We spent 3 nights in Jasper and did several of the short walks from the town.
OLD FORT TRAIL
This is the prominent small hill which rises sharply 130m above the river. For the geographers it is a classic example of a roche moutonnée, with a rounded south side, and a steep cliff on the north side. From the top there are excellent views of Jasper and the surrounding area.
There is a 3.5km way marked loop trail to the top of the hill. We decided to go up the steep way and back down the long slope. There was a staircase at the bottom of the cliff and the trail then climbed steeply up the ridge to the top. We had full sun on our backs and it was a very hot and steep climb. We wouldn’t want to go down this way – it was too steep for comfort. It was also slightly hazy so views weren’t as good as the description in the guide books. The path then loops back through uninspiring forest back to the base. This is the easier way up but is still a long slog. In places the path was loose gravel and your feet could slide on this.
We didn’t feel this trail lived up to expectation and wouldn’t bother with it again.
FIVE LAKES TRAIL
This is just south of Jasper and is justifiably described as one of the best valley bottom hikes. There is a small car park at the start of the trail which soon gets full.
There are two loop trails a shorter 5km loop or a longer 9km loop. We decided to do the shorter loop. Both trails drop down across the bridge over Wabasso Creek, a wide open valley with grassland and a few shrubs and trees and views of the distant mountains. The trails climbing up the far side through woodland and then contour along the side of the valley past the lakes. The woodland is fairly open in places and we did get good views of the lakes with their deep green water.
This was a pleasant short walk with some good views.
PATRICIA LAKE TRAILS
There is a network of waymarked trails in the hills around Patricia Lake. Trails are numbered and it is possible to design your own routes.
We parked by the Pyramid Riding Stables and headed to Cottonwood Slough Lookout and Patricia Lake.
Cottonwood Slough is a large wet area in the bottom of a valley. Beaver activity has killed the trees on the valley floor and raised the water table resulting in the growth of bog plants. The rest of the walk was through forest with very restricted views. The clouds were rolling over and it was beginning to drizzle by the time we reached Lake Patricia so we didn’t see it at its best.
Even so we felt this was another disappointing walk which didn’t live up to expectation.
There is a daily entrance fee to Jasper National Park. There are no additional charges for parking.
There is information about trails around Jasper on the Parks Canada website here.
We visited Jasper as part of a five week trip to Canada. There is an overall report of the trip here.
I have written a series of detailed reports for some of the places visited for Silver Travel.