Hiking the Overlander Trail in Jasper, Alberta

JASPER, ALBERTA—Canada—Visitors to Jasper National Park can experience both quality hiking and a dose of history by choosing the Overlander trail in the Maligne Canyon. The hike has been used by early Jasper visitors as early as 1862, when the Overlanders hiked the trail.

Vital Numbers for the Overlander Trail of the Canadian Rockies

Hiking Distance: About 16km one way.
Hiking Time: It will take from 4 to 7 hours to hike the Overlander trail, depending upon breaks and speed, as it is a one-way path.

Reaching the Trailhead in Jasper National Park

Hikers can begin their adventure by following Highway 16 towards Edmonton and turning right onto the Maligne Lake road. Continue on to the sixth bridge and park at the picnic area. The trailhead is located across the road from the Maligne Lake trailhead.

Navigating the Overlander Trail of the Rockies

Once you’ve found the trailhead, begin your journey by taking the immediate left that winds its way alongside the Maligne River. Hikers will pass through a marsh before again meeting up with the main trail. Once here, keep to the path and avoid running into the government compounds to the east.

The hike will now lead through forest towards the Garonne Creek, where history lovers can watch out for John Moberly’s 100-year-old homestead. From here, you will climb a hill to the next forested section of the hike, which features the bubbling mineral springs of the Athabasca River. Don’t be surprised if the air smells slightly of sulfur.

From here, the hike continues up a scenic mountain bench with views well worth checking out. Don’t let the scenery distract you too much, however as narrow, steep sections do exist here. After a stretch, you’ll come to a hiking trail that turns left, which leads to some decent rock climbing. Simply continuing right will lead hikers to an elevated hike that will eventually descend into Sulpher Springs, the last leg of the trail.

Tips For Hiking the Overlander Trail in Jasper, Alberta

Savvy hikers will bring two cars to the Overlander hike, parking one at the trailhead and the other at the end of the hike, located 18.1 km past the Jasper east exit along Highway 16.

Wildlife can also be a concern, as grizzly bears have been known to frequent the Overlander hiking trail. Bighorn sheep are also known to roam near the northern end of the trail.

So if you’re up for some steep climbs, frontier history and an encounter with the wildlife of the Canadian Rockies, make sure to include Overlander trail on your list of things to do during your vacation in Jasper, Alberta.

When hiking and looking for things to do in Banff and Jasper, book all of your Canadian Rockies activities at Jasper Vacations, the official activities provider for Jasper National Park.

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