I’ve been on quite a few day hikes in the Canadian Rockies over the last few months. As you can tell from this blog, I’ve spent the majority of my summer of 2017 hiking my way through the rockies, mainly doing backpacking trips. After not doing many day hikes this summer, I was pleasantly surprised, okay more than pleasantly, I was absolutely stunned by the beauty of the Mount Edith Cavell and the Cavell Meadows hike in Jasper National Park in Canada.
If you’re looking for an amazing day hike, look no further! Here’s how to hike Cavell Meadows in a couple hours.
Trip: Cavell Meadows Day Hike
Distance: 2-4 HOURS ROUNDTRIP (LOOP)
1. Drive Up Edith Cavell Road
2. Follow the signs up the Cavell Meadows Hike
3. Enjoy the views!! So magical!
4. It’s really that easy!!
As I mentioned in my Tonquin Valley Backing Post (check it out if you want to do an amazing overnight hike), that Edith Cavell Road has been under construction all summer, and you have to get a pass to drive up it. Passes are available in Jasper by the main tourist office between 8am and 10am daily. These can be acquired up to 3 days in advance, for 4 designated time slots for entry.
After you get your pass, and get access to Edith Cavell Road, you just have to drive up the mountain until you get to the parking lot. This is when you’ll really see why they have to limit cars, but won’t in the future.
Starting The Hike:
This hike is a solid climb up, I’m not going to sugar coat it. We had less than 2 hours until we needed to leave Jasper, so we had to power up and down. It is recommended to take 3-5 hours to do the entire loop of the Cavell Meadows Hike. So we had to bypass the 3rd lookout (missing 1.5 kms of the 7km hike) and head back down in a timely fashion. Don’t worry though, we still did a great job of taking photos.
The first part of the hike starts on a gravel paved path, that breaks into two routes, the first is towards the Angel Glacier lookout, and the second is towards the Cavell Meadows hike. You’ll start straight up a rocky path, through glacial till and glacial deposits.
The First Real View of Angel Glacier
After making your way up the first few switchbacks and climbing up gravel, you find yourself face to face with Angel Glacier and the lake below. Water is running off of it, and since we were there late in the season, we were able to watch as the glacier cracked and calved.
The First Few Switchbacks
I hate switchbacks, why? Because you never know when they are going to end! Ugh, they are the best/worst part of hiking. Great because– glutes! Bad because — ugh climbing. These ones weren’t too bad though, and we made it up no problem. We continued up the mountain, keeping the views of Angel Glacier and Mount Edith Cavell in view through the trees.
Lookout Two and Cavell Meadows
When you finally get to the lookout and can see Angel Glacier in all its glory, you are surrounded by sub-alpine forests and alpine meadows. These are the reasons that you do the Cavell Meadows hike.
Since you end up at over 2200 meters above sea level, you start to feel the elevation, and you end up above the tree line on this hike. Any hike where you get above the trees is just spectacular since you get 360 degree great views.
One of the Coolest Places To Take Photos
On the way back down, we stopped to take pictures along the gravel border of the lake. Most likely the result of glaciation, glacier deposits and water erosion from the melting glaciers, you end up with a high, steep edge around the lake. When the water is higher, it most likely fills more of the basin.
Be careful if you are on the edge! I am NOT encouraging you to take pictures here or risk your safety!
Final Thoughts and Why You have to Go!
There are not many day hikes that I’ve stopped and said wow on multiple times. Each day hike has it’s great views, but this one seemed to be views the whole time. No wonder Cavell Meadows is rated as one of the best day hikes in Jasper National Park.