Jasper National Park of Canada
If you like to hike in the park's high country, you normally have to wait until mid-June for the snow to goexcept in the Miette Hotsprings area, where the trails are usually clear by late May, when the road to the hot pool opens. It closes in mid-October. Check with park staff for exact opening and closing dates.
Take Highway 16 east toward Edmonton for 42 km, then turn right toward Miette Hotsprings. The 17-km Miette Road is narrow, winding and scenic; you might want to stop at the Ashlar Ridge Viewpoint at 8.9km.
This road is also renowned for black-bear sightings. If you do see a bear, stay in your car and never, ever offer a bear any food. Food-habituated bears quickly create serious problems. They can be relocated, but usually they keep returning and often must be destroyed. As the wardens say, A fed bear is a dead bear.
Bighorn sheep are present in the pool area all summer long. They are used to being around people. Feel free to observe and photograph the sheep, but don't feed them.
Sulphur Pass via Fiddle River Trail
5.2 km return (2-3 hours)
Trailhead: as you enter the parking lot for the pool, note the small picnic area on the right. Park at the far end of it, where a paved trail angles gently down to Sulphur Creek.
The path leads 500 m to the old pool building, now a ruin. Walk through the ruin and continue up the creek 200 m to the hot springs themselves, where the sulphurous water comes out of the rock. Interpretive signs here explain how the springs work. Farther on, the trail crosses the creeksometimes impassable at high waterand climbs 150 m to the pass, which offers a break in the forest and a fine wildflower display.
You can extend your day-hike beyond the pass, where the trail drops steeply down to the Fiddle River, but the route is mainly a back-packing trip.
9.6 km return (4-6 hours)
Trailhead: park in the pool lot and walk up the steps toward the entrance, where there is a passenger drop-off loop. A wide paved path branches from the loop, leading uphill past the trailhead information kiosk.
If you'd like to reach the summit of a peak, take this challenging trail. The total elevation gain is nearly 700m. You climb steadily across on open mountainside for 2.2 km to Shuey Pass, elevation 1815m, where the trail splits. Take the right branch. The trail switchbacks up, angles across another open slope and arrives at the treeline, where you pass a large boulder of white quartzitea glacial erratic that was carried all the way from the Jasper area during the ice ages. Here the well-graded trail becomes a steep, stony path. Keep going; you'll reach the summit of the mountain, elevation 2050 m, sooner than you might think. Guard your lunch here. The golden-mantled ground squirrels that live among the summit rocks are very bold!
The view is spectacular. To the east you can see right over the mountain front and across the foothills. The gravelly valley of the Fiddle River winds to the southeast; Utopia Mountain (2563 m) and other gray limestone peaks of the Miette Range are close by to the south and west, and the great cliffs of Ashlar Ridge line the valley to the north.
Caution: this area is well-known for afternoon thunderstorms. Start early, and stay below the treeline if the weather looks threatening.
Map-signs and trail markers
To help you find your way around the town-area trail network, the Friends of Jasper National Park have provided map-signs at trail intersections. These signs show you exactly where you are. They are oriented such that you are looking north when standing directly in front of one.
To make extra sure you don't take a wrong turn, the Friends have also installed numbered trail markers at each intersection. Just look around and find the yellow marker with the number of the trail you want. You'll also find these handy trail markers at intersections with animal trails and unofficial trails, and at other places where it might be easy to lose your way.
If you see a damaged sign, please report it at the Park Information Centre in Jasper.
Jasper Trail Stewards
Caring for a World Heritage Site
Founded in 2001, the Jasper Trail Stewards group includes avid trail users, park staff and researchers. The idea is to tap local knowledge and experience, to combine that with wildlife research results and park-management goals, and to provide everyone with good trail experienceswhile maintaining the health of the park, which is part of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site. For more information about the stewards, contact Parks Canada at 780-852-6162.
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.