Jasper National Park is filled with breathtaking Canadian Rockies scenery and day hiking is the best way to experience it. Hike to the toe of an enormous glacier, climb to the top of a mountain, explore an incredible canyon or get a view of a sparkling blue lake. You don’t have to be a superhero to complete these amazing Jasper hikes, but the incredible views will make you feel like one.
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Related: Looking for some hidden gems in Alberta’s most popular tourist destination? Check out our post about the Best Kept Secrets in the Canadian Rockies.
Hike to the Toe of Athabasca Glacier
From the parking lot closest to the Athabasca Glacier, it’s a short 15-minute hike to the toe of the Athabasca Glacier. Even though it’s brief, it leads to an incredible site that is well worth the effort. The terrain is rocky and there is one steep hill to climb, so it’s best to wear hiking boots or running shoes. Even in summer, it’s a little chilly and the wind can really blow hard near the base of the glacier, so wear a coat too. Pay close attention to the signs along the trail that show how much the glacier has receded over the years. You can get great pictures at the toe of the glacier, but it’s not safe to climb on the glacier without an official guide.
Note: Don’t go hiking in the Canadian Rockies without this one item! It will help protect you from bears.
From the parking lot on the Icefields Parkway, a short walk along a forested trail will take you to a viewing bridge over Upper Sunwapta Falls. Fed by the Athabasca Glacier, these 18-metre falls are particularly beautiful in the spring when melting snow causes increased water flow. A 4-km round-trip hike will take you to Lower Sunwapta Falls.
The Athabasca Falls Trail is another super short and easy Jasper hike with a fantastic reward – views of one of the most powerful waterfalls in the Canadian Rockies. Hiking the entire trail will take you about 1.6 km return. Be sure to stay inside the guard rails as the rocks get very slippery from the mist of the falls.
Mount Edith Cavell – Path of the Glacier
This 1.6-km return trail is one of those must-do Jasper hikes. The trail will take you across a rocky landscape to the north face of Mt. Edith Cavell. It’s an easy trail that is paved at the beginning. The payoff at the end is a fantastic view of Cavell Pond and the Cavell Glacier. You may even see some small icebergs in the water. The 3,300-metre peak was named for a British nurse who was executed during WWI for assisting allied soldiers in escaping from occupied territory.
Cavell Meadows is one of Jasper’s best wildflower hikes. The meadows are famed for their outstanding wildflower displays. A hike to the meadows is 6-7 km return and takes between 3-5 hours. It’s a moderately steep hike on a well-maintained trail and there are great views of the Angel Glacier along the way. Keep an eye out for gray pikas around the rocks of the moraine.
Related: Jasper is amazing in every season. Check out these 12 Stunning photos of Jasper in Winter.
Maligne Canyon is the deepest canyon in the Canadian Rockies and one of the prettiest. A self-guided interpretative trail skirts the canyon. There are six bridges in total and you can do a shorter hiking loop or a longer one. Four of the bridges pass directly over the gorge and have incredible views. It’s about 3.4-km return to the fourth bridge and 4.4-km return to the fifth bridge.
Whistlers Mountain Summit
Climbing a mountain is easy in Jasper. Take the Jasper Skytram, the highest and longest aerial tramway in Canada, to 2263 metres on Whistler Muntain. Explore the boardwalk at the top of the tramway. If the weather is good and you’re up for a challenge, you reach the summit of Whistlers mountain in about 30-45 minutes. The views from the top are the best of any of the Jasper hikes. It can be cold at the top of the mountain, so make sure to wear a jacket and bring water – especially if you’re going to hike to the summit.
This 7.9-km loop trail is rated as difficult, but it is worth it. Hikers enjoy wonderful views of Maligne Lake, an abundance of wildflowers and a good chance of spotting wildlife. There are two options for this hike. If you prefer the fastest and steepest route, stay right. If you prefer easier and longer Jasper hikes, go left. Either way, you’ll love the views and viewpoints on this hike.
Maligne Lake – Mary Schäffer Loop
This easy 3.2-km paved loop trail follows the shoreline of Maligne Lake. In the first km, you’ll pass the historic boathouse. Eventually, you’ll reach a viewpoint with a series of interpretive signs telling the story of Mary Schäffer, one of the few female explorers in the Canadian Rockies. In 1908, she and her guides reached Maligne Lake.
The 7.7-km Sulphur Skyline Trail will take 4-6 hours. It’s a steep hike, but the top has one of the best panoramic views of any of the Jasper hikes. It is particularly beautiful in the fall when leaves are turning. Leave yourself some time at the end of the hike for a soak in beautiful Miette Hot Springs, which is very close to the trailhead.