Opal Hills Trail.

While researching hikes in the Jasper area, we came across many websites discussing the Maligne Lake area. The two main trails discussed in this area where the Bald Hills Trail and the Opal Hills Trail. After reading many forums over which is better, we concluded that each was unique in its own way and that either one would be worthwhile. The Bald Hills Trail boasts stunning panoramic views of Maligne Lake and the Opal Hills Trail boasts views of meadows and arguably the best place to see wildflowers in the Canadian Rockies. We chose the Opal Hills Trail with the hope that we would spot fields of wildflowers.

Walk Along the Trees.

Getting Closer to the Top.

The Opal Hills Trail is an 8 km loop trail with a peak of 2200 m elevation and a gain of 400 m. It takes approximately 3-4 hours to complete give or take time for rest breaks and scenery views. The welcome sign at the trailhead states, “hiking one of the steepest trails in Jasper rewards you with an alpine flower meadow and mountain vista.” Another sign at the trailhead warns of grizzly bears in the area so while you may be anxious to reach the peak and admire the views of flowers and Maligne Lake, be sure to proceed with caution (and carry your Bear bells and spray!)

Be sure to carry your bear bells and bear spray!

Warning of Bears.

Mountaintop Meadows.

Where’s the Lake Jess?

Our hike began at 12:30 PM. We passed the signs indicating bear warnings suggesting we talk loudly, play music, and let our bear bell ring. We decided to stick together on this hike in case of a bear sighting. The trail was steep, making us stop frequently to rest. When we finally reached the meadow areas, we were surprised to see patches of snow still present. There were not as many wildflowers as we were expecting, but since there was still snow, we figured they had not had a chance to fully bloom yet.

Here Comes Elise and Ashley.

Trail Along the Meadows.

View of Maligne Lake from the Top of Opal Hill.

Elise is so Happy to Be at the Top.

We continued onward and found a beautiful view of Maligne Lake. Elise and Ashley decided to lay down and rest on the hill and I decided to fight the massive winds and followed a group of other people onward toward the peak of the mountain that we were on. The panoramic view from above was stunning. After enjoying this for a brief period of time, I headed back to Elise and Ashley’s resting spot and joined them along the hill. After enjoying our view. We continued along the loop back toward the trail head. We made it back in just over three hours, and luckily without seeing any bears!

Wildflowerless Meadow.

Surprised to See Snow!

Perfect Hiking Day!

        • Grizzly bears are known to frequent this area. Carry bear bells and bear spray. Bear spray should be bought while in Canada since you cannot fly with this. There were places in downtown Jasper that would rent bear spray as an option as well.
        • If you are wanting to see wildflowers, do this hike in mid-July to mid-August 
        • Combine this hike with the Maligne Lake Boat Cruise.

Three Happy Hikers Yet Again!



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