the most experienced adventurers are likely to find a few Jasper hikes that will test their limits. With some steep ascents and breathtaking trails, this is the place to push your hiking skills and fitness to the next level.
However, you don’t have to be a seasoned hiker to enjoy Jasper National Park. If you’re a keen walker looking to improve your fitness, you’ll find plenty of satisfying Jasper hikes that offer a manageable challenge and reasonable duration to complete in a half-day. If you’re travelling with children, you’re also likely to find some fun, easy trails that are a good introduction to wilderness hiking. In particular, kids will love getting up close to the Angel Glacier, or scampering through the Maligne Canyon. The sheer diversity of terrain on offer means that you’re sure to find a handful of perfect Jasper hikes for your trip, whatever your fitness and experience level!
Here are the 15 best hikes in Jasper National Park
1. Cavell Meadows Hike
This wonderful hike is the perfect opportunity to experience the wildflower meadows that the Canadian Rockies are famous for. The trail passes through magnificent fields, dotted with flowers, before rising to a series of viewpoints where you’ll find wonderful views over to the Angel Glacier and the magnificent peaks that surround it.
Cavell Meadows Hike Guide
2. Path of the Angel Glacier Hike
This stunning hike is one of the best family hikes in Jasper National Park. The path is level and well maintained, making it perfect for families with strollers. The route is fairly short and makes its way up to a viewpoint from which you can gaze on the Angel Glacier and the moraine lake just below.
Path of the Angel Glacier Hike Guide
3. Sulphur Skyline Hike
This wonderful day hike is one of the best in Jasper National Park, involving a steep climb and a 360-degree panorama over some of the region’s finest scenery. This hike might be hard on your legs, but the views more than compensate the effort, and there’s always the chance of a dip in the Miette Hot Springs when you finally reach the bottom!
Sulphur Skyline Hike Guide
4. Verdant Pass Hike
This is an excellent route if you’re looking for a challenge, and undoubtedly one of the best hikes in Jasper National Park! The path climbs steeply through the trees before emerging at an alpine meadow with magnificent views. You’ll enjoy a wonderful vista over the Throne Valley and Chevron Mountain.
Verdant Pass Hike Guide
5. Toe of the Athabasca Glacier
A guided tour of the Athabasca Glacier can be an expensive day out, but it’s possible to catch a glimpse of this incredible natural phenomenon for free on this short Jasper hike! The views of the glacier are truly incredible, and the trail is well maintained and easily accessible for families. This is a wonderful way to teach your kids about the fascinating geology of the Canadian Rockies.
Toe of the Athabasca Glacier Guide
6. Opal Hills Hike
This exhilarating hike through the Opal Hills is, without doubt, one of the best hikes in Jasper National Park. The trail rises fairly steeply through a gorgeous wildflower meadow, with a fantastic panorama over to the nearby peaks. You’ll have a view over Maligne Lake to the Bald Hills, and Peak 45-36.
Opal Hills Hike Guide
7. Whistlers Mountain and Indian Ridge Hike
This moderate hike is deservedly popular but continue to Indian Ridge and you’ll soon lose the crowds. The scramble up the ridge is somewhat challenging, but you’ll have a fantastic view over to Terminal Mountain and the Marmot Ski Hill.
Whistlers Mountain and Indian Ridge Hike Guide
8. Maligne Canyon Hike
Maligne Canyon is a fantastic example of Jasper’s unique geology, featuring an epic canyon carved over millennia by the region’s glaciers. This is an excellent route for families, as kids will love to see the waterfalls that cascade through the canyon, and the path remains fairly level and easy to navigate.
Maligne Canyon Hike Guide
9. Bald Hills Hike
This is one of the legendary Jasper hikes, taking you over the so-called Bald Hills, a series of peaks above the treeline, offering stunning views over Jasper National Park. The path climbs through beautiful alpine meadows, before emerging at the top of Bald Hill, where you’ll have views to Maligne Lake, Leah Peak, Samson Peak, and Maligne Mountain.
Bald Hills Hike Guide
10. Athabasca Falls Hike
This short hike is another great family-friendly route in Jasper National Park. The path comes to a bridge that crosses over the falls, where you’ll have a fantastic view (although you’re likely to get a soaking from the mists that rise from the cascade)! The views of the canyon, the river and the waterfalls are simply delightful, and this easy trail is perfect for kids.
Athabasca Falls Hike Guide
11. Pyramid Lake Hike
This popular hike takes you all the way to the stunning Pyramid Lake, along an easy, accessible trail suitable for hikers of all levels. This pleasant hike makes an excellent after-dinner stroll and is particularly pretty at sunrise and sunset. An easy distance from the town of Jasper, this is an excellent family-friendly hike.
Pyramid Lake Hike Guide
12. Valley of the Five Lakes Hike
The Valley of the Five Lakes hike is an easy, enjoyable hike in Jasper that leads to five different stunning alpine lakes. The vibrant greens and blues of the water make each lake better than the next, and the whole family can enjoy the views without too much of a challenge.
Valley of the Five Lakes Guide
13. Sunwapta Falls Hike
Sunwapta Falls is an easy, enjoyable hike to two sets of scenic waterfalls. The trail passes through a peaceful forest, and the falls are framed by pine trees and mountain peaks. The trail is family-friendly and great for all skill levels.
