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Jasper winter hikes: 8 amazing hikes you must do

Are you heading to Jasper and looking for the best Jasper winter hikes? We got you covered.

Jasper, located in Alberta, Canada is a beautiful town in the legendary Jasper National Park.

It is an ideal place to visit if you want to experience the best of what the Canadian outdoors has to offer, from the beautiful Pyramid Lake to the breathtaking Maligne Canyon.

Jasper is a great place to try a variety of winter activities, such as snowboarding, snowshoeing, ice skating, and hiking!

Read on to learn about the best Jasper hikes in winter.

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Overview of best winter hikes in Jasper

Here’s a comparison table of all the hikes that we cover in this post. Read on for a short description of all the hikes.

Best winter hikes Jasper

Distance Difficulty level Route type Highlights
Lake Annette is a great winter hike in the Jasper area Lake Annette

2.74 km

Easy

Loop

The chance to see wildlife near the trail!
Lake Beauvert, close to Jasper, is a great place for a winter hike Lake Beauvert Loop

3.5 km

Easy

Loop

The scenery of the mountains and the lake
The Five Lakes Valley in Summer Valley of the Five Lakes

4.6 km

Moderate

Loop

The stunning views of the sparking blue-green lakes
Go hiking in Maligne Canyon to see this spectacular landscape Maligne Canyon

Various

Moderate

Upper rim: Out & back or loop if you descend into the canyon

The opportunity to hike on a frozen river!
The Maligne Lake Boathouse in the winter Mary Schäffer Loop

2.9 km

Easy

Loop

The beautiful views of Lake Maligne are unmatched
Mooses can be seen around Jasper all year round Moose Lake Loop

2.7km

Easy

Loop

The wildlife – including moose!
The frozen Athabasca Falls in Winter Athabasca Falls

500 meters

Easy

Out and Back

The views of the impressive Athabasca Falls
Upper and Lower Sunwapta Falls

Upper: 100m and Lower: 2.8 kilometers

Easy

Out and Back

The views of the powerful waterfalls, the mountains, and the pine trees
These great winter hikes in Jasper National Park offer opportunities to see wildlife such as this bighorn sheep Wilcox Trail and Viewpoint

3.4 kilometers to the first viewpoint, 9.3 kilometers to the top

Easy

Out and Back

The incredible views of the Athabasca glacier and Columbia Icefields

Best winter hikes in Jasper around town

Here we share the best winter hikes near downtown Jasper.

Lake Annette is a great winter hike in the Jasper area
Beautiful Lake Annette in Winter

Lake Annette

  • Distance: 2.74 kilometers
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Time needed: 40 minutes
  • Elevation gain: 86.9 meters
  • Route type: Loop
  • Highlights: The chance to see wildlife near the trail!

Short description of the trail

The Lake Annette Loop is an easy winter hike in Jasper with photo opportunities and the chance to see some wild animals!

As the name suggests, the trail loops around Lake Annette.

It is a paved, flat pathway that takes hikers through the forested areas and along the lake shorelines.

Hikers have been known to see various wildlife, including elk swimming in the lake!

There are benches along the pathway if you want to take breaks and admire the scenery along the way.

The hike is great for families and all ages and fitness levels.

Dogs are allowed on this trail as long as they are kept on a leash the entire time.

How to reach the starting point of the hike

Lake Annette Loop is located outside of Jasper.

Head to the Old Lodge Road, and then turn left onto Lake Annette Road, then follow the signs to the parking lot.

Where to start the Lake Annette hike

The trailhead starts near the parking lot.

What people are saying about this hike

This is a quick but beautiful hike! It took me under an hour and I stopped frequently along the way to take pictures.

Conclusion

The Lake Annette Loop is a great Jasper winter hike for all ages! Hiking this trail is an easy way to experience the beautiful outdoors.

Lake Beauvert, close to Jasper, is a great place for a winter hike
Lake Beauvert at the entrance of the Jasper Park Lodge

Lake Beauvert Loop

  • Distance: 3.5 Kilometers
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Time needed: 1.5 – 2 hours
  • Elevation gain: 78 meters
  • Route type: Loop
  • Highlights: The scenery of the mountains and the lake

Short description of the trail:

Lake Beauvert Loop is a beautiful trail with stunning views of the sparkling emerald lake and the nearby mountains.

