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The Mount Edith Cavell area in Jasper National Park is home to one of the park’s most beautiful hiking routes- the Cavell Meadows Trail.
For the entire duration of this day hike we were surrounded by classic alpine scenery. We admired a colourful pond, walked alongside piles of moraine, climbed into an upper-subalpine forest, passed through a meadow dotted with wildflowers, then picnicked across from a glacier nestled between mountain peaks.
The exquisite scenery isn’t the only reason to do the Mt. Edith Cavell hike- it can be a great place to spot wildlife in Jasper too! During our hike we saw marmots, chipmunks and a pine marten.
From the cute wildlife to the varied landscape, the Cavell Meadows hike further increased our love for this part of Alberta and proved to be one of the best things to do in Jasper National Park!
About Cavell Meadows Trail in Jasper National Park
Cavell Meadows Trail is located south of the Jasper townsite near Mt. Edith Cavell. The lower portion of the trail passes by Angel Glacier and Cavell Pond before splitting into a loop that climbs to a beautiful alpine meadow offering panoramic views of the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
The trail is rated moderate and has an elevation gain of about 500 m (1640 ft). Round trip, the Edith Cavell hike is 6-7 km and takes between 3-5 hours to complete. The hike can only be done in the summer once conditions are dry enough to prevent trail damage.
Hiking Cavell Meadows Trail- Our Experience
We did the Cavell Meadows hike in early September, which was still a popular time to visit, but not as busy as summer would have been.
Before heading out on our hike, we spent some time reading the information boards at the start of the trail to familiarize ourselves with the route.
The hike would consist of two parts- first we’d follow a section of the Path of the Glacier Trail, then we’d turn off onto Cavell Meadows Trail where we’d climb above the tree line to an alpine meadow. Once we got to the upper loop, we would decide whether or not to take an additional out and back trail to an even higher viewpoint.
The hike started with a short stairway up to the Path of the Glacier Trail. The paved trail gradually climbed towards Mt. Edith Cavell, offering increasingly better views of Angel Glacier and the valley below.
About half a kilometre in, we arrived at the junction to Cavell Meadows Trail. We could have continued on the Path of the Glacier to a nearby viewpoint overlooking Cavell Pond, but decided not to since there were a lot more tourists heading that way.
Once on Cavell Meadows Trail, we continued to gain elevation as we hiked alongside piles of moraine. To the right of us were wonderful views of Angel Glacier and Mt. Edith Cavell and I wondered if the scenery at the top of the trail could beat what we were enjoying now.
As we hiked, we could hear two marmots calling back and forth to each other and eventually spotted one of them on the rocks.
After a few minutes of listening to the marmots interact, we continued on hiking between piles of moraine. Soon we arrived at a spot across from the glacier where we could climb up on the rock pile to admire more of the scenery.
From here there were such good views of Angel Glacier and Cavell Pond that we had no regrets about skipping the lower viewpoint on the easy, paved trail. Best of all, we only had to the share the scenery with a few other hikers.
While we were looking at Angel Glacier, we heard a loud crack then saw a chunk of snow and ice fall down into the pond, making small little icebergs in the water. Apparently ice frequently falls from the glacier so it’s important not to walk up to it.
After coming down from the rock pile, we followed the trail into the forest where we were lucky enough to spot a cute pine marten. It was hanging out on a log then dashed further into the forest when more people gathered to watch it.
We really enjoyed being surrounded by trees as we made our way up to Cavell Meadows. Eventually we came to the junction where the trail splits into a loop and had to make a choice which way to go. The posted sign indicated an easier route and a steeper route, so we decided to take the easy way up and steep route down (counter-clockwise).
Once we got above the tree line and into the meadow, we were met with an expanse of beautiful alpine scenery. There were clear views of mountain ranges, some wildflowers, and countless vantage points for admiring Angel Glacier.
