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Jasper National Park, Canada

Jasper National Park is split into five major regions:

  1. Around Jasper Town
  2. Maligne Valley
  3. Miette Hot Springs
  4. Edith Cavell
  5. Icefield Parkway

Here are the hikes we did at each region. We mostly did easy to moderate ones. However, there are “diamond” rated strenuous hikes and backpacking options in each of these regions. The longest hike we did at this park was a 8K.

Around Jasper Town:

We gave this region half a day and covered the following:

Drive-In: Drove from Visitor center in Jasper town to Patricia lake via Pyramid Lake road and stopped for pictures at Patricia Lake.

Hikes:

Parker Lake: 4km return

Continued further on the same road to Parker Lake resort area and parked at P7 for a short hike. We took trail 2b to hike up perhaps 2 km to the view point and returned the same way. On the way, there will be two red chairs with a view of the mountains. We went further on the trail for a better view of the lakes in the region.

The trails are well marked. At the beginning of each trail there is a map/board explaining different hiking options with mileage/distance for each leg. So, the choice is yours. Pick what suits your ability and time limit. 

Maligne Valley:

Again another half-day trip to this region. However, we covered this region in two evenings. 

Drive-In:

  • Medicine Lake
  • Malign Lake
  • Lake Edith
  • Lake Annette

All the lakes except Medicine lake, have beach access. Especially, lake Annette seemed very popular with people partying along the shore, kids swimming, etc.,

Mind it, the water is really cold. If you have been to Lake Tahoe, you get the idea. These are glacier melts essentially. 

Hikes:

Maligne Canyon: 4.4 KM loop

Beautiful loop and we were blown away by the beauty of the water cutting through the canyon. We hiked the loop that started at the first bridge and went to 4th bridge.

5th and 6th bridges can be driven to directly.

It’s a pretty flat trail with approximately 100m elevation gain. Very much a kids friendly trail. Since, we did the hike at around 6PM, it was very pleasant and the famous limestone gorge was slightly less crowded. 

Trail 7:

Not sure what the name of this trail is, but this well marked no. 7 trail goes along Athabasca River. To reach this section of the trail, we drove past the entrance to Lake Edith and Lake Annette into the resort area and parked at a shoulder. From this point we saw two red chairs. And started hiking along river. 

Miette Hot Springs:

This area is so popular among tourists trying to access the hot springs for a soak-in. We were told there are both hot and cold pools. We just completely avoided the hot springs and went straight to the trail head. The hot springs was bit too crowded for our style.

Hike:

Sulphar Skyline: 8KM return; 700m (2300ft) elevation gain/loss and took us 5 hours. 

The trail head starts right from the hot springs parking lot. 80% of the hike will be in treeline area and it opens up after that. We started the hike around 11AM and it was super hot. Also, afternoon thunderstorm is well-known in this area. Nothing happened on the day we hiked. 

The last section of the hike is pretty challenging as in, its a straight uphill in heat. But, absolutely worth it. We got the view of Fiddle River Valley, Utopia Mountains and Ashlar ridge. One of the best, yet challenging hike. This is a diamond rated hike.

When got down to the parking lot, enjoyed a big scoop of ice-cream at the Hot Springs cafe.

Edith Cavell

Hikes:

Path of the Glacier Trail: 2.8K return; elevation 70m

This short, well paved trail leads to Mt Edith Cavell’s north face covered with glacier and lake at the bottom.

 

Cavell Meadows Trail: 7KM return; elevation 500m

We just went up a tiny bit on this trail before it was closed, due to bear activity. Next time.

The time we went, there was a construction happening at the parking area. So they limited the number of cars going up and had to get the permit at the visitor center. It was fairly easy to obtain one on a weekday. I can imagine the weekends would have been tighter.

Icefield Parkway

Drive-in:

 Athabasca Falls

  • Athabasca Falls
  • Sunwapta Falls
  • Lakes along the road

 Sunwapta Falls

Hikes:

Valley of Five Lakes: 4.5km loop; elevation 60m

Absolutely stunning 4.5km loop that takes you through five different lakes.

Due to the depth of the lake, each one has a slightly different hue of blue.

In June, there was abundant wild flowers to be found on the trail.

Wilcox Pass: 2.4km return to view point or 8KM return to pass

We did the 2.4km round trip to the view point because the weather was bad that day. It was raining and cloudy that it wasn’t worth going further at this point. 

Logistics:

No. of days: We spent 3 full days at the park. We could have potentially spent another two days. 

Accommodation  : Wabasso Campgroud. Has running water and flush toilets. Only pet peeve is, its another 6-7KM inside on 93A. However, well maintained and a beautiful campsite overall. Next time, I would consider staying at Whistler campground for a couple of reasons : 1) Closer to the highway 2) Hot shower.

Link to book campsite: https://reservation.pc.gc.ca/Jasper

In the summer the check-in counter was open till 10PM-ish. We checked-in at 8:30PM.

Bear lockers: There are no bear lockers in this park, even though there is a lot of bears moving around. We were instructed to keep the food inside the car and that’s safe enough. We had packed a bear canister on this trip that could have been avoided. 

Moving around:

We rented a car at Calgary international airport, where we flew into. We didn’t see any public buses or shuttles, even during the peak season. Car is highly recommended unless you want to hitch hike. 

We did give ride to a couple of hitch hikers in an effort to accumulate road karma !!

Food:

Mosquito Report:

Tons !!! Go prepared with bug spray and/or mosquito net. But, be prepared to take in a few bites irrespective of all these preparations.

Drinking Water:

Trail heads don’t have water. So, we filled our 2 and 3 litre bladders at the campsite. Also had two litres in the car always. 

Summer Hours:

In June/July the day time is really long. Sunrises at 5:30AM and sets at 10:30PM-ish. So, you have really a long day to pack in hikes/activities.