The route takes hikers through the forested areas and along the beautiful shores.

There are many lookout points along the way to enjoy these incredible views.

It is not uncommon to see elk or deer from the trail.

If you see elk, deer, or any other animals, it’s important to admire them from a distance! Don’t approach any wildlife you might encounter along the way.

Dogs are allowed on this trail as long as they are kept on a leash the entire time.

How to reach the starting point of the hike

From Jasper, head toward Miette Ave.

Turn left onto AB-16, following the signs for Edmonton.

Turn right onto Maligne Lake Rd and then Old Lodge Road. The destination will be on the left.

Where to start the Lake Beauvert Loop hike

The trailhead is near the parking area off of Old Lodge Road.

What people are saying about this hike

An easy hike with great views! It’s good for families with kids, and there are lots of chances to see elk and deer. We went in November and there was a bit of snow but the trail was still safe and easy to walk.

Conclusion

Lake Beauvert Loop is a great hike throughout the year but is especially beautiful during winter when everything is covered by a layer of snow.

The Five Lakes Valley in the summer
The Five Lakes Valley in Summer

Valley of the Five Lakes

  • Distance: 4.6 kilometers
  • Difficulty level: Moderate
  • Time needed: 2 Hours
  • Elevation gain: 172 meters
  • Route type: Loop
  • Highlights: The stunning views of the sparking blue-green lakes

Short description of the trail

The Valley of the Five Lakes hike is a beautiful and moderate hike. There are some gentle climbs throughout and a moderate elevation gain, but it still a manageable hike for many fitness levels.

The trail takes hikers through the forested areas and along the lake shoreline.

As the name suggests, the route takes hikers around five lakes – and then eventually to a lookout point where you can see stunning views of the lake and surrounding areas.

The picturesque view of the frozen lakes and the forested areas nearby is a view you are sure to remember!

How to reach the starting point of the hike

To find the trailhead, proceed along the Icefields Parkway, south of Jasper.

The parking lot is along the road.

Where to start the Valley of the Five Lakes Hike

This hike starts from the parking area.

What people are saying about this hike

This is a beautiful hike, especially during the winter! It was pretty snowy but still easy and safe to walk. It’s great for all ages.

Conclusion

This is a unique hike near Jasper, which is enjoyable throughout the year.

Best Jasper winter hikes in the Maligne Valley

Go hiking in Maligne Canyon to see this spectacular winter wonderland
Maligne Canyon is spectacular in the winter


Maligne Canyon

  • Distance: Various
  • Difficulty level: Moderate
  • Time needed: 3-4 hours
  • Elevation gain: Various, max +/- 140 meters
  • Route type: Upper rim: Out & back or loop if you descend into the canyon
  • Highlights: The opportunity to hike on a frozen river!

Short description of the trail

During the winter months, the Maligne River freezes over, providing a unique hiking opportunity.

From the trailhead, hikers have the option to walk along the upper rim or they can opt to descend into the canyon and access the frozen river.

Either option offers countless opportunities to experience the beauty of the landscape along the way.

Hikers may be able to see frozen waterfalls, ice caves, and other frozen features.

We highly recommend taking a guided tour if you want to descend into the canyon and explore the canyon’s frozen floor!

The tour guides can provide valuable and interesting information about the surrounding area, the history, and the geology of the canyon, and they are knowledgeable about the hike itself.

We took the guided tour ourselves and learned a lot about the canyon. It also felt a lot safer than going on our own.

Here you can read our full Maligne Canyon Ice Walk review.

It is also highly recommended to use ice cleats. This trail is a frozen river after all.

If you are taking a guided tour, ice cleats are provided.

If you don’t have ice cleats, read this post for our recommendations.

How to reach the starting point of the hike

Proceed along Highway 16 east for 3 kilometers, then take the turn for Maligne Lake Road (it will be on the right.) Cross the iron bridge and then stay left at the fork, following signs for Maligne Canyon.

Where to start the Maligne Canyon hike

The trailhead is right beside the parking lot.

What people are saying about this hike

This hike is incredible!! I’ve never hiked on ice before so it was really fun to experience that and see all the frozen waterways. I really recommend giving yourself more time than you think you will need so you can really explore as you go!

Conclusion

The Maligne Canyon Hike is a Jasper winter hike you can’t miss.

You’ll remember the unique opportunity to hike on a frozen river and see the snowy landscape for years to come.

