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One of our favorite ways to explore a new area is by lacing up our hiking boots and hitting a trail. We recently enjoyed several incredible hikes at Jasper National Park.
These trails allow you to soak in unbelievable landscapes and opportunities to spot wildlife. For unforgettable experiences in nature, our adventures in Jasper will always be near the top of our list.
Today, we’re sharing some of the most awe-inspiring hikes you should take when visiting Jasper National Park. So grab your walking stick, and let’s get started!
About Jasper National Park
Jasper National Park is one of several park units in the Canadian Rockies. It covers approximately 4,200 square miles and showcases some of the country’s best features. It provides a similar experience to visiting Banff, Kootenay, or Yoho National Parks.
While indigenous people have settled the lands for over 10,000 years, the park was established as the fifth Canadian national park in 1907. Its original name was Jasper Forest Park, but officials changed it to its current name in 1930.
Some of the must-see attractions within its boundaries are Maligne Lake, the Columbia Icefield, and Athabasca Falls. Additionally, many visitors enjoy riding on the Jasper SkyTram, soaking in the hot mineral waters at Miette Hot Springs, or going on a hike.
Whether you want a relaxing or exhilarating experience, you’ll have no trouble finding it here. There’s something for all ages and interests to enjoy.
When Is the Best Time to Visit Jasper National Park?
The best time to visit Jasper National Park is from June through September. This is primarily because Canada has extreme winters. Seriously, you can’t take them lightly.
The area experiences over 150 inches of snow and single or negative-digit temperatures. However, visiting during summer and early fall provides nearly perfect weather conditions for spending time outdoors.
However, snow transforms the park into a winter wonderland if you can brave the elements. You have plenty of opportunities for winter activities like skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing.
If we’re being honest, there’s no wrong time to visit, but you may need to adjust what activities you plan.
Don’t Miss these Jasper National Park Hikes
The first thing we did after deciding to visit Jasper National Park was to start researching hikes. We quickly learned there are roughly 80 miles of epic hiking adventures. Which ones are right for you? Let’s find out!
Valley of the Five Lakes (Moderate)
The Valley of the Five Lakes hike is a moderate 3-mile looping trail with an elevation gain of 534 feet. An average hiker can complete the course in around an hour and a half.
Mountain bikers and those wanting to enjoy paddle sports frequently join hikers on the trail. If you want to see the lakes sooner, do the path counterclockwise.
This trail provides some incredible views of the surrounding lakes. The unique color of the water makes them stand out. This hike is excellent for families or individuals looking for minimal effort but maximum reward. Wear your swimsuit, as you can dip in the lakes to cool off before returning to the trail.
Maligne Canyon Loop (Moderate)
Another family-friendly Jasper hike is the Maligne Canyon Loop. This is a 2.3-mile looping trail with just over 400 feet of elevation gain. This popular trail can get very busy. Several well-built bridges cross the river. These bridges make it easy to watch kayakers travel down the river.
We suggest hiking the trail counterclockwise. This allows you to go down the steep part and finish with the paved section.
However, you can have a great hike no matter which way you go. Take your time and take plenty of pictures. The vegetation is thick during summer, and the wildflowers are in full force.
Sulphur Skyline Trail (Hard)
If you want to get your heart pumping, consider Sulphur Skyline Trail. This 4.9-mile hike is on an out-and-back trail that climbs more than 2,100 feet. The climb can be rather intense, and it’s crucial that you honestly assess your physical capabilities before starting this hike.
A majority of the trail goes through thick trees and dense vegetation. As a result, there’s not much to look at until you get to the top. However, the view is worth the effort. Take the time to enjoy the view. You’ve earned it!
As a bonus, Miette Hot Springs is nearby. It’s a great place to soak those tired muscles. It also has frequent wildlife sightings, so stay alert. You never know what you’ll encounter.
Athabasca Falls (Easy)
Athabasca Falls is a short, paved trail that is wheelchair friendly. It’s just over half a mile with less than 100 feet of elevation gain.
If you want to feel the mist and the power of Athabasca Falls, this is your chance. The trail is open year-round, and each season provides a unique experience. Whether it’s the wildflowers of summer or blankets of snow in the winter, it’s an unforgettable adventure.
This is a very popular trail because of the short distance and incredible view. We recommend arriving early to check this Jasper hike off your list. Plan at least 30 to 40 minutes to ensure ample time to take pictures.
Keep in Mind: On your way from Banff to Jasper, make sure to add these stops to your itinerary!
Cavell Meadows Trail (Hard)
Cavell Meadows Trail is a 5.1-mile looping trail with more than 1,800 feet of elevation gain. It typically takes three and a half hours to complete. This Jasper hike will test your toughness and send you through the wringer.
Hikers can expect to pass through a subalpine forest and see plenty of treeline vegetation. The trail generally opens for the season in mid-July, but excessive snow or a late melt can cause delays. As bears frequent this area, you’ll need to leave dogs behind as they’re not welcome on the trail.
Do yourself a favor and go clockwise on this loop. This will provide an easier ascent and allow you to avoid a steep, rocky area. Either way, you’ll enjoy incredible up-close views of several glaciers.
Old Fort Point Trail (Moderate)
Old Fort Point Trail is a 2.3-mile looping trail with over 500 feet of elevation gain and a moderate rating.
Not only does this trail provide some great views of Jasper, but also the opportunity to spot bighorn sheep. Starting the trail clockwise provides a relatively flat experience and a steep ending as you descend toward the parking lot.
Be aware that grizzly bear sightings are common along the trail. Always remain bear-aware while hiking here. In addition, take time to soak in the views of the Athabasca River and surrounding mountains.
Keep in Mind: The Jasper Skytram allows you to view the Canadian rockies from the sky, but is it worth it? Check out Our Honest Review of the Jasper Skytram!
Wilcox Viewpoint via Wilcox Pass (Moderate)
Wilcox Viewpoint via Wilcox Pass is a 5.8-mile out-and-back trail with approximately 1,700 feet of elevation gain. The path is frequently used by those who enjoy birding, hiking, and rock climbing.
Hiking to the famous Red Chairs is relatively easy. The view from the chairs is incredible, but don’t call it quits here. Finish the whole hike for the full experience.
This route provides opportunities to see glaciers, wildlife, and a variety of wildflowers. What more could you possibly ask for in a hike?
Which Jasper National Park Hikes Will You Do?
Jasper National Park is home to some phenomenal hikes. The views and opportunities to spend time surrounded by such beauty make them worth it.
However, you must consider your physical abilities when selecting a route. If not, your hopes of a magical experience could become a nightmare if you’re unprepared.
Which ones will you choose?