Top 5 Hikes in Jasper National Park

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Best Hikes in Jasper National Park, AB, Canada
Jasper National Park | © Matt – Matt Walk Wild

Chosing The Best Hikes in Jasper National Park

Few wilderness areas in North America inspire wonder quite like Jasper National Park. Spread across the sublime landscapes of western Alberta, Jasper is home to some of the finest hiking trails in the Canadian Rockies. From dazzling glaciers to sprawling pine forests and cerulean lakes to diamond-edged peaks, Jasper has it all.

            Of course, this means that choosing the best hikes in Jasper National Park is an unenviable task. You could spend a lifetime exploring mountain peaks and backcountry trails, forever finding new routes. However, all adventures must start somewhere. To help guide you on your first steps, here are 5 of the best hikes in Jasper National Park.

Old Fort Point

Length: 3.7 km

Elevation Gain: 173 metres

Old Fort Point is the shortest hike on this list but one that’s full of charm and reward. Situated only a stone’s throw from Jasper town, this is a great warm-up walk to get an overview of the surrounding area. It’s also a great place to hike for sunrise or to go stargazing on a clear night.

Be warned, bears have also been spotted in the area so, as with every hike in the Rockies, carry your bear spray. You should also keep an eye out for the residential longhorn sheep that often amble around the summit!

            If you’re keen to stretch your legs a little further, there are plenty of trails that branch off from Old Fort Point along the Athabasca River and into the mountains. You can even link this route to another of the best hikes in Jasper National Park – the Valley of the Five Lakes – for one epic day out.

Maligne Lake & Canyon

Hike near Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park
Maligne Lake | © Matt – Matt Walk Wild

Length: 3.7 km

Elevation Gain: 131 metres

Maligne Canyon is a geographical wonder that connects multiple hikes in Jasper National Park. Water flows from the glaciers and snowy peaks of the Rocky Mountains into Maligne Lake. Over thousands of years, this water has carved out subterranean aquifers beneath the ground while the rivers and waterfalls have deepened these canyons from above.

Exploring these landscapes makes for some of the best hikes in Jasper National Park.  At Maligne Canyon, you can follow the boardwalk route and stare down a narrow gulley where water courses deep beneath the rock. There are also multiple bridges to cross for viewpoints with the option to extend your hike along the Maligne River to the sixth and final bridge if you desire.

If the canyon has whetted your appetite, head up past Medicine Lake to the mountain-fringed Maligne Lake. Here you can embark on plenty more hikes into the Bald Hills and along the lakeshore. This is also an excellent place for spotting a Canadian moose if you visit in the mornings and search the shallow pools where they come to feed.

Pyramid Lake Loop

Hiking the Pyramid Lake Loop in Jasper National Park
Views Over Pyramid Lake | © Matt – Matt Walk Wild

Length: 6.0 km

Elevation Gain: 219 metres

Rising above the town of Jasper, it’s hard to miss the immaculate silhouette of Pyramid Peak. Aside from glorious mountain vistas, there are also some emerald and sapphire lakes to explore beneath this summit. To enjoy one of the most popular hikes in Jasper National Park, opt for this Pyramid Lake Loop. Of course, as usual in Alberta, there are also plenty of extension trails you can tack onto this existing route.

            Starting from the car park by the lakeshore, you can begin this trail by walking out to Pyramid Island where you gain a fabulous view of Pyramid Peak soaring above you. After this, the rest of the trail will pass through a wooded hillside where you are met with multiple views over Patricia Lake, Pyramid Lake, and the surrounding Rocky Mountains.

Valley of the Five Lakes

Hiking the Valley of the Five lakes, Jasper National Park
The Valley Of Five Lakes | © Matt – MattWalk Wild

Length: 4.8 km

Elevation Gain: 163 metres

When most people think of Jasper, they imagine glistening peaks and snow-covered summits. However, much of the beauty in this nature area is down in the valleys, along the lakes and waterways. A jewel in the crown of these water features is the Valley of the Five Lakes. These lakes are as marvellous as they are unique with each body of water appearing a different colour.

            On this trail, you will amble through pristine forests and peaceful meadows, gradually working your way past each of the five lakes. This is a trail that is best completed early in the morning to truly experience the tranquillity of the area.

Sulphur Skyline Trail

Length: 7.9 km

Elevation Gain: 653 metres

For one of the more challenging hikes in Jasper National Park, set your sights on the Sulphur Skyline Trail. This is a tough day out where you must work for your panoramas. The route follows a steady but steep incline up a ridge before switchbacking to the Sulphur Skyline viewpoint.

