Jacques Lake

Semi-primitive

This unique trail travels through a narrow mountain valley, skirts four lakes and crosses a watershed—all in less than 13 km and with little change in elevation.


The details

  • 24.4 km return on the same trail, 1-2 days
  • Elevation gain: 240 m, elevation loss: 185 m
  • Maximum elevation: 1540 m
  • Fires are permitted at Jacques Lake Campground

This is a great one-night backpacking trip. The trail has very little elevation (240 m) and starts out on an old fire road for the first 4.8 km. At 1.6 km you will arrive at Beaver Lake, a beautiful small lake with nice views. Continue on the trail for 3.2 km and you will arrive at the Summit Lakes. Some people will choose to ride their bikes to these lakes, then lock them up and continue the final 7.6 km on foot. The trail from Summit to Jacques Lake is an easy hike through a dense forest with many small creeks. Once you arrive at the campground, which sits right next to Jacques Lake, you are rewarded with beautiful views of the Queen Elizabeth Range.

What you need to know

The Jacques Lake Trail is a great early or late season hike; it can be quite muddy throughout the season but is generally in good condition. Watch for moose at the campground at dusk and dawn, they are quite commonly seen here.

Special considerations

The trail east of Jacques Lake Campground is impassable due to trail damage and fallen trees due to a large forest fire. The campground is a wildlife travel corridor. Always hang your food from the bear pole and keep the eating area clean.

Suggested itineraries

Two-day option
Hike to the campground (12.2 km) and return the following day.

Campground information
Campground information
Campground Description # of sites Fire pit UTM
Jacques Lake
Elevation: 1495 m
This campground is located next to Jacques Lake. It offers wonderful views of the Queen Elizabeth Range. 8 Yes 11U 449874-5865109

Trail distances (in km)
Trail distances (in km)
- Trailhead Beaver Lake Summit Lakes Jacques Lake
Trailhead - 1.6 4.7 12.2
Beaver Lake 1.6 - 3.2 10.6
Summit Lakes 4.7 3.2 - 9
Jacques Lake 12.2 10.6 9 -

Elevation profile

Elevation Profile

Maps, GPS data and elevations are provided for reference purposes only. Maps are not meant for navigation. Parks Canada Agency (PCA) makes no guarantees, representations or warranties respecting these data, either expressed or implied. PCA assumes no responsibility for damages or other liabilities due to the accuracy, availability, use or misuse of the information herein provided.

Alpine Club of Canada (ACC) cabin

The Jacques Lake Cabin is open to the public from November 1 to April 15 only. The cabin is located 300 m past the Jacques Lake campground, on the east side of the bridge across the lake’s outlet stream. Use of the cabin requires a reservation from the ACC and a Parks Canada backcountry permit. Reservations can be made at alpineclubofcanada.ca or by calling (403) 678-3200.

Cabin location: 52.933210° N 117.742918° W; UTM 450066 m E 5865099 m N.

Avalanche hazards

Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale (ATES) for Jacques Lake trail: 1 (simple)

Custodial groups may travel with no specific leadership or custodial permitting requirements. Avoid backcountry travel entirely when the avalanche danger is rated HIGH or EXTREME. Visit the Parks Canada avalanche information.

Ice safety

Ensure the ice is safe before travelling on lakes.

  • The Red Cross recommends an ice thickness of at least 15 cm for lake travel.
  • Springs at remain open throughout the winter are common.
  • Earlier tracks on lakes do not guarantee ice safety.
  • More information on skating on ponds, lakes and rivers here.

Directions to trailhead

From Jasper
Take Highway 16 east towards Edmonton. Two km from Jasper, turn right across the bridge onto Maligne Road. Continue for 28 km south on the Maligne Road to the south end of Medicine Lake. Turn left into the Jacques Lake parking lot.

Safety in the backcountry

You are responsible for your own safety. Be prepared for extreme weather and mountainous terrain. There is no cell phone coverage in this area.

Trail report
Before leaving, check the Jasper National Park Trail Report for up-to-date conditions at www.pc.gc.ca/jaspertrails

Trail offices
Trail Information, 780-852-6177

General information
Jasper Information Centre, 780-852-6176
EMERGENCY: call 780-852-3100
877-852-3100

Carry a topo map
NTS 1:50,000: Medicine Lake 83C/13
National Geographic 1:100,000: Jasper South

Leave no Trace

Food storage
To reduce your campsite’s attractiveness to bears, all food, garbage, toiletries and cooking equipment must be stored in the lockers provided at designated campsites. Please keep lockers clean and do not leave any food or garbage behind; Parks staff do not clean them. In wildland camping areas, bear-resistant containers are strongly recommended to store food.

Human waste
Use the pit toilet provided. When there are no facilities nearby, select a spot away from trails, campsites and at least 70 m from water sources. Dig a hole 12 to 16 cm into the dark-coloured, biologically active soil layer. Loosely fill the hole with soil afterward. Use as little toilet paper as possible.