Jasper National Park: Where to Mountain Bike
Jasper National Park offers many great activities for Rockies vacations, especially when it comes to activities that involve exploring the park’s trail, such as hiking, horseback riding and backpacking. Mountain biking is another great way to experience the park’s trails, allowing you to cover long distances, and still get some exercise. Here are some excellent places to go mountain biking in Jasper.
West and Southwest Jasper Park
West of Jasper, Miette River continues to follow the Pyramid Bench, with more lakes. Here you’ll find some good Jasper bike trails.
Caledonia Lake and the Twenty-mile Loop
Follow trail 3 for a 4.2 km ride to Caledonia Lake and back or do a 24.6km ride total. You’ll find the trail head along Cabin Creek Road near the west side of Jasper, look for an primitive road branching to the right. There is a trailhead kiosk is by a gate, a short ride down the road.
An easy uphill ride of 1.8 km brings you to Marjorie Lake where you’ll often find the peaks south of the Miette River reflected. Ride 2km farther to slightly larger Caledonia Lake. This lake is popular with local runners and cyclists. From there the trail steepens somewhat on the way to Minnow Lake and the rest of the Twenty-mile Loop. Doing the whole thing makes for a half-day bike ride. It’s mostly in the woods, with muddy sections. On the return trip, stay on Trail 3 across the low dam on Cabin Lake.
South of town
To reach these trails, take a scenic drive down Highway 93, also known as the Icefields Parkway south toward Lake Louise.
Valley of the Five Lakes
Use trails 9a and 9b, which are 4.2 km with return. You’ll find the trailhead 9 km south of Jasper on Highway 93.
The five small lakes are the featured attraction of this popular ride. Trail 9a begins with an easy ride through a forest of lodgepole pine, taking you to a boardwalk across the Wabasso Creek wetlands in the first kilometre. From there, the trail climbs across a flower meadow to a trail junction. Keep riding on Trail 9a to arrive at Fifth Lake, where you’ll find a 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 First and Second lakes, turn left onto Trail 9b and follow it to complete the loop, or continue north to Old Fort Point, another 10 km via trails 9a, 9 and 1, mostly in the woods.
Wabasso Lake or Wabasso – Five Lakes
For this ride, take trail 9, for either a 6.2 km or a 11 km ride. You’ll find the trailhead 14.6 km south on Highway 93.
You’ll ride over a series of low ridges, with a nice view when you reach the last ridge across the Athabasca Valley to Mt. Edith Cavell and the beautifully reddish peaks north of it.
If you want a longer ride, take 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.
Across the river
You’ll find these biking trails on the east side of the Athabasca River, across from Jasper. Reach them by going east on Highway 16 for 1.9 km to the Moberly Bridge, or south on Highway 93A for 0.6 km, then left to cross the river on the Old Fort Point bridge.
Jasper Park Lodge to Maligne Canyon
On these ride you’ll use trails 7e. The ride is 7.7 km one way. To get to the trailhead, go to the visitor parking at Jasper Park Lodge.
This is a long trail, that stays mostly in the woods, with some decent uphill sections. From the northeast corner of the parking lot, follow the yellow 7e markers to the junction with Trail 7. Three kilometres of easy walking or cycling through a mixed forest of lodgepole pine, spruce and old-growth Douglas-fir brings you to a marsh near a junction with the Lake Edith gated road. Stay on Trail 7 as it swings right and begins the climb to the upper parking lot at Maligne Canyon.
From Maligne Canyon, cyclists can use Trail 7h to bypass the hiker-only section of Trail 7. Horses should take Trail 7f. Both can rejoin 7 and follow it to Sixth Bridge. The route loops back to Jasper Park Lodge along the Athabasca River. Total loop distance: 16 km.
A few rules for mountain bikers:
- 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.