Jasper National Park is the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies spanning 11,000 square kilometers (4,200 sq miles) and boasting some awe-inspiring hikes for all experience levels. With shimmering lakes, impressive glaciers, and a wealth of wildlife, Jasper, Alberta is a hikers paradise. You don’t have to go into the backcountry to go hiking in Jasper, many hikes and walking routes available just minutes from Jasper town. Jasper NP is great for day hikes and even multi-day hikes if you have the time. Our team has put together a list of the 14 best hikes in Jasper National Park.
While most people visit Banff National Park on their visit to Alberta, Jasper National Park is definitely one you’ll want to put on your do-to list. So, let’s take a hiking journey through beautiful Jasper National Park.
Best Hikes in Jasper National Park
When visiting Jasper National Park you will need to purchase a park pass to enter. It is $10 per person per day. If you are going to stay longer than a day, or if you are also going to visit both Banff and Jasper National parks, we suggest purchasing a Parks Discovery Pass that costs $139 for a family or $69 per person. This gives unlimited access to Canada’s national parks from coast to coast for 12 months! You can purchase this online here.
For more Alberta Travel information, check out these guides:
Canada is slowly opening up and borders may even open in August. But Health and safety measures may still be affect so make sure to visit the Parks Canada website to plan ahead.
Jasper National Park Resources
We stayed at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge which makes for a great base when hiking in Jasper. This historic luxury property is at least a must visit when exploring Jasper national Park but there are plenty of other hotels and apartment rentals: Check out vacation rentals and hotels in Jasper here.
Located 4 hours (365 km / 226 miles) from Edmonton and 2 1/2 hours from (288 km / 330 miles) from Banff, Jasper National Park is best reached by car. Check rates for car rentals from Calgary, Edmonton, or Banff here.
There is plenty of camping in Jasper National Park, you can check with Park’s Canada for availability. Sites can be booked ahead of time and there is front country and back country camping.
Best Jasper National Park Hikes
1. Bald Hills
For views high above the treeline, nowhere is better than at the summit of The Bald Hills in Jasper. Located in the Maligne Lake area, this trail starts by following a gravel road all the way up. During the last half kilometer towards the lookout point, you’ll find that the road can be snowy or muddy so make sure you have good hiking boots and dress in layers. There are two ways to reach the summit, one is a shortcut that leads you directly to the summit via a steep path, the other path follows Fire Road all the way to the top.
The views starts to open up as you reach the top. Several hikers recommend taking the Lovate Scouts Branch (left) of the trail, as you will get the best views of Maligne. From the top of the Bald Hills you’ll see views of Maligne Lake and the Athabasca River as well as a 360-degree view of the surrounding landscape.
Trail Length: 15km (9.3 miles)Difficulty: ModerateElevation Gain: 780m (2559 feet)Parking: Maligne Lake, the furthest lot at the end of a paved road.
2. Edith Cavell Meadows
The Edith Cavell Meadows hike is a beautiful moderate hike in Jasper National Park. The trail begins on a partially paved path along the Glacier trail where you’ll follow the path to viewing area overlooking Angel Glacier and Cavell Pond. As you continue on the path the view gets better and better, so be sure to have your camera ready. All the way along this hike you’ll be treated to stunning views of the glacier and mountains. The trail climbs uphill as it passes over the rocky moraine, and forests before opening up to a beautiful meadow filled with wildflowers (in season).
A lot of regular hikers recommend using hiking poles and taking regular breaks if you start feeling tired. Remember to also bring lots of water along with you to keep you hydrated as there isn’t anywhere close by to purchase anything. The temperatures at the top of the trail can be cold and windy so bring extra clothing that you can layer up. This hiking trail is very rewarding and perfect for a day hike. Be sure to check for road closures and more information before heading off, as you’d hate to be disappointed.
Trail Length: 8.4km (5.2 miles)Difficulty: ModerateElevation Gain: 582m (1909 feet)
3. Toe Of The Athabasca Glacier
While at the Columbia Icefields, you may want to consider hiking the Toe of the Athabasca Glacier. It’s a brilliant family-friendly hike that’s free and a great alternative to an expensive guided tour. The hike starts at the Toe of the Athabasca Glacier trailhead and all along the route you will find signs of how far the glacier has shrunk over the years. Continue hiking uphill and go left as the path makes a circle, you’ll want to go round in a clockwise direction.
The signs you’ll see at various points along the hike will give you more information about the glacier. There are sections on this hike that are roped off for your safety, so be sure not to cross these. There are plenty of unobservable crevasses along the trail that can be very dangerous for both you and children.
