The Best Hikes in Jasper, Alberta
The Best Hikes in Jasper, Alberta
If you ever find yourself in the most beautiful mountains in the world, aka the Canadian Rockies, then odds are you’re within walking distance of some amazing views. The trick is just to know where to go. Boyfriend and I love being outdoors and we love to hike, luckily Alberta has some amazing walking trails that don’t require advanced equipment.
If you’re new to my blog then just know, I’m an obsessive planner and I tend to plan out my vacations to allow for zero flexibility, which sometimes takes away some of the fun and adventure. But I promise I’m getting better, during our Alberta trip, sometimes I only planned one hike a day and the “extra time” was just to be flexible and chill. Side note, the reason why I plan so much is because boyfriend and I would just chill and relax in the hotel if we didn’t have a plan. While flexibility is great in the mountains you’ll need to plan a little because the hikes can take a while to get to and some are long vs short. So you should have a plan, it doesn’t have to be nailed in stone but have a decent idea of what you want to do and see. This is a screenshot from my itinerary and you’ll notice I have a couple “?” for dinner and lunch places (trying to be flexible) but I have take into account how long it takes to drive places and how long the hikes are. This is good, not only for time, but as your prepping what to bring for the hike. For example, if it’s a 4 hour long hike then you might need water or snacks.
The town of Jasper is about 5 hours north of Calgary, so the terrain is more mountainous with that small town feel. That being said, you’re in the wilderness and can expect to see everything from elk to bears and mountains to waterfalls. It’s a great place to start your journey because hikes are short and sweet. It’s not hard to find amazing views in Jasper. Typically, it’s just a quick stroll from the parking lot to the main attraction. There are a couple of longer hikes (5+ hours) but boyfriend and I weren’t prepared for those. The weather dropped suddenly and we prepared for 50 degree weather and got 20 degree weather.
Maligne Canyon is really cool, but don’t expect to get good pictures here. You can get some good views on the bridges but for the most part you’re walking on top of the canyon and looking down. It’s cool, but a little anti climactic. However, if you’re going in the winter time, the entire thing freezes and there are tours that take you into the canyon. This looks amazing and I wish we could have done this.
Distance: 12 minute drive from Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge.
Time to Hike: 1 hour hike. Again, it’s really more of a stroll. The trail is paved with railing and you’re walking to good views of the canyon. In my opinion the best views are between bridges 1-3. The trail goes all the way up to 6 bridges but I didn’t think the last half was worth it.
Athabasca Falls is stunning, there is a calming river that flows to and from the falls so there is plenty of pretty turquoise water to see. The falls provide an awesome photo opp because their is a huge mountain right behind it, so it’s really cool.
Distance: 36 minute drive from Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge.
Time to Hike: The falls are right off the parking lot so it’s not really a hike, just strolling to multiple viewpoints along the falls. it took us around 30 minutes to do everything.
Sunwapta Falls was probably my favorite waterfall in Jasper. I will admit that it’s tricky to get photos of the falls with people in it, because you get the best view from the bridge. I ventured off the path and closer to the falls to get a picture of myself (boyfriend stood on bridge). Getting down to the falls was the only tricky part because the hill is really steep but once you’re there it wasn’t too slippery and there are a lot of rocks to stand on. I think in the summertime there is less ice and snow and you can get closer to the falls.
Distance: 20 minute drive from Athabasca Falls, an hour away from Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge.
Time to Hike: The falls are right off the parking lot, it took us around 15 minutes. There is a longer hike (around 2 km) that takes you to the lower falls but we opted not to this because the trail was covered in snow.
Now, technically this isn’t in Jasper, it’s about 45 minutes outside of Jasper. However, it’s completely worth it, how often do you get the chance to step out onto a glass platform and look out and below at a beautiful glacier?! For me, this experience was truly unique. Keep in mind it’s extremely windy and cold (if you go in the winter) because you’re completely exposed to the wind. The views are amazing and even if you’re afraid of heights and don’t want to step out onto the glass, they still have amazing views in areas that have a real floor.
It’s $32 for adult and $16 for kids. Keep in mind that you can save 10% if you book in advance on their website, here. Also, make sure to check their website, here, before you go because their hours change by the week.
Make sure to checkout the link above for the hikes that close during the winter season in Alberta!! The following are things that we couldn’t do because they were closed due to the snow… so come back next summer to see my review of these hikes. They do, however, fall within the perfect spot, right between Jasper and Banff. On our drive between Jasper and Banff, we planned to do the following hikes but with the snow storm that came early these two hikes were closed for the season. So note to self, if you’re going in the winter time, expect for a lot of trails to be closed. At first I thought this was stupid and there should be a sign that says ‘hike at your own risk’ but avalanches are actually really common so I wouldn’t risk it.
Distance: 2 hours from Jasper
Time to Hike: 0.3 mile hike, should take around 30 minutes
Distance: 2.5 hours from Jasper
Time to Hike: 3.8 mile hike, should take around 2 hours to hike