It was a beautiful day in May. Warm, sunny, a clear blue sky above and fresh mountain air to awaken the senses. It was the perfect weather for a casual hike in Jasper!
I decided I wanted to see somewhere in Jasper I haven’t been before, so Mike suggested we do the Valley of the Five Lakes hike.
“The trail goes by five really blue lakes. You’ll love it!” Mike assured me. Not that I needed any convincing. You really can’t go wrong in Jasper!
So, after a quick breakfast we headed off to the trailhead, excited to start our morning hike around the Valley of the Five Lakes.
Valley of the Five Lakes Hike
The Valley of the Five Lakes hike is a moderate hike that begins south of the Jasper townsite, just off the Icefields Parkway.
The 4.5 km trail makes a loop passing by five lakes, three that are rather small and two larger ones. Each lake has a unique hue of blue-green coloured water because they are all different depths.
The hike starts with a short walk through a forested area before opening up at the Wabasoo Creek wetlands. After crossing the boardwalk, we arrived at a beautiful meadow in the valley.
We could have took the trail leading through the meadow, as it’s part of the large loop around the lakes, but we instead decided to carry on to the small loop.
When we came to the part of the trail where it splits into the small loop, we chose to go left when everyone else was going right. By going clockwise we could see the lakes in order as they were named on our map.
So, off we went towards the first, and largest, lake! The trail had some downhill slopes and exposed tree roots, so I was glad I was wearing sturdy shoes and not my trusty flip-flops.
The first glimpse we got of the first lake was through a small opening in the trees. We couldn’t really see the colours in the water from here so we went in search of a better vantage point.
At the next junction in the trail we turned left so we could walk along the first lake. The views were much better from here and the blue-green colour of the water more obvious.
After taking a few photos we headed back the way we came, passing by the junction we just turned off on. The path soon opened up out of the forest and we were now hiking on a ridge above the second and third lakes.
The second lake was mostly dried up when we were there. I guess not enough snow had melted off the mountains yet.
The third lake was my personal favourite because the colour was such a deep green. I’d love to see it when there was more water in the lake.
The third lake was also a great place to stop for a rest. There was a pair of red chairs at the end of the lake, perfect for relaxing while admiring the views. I thought this would be a nice place for a photo, so I set up my tripod and used my remote shutter release to take a cute picture of us!
Rested up, we continued on our way. It didn’t take us long to get to the fourth lake, which was right around the corner. I really liked this part of the hike because the trail followed closely along the shoreline.
We carried on to the fifth and final lake, which was just a few steps away up a small hill and around the bend. We decided to get off the main path and went down a narrow side trail to get a different view of the lake. We hung out here for a while before getting back onto the main trail to finish off the loop.
The final portion of the loop was a little tough because there was a big hill. It reminded me that I really need to work on my cardio endurance! The effort was worth it though because we were met with this wonderful view!
We pressed on and before we knew it we were back at the start of the loop. I stopped for one more picture of the meadow before we made our way back to the trailhead.
So in the end, Mike was right- I did love the Valley of the Five Lakes Hike! It wasn’t too long or difficult and had a variety of scenic landscapes to enjoy. We had such a fun morning that I wondered why we hadn’t done this hike sooner. I would definitely recommend it to anyone visiting Jasper National Park!
Tips for Hiking the Valley of the Five Lakes
- The Valley of the Five Lakes trailhead is 9 km south of the Jasper townsite on Highway 93 (the Icefields Parkway).
- There are two paths you can choose from- the short loop (what we did), or the long loop. Both routes are rated moderate difficulty.
- For the long loop, turn left onto trail #9 after crossing the boardwalk. Go right onto #9a at the next junction towards the first lake. This trail follows above the entire length of the lake. The long loop is about 9 km and takes roughly 3 hours to hike.
- The short loop is about 4.5 km and has a 66 m elevation gain/loss. The short loop follows trails #9a and #9b. If you want to see the lakes in order, go clockwise around the loop by choosing trail #9b at the junction point. The Valley of the Five Lakes hike (small loop) took us just under two hours, including all the photo and rest stops we made.
- Wear proper hiking shoes because there are a few good hills and exposed tree roots on the path.
- We recommend starting the hike early in the day. When we arrived around 9:30 am, the small parking lot was already almost full!
- For trail maps and other hiking information, pick up a Day Hiking Guide from the Tourist Information Office (ask for it at the desk). The information centre is at 500 Connaught Drive in Jasper.
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