Jasper National Park’s Pyramid Lake Area
By Amanda May
If you’re looking for a beautiful day trip out of the town of Jasper, head to the Pyramid Lake area of Jasper National Park. You’ll be rewarded with panoramic views, mountain wildlife and more Canadian Rockies fresh air than you can handle.
To get to the lakes area, take Connaught Drive in Jasper to Cedar Avenue. Take a right on Cedar Avenue. This avenue turns into Pyramid Lake road after passing the Recreation Centre. Climb this meandering road through a huge fir forest (some trees up to a meter in diameter!).
The great Canadian glaciers carved the valleys that the Athabasca River flows in today. The Pyramid Bench was created in the same way, leaving 20 small lakes behind.
A network of trails go by the tranquil ponds- a great hiking experience! You may run into elk, deer, beavers, and even an occasional moose, black bear or grizzly.
The amount of calm water in the area also makes it one of Jasper National Park’s best areas for birding. Bring your binoculars and watch for Barred owl, Pied-Billed Grebe and Barrow’s Goldeneye.
One of the lakes you cannot access is Cabin Lake, protected by a gated road because it is the town of Jasper’s main water supply.
Mountain bikers love the fire roads that lead to the Saturday Night Loop, a 28.9 km (17.3 mile) trail that runs along the shorelines of several area lakes.
Further along the road, you’ll find Patricia Lake. This lake has a unique history. During World War II, the site was home to Winston Churhill’s “Project Habbakuk.” The project consisted of building an unsinkable battleship made completely of ice. A scale model prototype was built and managed to stay afloat during the whole summer of 1943.
The project was eventually abandoned when the calculations for the full ship were made. The astronomical cost of refrigeration sunk the ship. Divers routinely explore the bottom of the lake to marvel at the remains of this unique structure.
Stay at the Patricia Lake Bungalows for a quiet vacation in the wilderness or press on down the road. Paddle boats are available for rent at the bungalows.
When you do reach the end of the road, you’ll see Pyramid Lake. Rent a boat at the Pyramid Lake Bungalows and get out on the water to explore it! This lake also allows gasoline-powered motorboats. In the summer, it’s a great place to catch a rainbow or lake trout, whitefish or white suckerfish. In the winter, a lighted skating rink is maintained on the lake surface.
Year round the Pyramid Lakes area is a great Canadian Rockies destination!