Jasper National Park of Canada
Mt. Edith Cavell
The Cavell area offers fragrant subalpine forest, new growth where a glacier recently retreated from the valley, flowery alpine meadows, and spectacular views of Mt. Edith Cavell and the Angel Glacier.
To get to the trailheads, go 7 km south of Jasper on Highway93 and turn right onto Highway 93A. Travel 5.4 km and turn right onto the Cavell Road. The 12-km road is narrow and has tight switchbacks that are unsuitable for trailers (drop-off area at the start) and large motor-homes. En route, pull-offs offer views of the lush Astoria Valley and the glaciers at its head.
Warning: throughout the Cavell area, hikers should stay on the trails and away from the cliffs, where there is danger from falling boulders and avalanches of snow and ice. Do not approach the Angel Glacier. House-size blocks of ice crash down.
Path of the Glacier Loop
1.6 km return (1-2 hours)
Trailhead: end of the Cavell Road.
This short, well-used trail takes you toward the great north face of Mt. Edith Cavell, across a rocky landscape recently covered with glacial ice. Signs explain how the area is now being recolonized by plants and animals.
Start at the far end of the parking lot, by a display about Edith Cavell herself, and take the short stairway up to the trail, which is paved at the beginning. It climbs steadily for half a kilometre to a junction near the end of the pavement. Continue straight ahead to Cavell Pond, which laps the ice of the Cavell Glacier. You may see icebergs that have fallen into the water. Across the valley the Angel Glacier rests her wings in the cirque between Mt. Edith Cavell (left) and Sorrow Peak (right). Follow the trail back along Cavell Creek to the parking lot.
Cavell Meadows Loop
8 km return (3-6 hours), elevation gain 400 m
Trailhead: see Path of the Glacier, previous item.
Take this moderately steep but well-graded trail to see classic examples of upper-subalpine forest, treeline vegetation and the alpine region beyond. Along the way there are spectacular views of Angel Glacier.
The upper section of the trail is often wet and easily damaged in early summertravel not recommendedbut by mid-July you can usually count on a colorful display of mountain wildflowers. Important: stay on the trail, so you don't damage the fragile tundra.
Follow the Path of the Glacier Loop to the end of the paved portion, turning hard left soon after onto the route to the meadows. Where the trail follows the edge of the bouldery moraine, watch for little gray pikas and chipmunk-like golden-mantled ground squirrels among the rocks. The trail levels out at treeline, angles left and loops back down to rejoin itself at the edge of the forest.
You will almost certainly see wildlife on your outing. Birds, squirrels, deer, elk, moose, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, bears, coyotesthe list of possibilities is long.
Are the larger animals dangerous? Any animal can be aggressive if it feels threatened. Stay at least 50 m away from female elk in the spring calving season and male elk in the fall rutting season, and at least 100m away from bears. (Read the Parks Canada's information Bears and People.)
Never approach or feed a park animal. It could hurt you, and, in one way or another, feeding will usually kill it. Feeding wildlife is unlawful.
Animals are used to seeing people on the trails described in this brochure. If an animal knows where to expect you, there's a better chance that it will not react aggressively when you encounter it.
But if you're not on the trailif you're short-cutting through the woods, saythen you may startle an animal such as a bear. This is a dangerous situation. For your safety, and to give the park wildlife enough room to carry on their lives, stay on the trails.
Jasper National Park Summer Trails Guide
Hike, bike and ride in a great national park
Elk, bison, bighorn sheep, moose, mountain goats and caribou must have established their own pathways in Jasper National Park long before humans arrived in the Canadian Rockies about 11,000 years ago. Aboriginal peoples discovered and used these hoofed-animal trails. In the 1800s, non-native explorers, fur-company employees, railway surveyors and settlers followed.
The park was founded in 1907. Since then, its natural trail network has been expanded and maintained for the benefit of everyone wanting to experience Jasper's wildlands. Whether you're strolling the short Mary Schäffer Loop, hiking all day in the Bald Hills, mountain-biking the Wabasso Trail or riding a horse near Pyramid Lake, there is something in this guide for you.
A few of Jasper's trails are restricted to pedestrians, but much of the network is shared by hikers, mountain-bikers, equestrians and wildlife. We'd like to keep it that way. You can help by following the rules of courtesy and wildlife protection found in the colored boxes in this guide.
Note: distances given in the trail descriptions are approximate to a destination and back, around a loop, or from one parking area to another. Except as noted, times given are total on-trail times for hikers.