Mount Edith Cavell looms over Jasper and is the mountain that drew our eye when arriving in town. It seemed much bigger than any other peak in the area and the glacier on top made it hit our must visit list immediately. When we found out there was a Mount Edith Cavell hike (well, two technically) we were sold.
It didn’t disappoint. It is spectacular and easily one of the best hikes we did in Canada. This area is best appreciated up close and the trail shows you this beautiful mountain from lots of different perspectives. What you soon realise when you get closer is that Edith Cavell Mountain is home to several glaciers, waterfalls and a beautiful glacier lake (which had huge chunks of ice even on our visit in summer!). We actually couldn’t believe our eyes when we saw the lake, it has total wow factor.
We did the full hike which encompasses Edith Cavell Meadows and the Path of the Glacier but if you want a short, easy option you can just pick the Path of the Glacier trail.
Mount Edith Cavell Hike
The Mount Edith Cavell car park has recently been renovated, allowing for more parking space and visitors to the area. To be honest though there still isn’t much space (we strongly recommend avoiding the middle of the day), but there’s more there than there used to be.
Everything starts from the same car park which is 27km from Jasper. This may not seem too far until you realise that the road to the area is a single lane road that has several switchbacks, making for a slow journey. It takes about 45 minutes to drive to from the centre of Jasper.
From here you can get started and explore!
Mount Edith Cavell Hike
Remember we said that technically the Mount Edith Cavell hike is two hikes? Well, we recommend combining the two together. The first - The Path of the Glacier Trail - is less than 1km each way and shouldn’t take too long.
The more strenuous Meadows Trail may not seem too hard until you start climbing! It is made up of three lookouts, each getting better and better until you reach the top (by which time our legs were burning!).
If you have time, start with the Meadows Trail and then finish with a closer look at the lake and glaciers on the Path of the Glacier track.
Edith Cavell Meadows Trail
Distance: 8km (including the Path of the Glacier track)
Time taken: 3 hours
The Edith Cavell Meadows Trail is stunning and had us mesmerised with every step. We spent way longer on this hike than we normally would just because we couldn’t get over the views which got better and better as we went along!
The start at the moraine
The trail starts on the same track as the Path of the Glacier before sharply turning off after 0.4km. From here you’ll walk alongside a huge moraine (a ridge/pile of rocks that has been created by the glacier).
It can be easy to put your head down and head to the meadows, but make sure you climb up the moraine. The views are well worth it.
There are several different parts where you can do this, but be careful as some of the rock is loose. From the top of the moraine you’ll see one of the best views of Mount Edith Cavell.
There are loads of huge and stable rocks amongst the loose ones so it’s a great place to sit and take in the view - lots of people chose to have their lunch here and it’s hard to think of a better picnic spot.
The moraine overlooks the stunning lake, glaciers, waterfall and looming mountain. If you keep an eye out you’ll probably see some of the many marmots that inhabit the moraine and maybe even a cute little pika or two.
Once you’ve had enough of the moraine (it is difficult to leave, but you’ll be back), head up to the forest. The forest path is uphill but it’s on gentle switchbacks and in great condition.
After the moraine, make sure you don’t miss the turn off for the meadows! We met a few people who chose to walk alongside the moraine for a while and found themselves on the very precarious rock climbing route! Whilst they said it was an epic adventure, they also said it felt genuinely dangerous.
Look for the left turn into the forest, otherwise you’ll find yourself in for a treacherous rock climbing expedition.
The meadow soon heads gently uphill before offering a choice: right for the longer, but shallower route; or left for the steep but short.
We decided to take the shallow route first which meant heading right and following the path towards lookout one. This route means you won’t be exhausted straightaway and you’ll build up to the best view - lookout three.
The lookouts at Mount Edith Cavell
Lookout one - whilst still beautiful - was the least impressive of the three. It is simply a clearing in the forest, and was also teeming with mosquitoes, so we moved quickly on.
You’ll keep going gradually uphill through the wildflower strewn forest but it isn’t dense and you’ll start to have better and better views. The path gets steeper as you go along, but isn’t really too bad until you’re heading up to lookout three.
Lookout two is very obvious, you can’t miss the right hand turning up a small hill and is a few minutes from the main trail. The view from here is superb and offers a higher up look at the lake and mountains you were sitting at earlier.
Then comes the trail to number three, which is a brutal uphill slog. It may not seem too long, but the trail really does get a lot steeper and some people chose to skip it altogether, but don’t because it is the highlight of the three lookouts.
You’ll climb on a decent track for a while before you traverse a short ridge along the side of the mountain and then zig-zag up a slippery gravel slope.
It won’t be too long before you’ve made it up to the top with a sense of accomplishment! The panoramic views are spectacular and there is a huge area to sit and take a break. You’ll then have a decision to make. You can continue up to an even higher lookout on an unmaintained, steep gravel path or head back down.
The higher viewpoint looked pretty slippery and we thought it might be too hairy going down so we opted out but heard it’s another hour or so up. If you can make it you’ll be in for an even better view!
After lookout three it is downhill all the way and you can cover the ground quite quickly. We took the steeper path back so that we had completed the whole loop and it wasn’t too bad. It’s a good trail and made for a quick descent.
The Path of the Glacier Trail
If the meadows sound a bit too tiring, then stick to the Path of the Glacier trail. This short trail is one which everyone can do as it is completely paved from the car park to the lookout.
It isn’t flat (no trail in The Rockies seems to be!) but it is worth the effort. The trail starts by crossing the river and hugs the moraine where you may see a marmot or a pika.
After 10-15 minutes you’ll arrive at the lookout, a fitting reward for the effort.
Essential information about Edith Cavell Mountain
Edith Cavell hiking season
The road to Mount Edith Cavell is closed during the winter months and tends to open up in mid-June (or when the snow has cleared). It tends to close again between late-September and mid-October once the snow has come back once more.
Bear safety on the Edith Cavell Meadows hike
This trail sees both black and grizzly bears. Exercise caution and you may want to carry bear spray. Grizzly sightings in the meadow are rare but it’s always good to be prepared.
Edith Cavell Meadows hike entrance fee
The Edith Cavell Meadows hike is in Jasper National Park and you will need a parks pass. Entry to Jasper National Park costs $9.80 CAD per person per day ($7 USD).
If you plan on visiting multiple National Parks in Canada, you could look at the annual pass. It costs $136.40 CAD ($102 USD) for a whole car and will get you entry to 80 parks in Canada.
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Are you planning a trip to Jasper? Would you take on the Mount Edith Cavell hike? Let us know in the comments below!