To explore the Canadian Rockies to their fullest, there’s no better place to start than with the best hiking in Jasper National Park.
Whether you’ve got a just one day in Jasper or a week, the top hikes in Jasper National Park will etch some of the finest outdoor scenery in Canada into your mind. There’s a little something for everyone here from easy day hikes that are perfect for families to advanced multi-day trails catering to the most adventurous among us.
Ready for the ultimate Alberta Rocky Mountain outdoor adventure? Hit up all the best hiking trails in Jasper National Park with this complete Jasper hiking guide…
Top hiking trails in Jasper National Park
Carved out by millennia of water erosion, Maligne Canyon is one of the most impressive things to see in Jasper and a fantastic hike for beginners.
At just under 4 kilometres, the Maligne Canyon Trail delivers spectacular views of its gorge and waterfalls in a mere hour or two. Along the trail, you’ll trek over a series of bridges, each offering views seemingly more breathtaking than the last.
Keep in mind that Maligne Canyon is one of the most popular hikes in Jasper. Try to arrive early in the day if you want to catch the scene without the hassles of the big tourist crowds—especially if you’re visiting Jasper National Park in high season.
- Distance: 3.9 kilometres
- Time: 1 to 2 hours
Edith Cavell Meadows
Strolling among a beautiful flowery meadow to a backdrop of glaciers and mountain peaks, Edith Cavell Meadows is a great addition to your Jasper hiking adventure.
The trail through Edith Cavell Meadows starts off simple and flat before beginning an ascent up its namesake Mount Edith Cavell. At the summit, you’ll get to enjoy incredible 360-degree panoramas of Jasper National Park including views towards Angel Glacier.
Like Maligne Canyon, Edith Cavell Meadows is one of the most popular hiking trails in Jasper National Park. The crowds may get dense at times here, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing as the area is known for frequent grizzly bear sightings.
- Distance: 8.5 kilometres
- Time: 3 to 5 hours
Starting beside the Miette Hot Springs, the Sulphur Skyline Trail meanders through forests and switchbacks to poke above the treeline for epic views over Jasper National Park.
As a day hike, the Sulphur Skyline Trail is steep and moderately challenging, but well worth the effort for the brilliant mountain and valley views you’ll get to enjoy once you reach the summit.
At the time of writing (summer 2020), the road to the trailhead is currently closed to traffic. To reach it, you’ll need to walk or cycle 15 kilometres each way from the main highway.
Be sure to wear a good pair of hiking boots here as the trail is steep and rocky.
- Distance: 7.7 kilometres
- Time: 4 to 6 hours
Valley of the Five Lakes
Among the best hikes in Jasper National Park for beginners, the Valley of the Five Lakes swings past five of Jasper’s most scenic lakes, showing off varying shades of turquoise, blue, and green to a backdrop of the Canadian Rockies.
With little effort, even inexperienced hikers should be able to complete this simple day hike in just a couple hours. As the Valley of the Five Lakes is one of the easier trails in the area, try to arrive earlier in the morning to avoid the crowds.
- Distance: 4.5 kilometres
- Time: 1 to 2 hours
No one would ever accuse Opal Hills of giving up its gems too easily. Famous for its wildflowers and epic alpine meadows, Opal Hills is a moderately difficult loop, taking anywhere between 3 to 5 hours of hiking time depending on your fitness level.
The trail immediately starts with a quad-burning steep incline and doesn’t let up until the back-end of the counter-clockwise return loop. If you tough it out, however, soon you’ll be blissfully frolicking among a cascade of colourful wildflowers in the trail’s famous alpine meadows.
While you can hike the Opal Hills Loop Trail from March until October, the best time to take to the trails here is in spring and summer when the wildflowers are in full bloom.
- Distance: 7.9 kilometres
- Time: 3 to 5 hours
One of the top full-day hikes in Jasper National Park, Bald Hills is an easy to moderate hiking trail with plenty of scenic vistas and photo ops to light you up along the way.
Most hikers tackle Bald Hills along the main fire road. It’s the easiest route up to the top of the hills and offers a more moderate incline than the narrower trail.