The Maligne Lake Boathouse in the winter, a great place for hikers
The Maligne Lake boathouse is about where the Mary Schäffer Loop starts

Mary Schäffer Loop

  • Distance: 2.9 kilometers
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Time needed: 45 minutes – 1 hour
  • Elevation gain: 83 meters
  • Route type: Loop
  • Highlights: The beautiful views of Lake Maligne are unmatched

Short description of the trail

Named for Mary Schaffer, who is said to have discovered Lake Maligne in 1908, this easy hike is perfect for hikers of all skill levels who want to experience a beautiful winter hike near Jasper.

The well-maintained trail takes hikers on a gentle stroll through the forest and by the lake.

Along the route, hikers will be able to pause and read any of the several Interpretive Boards that explain the history and share information about the area.

In addition to traditional hiking, this trail provides a great spot for snowshoeing!

During the winter, we recommend trying snowshoes for an easier way to traverse the snowy landscape.

How to reach the starting point of the hike

Drive down Maligne Lake Road and turn into the first parking lot at Maligne Lake.

Where to start the Mary Schäffer loop

To find the trailhead, follow any of the pathways from the parking lot and keep right, the trail is usually done in a counter-clockwise direction.

What people are saying about this hike

This is a really nice and short hike to go on with the whole family! I went with my kids and they were able to hike the whole thing.

Conclusion

Whether you choose ice cleats or snowshoes, this is a great route for those who want to experience a classic winter hike.

Mooses can be seen around Jasper all year round
The Moose Lake Loop offers great opportunities to see moose

Moose Lake Loop

Distance: 2.7 kilometers
Difficulty level: Easy
Time needed: 1 hour
Elevation gain: 144 meters
Route type: Loop
Highlights: The wildlife – including moose!

Short description of the trail


The Moose Lake Loop trail is easy and great for most fitness levels. The route takes hikers through the forest, and along the beautiful Moose Lake.

The views of the crystal clear lake framed by mountains and tall pine trees reaching for the sky are unparalleled.

The sight of this landscape blanketed by snow in the winter months is well worth the journey.

Hikers have been known to see wildlife – including moose! – along the way.

If you encounter any moose, it is important to stay calm and quiet and back away from them.

How to reach the starting point of the hike

Follow Maligne Lake Road all the way to the end and turn left onto Bald Hills Trail. This will take you to the parking lot.

Where to start the Moose Lake Loop

From the parking lot, head down to the shore of the lake and keep right. The trail starts by following the lakeshore.

After about 800 meters you will come to a junction where you need to keep right.

What people are saying about this hike

This is a beautiful and simple hike! It’s definitely easy but there are some slight inclines. It’s also really great for seeing wild animals! We saw some moose!!

Conclusion

Moose Lake Loop is an easy hike with unique opportunities to see moose and other wildlife.

Best Jasper winter hikes along the Icefields Parkway

The frozen Athabasca Falls in Winter
The frozen Athabasca Falls in Winter

Athabasca Falls

  • Distance: 500 Meters
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Time needed: 15 minutes
  • Elevation gain: 26 meters
  • Route type: Out and Back
  • Highlights: The views of the impressive Athabasca Falls

Short description of the trail

To experience the stunning views of Athabasca Falls, hikers can journey up a short network of well-maintained and paved trails that makes for a great winter hike, or should we say stroll, near Jasper.

Along the way, there are several lookout points and photo opportunities.

As this hike is more of a stroll, it is great for families, especially those with smaller children.

There are also information signs along the way, so hikers can learn about the falls and the history and geology of the area.

During the winter, the trail is still well maintained but parts can be icy and slippery at times.

Be especially vigilant around the stairs and make sure to bring ice cleats or wear the correct snow boots/winter shoes.

How to reach the starting point of the hike

Drive the Icefields Parkway to Provincial Route 93A – there will be signs to follow.

From there, you will be able to access the parking area.

Where to start the Athabasca Falls hike

The trailhead is located near the parking area.

What people are saying about this hike

So gorgeous! It’s a really short hike and it can be a bit slippery when it’s icy. They advised us not to go into the lower canyon because of this and as long as you follow their recommendations you’ll be fine!

It was really cool to see the information signs – I saw a lot of families with kids around. Seems like a cool opportunity for an educational trip.

