The 1,200 kilometers (745 miles) of hiking trails in Jasper  are significantly different from those in the other mountain national parks. The park has an extensive system of interconnecting backcountry trails that, for experienced hikers, can provide a wilderness adventure rivaled by few areas on the face of the earth. I’ll leave descriptions of these longer trails to experts Brian Patton and Bart Robinson, authors of The Canadian Rockies Trail Guide (sold at the Park Information Centre and other retailers through the park) and concentrate on the most popular hikes.
Before setting off on any hike, whatever the length, go to the Park Information Centre in downtown Jasper for trail maps, trail conditions, and trail closures.
Numerous official and unofficial hiking trails weave across the benchland immediately west of the town of Jasper, many branching out from beside the museum. To get a taste of this accessible section of the park, plan on taking the Pyramid Benchland Trail (seven km/4.3 mi, 5 hours round-trip), which climbs onto the bench before emerging at a bluff overlooking the Athabasca River Valley.
In the vicinity, two kilometers (1.2 miles) along Pyramid Lake Road, the Patricia Lake Circle (five km/3.1 mi, 90 minutes round-trip) doesn’t actually encircle Patricia Lake, but instead just passes along a portion of its southern shoreline, with good chances of spying beaver in the adjacent Cottonwood Slough.
Feeling energetic? Continue to the end of Pyramid Lake Road and lace up for the trail to The Palisade (11 km/6.8 mi, four hours one-way), gaining 850 meters (2,790 feet) of elevation along the way.
Cavell Road begins 13 kilometers (eight miles) south from town along Highway 93A and ends after 14.5 kilometers (nine miles) at the trailhead for the Cavell Meadows Trail (four km/2.5 mi, 1.5 hours one-way)—one of most scenic in the park. The trail starts out following the paved Path of the Glacier Loop, then branches left, climbing steadily through a subalpine forest of Engelmann spruce and then stunted subalpine fir to emerge facing the northeast face of Mount Edith Cavell  and Angel Glacier. The view of the glacier from this point is nothing less than awesome, as the ice spills out of a cirque, clinging to a 300-meter-high (980 feet) cliff face. The trail continues to higher viewpoints and an alpine meadow that, by mid-July, is filled with wildflowers.
The trail into the Tonquin Valley is one of the overnight treks that I’d said earlier was beyond the scope of this book, but this one is just too good to pass up. The easiest of two approaches begins opposite the hostel on Cavell Road and follows the Astoria River (19 km/11.8 mi, 6–7 hours one-way) for much of the way. Amethyst Lakes and the 1,000-meter (3,280-foot) cliffs of the Ramparts first come into view after 13 kilometers (eight miles). At the 17-kilometer (10.5-mile) mark the trail divides. To the left it climbs into Eremite Valley, where there’s a campground. The right fork continues following Astoria River to Tonquin Valley, Amethyst Lakes, and a choice of four campgrounds and two lodges.
Hikes in the vicinity of Maligne Lake , 48 kilometers (30 miles) from the town of Jasper , provides many opportunities to view the lake and explore its environs. To get there, take Highway 16 east for four kilometers (2.5 miles) from town and turn south on Maligne Lake Road.
The Lake Trail (Mary Schäffer Loop) (3.2 km/two mi, one hour round-trip) is the easiest local trail, but also offers the most spectacular views. From the boat house, follow the lakeshore through an open area of lakeside tables to a point known as Schäffer Viewpoint, named for the first white person to see the valley. Across the lake are the aptly named Bald Hills, the Maligne Range, and to the southwest, the distinctive twin peaks of Mount Unwin and Mount Charlton. After dragging yourself away from the spectacular panorama, continue along a shallow bay before following the trail into a forest of spruce and subalpine fir, then looping back to the middle parking lot.
The loop trail through the Opal Hills (8.2 km/5.1 mi, three hours round-trip) begins from the upper parking lot, climbing a total of 455 meters (1,500 feet) to the high alpine meadows.
The Bald Hills Trail (5.2 km/3.2 mi, two hours one-way) gains 495 meters (1,620 feet) along an old fire road that leads to the site of a fire lookout. The 360-degree view takes in the jade-green waters of Maligne Lake, the Queen Elizabeth Ranges, and the twin peaks of Mount Unwin and Mount Charlton. The trail begins from the picnic area at the very end of Maligne Lake Road.