If you want to include hiking in your itinerary, here are 12 hikes in Jasper to give you a taste of the striking views, glaciers, rivers, waterfalls, canyons and mountain meadows in the area.
There are incredible backcountry, multi-day hikes you can do here, but I’m all about shorter hikes that offer the best work to reward ratios.
This list contains the best easy to moderate day hikes that can be completed in a few hours or less.
Hiking in Jasper National Park is one of the best ways to experience the rugged beauty of the largest parks of the Canadian Rockies.
Exploring the mountains this way offers you the chance to see the abundant wildlife, smell the alpine wildflowers and immerse yourself in the peace and solitude that only the untouched wilderness can provide.
Make sure you’ve got all your day hike gear and essentials, then hit the trails!
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1. Old Fort Point Trail
This is one of the best hikes in Jasper close to the town. It’s a relatively short hike which presents you with great views of the entire community in the mountain valley that surrounds it.
Snow capped Mt. Edith Cavell will be in view on a clear day, as well as the raging Athabasca river and several vibrant colored lakes. Take the path through the woods to the left of the stairs.
This gives you the best loop if you prefer the big reveal to be at the end of your hike. This way is also less steep.
The Parks Canada Red Chairs are on this hike, too. For a full day of adventure, you could also walk/hike from Old Fort to Valley of the Five Lakes (about 7.5km).
- Total distance: 4km loop
- Duration: 1.5 hours
- Elevation Gain: 150
2. Valley of the Five Lakes
For an easy hike that’s outrageously beautiful, Valley of the Five Lakes is an absolute must-do hiking trail when visiting Jasper.
While you won’t get much elevation or views from from above, you will be confronted with some of the most beautifully serene surroundings.
Five glassy emerald lakes sit peacefully as the mountains loom in the distance.
This is one of the hikes in Jasper that is generally flat with a few steep, but short sections, making it a perfect easy hike for non-hikers or those in need of a ‘rest day.’
This trail is perfect for families of all ages and dogs.
- Total distance: 4.5 km
- Duration: 2 hours
- Elevation Gain: 100m
3. Wilcox Pass
Don’t miss this Jasper hike if you want elevated views of the Columbia Icefield and the ancient athabasca glacier.
While it’s a little further out from town, this is a fantastic hike if you’re driving from Banff along the Icefield Parkway – as it’s a perfect half way point.
What I love about this hiking trail, is that you’re confronted by striking views almost the entire way.
So you could easily make this hike as short as you want and not feel like you missed out, if you don’t have time to complete the whole trail reaching the red chairs.
- Total distance: 8km round trip
- Duration: 3-5 hours
- Elevation Gain: 350m
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4. Opal Hills
The Opal Hills hiking trail offers views of Maligne Lake and even the renowned Edith Cavell if it’s a clear day.
If you’re in search of a hiking trail in Jasper on a hot day, choose Opal Hills as there’s lots of shade along the way.
No dogs are allowed on this trail (even on leash) due to this being a protected caribou range.
- Total distance: 8km loop
- Duration: 4-6 hours
- Elevation Gain: 500m
5. Bald Hills
On the other side of Maligne Lake is the Bald Hills trail, which gives you a bit of everything – lake views, valleys, mountain peaks, glaciers and even waterfalls.
The scenery is more unobstructed compared to the Opal Hills hike, so if the weather is cool in Jasper, I recommend trying Bald Hills.
You’ll likely encounter snow on this trail until the end of June, but by late July you’ll be walking through a carpet of wildflowers in bloom.
Hiking tip – take the first shortcut trail about 3kms in for better views. Follow the old fir road route for a moderate incline.
- Total distance: 13km round trip
- Duration: 5-6 hours
- Elevation Gain: 560m
6. Mt. Edith Cavell – Cavell Meadows Trail
Known as one of Jasper National Park’s best hikes, the Cavell Meadows trail is one of the best places to see the visual spread of alpine wildflowers due to the high altitude here.
But the best part is getting a close look at the massive Angel Glacier, and if you’re lucky, you might even get to see the glacier ‘calve’- which ice chunks fall off.
The cracking sound is outworldly. Due to the fragile landscape and the area being a caribou habitat, no dogs are allowed on the Cavell Meadows trail.
- Total distance: 6km return
- Duration: 3-4 hours
- Elevation Gain: 500m
7. Toe of the Athabasca Glacier
If you’re just passing through on your way to or from Jasper and want a quick and interesting hike, this one’s for you. From the parking lot across from the Icefields Centre, it won’t take you long to reach the toe.
