After living in Banff National Park for a little while, we got more curious what its neighbours have to offer. Waiting for the snow to melt after winter, which turned out to be a long lasting situation, we couldn’t be more excited about our new spring adventures. We decided to go hiking in Jasper National Park, the largest national park in Canadian Rockies.
Hiking in Jasper National Park
Driving to Jasper from Calgary, roughly 420 km, can be stretched to more than a few hours. After a short drive out of Calgary, the mountains starting to surround you and you don’t know where to look or stop first. Snow covered high peaks of Canadian Rockies, wildlife searching for some food along the highway or signs that invite you to explore lakes and waterfalls.
After arrival to Jasper, the mountains surrounding the town haven’t surprised us and were covered with snow. Realized that in May is probably too soon for hiking in the mountains, we took our first visit easy and slowly exploring few easy hikes around the town.
These hiking trips in Jasper National Park I would recommend to everyone no matter your fitness level.
Most popular hike in Jasper National Park is climbing up the Whistlers Peak. You can hike the steep trail in full length of 10 km, gain elevation of 1200 m and pass through all three of the park’s life zones.
Hiking up the Whistlers Mountain wasn’t an option for us as there are some avalanche areas with snow till late June.
Another option is to take a Sky Tram which will take you 2 km from the top.
Top of the mountain rises to 2470 m above sea level and offers panoramic view of the Jasper National Park. Peak finder on top will help you name surrounding peaks, including Mount Robson, the highest peak of the Canadian Rockies at 3954 m.
From Jasper, take Highway 93 (Icefields Parkway) south for 2 km, turn right on the Whistler’s Road 3km until you reach the parking lot.
One of the many lakes near Jasper’s town site is Pyramid Lake. It’s the biggest one which can be accessed from town without a car. With its neighbour Patricia Lake, they lie at the foot of Pyramid Mountain, landmark that overlooks the town of Jasper.
Take an easy stroll around the lakes, watch for wildlife or million stars at night.
Jasper is officially Dark Sky Preserve, an area where almost no artificial lightning is visible at night. It’s celebrated during the Jasper Dark Sky Festival in October, on the Pyramid Island.
Most enjoyable activity for us was mountain biking around Pyramid Lake and other lakes, stopping for a quick cool off in the lake.
Maligne Canyon is one of the most interesting canyons in the Canadian Rockies. It is fed by Maligne River from the Maligne Lake. There are six bridges built to help explore this magnificent canyon.
Many trails are found along the way, starting near each of the bridge. I would recommend hiking through all six bridges (6 km return) and enjoy spectacular and changing views.
To get to the Maligne Canyon Trailhead, follow Highway 16 to Edmonton. Go 2,5 km past the Jasper exit and follow signs to Maligne Canyon.
Longest natural lake in Canada is a popular area for kayaking and canoeing. This 23 km long lake can be found 44 km south of Jasper. It’s well-known for its changing colour, depending on the angle sun rays touch the surface.
View of surrounding peaks and three glaciers make it the most popular spot in Jasper National Park.
The trail to Mona and Lorraine Lakes is an easy trail through the forest and starts at the Maligne Lake parking lot. If you are not a fan of crowds, this easy trail is a perfect escape. Takes around two hours return.
After a long day spent hiking, there is nothing better than relax your feet in a chilly lake. When you are too sore or too brave, you can always take a quick dip.
Valley of the Five Lakes
Trail along the five lakes can take anywhere from 1-3 hours. We were so amazed by the shades of jade and blue, that we had to stop very often to enjoy it to the fullest. Every time you pass another lake from a different side, notice the change of the colour.
Hike starts with a walk through the forest, crossing bridge over the Wabasso Creek. Soon after there is a junction for starting the circuit. Whichever path you choose, make sure to visit ALL five lakes. You will be astonished.
As we visited in spring, where not only nature, but wildlife comes to life, we were lucky to see a lot mountain goats and bears with cubs. Truly an unforgettable experience!
Mountain view of Jasper National Park, ice cold lakes in more shades of blue and green you can imagine and plenty of wildlife, were highlights of our trip.
Hiking in Jasper National Park was full of surprises and with the park having so much to offer, I’m sure we’ll be back very soon.
Would you like to go hiking in Jasper National Park? Or you already did? What did you enjoy the most?
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