Sunwapta Falls Hike Guide
14. Horseshoe Lake Trail
Horseshoe Lake is a crystal blue subalpine lake that is directly off the Icefields Parkway. The trail navigates part of the shoreline while providing great views of the lake and its surrounding cliff walls. There are plenty of spots to sit and relax while taking in the beauty of the landscape at Horseshoe Lake. It is considered a local swimming hole even though the water remains ice cold all summer.
Horseshoe Lake Trail Guide
15. Old Man Mountain Hike
One of the popular Jasper hikes, the Old Man Trail is an easy scramble and a local favourite. It can seem like a tough push, but your efforts will be gallantly rewarded with jaw-dropping views from the top. Explore new heights on this full-day route in the Maligne area in Jasper National Park.
Old Man Mountain Hike Guide
Read on to find the full list of best hikes in Jasper National Park.
When Is The Best Time To Hike In Jasper National Park?
Like other destinations in the Rocky Mountains, the hiking season in Jasper National Park is relatively short and sweet! The mountain snows linger in higher areas until June, meaning that many trails and even some roads are inaccessible until the summer. July and August are the most popular seasons for hiking, when you’ll enjoy fine weather, blossoming flowers and plenty of activities on offer for visitors of all ages.
The leaves begin to turn in September, and this can be a wonderful time to visit, when the trails are quieter and the forests are at their best. However, you may run the risk of some early snows on higher ground, so it’s important to keep an eye on weather reports and make sure you seek advice from knowledgeable locals. In winter, Jasper National Park is a wonderful place for winter hiking and snowshoeing, and you may still find some accessible low-elevation trails.
Other Outdoor Activities In Jasper National Park
In addition to hiking, you’ll find plenty of other outdoor activities in Jasper National Park. It’s a particularly popular area for backpacking, with some epic multi-day trails and lots of good campgrounds. However, you’ll also find some fantastic road biking and mountain biking routes, and opportunities for canoeing, kayaking and even paragliding! Why not try your hand at horseback riding, or learn how to rock climb? If all that has worn you out, you can always sit back and relax in the Miette hot springs at the end of a long day on the trail!
How To Plan A Trip To Jasper National Park
Is Jasper National Park on your hiking bucket list? If not, it should be! To help you get started, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to planning a trip to Jasper National Park, with plenty of tips on accommodation, the right time of year to visit, and all our favorite Jasper hiking and backpacking trails. All that’s left for you to do is start dreaming of your next adventure!
Jasper National Park Adventure Tours
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Frequently Asked Questions About Jasper National Park
How many days do you need in Jasper National Park?
How long is a piece of string? There’s enough in Jasper National Park to keep most travellers happy for weeks on end, and some people spend a lifetime trying to uncover all the treasures of this vast, wild place. However, for most visitors on a tight schedule that’s not realistic, and it’s certainly possible to see many of the highlights in just a few short days. To make the most of your trip, we’d recommend staying for at least 3 days in Jasper National Park, and ideally, around a week.
How long is the Maligne Canyon Hike?
Maligne Canyon is one of Jasper’s top sights, and the family-friendly route through it takes around 1-2 hours to complete.
What is Jasper National Park known for?
Jasper National Park is the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies, covering a vast area of 11,000 square kilometers. It’s best known for its arresting beauty, lush wildernesses, towering mountains and abundant wildlife.
Do you have to pay to go through Jasper National Park?
Jasper National Park is administered by Parks Canada, and as such, visitors must purchase a Park Pass in advance of their trip. Fees are charged per day, and you’ll need to obtain a special permit for backcountry camping, fishing, and other activities. All the relevant information can be found on the Parks Canada website.
Are there grizzly bears in Jasper National Park?
Jasper National Park is inhabited by both black bears and grizzly bears, and can often be seen in spring or early autumn. When hiking and backpacking, always seek advice from local park rangers on appropriate bear safety, so you know what to do if you encounter one on the trail. In general, bears avoid noisy groups of people, and incidents involving humans and bears are relatively rare.
Best Hikes in Jasper National Park
Cottonwood Creek Hike
The accessible and family-friendly Cottonwood Creek trail is a great way to spend an hour outside without making too many plans. Explore the quiet forest with intermittent views along this creekside trail. The trail leads to Pyramid Lake Road and Cottonwood Slough before turning back.
Jasper Discovery Trail
The Jasper Discovery Trail is a great way to see the town of Jasper while taking in some interpretive information. The trail is equipped with benches, bridges and signs. The views are excellent for something that circumnavigates town, and you won’t get bored making your way through various features along the trail.
The Wapiti Trail is a beautiful way to see the Athabasca River and connect the campground to town. If you are staying at Wapiti, you can’t skip this route! It follows an easy path along the Athabasca River with benches and viewpoints galore.
Red Squirrel Trail
The Red Squirrel Trail takes hikers between the Old Fort Point Trail and Jasper Park Lodge. It is a short paved connector trail that is used to gain access to other trails. Feel free to take a short stroll from town along the Red Squirrel Trail if you are looking to explore with kids.
Mary Schaffer Loop Trail
The Mary Schaffer loop trail is a gentle circuit that explores the shores of Maligne Lake, offering interpretive signage and great views away from the main viewing area. You’ll see boat tours and paddlers out on the incredible waters as you pass by in the forest.
Dorothy and Christine Lakes Hike
The Dorothy and Christine Lakes trail is a beautiful forested trail west of Jasper. It features stunning lakes and has much less traffic than some of the popular Jasper trails. This is a great way to explore the Yellowhead Highway and the western side of the park.
Other Activities in Jasper National Park
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