Trail Length: 1.4km (.8 mile)Difficulty: EasyElevation Gain: 60m (164 feet)
4. Valley Of The Five Lakes
As the name suggests, the Valley Of The Five Lakes hike leads you to five different alpine lakes. The trail starts at Icefields Parkway and takes you through a lush forest before crossing over the Wabasso Creek Bridge. Most hikers follow this route in a clockwise direction following the path to the five lakes. There are some steep uphills along the hiking route.
The great thing about this route is the fact you can swim, so remember to bring your bathing suit along for a quick dip. (but be warned, the water is cold and is at your own risk!) Nothing beats witnessing the crystal clear deep jade and blue lakes of Jasper.
Trail Length: 4.7km (2.0 miles)Difficulty: ModerateElevation Gain: 162m (531 Feet)
5. Pyramid Lake Loop
The Pyramid Lake Loop is great for the average hiker looking for a fun day hike. The trail has an easy to moderate hike and this may be a great hike to pack a lunch to enjoy the views before heading back.
As there are man different routes through the area, you won’t have to worry too much if you get a little lost as following any of them will get you to the top. The trail can get muddy towards the top so like all good hiking tips, be sure to have solid hiking. boots and gear. You’ll be happy to know that this route is also dog friendly, so if you want to bring your canine companion along you can, just make sure to keep them on a leash.
Trail Length: 5.6 km (3.4 miles)Difficulty: ModerateElevation Gain: 203m (666 feet)
6. Athabasca Falls
Athabasca Falls is one of the most popular stops on the Icefields Parkway. This easy hike follows a paved pathway to various viewpoints along the canyon overlooking the waterfalls. Athabasca Falls is a powerful yet gorgeous waterfall with a backdrop of forests and mountains. This trail is busy, but worth it for the views of one of Alberta’s most popular sites.
Remember to bring your camera along to snap some cool photos. The pathways are interesting to explore, with one leading you through a narrow section between two walls of the canyon with steps carved into the rocks. There are a lot of great vantage points along the pathways where you can see the Athabasca River as well as caves and unique rock formations. The best time to explore this place is to visit in the morning during the summer season before the crowds arrive.
Trail Length: 1.0km (.62 miles)Difficulty: EasyElevation Gain: 26m (85 feet)
7. Opal Hills
If you are looking for a good workout, the Opal Hills Loop gains 500 meters of elevation in just 4.5km. This may not be the best trail for those who are inexperienced but if you are looking for a challenge, this trail offers gorgeous views. (like all of the hikes in Jasper National Park). The trail is well marked so keep an eye out for the junctions.
The first portion of the trail, you’ll want to follow the path to “Lake Trail Loop” and turn left. After about one hundred meters you’ll reach the Lake Trail Loop junction which continues to the right. Don’t go right, instead, hiking straight. After a steep uphill climb you’ll come to a trail junction where the Opal Hills Trail begins.
For the easiest and fastest route you’ll want to stay on the right, but you can also go left if you want a more moderate hike. If following the route to the right, you’ll reach a sign that says “kilometer three”. At this point the hiking trail divides with another route going off to the right through trees to another view point or you can take the path that climbs steeply for another half kilometer before fading into the hillside. Keep your eyes open for woodland caribou, moose, and the possible bear. Grizzly bears roam Jasper National Park, so it is always good to hike in groups and keep the noise level up to alert them of your presence.
Trail Length: 8.0km (5 miles)Difficulty: HardElevation Gain: 517m (1696 feet)
Path Of The Angel Glacier
The Path of The Angel Glacier is a family-friendly hike in Jasper. The paths are well maintained and take you up to a dramatic viewpoint close to the glacier. The drive is as thrilling as the hike as you drive a 14 km narrow mountain road with several switchbacks. Driving up to the parking lot and trailhead, you’ll have gained a fair bit of elevation so take your time and take advantage of the pullofs for gorgeous views. Plus, make sure to dress in layers as it may be chilly at the top!
When you reach the fenced in area of the viewing platform, be sure to keep your distance as when the glacier calves, it creates waves. So whatever you do, don’t cross the fenced off areas. But enjoy the panoramic views of the glacier and surrounding mountains from a safe distance instead.
Trail Length: 3.7km (2.2 Miles)Difficulty: EasyElevation Gain: 175m (574 feet)
Whistlers Mountain and Indian Ridge
One of the great jasper hikes begins at the Jasper Skytram. Jasper Skytram is one of Jasper’s top attractions so you may find it a bit crowded at first, but once you continue walking, the crowds disappear and you’ll find peace and solitude. The 12 km route is an out and back trail and be warned, you may come across snow at the summit where it can be slippery.
