Hiking Close to the Town of Jasper
Jasper National Park is a top destination spot for Rockies hiking vacations. There are many, many miles of trails here to choose from, some offering long meandering hikes over mountain passes, or around beautiful lakes, some offering quick jaunts out into the woods.
Below, we’ve compiled a short list of hikes that are really close to Jasper, the town. They’re great for a day when you just need to get out and start walking, and don’t feel like driving much. Even if you don’t have a vehicle at your disposal in Jasper, these hikes are great because you can just walk right to them.
Cottonwood Creek and Pyramid Lake loops
You’ll use trails 2 and 2a or 2 and 2b for this trip. They are about 3.8 km (1-2 hours) on 2 and 2a, or 17.4 km (5-7 hours) on 2 and 2b.
To get the the trailheads for these hikes, go to the Jasper Activity Centre parking lot. You’ll find it in Jasper near start of Pyramid Lake Road. You can also start from the Cottonwood Slough parking lot, which is 2 km up Pyramid Lake Road, the Pyramid Stables (3.5 km) or Pyramid Lake (end of road).
Trail 2 starts with a solid climb of 60m to reach the Pyramid Bench. You’ll get great views of Jasper all the way. After 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.
If you want to keep hiking 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. If you’re lucky you’ll see bighorn sheep grazing on the slopes below you.
After a junction with Trail 2h, 2b climbs 120 m along a wooded ridge where openings give excellent 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 crosses behind a motel and through the woods for 1.5 km to the stables area, where you need to watch trail markers carefully. Cross the large parking lot there and find Trail 2 again at the far corner. Another half a kilometre and you’ll close the loop, 2.5 km from where you started.
Patricia Lake Circle
For this hike, you’ll use Trails 6 and 6c, which are about 4.6 km, for a 2-3 hour hike. You’ll find the trailhead at the riding-stables parking area at km 3.5 on the Pyramid Lake Road. You can also hike to it on Trail 2 from Jasper townsite.
This is a mostly easy trail with some moderate hills. From the trailhead kiosk by the horse stables, take Trail 6c across Pyramid Lake Road to the junction with Trail 6. Stay right, hiking uphill through aspen forest. Hike under a powerline and drop down to the shore of Patricia Lake, where you’ll have a chance of spotting loons.
Keep hiking past the junction with Trail 6ba shortcut, going uphill to reach Cottonwood Creek where you’ll find great views of Cottonwood Slough. This is a popular place for watching ducks, beavers and sometimes moose. From the slough, follow Trail 6 past the junction with 6a, then take 6c back to the stables parking lot.
Mina Lakes – Riley Lake Loop
To reach this hike take Trail 8 and 2, 9 km for about a 3-4 hour hike.
You’ll find the trailhead for this Jasper Activity Centre lot, near the start of the Pyramid Lake Road. Follow Trail 8 to the left. You can easily walk to this trail on foot from town.
This trail pays off almost immediately with great views, taking you to lower Mina Lake in less than 2 km. After an initial climb of 160 m, the trail follows the north side of the lakes, where you’ll have a chance to see Barrow’s goldeneye ducks and loons. Past upper Mina Lake you can shortcut back to town via Trail 8c. To get to Riley Lake, continue on Trail 8, following the trail along the south shore of Cottonwood Slough. At the junction with Trail 2, turn right to get back to Jasper.
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