If you’re heading to Jasper National Park and want to see what the fuss is really all about then make sure you do some day hikes in Jasper.
Hiking in Jasper is the best way to escape the crowds. I read some crazy statistic before our visit that showed just how few people went 30 minutes away from their car. This is great for you reading this since I’m guessing you’re planning some day hikes, but I feel kinda bad for those people for not going further away from their cars. They don’t know what they’re missing!
Whether you have 1-2 days or a week or more make sure you do at least one of these incredible day hikes in Jasper.
Best day hikes in Jasper
There are a tonne of hikes you can do in Jasper but I’ve picked these ones out since they’re more accessible to everyone.
Moose Lake Loop
Moose Lake Loop is one of several trails starting from Maligne lake. It takes you along an old fire road to begin with before you head through the woods and past an old landslide. Then you’ll come out at beautiful Moose Lake (bound to be MUCH quieter than Maligne Lake). From here you can follow the lakeshore back to the parking lot.
Lorraine Lake and Mona Lake
Another great lake trail that you can try is the hike to Lorraine Lake and Mona Lake. This begins near the parking lot too but is a bit closer to the Skyline Kiosk.
The trail climbs gently through a pine forest and up to some ancient landslide debris which is where the lakes lie. The lakes are pretty close to each other and you make a great place to rest before heading back the way you came.
If you want more of a challenge you can extend your hike by continuing onto Little Shovel Pass (20km return, 548m elevation change, 7-9 hours)
Cavell Meadows Trail
The Cavell Meadows Trail is a moderately difficult day hike in Jasper. It starts from the top of Cavell Road in the Edith Cavell Mountain area. This area of Jasper has fragrant subalpine forest, alpine meadows and beautiful views of Mt. Edith Cavell and Angel Glacier.
This trail is an extension of the more popular, and much shorter, Path of the Glacier Trail. As the name of that one suggests, you’ll actually be walking in the path of the glacier as it receded.
You’ll begin by crossing a rocky landscape before looking out onto the north face of Mt. Edith Cavell. Then carrying on from here you’ll begin to climb fairly steeply through forest and past the treeline for more incredible views.
Toe of the Athabasca Glacier
I’d say this is more of a walk than a hike but there is a little bit of a climb up to the glacier to look out for. You simply can’t miss this since the Athabasca Glacier is such a big attraction in Jasper National Park along the Icefields Parkway.
There are two routes to the toe of the glacier. You can take the longer 2.5km trail that starts just across the road from the Icefields Centre (the Forefield Trail). Or you can park a little closer and just walk the 1.4km trail to the glacier. The Forefield Trail takes you across moraines and glacial debris before joining up with the Toe of the Glacier Trail.
Along the Toe of the Glaicer Trail you’ll see signs stating that the glacier used to be at that point several years ago. It’s fascinating (and kinda upsetting) to see how much it’s receded overtime.
You can no longer walk on the glacier unless you’re part of an organised tour.
Wilcox Pass is another popular day hike in Jasper. It begins at the entrance of Wilcox Creek campground and starts off steep but soon levels out. There’s a high chance of spotting a big horn sheep here! You can make this hike shorter by just hiking to the red chairs (which you’ll see throughout Canadian National Parks), or add another 2.6km by going to another viewpoint.
Sulphur Skyline Trail
This is one trail I really wanted to do but ended up accidentally doing the Source of the Springs trail instead and then heading to the hot springs early…next time!
It’s supposed to be a beautiful (but fairly busy) day hike in Jasper.
It tends to be one of the first snow-free alpine hikes which is great if you’re visiting in late May or June. It’s pretty steep the whole way up but you’ll get fantastic views of Utopia Mountain, The Fiddle Valley and Ashlar Ridge too. And then at the end you can chill out in the Miette Hot Springs!
Again, this one is arguably more of a walk than a hike but it’s nice whatever you count it as!
This trail takes you past all six bridges in Maligne Canyon. The first 3 have some of the better views where the water is more powerful and the canyon narrower and deeper but you’ll still be impressed with those further down too.
The Whistlers Summit Trail
Make your hike super easy by taking the Jasper SkyTram to the top of the mountain and then hiking just 2.2km to Whistlers Summit. At the top you’ll have 360 degree views of the Athabasca Valley and the surrounding peaks. BEAUTIFUL!
What to know about hiking in Jasper National Park
Before you go hiking in Jasper National Park, make sure you’re aware of the following.
Be bear aware
Jasper National Park is home to a lot of bears. Make sure you know what to do if you see a bear by reading this post on bear safety. It’s also a good idea to take bear spray (& know how to use it!). You can rent or buy bear spray from many outlets in both Jasper and Banff National Parks.
Don’t forget your 10 essentials before you go out hiking.
Weather in the mountains changes quickly. Just because it’s warm and sunny in the town that doesn’t mean it’ll still be like that once you reach the summit or for the duration of your hike.
Likely no phone signal
You probably won’t have phone signal so don’t rely on online maps or GPS. Pick up a trail map from the visitor centre in Jasper before you start hiking.
Resources that’ll help with your Jasper trip
GasBuddy – great for finding the cheapest gas. Fill up in Alberta before heading back into BC as it’s so much cheaper!
RentalCars.com for your get around in the Rockies
Skyscanner: Get your cheap flights to Vancouver, Calgary or Edmonton