We happily hiked through the meadow, stopping often to look at the glacier. I loved how we now had a more level view of the glacier, instead of having to look up at it.
Once we reached the far end of the loop, there was a lovely viewpoint across from Mt. Edith Cavell to have lunch at. We could see Cavell Pond, Angel Glacier, the smaller Cavell Glacier, and the rocky valley below.
Unfortunately we didn’t have long to enjoy our lunch because the weather quickly changed, bringing in cold winds and rain.
So we packed up, added another layer of clothes, and set out to finish the loop. This part of the trail wasn’t as pretty because it was rockier with less vegetation, but there were still nice views of Angel Glacier and Jasper’s mountains.
Since the rain started to let up, we decided to extend our hike a bit and go up the extra trail branching off from the loop. It was pretty steep and still windy so we only went halfway up, deciding it wasn’t worth the effort when the views weren’t that different from what we’d already seen.
After rejoining the main trail, we completed the rest of the meadow loop then hiked back down through the forest the way we came.
Once we reached the bouldery moraine, we could still hear those two little marmots chatting back and forth from different ends of the trail.
We too had much to talk about upon returning to the parking lot. From the wonderful scenery to the wildlife sightings, our hike at Mt. Edith Cavell had us wondering why hadn’t checked out this trail sooner!
Final Thoughts About Hiking Cavell Meadows Trail
After hiking Cavell Meadows Trail, it became one of our favourite hikes in Jasper National Park (along with the Valley of the Five Lakes hike).
The scenery was gorgeous and I appreciated the variety along the trail. The wildlife was a welcome bonus, especially since the animals were different from what we usually see when visiting Jasper.
As for the trail difficulty, it provided just the right amount of challenge. We felt like we got a good workout but the trail wasn’t so strenuous that it took away from the experience.
The Mt. Edith Cavell hike is one we would definitely enjoy doing again on a future trip to Jasper!
Tips for Hiking the Mt. Edith Cavell Meadows Trail
Trail Details: Here is some information about the Cavell Meadows Trail so you can prepare for your hike.
- Type of Trail- Out and back (with a loop at the far end)
- Distance- 6-7 kilometres/3.7- 4.3 miles
- Elevation Gain- 500 metres/1640 feet
- Difficulty- Moderate
- Length of Time- 3-5 hours (we did it in 3 hr 45 min, including a lunch break)
- Trailhead- The end of Cavell Road
Best Time to Hike to Cavell Meadows: July to September (Parks Canada usually opens the trail mid-July when it’s dry enough to hike).
Getting to the Cavell Meadows Trailhead: From the Jasper townsite, go 7 km south on Highway 93. Turn right onto Highway 93A. Follow 93A for 5.4 km to Cavell Road. Turn right onto Cavell Road and follow it 14 km to the end where you will find the trailhead.
- Cavell Road is narrow with tight switchbacks so is unsuitable for trailers and large motorhomes over 25 ft. There is a drop off area for trailers at the start of Cavell Road.
- Cavell Road opens in mid-June (weather permitting) and typically closes in mid-October (earlier if there’s a significant snowfall).
Facilities: There are outhouses at the parking lot (no other facilities along the trail).
Gear/What to Bring: Proper hiking shoes with sturdy soles and supportive ankles are recommended since the trail is rocky and uneven in places.
- Hiking poles can take some strain off the knees during the descent.
- The weather can change quickly on the upper section of trail so dress in layers.
- Bring water and a lunch or some snacks to enjoy at one of the viewpoints on the upper loop.
Safety: Stay on the trail and away from cliffs where there is danger from falling boulders and avalanches (in 2012 the Ghost Glacier fell from Mt. Edith Cavell and the terrain is still unstable). Do not go to the edge of Cavell Pond or near Angel Glacier.
Cavell Meadows Trail Map: A map of Cavell Meadows Trail can be found here.
Information was correct at the time of publishing, but can change without notice. Please confirm directly with service providers.
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