Trail Length: 12.7km (7.9 miles)Difficulty: ModerateElevation Gain: 968m (3175 miles)
Sulphur Skyline Trail
The Sulphur Skyline Trail starts off at a steady pace that seems to never stop. but the good news is that you can combing your hiking with a dip in the Miette Hot Springs. The effort is worth it as you soak in the natural hot springs. The hike itself offers many viewpoints overlooking the Fiddle Valley. Once at the summit the views open up to a beautiful 360-degrees scene all round. This trail is open from Mid-May to Mid-October. Be sure to go in the morning to avoid the crowds.
Trail Length: 7.9km (4.8 miles)Difficulty: ModerateElevation Gain: 653m(2142)
Maligne Canyon Hike
The Maligne Canyon Loop is one of the most beautiful hikes in Jasper National Park. Maligne Canyon is located just 10 minutes from Jasper and is easily accessible. Maligne Canyon is a very busy trail, but for good reason, it is spectacular. To avoid the crowds, get there early. The starts at Maligne Canyon Trail head and you can turn around anytime you wish.
The narrow canyon is deep thanks to centuries of the Maligne River cutting through the 50 foot deep gorge. It’s a great hike for the whole family that crosses bridge and waterfalls along the trail winding beside the canyon. Maligne Canyon is a great alternative to Johnston Canyon in Banff National Park. Or better yet, do both! As they are both awesome. If you are hungry, the Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen is located at the trailhead and a cool thing about this trail is that there are toilets at the first and fifth bridges trailhead.
Trail Length: 3.4km (2.1 miles)Difficulty: ModerateElevation Gain: 118m (387 feet)
Jasper Discovery Trail
If you want to explore close to the town of Jasper, the Jasper Discovery Trail is a great choice. The easy trail takes you on a stroll around the town and there are plenty of places to relax during this 2 – 3 hour hike. There are several trailheads and you can join the trail many of the downtown parking lots. It’s easy to navigate as you follow the bear signs.
Trail Length: 8.5km (5.2 miles)Difficulty: EasyElevation Gain: 264m (855 feet)
The Wapiti Trails starts at the Wapiti Campground where you can follow the path across the campground access road and head northbound, parallel to the highway for roughly 2km before hanging right. You’ll be hiking between the Icefields Parkway and the Athabasca River towards Jasper town. You can hike all the way to the Tekarra Lodge and even continue on to town which is only about 5.5 km.
Trail Length: 4.8km (2.98 miles)Difficulty: EasyElevation Gain: 113m (370 feet)
Wabasso Lake Trail
The Wabasso Lake Trail is a popular Jasper hike. The route is 7.7km and is a relatively easy trail that travels through the forest to a marshy lake that feels quite secluded. The rolling terrain isn’t very strenuous which makes it great for families. Make your way to the lake and enjoy the solitude before heading back to your car. If you want to make this route a little longer you can continue on to join the famed Jasper Skyline Trail at Curator Lake.
Trail Length: 7.7km (4.7 miles)Difficulty: EasyElevation Gain: 276m (905 feet)
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best hike in Jasper?
There are plenty of spectacular hikes in Jasper and many of them are through Jasper National Park. One of the best hikes is the Jasper Discovery Trail. This hike is around 8.3km long and takes you on a loop around the town and can be started just about anywhere. So if you’re looking to explore the town this loop will give you that and more. Another hike worth doing is the Valley of the Five Lakes. During this hike you’ll get to see five pristine, jaw-dropping lakes in different shades of blue of green.
What should I not miss in Jasper National Park?
There are plenty of things throughout Jasper National Park that you really shouldn’t miss. One of the favorites among many is riding on the Jasper Skytram. Enjoy a ride in a sidecar with Jasper Motorcycle tours, watch the sunset at Pyramid Lake, and stop at icefields for a birds-eye view of mountains and glaciers with a heli hike.
How many hiking trails are there in Jasper?
There are more than 54 hikes in Jasper National Park for all skill levels and lengths so there’s something for everyone. No matter your ability or experience you’ll be able to witness the beautiful scenery throughout Jasper National Park.
And these are the best hikes in Jasper National Park. There are 40 more hikes in Jasper, but we couldn’t name them all. What hikes did we miss and what are your favourites? We’d love to hear so we can check them out the next time we visit Jasper, Alberta.