Jasper National Park is vast, beautiful and generally quite dry. There are hiking trails throughout the park, from easy day hikes to multi-day treks, but do be aware that the area is wild and home to many bears. Parks Canada has a clear expectation (and official rules) about not leaving any trash and being prepared with bear spray. For longer hikes, always pack water and snacks, and plan for changes in the weather. Sunglasses, hats and sunscreen are highly recommended, while cleats are very useful during winter.
Hiking Trail, Historical Landmark
About 30 minutes east of Jasper townsite, this short interpretive walk is flat and easy, with plaques and storyboards that give the history of the trading fort. Jasper House was strategically established as an access point for the Yellowhead Trail. Why is it called the Yellowhead Trail? Because it’s where the indigenous people met blond people for the first time. The 3mi (4.8km) Jasper House walk will take around an hour to complete.
An easy walk from town, Old Fort Point is a large hill beside the Athabasca River. Only ever cross the rail tracks that are a designated crossing (or you may be fined). The walk to the base of Old Fort Point is flat, and over 80 steps lead up to a lovely view over the river, where you can watch rafters floating by. Farther up, you may meet bighorn sheep, and there is a marked loop trail down the back.
Fancy Jasper Park Lodge sits on one edge of Lac Beauvert (Beauvert Lake), and the famous Jasper golf course runs along the east side. This area is beautiful and flat, making it an excellent place for walking, and is reachable from either the lodge or Old Fort Point.
This hike in Maligne Canyon can be just about as long or as short as you desire and is more of a requirement than an option. This area is spectacular at any time of the year, well marked and easy to reach by road. In the winter, wear ice cleats and visit the canyon from the inside.
Up the road behind Jasper, Pyramid Lake is where residents play year-round. There are numerous short walks and a small island connected to a wooden bridge. The area can be a little too busy on summer weekends, but it’s otherwise a must-visit. In summer, go as early as possible to enjoy perfect reflections, and in winter, make sure to walk out on the ice.
The Overlander Trail is 10mi (16km) one way and is the historic route where traders would abandon their canoes and walk or ride “overland” across the pass. The trail follows the Athabasca Valley and is as popular with wildlife as it is with people. It’s well marked and maintained by Parks Canada.