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Jasper National Park

Pyramid Bench

The trail routes described below are on the Pyramid Bench, a lake-dotted terrace adjacent to Jasper. If you have no transportation, please note that these trails are easily reached on foot from town.

Pyramid Trail

moderate
Trails 15 (moderate); 5,2 km one way; 118 m elevation gain; 1-2 hours

Trailheads : Jasper Activity Centre parking lot, near start of Pyramid Lake Road.

Use this connector as your gravel freeway to the Pyramid Bench trail system.

Cottonwood Creek Loop

moderate    easy
Trails 2, 2a (moderate) and 11 (easy); 5,1 km return; 60 m elevation; 1-2 hours

Trailheads : Jasper Activity Centre parking lot, near start of Pyramid Lake Road.

From town, Trail 2 begins with a steady climb of 60m onto the Pyramid Bench, with a good view of the town along the way. Crossing the gated road to Cabin Lake, Trail 2 continues to the Cottonwood Slough parking lot and crosses the Pyramid Lake Road. Shortly past Cottonwood Creek, you reach a junction with Trail 2a. Turning right onto 2a takes you back to the north end of town along the creek, for a short walk of 1 to 2 hours.

To continue to Pyramid Lake, follow Trail 2 past the junction with Trail 6a and angle right onto Trail 2b. Soon the path climbs across an open hillside, giving you the first of many fine views of the Athabasca Valley.

Trail 2b follows the edge of the Pyramid Bench for 2km. You may see bighorn sheep grazing on the grassy slopes below you. The forest is mostly old-growth Douglas-fir, an evergreen easily identified by its furrowed bark.

After the junction with Trail 2h, Trail 2b begins a steady climb of 120 m along a wooded ridge with openings that offer exceptional views. This scenic section is known as the Pyramid Overlook. The trail descends to the Pyramid Lake parking lot, where it rejoins Trail 2.

For the return leg of the loop, follow Trail 2 beside the Pyramid Lake Road. The path goes behind a motel and through the woods for 1.5 km to the complicated stables area, where you need to follow the markers carefully. Cross the large parking lot there and find the continuation of Trail 2 at the far corner. Half a kilometre later you'll close the loop, 2.5 km from where you started.

Note: the loop section of this hike is heavily used by horses, especially near the stables.

Patricia Lake Circle

moderate
Trails 6, 6c and 6 (moderate); 4.8 km return; 75 m elevation gain; 2-3 hours

Trailhead: Pyramid riding-stables parking area at km 3.5 on the Pyramid Lake Road.

This is an easy trail with moderate hills. From the trailhead kiosk by the stables, take Trail 6c across the Pyramid Lake Road to the junction with Trail 6. Keep right, uphill through aspen groves. Pass under a powerline and descend to the shore of Patricia Lake, where you may see loons. Patricia Lake was named for Princess Patricia of Connaught, a governor-general's daughter.

Continue past the junction with Trail 6ba shortcut, but uphillto reach Cottonwood Creek and a fine view of Cottonwood Slough. This is a favorite spot for watching ducks and beavers. You may see a moose. From the slough, follow Trail 6 past the junction with 6a, then take 6c back to the stables parking lot.

Mina - Riley Lakes Loop

moderate
Trails 8 (moderate); 9 km loop; 172 m elevation gain/loss; 3-4 hours

Trailhead: Jasper Activity Centre lot, near the start of the Pyramid Lake Road. Follow Trail 8 to the left. This trailhead is easily reached on foot from town.

Rewards come early on this popular trail, which takes you to lower Mina Lake in less than 2 km. After the initial steady climb of 160 m, the trail follows the north side of the lakes (locally pronounced MINE-uh, significance unknown), where you may see Barrow's goldeneye ducks and loons. Past upper Mina Lake you can shortcut back to town via Trail 8c. To reach Riley Lake, small but scenic, continue on Trail 8, following it along the south shore of Cottonwood Slough. At the junction with Trail 2, turn right to get back to Jasper.

Explore the Trails

Jasper's Easy Trails System                      Pyramid Bench
Across the River South of Town
West and Southwest of Jasper Mount Edith Cavell Area
Maligne Lake Area Icefield Parkway
Geraldines Lakes Area Miette Hotsprings Area