Conclusion

This paved route guides hikers to beautiful views of Athabasca Falls.

The frozen falls are a sure highlight of a winter trip to Jasper National Park.

The frozen Upper Sunwapta Falls
The frozen Upper Sunwapta Falls

Upper and Lower Sunwapta Falls

  • Distance: Upper: 100m and Lower: 2.8 kilometers
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Time needed: 1 hour
  • Elevation gain: 143 meters
  • Route type: Out and Back
  • Highlights: The views of the powerful waterfalls, the mountains, and the pine trees.

Short description of the trail

The trail to the upper falls is very short.

They are located along the Icefields Parkway almost right next to the parking lot.

They can even be seen from the parking lot but for the best views, you have to walk down the hill towards the footbridge that crosses the narrow canyon.

Beyond this, hikers have the opportunity to continue to the Lower Falls. On the way in, the trail is downhill so a gentle climb is required to return to the parking lot.

The Upper falls tend to be more crowded throughout the year as they are one of the most accessible attractions in the park.

For a quieter experience, try the trail to the lower falls.

Both falls are very beautiful in winter. The lower falls are wider and not as high as the upper falls but still a beautiful sight.

During the winter the trail to the lower falls will definitely require winter boots.

Snowshoes are probably better as the hike is not heavily trafficked in winter.

How to reach the starting point of the hike

Drive on the Icefields Parkway/Highway 93, turn right at Sunwapta Falls Resort, and continue on the access road to find the parking lot.

Where to Start the Upper and Lower Sunwapta Falls Hike

The trailhead is near the parking lot

What people are saying about this hike

It’s a pretty hike and it’s not too challenging. It’s really nice in the winter and even with the ground covered in snow it was still easy to walk with normal winter boots.

Conclusion

The Upper and Lower trails are both great options to enjoy the beauty and might of the Sunwapta Falls.

These great winter hikes in Jasper National Park offer opportunities to see wildlife such as this bighorn sheep
Many hikers spot bighorn sheep along the Wilcox Trail

Wilcox Trail and Viewpoint

  • Distance: 3.4 kilometers to the first viewpoint, 9.3 kilometers to the top
  • Difficulty level: Moderate
  • Time needed: 4-5 Hours to the top and back
  • Elevation gain: 200 meters to first viewpoint, 522 meters to the top
  • Route type: Out and Back
  • Highlights: The incredible views of the Athabasca glacier and Columbia Icefields

Short description of the trail

Wilcox Trail and Viewpoint requires a short climb, but hikers are rewarded with incredible views of the Athabasca and Dome glaciers.

The trail is well maintained up to the first viewpoint which is very popular and which is where you find the bright red chairs.

It is a fantastic place to take some photos, or just enjoy the view of the glacier ahead.

This part of the trail will be relatively easy with packed snow.

Beyond the red chairs, there is the potential for avalanche risk, so be cautious of this when hiking during the snowy winter months.

Fewer hikers continue to the top. It is harder to follow this part of the trail if you are unable to follow the footsteps of earlier hikers, most signs will be covered in snow in winter.

This part can be windy and the weather is very changeable, the views are stunning though.

Bighorn sheep have been spotted from the trail in the past, adding to the natural beauty of the landscape.

These sheep have become used to the hikers that frequent the area and may come close to the trail.

Although the time needed to complete this trail is 4-5 hours, this is a trail that can easily take 5-6 hours if you take every opportunity to enjoy the picturesque landscape.

Read Also:

We recommend that you bring hiking poles. For an overview of the best budget hiking poles, click here.

How to reach the starting point of the hike

Drive south on Icefields Parkway towards Wilcox Creek Campground

Where to start the Wilcox Trail and Viewpoint hike

The trailhead is near the start of the access road to the Wilcox Creek Campground. There’s a small parking lot at the trailhead.

What people are saying about this hike

I wasn’t sure what to expect when hiking in the winter but it was amazing! The entire trail is beautiful and there are so many pretty photo ops along the way.

Conclusion

A stunning winter hike – views of the glaciers and the opportunity to see Bighorn sheep provide for a memorable experience!

Conclusion

If you are looking for beautiful winter hikes, look no further than Jasper.

The town and the surrounding areas are beautiful year-round, but visiting during the winter months is a special experience!

You’ll cherish the memories of hiking in this Canadian winter wonderland.

If you love hiking in winter, check out these posts:

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