Hiking the Opal Hills Trail in Jasper, Alberta
JASPER, ALBERTA—Canada—The Opal Hills trail in Jasper National Park boasts some of the most beautiful wildflowers in the Canadian Rockies. A loop trail leading to a lofty vantage point of Maligne Lake, the Opal Hills trailhead is attainable by following the Maligne Lake Road and parking at the first parking area on the left, at the 43 kilometer point.
Some Vital Numbers for the Opal Hills Trail—Jasper National Park
Hiking Distance: Opal Hills is about a 9km loop.
Hiking Time: It will take anywhere from 2.5 hours to 5 hours to complete the opal hills circuit, depending upon your view or lunch breaks.
Choosing a Hiking Route on the Opal Hills Trail of Jasper, Canada
Once you’ve made it to the trailhead, follow the path to the “Lake Trail Loop” and turn left. The trail itself moves right after a little more than 100 meters. Ignore the second intersection and continue straight until you reach the trail junction where the Opal Hills trail begins its ascent into the Canadian Rockies.
Here, you have a choice. Hikers looking for the fastest way to the top should turn right; if you have a little more time and are looking for an easier hike, turn left. The quickest route to the Opal Hills summit features another fork in the road at kilometer 2.8; the path to the right leads to a viewpoint through the trees. Continuing straight ahead takes you up another half a kilometer to the summit, where the path fades into the hillside.
Returning to Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park
Once you’ve enjoyed the view and you’re ready for your descent, hike back to the trail sign and turn right. Here, you will encounter a stream that can be crossed either by turning right and hiking over a steep embankment or by hiking down a few meters past the trail sign and taking the clear hiking path to the right.
After you find the main hiking trail, follow it back to the rockslide pile and descend into the Opal Hills Loop junction located at kilometer 1.7. Continue hiking down to the valley until you come back to the trailhead.
Tips for Hiking in the Canadian Rockies
Wildlife is abundant in the peaks of the Canadian Rockies, and the Opal Hills trail has been known to feature some furry characters. Grizzly bears can frequent these hiking trails and adventure seekers ought to be cautious.
Be sure to take advantage of this beautiful vantage point by arriving on a clear day. You can check out the weather conditions before your stay in the Canadian Rockies at our user-controlled, streaming camera that offers a live view of Jasper, Canada.