The Maligne Lake area is filled with gorgeous lakes, views and hikes. Just a short drive from Jasper town in Jasper National Park, Maligne Lake drive is a long winding road that will leave you breathless.
A great early or late season hike is the Jacques Lake trail. With multiple lakes and only a slight incline, you can do any portion of this hike. It is perfect in late fall, as it is basically deserted.
At 12.2 km each way the whole trail takes around 6-7 hours to do roundtrip, depending on your speed. There is a campground at the lake and the ability to do the hike in 2 days. Always over-estimate the amount of time it will take you to do a hike and bring all the supplies you will need.
As you head down the wide track, the sign says you can even cross-country ski (in the winter of course!). You pass by an old red farm-house with a buckled horse area in the back.
You walk along a small flowing stream filled with rocks and branches. The woods are thick and in late fall it is speckled with gold and reds.
Depending on the time of year, we were there in October, you might have a few centimeters of snow on the ground. Though this shouldn’t deter you from this walk, the snow and ice can add a surreal beauty, especially if you never see another human through the entire trail.
As you walk down the path you get to Beaver Lake picnic area. As you emerge out of the tree, you are surrounded by snow topped peaks and crystal blue water.
Down the path and over some small hills, you will emerge into what appears like a field. During the late fall the yellowing grass will give a stark contrast to Summit Lakes. This is 4.8km in and a good turn point if you want a casual day hike. Enjoy this area for a picnic then head back.
The lake is surrounded by high mountain peaks, and due to its location deep in the mountains it was already frozen when we were there. The ice line was jagged and the quiet gave an eerie feeling to the whole place.
We didn’t have time to make it all the way to Jacques Lake. During late fall the sun rises late and sets early.
This trail is definitely a must!