Tips to Hike the Valley of the Five Lakes

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View of Valley of the Five Lakes

One of our favorite hikes in Jasper National Park is the Valley of the Five Lakes. It was an incredible experience and one that we’ll never forget.

However, we learned a few things we wished we had known before lacing up our hiking boots. If you’re preparing for this epic adventure, we want to help you get the most out of it.

Today, we’re sharing tips to hike the Valley of the Five Lakes. Let’s hit the trail and get started!

What Is the Valley of the Five Lakes?

The Valley of Five Lakes is a scenic natural area in Jasper National Park. If it isn’t obvious, it gets its name from the five lakes that dot the landscape.

Like many of the bodies of water in the park, these lakes are a bright turquoise color. In addition, thick forests and breathtaking mountains surround them.

Various types of nature lovers frequent this area. Expect to see every kind of outdoor enthusiast in the valley, from hikers to photographers. Keep your eyes peeled; elk, deer, and even grizzly bears frequently wander through the area.

A man hiking to the Valley of the Five Lakes

How Long Is the Valley of the Five Lakes Trail?

The Valley of the Five Lakes is an almost 3-mile looping trail. It typically takes hikers approximately an hour and a half to complete it. However, the miles seemed to fly by because there was constantly something exciting to look at and enjoy.

One benefit of this hike is that you can bring dogs if you keep them on a leash. We always love finding these hikes, as our dog Carmen is always up for a challenge.

However, it’s important to remember that wildlife frequents the area and may perceive a pet as a threat.

Is the Valley of the Five Lakes Hike Hard?

In terms of difficulty, Valley of the Five Lakes has a moderate rating. With just over 500 feet of elevation gain, it’s doable for most individuals. Most hikers find the trail suitable for all skills, including families with children. 

You must consider your physical condition when deciding whether this hike is for you. Additionally, you’ll want to check the weather and trail conditions. While the trail may not be overly strenuous, several factors could cause safety concerns.

View of Valley of the Five Lakes

Tips to Hike the Valley of the Five Lakes

We learned several things while on the trail and want to share them with you. Here are some of our best tips to prepare to hike the Valley of the Five Lakes.

Do the Trail in Reverse

Since the trail is a loop, it doesn’t matter which way you choose; you’ll experience the same sights. In general, when faced with the choice between clockwise and counterclockwise, many people opt for clockwise. 

However, one of the best tips for this trail is bucking the trend and doing the path counterclockwise. 

Doing the trail this way allows you to experience the lakes in the order they were named. Additionally, many find that this is a slightly easier uphill climb. While the hike is manageable, some steeper sections can be challenging.

View of Valley of the Five Lakes

Bring Bear Spray

We didn’t see any bears or evidence of bear activity. However, the area has had frequent sightings along the path. We heard from other hikers that all sorts of wildlife, including grizzly bears, frequent the area. When necessary, officials restrict access to the trail to protect guests and wildlife.

If you plan to enjoy the Valley of the Five Lakes or any other hike in Jasper National Park, you must carry bear spray. You don’t want to be caught off guard by an angry bear and unable to defend yourself. 

Take the time to learn how to use it before hitting the trail. You don’t want to figure out how to use it with an angry grizzly bear in front of you.

Keep in Mind: See what else Jasper has to offer! These are the best things to do in Jasper for first-time visitors

Schedule Plenty of Time

While you may be able to do a typical 3-mile hike in less than an hour, this isn’t any ordinary hike. You’ll experience five lakes and want to take your time admiring each of them. Some hikers wear their bathing suits so they can go for a swim. 

Whether you’re enjoying the view or going for a dip, it will take some time. You don’t want to rush or gloss over these experiences. So, build plenty of time into your schedule to enjoy it fully.

Bring Your Dog

As we briefly mentioned earlier, this is a dog-friendly trail. However, you must keep your pets on a leash while on the path. This helps keep other guests, your pet, and wildlife safe.

If you’re curious, we brought Carmen on the trail, and she loved it. She had a great time splashing in the water and navigating the terrain. We can’t say for sure, but she appeared to enjoy the trail as much as we did.

Pro Tip: If you haven’t camped with your furry friend yet, check out our Insider Tips for Successfully Camping with Dogs!

A couple smiling with their dog in Jasper National Park while hiking the Valley of the Five Lakes.

Don’t Forget Water

While the Valley of the Five Lakes isn’t an overly strenuous hike, it has some decent hills you’ll need to conquer. When taking your time exploring the area, you’ll eventually need a drink. When the time comes, you’ll be glad you have it.

We spent a few hours on the trail and were glad we brought water for us and Carmen. Don’t go crazy and haul several gallons, but having a bottle or two per person is a good idea.

Is Hiking the Valley of the Five Lakes Worth It?

Hiking the Valley of the Five Lakes was an unforgettable adventure. Getting to experience such tremendous natural beauty was worth it. We’re certainly glad we set aside time for this hike. 

If we ever find ourselves in Jasper National Park again, this is one hike we’ll be doing again. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start exploring the Valley of the Five Lakes.

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