            This final ascent is classed as a rocky scramble, but once completed, you will get a 360-degree view of the mountains. This trail is in a secluded area of the park which means it will take a good hour to reach from Jasper. However, the remoteness of the nature will more than make up for the journey. Once you have completed the hike, make sure to stop off at the Miette Hotsprings to soak your aching muscles.

More Hikes Near Jasper National Park

If you think this is the end of the road, fear not, there are plenty more hikes in Jasper National Park to discover. For anyone with a car, drive along the Icefields Parkway to another of Canada’s best nature areas: Banff and Lake Louise. Enroute, stop off at the Athabasca Falls to marvel at this powerful water torrent.

Road Trip Down The Icefields Parkway, Canada
The Icefields Parkway, Canada | © Nicole – Travels and Wandering

There is also the near by Mount Robson national park which is home to the highest peak in the Rockies and the awe inspiring berg lake trail. Mount Robson is often forgotten about on most peoples itinerary yet it is the perfect way to avoid the the busy areas.

            South of Highway 93, you’ll find another trailhead that seems to disappear into the bristling pine forest. If you follow this path, you’ll discover the Edenic pond and meadows of the Edith Cavell trail. In spring, this spot is filled with wildflowers and the sound of birds. Hiking through the subalpine forest, you’ll also get quite the view from the East Ridge Summit when you reach the top!  

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9 Responses

  1. Maria Veloso

    All this pictures to the hikes of Jasper National Park looks so amazing. But just looking at it isn’t enough, I need to pack my bags and enjoy the beauty of this hikes directly with a cup of tea and music by my side. Oh what a bliss would that be 🙂

  2. Clarice

    Jasper National Park truly has wonderful hiking trails. We’ve been thinking of taking a hike at the Valley of the Five Lakes as this is truly a hidden gem. Do you have any idea how early we can start?

  3. Puloma Bhattacharya

    These top 5 hikes in Jasper National Park are truly amazing with each trail standing out from the other. I would love to walk to the Valley of five lakes with beautiful water changing colors surrounded by Alpine peaks. Exploring the Malign lake and its subterranean aquifers would be exciting too as much as capturing the snow covered silhouette of Pyramid lake loop. Soaking in the 360 degree views of the Sulphur skyline trail and take a dip in the Miette hot springs. Stopping by at Athabasca falls and the Endemic pond and Edith Cavell trail would be a bonus experience.

  4. Mila Osman

    The scenic beauty of national parks such as Jasper National Park never ceases to take my breath away. The five trails you’ve shared have varying elevations and levels of difficulty, making it easy for someone to pick one to try that matches their desire and fitness level. If the name “Valley of the 5 Lakes” wasn’t enticing enough, you had me at “pristine forests and peaceful meadows.”

  5. Antoine

    As an avid hiker, I always enjoy reading about new trails to explore. Your descriptions of each trail make me feel like I am right there, taking in the stunning views and breathing in the fresh mountain air. I especially love the sound of the Cavell Trail (hello spring bloom, we love flowers!) and the views of the glaciers from Rocky Mountains flowing down Maligne Canyon. Discovering each trail would make for a great roadtrip and as campervan owners, we’d love to this with our van one day in the US!

  6. Lisa

    From the list, the Valley of the Five Lakes sounds the most appealing. But with my hiking ability I’m not sure I would be able to complete it! But the landscape looks exactly how I expect Jasper National Park to be. I’m also drawn to the Pyramid Lake Loop. I adore big lakes and the scenery so I’d want to see this in person (if my legs allow me!)

  7. Joanna

    It’s great that there are so many accessible trails around Jasper, to experience a bit of the Canadian Rockies. I like that you have chosen quite easy trails for this post, not very long, which anyone can complete. I would like to start with the Maligne Lake & Canyon trail, especially because it connects different lakes in the area. Once I got a bit of practice, I would definitely like to hike the Sulphur Skyline Trail, taking in the remoteness of it and enjoying the hot springs at the end.

  8. Ambica Gulati

    In India, one is not allowed to hike inside the national parks, though there are designated treks in different parts. Given this context, these hikes inside Jasper national park sound awesome. If I had to do, it would through the pine forest and meadows to see the Edenic pond and the peak. I would also like to see the Valley of the Five Lakes.

  9. Alan Josephs

    Maligne Canyon looks particularly amazing. Appreciate the detail here… I like a good hike but typically don’t need a six hour experience. Adding Jasper to my long list of places to visit.

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