Lakes dot the area around Jasper National Park, and the Athabasca River flows through the valley to the north and the Arctic Ocean. The rivers and lakes of Alberta’s Rockies find their source in the glaciers and icefields of the region, and water levels change distinctly between the spring melt and the fall freeze. Make sure to visit the area’s gorgeous lakes during every season, to appreciate their full natural beauty.
Easily accessible via Pyramid Lake Road, behind the townsite, these are the most visited lakes around Jasper, with Pyramid Lake even offering a beach where many people swim. Residents leave their canoes on the banks year-round, and both lakes are popular for skiing and cross-country skiing in the winter. During a stay in Jasper, it is imperative to take a photo of Pyramid Mountain reflected in its namesake.
Lac Beauvert (Beauvert Lake) has Jasper Park Lodge on one side and the famous golf course on the east side. If you visit the main lodge, walk through to the back to look out over the lake and see its greenish colors. As the land around the lake is flat, it’s an excellent place for a relaxing stroll.
Sitting atop Maligne Valley, this lake is the largest one in Jasper National Park and a must-visit. With Mount Brazeau at its southern end, Maligne is breathtakingly gorgeous. Not only is this area moose country, the river of the same name is also home to protected harlequin ducks. There is a lodge, and for the adventurous, there are boat tours to Spirit Island and canoe or kayak rentals.
East of town on the road to Hinton and Edmonton, Jasper Lake is a flood plain of the Athabasca River. While it appears to be large, it’s deceptive because the lake is extremely shallow. It’s so shallow that this is one of those rare spots where you can be photographed walking on water. Late spring is the best time to experience this.
A favorite of tour guides, this large basin lies roughly halfway between the Jasper townsite and Maligne Lake. The river channel has water all year, but much of the lake drains out through porous limestone caverns, rather than down the obvious Maligne River channel. The lake is popular for fishing, birdwatching and sightseeing.
On the benchlands behind the south side of Jasper are numerous well-marked hiking and jogging trails that lead to a series of small and medium lakes. This area is very popular with the locals, but with only 4,500 permanent residents, the busiest days are even quiet. Cabin Lake offers a nice 2.5hr walking loop any time of year.