South of Jasper – Alberta, Canada
By John Crawford
Senior Writer/Jasper National Park
JASPER, ALBERTA (CANADA) – To reach these trails south of Jasper, Alberta, take Highway 93 (the Icefields Parkway) south toward Lake Louise.
Trailhead: 9 km south on Highway 93.
The five small lakes are the highlights of this outing, which is a popular family hike. Trail 9a begins with an easy walk through a forest of lodgepole pine, reaching a boardwalk across the Wabasso Creek wetlands in the first kilometre. Watch for beavers. Beyond, the trail climbs across a flowery meadow to a junction. Continue on Trail 9a to reach Fifth Lake, with its small island and nesting loons. Watch for 9a markers leading left toward Fourth Lake, Third and Second, each a different depth and thus a different hue of bluegreen. Between Second and First lakes turn left onto Trail 9b and follow it to close the loop. Or keep going north to Old Fort Point, 10 km farther via trails 9a, 9 and 1, mostly in the woods. Note: Trail 9 is heavily used by cyclists.
Trailhead: 14.6 km south on Highway 93.
This trail crosses several low ridges, with a fine view from the last ridge across the Athabasca Valley to Mt. Edith Cavell and the reddish quartzite peaks north of it. Wabasso Lake was created by beavers. You can see their long, high dam at the northeast corner of the lake.
For a longer walk, follow Trail 9 around the lakeshore and 6 km north along grassy Wabasso Creek to the junction with Trail 9a (Five Lakes). It’s less than a kilometre back to the highway from here.
Cyclists: a local favorite ride is to do Trail 9 in its entirety, from Wabasso Lake to Old Fort Point, 21 km.
Please avoid skidding. Locking your brakes causes severe erosion.
When approaching other trail users, slow down. When passing from behind, sound your bike bell or call out well in advance, and ask to pass.
Pedestrians and horses have the right of way. When horses approach, you should stop, move your bike off the lower side of the trail and wait there until they pass by.