The gravel trail is wide and can be done in runners, although you might see others in flipflops (which shows you how easy this one is).
While you won’t get to walk on the glacier by doing this unguided free hike, you’ll get to see a lot more of the glacier by doing this hike compared to seeing it from the Glacier Skywalk.
Seeing how the terrain has been smoothed and carved out by the glacier is quite fascinating.
- Total distance: 1.8km return
- Duration: Less than 1 hour
- Elevation Gain: 60m
8. Whistler’s Summit from the Jasper Skytram
This is a short (1.4km) and steep but not very technical hike to get some epic views of Jasper and several lakes and mountain ranges that surround it.
We took the tram up, and hiked to the summit.
The trail is well marked, and since it’s above the tree line, you get views the entire way. Since you’re already so high up, be prepared for windy, chilly weather. Plus the air is noticeably thinner up here.
We encountered a few people who decided to turn around, but we completed the Whistler’s Summit hike in running shoes and with our small dog.
If you’ve never taken the tram, I think this hike and view was worth the price. As far as cable car summits in the Canadian Rockies, Jasper is the best.
You can also skip the tram and hike from the bottom – the trail head starts near the hostel. It would likely take you about 2.5 to 3 hours, but you can reward yourself with a cold one or a meal at the restaurant at the top.
9. Maligne Canyon
Maligne Canyon is one of the best free attractions in Jasper and offers very accessible hiking. I recommend the hiking trails here if you want to experience the wild beauty of Jasper but are scared of bears (lol)!
Since it’s quite developed and busy here, you probably won’t see any around.
The trails allow you to get close to the limestone canyons as you feel the misty overspray from the powerful water rushing passed you.
I recommend parking at the 5th bridge and following trail 7f along the edge of the water for the best views. This will take you on a 4.5km loop.
If you’re taking photos along the way, the Maligne Canyon hike will take you about 2 hours to complete. Minimal elevation gain, but stunning views.
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10. Beauty Creek to Stanley Falls
For a hidden gem hike in Jasper, the Beauty Creek Trail is not usually as busy as other hiking trails nearby if you’re looking to avoid the crowds.
Located along the Icefields Parkway, this hike is a great alternative to Maligne Canyon if you can’t make it there or are looking for something similar with way less people.
This trail starts off on flat gravel and then as you make your way into the woods, you’ll pass by tons of mini waterfalls, eventually finding the bigger Stanley Falls – you’ll be hypnotized watching it crash into the bowl below your feet.
If you want a hiking trail to get close to several waterfalls, this is the perfect hike in Jasper for you.
- Total distance: 4.5kms return
- Duration: 1-2 hours
- Elevation Gain: 100m
11. Sulphur Skyline Trail Jasper
This is a popular day hike in Jasper National Park that offers top notch jagged mountain views.
The incline is steady, but there are lots of switchbacks on the steeper parts of the trail.
There’s slight scrambling required to get to the true summit, but I would say it’s suitable for confident beginner hikers. This trail is well-known for bad weather as it changes very quickly the closer you get to the top.
To make for a perfect day, start early, then soak at the Miette Hot Springs afterwards (located at the trail head).
Then, have dinner and drinks at the Folding Mountain Brewery only 20 minutes east.
- Total distance:
- Duration: 3-4 hours
- Elevation Gain
12. Pocahontas Mine Trail
If you are visiting the Miette Hot Springs, staying at the Pocahontas Cabins or camping nearby and looking for a quick walk in the area, the Pocahontas Mine Trail is quite fascinating.
I wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to visit (30 minutes east of Jasper), but the historic mining remnants that remain are intriguing.
It’s a paved, but overgrown trail that guides you passed old abandoned mining structures from the early 20th century.
Pocahontas Mine Trail is nearby and is a nice leisurely walk, or for anyone fascinated with the history of this area.
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Bonus Easy Hikes Near Jasper
For relaxing, scenic walks that still give you an excellent taste of Jasper scenery, you can walk around Lac Beauvert at the Jasper Park Lodge.
Or try the boardwalk that crosses Pyramid Lake to the island.
For 5 minute waterfall hikes, head to Sunwapta Falls, where you can also hike 20 minutes down to lower Sunwapta Falls.
If you’re driving from Edmonton to Jasper, I recommend stopping at the Hinton Nordic Centre and hiking the Athabasca Lookout Trail. It’s about 20 minutes up and is a stunning viewpoint that offers panoramic views for miles.
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