Jacques Lake Trail is an iconic hike through Jasper’s wilderness. It is fairly easy compared to the other hikes surrounding Jasper (like Skyline and Tonquin Valley) but still requires the know how to hike with a heavy pack and set up camp. It is a great introduction to the world of backcountry hiking in Canada. Jacques Lake Trail in Jasper is a must-do if you have a couple of days to explore.
Now, I know, I’ve written about Jacques Lake before, but then it was as a day hike. Funny enough, this hike on the Jacques Lake trail was one of the first hikes I did after getting back to Canada a few years ago. Then, we went 5km each way, and only as far as Summit Lakes. This is when we didn’t know what the trail was and wanted to get a feel of it.
However, this last time when we decided to hike all the way to Jacques Lake and stay overnight! It was amazing!
But maybe I’m biased because I got engaged on this hike.
Trip: Jacques Lake – Backpack Trip
Distance: 12.2KM EACH WAY
Hiking Time: 5-7 HOURS ROUNDTRIP
Difficulty: Easy/ Beginner
Ready to explore?
1. Hike to Beaver Lake (1.6km)
2. Explore Summit Lake(s) (3.2km)
3. Finish the hike with great views (7.6km)
4. Sit Back and Relax at Jacques Lake
Getting to Jacques Lake Trailhead
Jacques Lake Trailhead is on one of my favourite roads in Jasper National Park, Maligne Lake Road. Just west of Jasper town center there is a turnoff towards Maligne Lake and the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. This is a 50 kilometer road that takes you past Maligne Canyon, Medicine Lake and all the way to Maligne Lake.
Want to know more about this drive: Check out my post on Driving Maligne Lake Road!
This is a great overnight hike to do any time of the year, specifically in the shoulder seasons (May, June, September). Even though there might be a touch of snow, it’s still worth going! It’s also a great place to snowshoe in Jasper!
The Easy First Few Kilometres
The first 4.8 kilometers are up an old fire road. Since Jacques Lake Trail is one of the oldest hikes in Jasper National Park, it is well maintained and an easy walk. During the summer months there can be quite a bit of water running down the first part of the trail.
I got stuck on the other side of the “mini river” for a while and couldn’t get back to the other side. It was glacier water and super clear, but it was rushing and would have been up to my knees. So I had to wait until it started to seperate and I could jump over the water and onto the trail again.
First Stop: Beaver Lake in Jasper National Park
Beaver Lake is the first lake you run into on this Jasper National Park hike on Maligne Lake road. It is small and green, but everytime that I have been there it has been smooth as glass and crystal clear, so much so you can see the bottom.
One of the best parts of Jacques Lake Trail is that you are constantly running into different lakes. These include Beaver Lake, all of the Summit Lakes and then finally Jacques Lake.
Then On To Summit Lake(s)
The next 2 kilometers to Summit Lake(s) is easy. I put an (s) because here there is actually a series of lakes hidden within the valley. I’m sure at one point it was one large lake, but that hasn’t been the case for decades.
Summit Lake(s) in Jasper National Park is a great place to sit and have a snack, particularly if you are having an easy breezy hiking day.
The Final Stretch to Jacques Lake in Jasper
After you leave Summit Lake you are on a smaller trail (actual hiking trail) and you wander through thick brush and forest. What I love about these 8 kilometers is that you get to glimpse mountain peaks, lakes and Alpine fields as you go. These kilometers are an easy hike!
It is the most amazing feeling getting to Jacques Lake! The water is crystal clear and from a distance looks unbelievably blue.
Hanging out at Jacques Lake
Some people say the Jacques Lake campsite isn’t great. But I’d disagree. It was nicely situated by the lake and all the sites sat on a hill with awesome lake views!
We were the first people to get to the site and were able to get tent pad 8! This was a little more secluded and offered amazing space.
There are three picnic tables and the atmosphere is awesome. It is a wonderful place to spend the night and relax.