For our second day in Jasper National Park, we hiked the incredible Cavell Meadows Trail.
This hike is unique due to the dynamic views of Mount Edith Cavell, Cavell Pond, and the hanging Angel Glacier. As you climb from the trailhead, you are treated to different perspectives of active mountain terrain at close proximity. All through the day, mini avalanches and snow slides rumble down Mount Edith Cavell. Ice melt flows from Angel Glacier into Cavell Pond, its milky green water spotted with tiny icebergs. Geology is in action everywhere. Parks Canada and the Friends of Jasper National Park have done a stellar job of protecting the delicate meadow ecosystem with trail repairs, re-vegetation strategies, and signage. Special places like Cavell Meadows are worth multiple visits, and we can help care for the sensitive alpine by staying on the main trails. There are always beautiful new elements to experience in different seasons. As always, late summer would be an excellent time to appreciate the wildflowers.
- Drive 10 h 7 min (885 km) from Victoria, BC to Jasper, AB via BC-5 N. Follow the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93) south from Jasper 7 km to Highway 93A. Continue south on 93A to Cavell Road (no trailers allowed). Follow the twisting road 14 km through sub-alpine forest to the parking lot beneath Mount Edith Cavell. Google Map
Permits & Fees
- All visitors to Jasper National Park require a Day Pass or Discovery Pass. We love our Annual Discovery Pass because it inspires to visit as many of Canada’s National Parks and Historic Sites as we can in a year!
Books & Maps
- Patton B. & Robinson B. Path of the Glacier. Canadian Rockies Trail Guide. 8th ed. Summerthought Publishing; 2007. Page 191. www.summerthought.com
- Patton B. & Robinson B. Cavell Meadows. Canadian Rockies Trail Guide. 8th ed. Summerthought Publishing; 2007. Page 192-193. www.summerthought.com
- Jasper & Maligne Lake. Scale 1:100,000. Gem Trek Publishing; 7th edition. www.gemtrek.com
Location: Jasper National Park
Route: Cavell Meadows Trail (42)
Date: September 30, 2015
Distance: 8.1 km
Duration: 4 h 57 min
Peak: 2276 m
Gain: 667 m
Trailhead to Viewpoint 2276 m (3.5 km)
After toast and peanut butter in Jasper, we drove to the Cavell Meadows trailhead. As always, the journey was filled with anticipation. The parking lot was busy on arrival, but we found a place and quickly geared up. Our route along the Cavell Meadows Trail overlapped with the paved Path of the Glacier Trail for about 500 m before coming to a junction. This popular area was thick with visitors, most of whom were headed down to an interpretive viewpoint a few hundred metres beyond. We escaped left to hike up and over the ancient lateral moraine of the Cavell Glacier. The small sounds of pika squeaks came from the rock piles while the awesome north face of Mount Edith Cavell loomed overhead. Eventually we entered the forest to climb switchbacks. At the Cavell Meadows loop junction, we stayed left again to make a clockwise trip. The trees finally thinned out to reveal epic views of ragged Angel Glacier. We crossed the fragile meadows by sticking to the trail and hiked up rocky scree to a viewpoint. There were few people here: a photographer with many cameras, and parents encouraging their tired little boy. By that point, the salt and vinegar potato chip bag had swollen to a squeaky ball. We quickly put the chips out of their misery and ate our picnic, watching gravity move rock and ice.
Viewpoint 2276 m to Trailhead (4.6 km)
Our descent from the viewpoint gave us constantly changing views of Angel Glacier and the surrounding peaks. We followed our footsteps down the rocky ridge, then hiked the southwest direction to loop back and around. We now had better views of Cavell Pond, with its calm, turquoise waters and tiny grey ice bergs. Tiny human-dots could be seen near the shoreline. Once we closed the loop, we descended into moist subalpine vegetation again. The trail eventually levelled off and took us out along the familiar moraine. To our left, we could see the climber’s route to the base of Mount Edith Cavell. Not to miss any interpretive plaques, we hiked the short Path of the Glacier Trail to the viewing platform. We were back with the crowds, but tired and happy. The Cavell Meadows Trail didn’t feel quite as remote as our Opal Hills Loop day. We didn’t think about our bear friends as much! However, this popular hike had some of the most beautiful and accessible mountain scenery we have ever experienced. The Canadian Rockies never disappoints those hungry for alpine beauty.