Once you reach the top of Bald Hills, you’ll be treated to spectacular views over the Queen Victoria and Maligne Mountains along with beautiful Maligne Lake below.
- Distance: 15 kilometres
- Time: 4 to 6 hours
The Skyline Trail
Not to be confused with the Sulphur Skyline day hike, the epic Skyline Trail is a popular multi-day backcountry hike in Jasper National Park, gaining over 1,800 metres of elevation along a 48 kilometre stretch.
For much of the hike, you’ll be trekking above the treeline, giving birth to endless panoramas over the Canadian Rockies. Along the way, you’ll also stroll across three mountain passes that shed incredible views over the range.
With the lofty elevation, the weather conditions along The Skyline Trail can be hit or miss. Be sure to wear your clothing in layers and bring along a sturdy pair of waterproof hiking boots for the ever-looming possibility of rain or sleet.
- Distance: 48.1 kilometres
- Time: 2 to 4 days
Located between Jasper and Banff just off of the legendary Icefields Parkway, the Wilcox Pass Trail is a fantastic stop for anyone wanting to experience the Athabasca Glacier up close and personal.
The half-day hiking trail weaves northwards through alpine meadows, power up 522 metres of elevation gain before reaching its apex. At the trail’s end, you’ll bear witness to the majesty of the Athabasca Glacier and Columbia Icefield. You may even get to catch some bighorn sheep grazing along the way!
As Wilcox Pass begins above the 2,000-metre level, it can get quite windy along the trail. Be sure to dress appropriately including warmer windbreaking outerwear like a softshell jacket to stay toasty for the journey.
- Distance: 9.3 kilometres
- Time: 3 to 4 hours
Although best knowns as the home of the Jasper SkyTram, Whistlers Mountain is also a great place to hike while visiting Jasper National Park.
There’s a lot of flexibility here when it comes reaching the summit.
Hardcore hikers will likely opt for the full monty: Powering up to the top of the peak along The Whistlers Trail. This difficult hiking trail shoots up over 1,300 metres to the summit of Whistlers Mountain in just shy of 8 kilometres.
Alternatively, those less inclined to struggle can ride the tram most of the way up, saving their energy for the shorter Whistlers Summit Trail. At just 3.7 kilometres round-trip, the trail covers only the final leg of the journey to the summit. It should take most hikers only about 90 minutes to two hours to complete.
From Whistlers Summit, you can also choose to continue to the hike to Indian Ridge where you’ll find even more epic views of the surrounding mountains including Mount Robson, the tallest mountain in the Canadian Rockies.
- Distance: 15.4 kilometres
- Time: 6 to 8 hours
If you’re looking for the most family-friendly hike in Jasper National Park, check out the Athabasca Falls Trail. Coming in at just one kilometre return with only 25 metres in elevation gain, just about anyone can complete this relatively flat and easy hiking trail.
At the various viewpoints and at the trail’s end, you’ll enjoy incredible views of the 23-metre-high Athabasca Falls and vistas towards Mt. Kerkeslin.
- Distance: 1 kilometre
- Time: 1 hour
Where to stay in Jasper National Park for hikers
With its popularity among visitors, choosing among the best places to stay in Jasper National Park can sometimes be a challenge. Most hikers choose to stay in town of Jasper where the vast majority of the park’s top accommodations lie. There’s also a handful of good options along the Yellowhead Highway and the Icefields Parkway. Be sure to book ahead when visiting during the summer high tourist season and in ski season.
- Bear Hill Lodge: Just 10 minutes from the centre of Jasper, this lodge offers rustic country rooms amidst the nature of Jasper National Park for a stay that’s perfect for hikers who love the outdoors.
- Pyramid Lake Resort: If you want to unwind by the lake after a long day of hiking, this lakeside retreat is the perfect choice. There’s a wide array of amenities here including a private beach and hot tub and a great selection of activities like canoeing, kayaking, and fishing.
- Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge: The most iconic hotel in Jasper National Park, this luxury resort is the best place to up-the-ante on your stay in Jasper. Located on the shores of Beauvert Lake, the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge features 8 on-site restaurants, a spa, and an award-winning golf course for your relaxation and enjoyment.