Valley of the Five Lakes is a short and scenic trail in Jasper National Park.
For a short trail near the town of Jasper with lake and mountain views, try Valley of the Five Lakes. Since the lakes vary in size and depth, they are all different shades of blue or green. You can even swim at Fifth Lake if you don’t mind the chilly water!
Follow the trail through lodgepole pine forest to a boardwalk over Wabasso Creek. Cross the creek and go up the hill to junction B (1.1 kilometres from the parking lot), then take Trail 9a to the left to reach Fifth Lake, the first of five lakes in this valley.
Over the next 800 metres, you will hike through towering aspens, past a pond, then down a hill to a small footbridge. The creek below your feet flows from Fifth Lake into Fourth Lake. There’s a small overgrown trail at right that goes around Fifth Lake where you can see a sunken canoe in the water, but for the best views, continue straight.
With dazzling turquoise waters and a pictureseque island, Fifth Lake is a lovely destination on its own, but it’s worth completing the loop to see the other lakes. Listen for loons, have a picnic, and jump off the dock when it’s time to cool off. Just remember to leave no trace and pack out all trash – there are lots of bears in the area (we saw four!).
Continue north to Fourth Lake, an emerald green lake with a lovely mountain backdrop. The trail is narrow with a steep slope at left along Fourth and Third Lakes, so watch your step! There are some large rocks to sit at near the shore, or you can sit at the Red Chairs in between Fourth and Third Lake. Beware the cheeky ground squirrels that will steal for your food when you’re not looking (they’ve become aggressive due to people feeding them).
Second Lake is the smallest of the five lakes which looks yellowish-green in spots due to algae blooms. If you need to refill your water bottle, continue to First Lake (but make sure to filter or treat the water), the largest of the five lakes. We spent a while here watching loons splashing and fishing.
From First Lake, hike south (left) to the boardwalk, then return the way you came. There’s one short and steep hill on the way back, but other than that, it’s an easy walk through the forest.
This is a lovely trail to do any time of year, but it’s perfect for a hot day because most of the trail is in the shade and you can swim at Fifth Lake!
Valley of the Five Lakes Trail at a Glance
- Distance: 4.6 kilometre loop
- Elevation Gain: 66 metres
- Stroller friendly? No – too narrow in some spots
- Nearest washrooms: Pit toilets at trailhead
- Parking: Valley of the Five Lakes, 10 kilometres south of Jasper on the east side of Highway 93 North
- Trailhead: Look for information kiosk at northeast side of parking lot
Going Further: It is possible to hike to Wabasso Lake (go south on Trail 9 after the boardwalk) and Old Fort Point (go 10 km north on Trail 9 after First Lake). See Parks Canada – Jasper – South of Town Hiking Trails for more information.
Know Before You Go
You are in bear country! We saw a family of grizzly bears on this trail and just missed seeing a black bear, so hike in a group, make noise, carry bear spray just in case, and pack out all trash. Read our Bear Safety Tips for Hikers for more ways to stay safe.
It’s always a good idea to carry The Ten Essentials! Keep them in your hiking backpack so everything is there when you need it.
Valley of the Five Lakes is located 10 kilometres south of Jasper on the east side of Highway 93 North.
Where to Stay
The Crimson Hotel, on the edge of downtown, is Jasper’s newest hotel. With stylish, well-appointed rooms; a hot tub, and indoor pool, you can truly relax after a day of hiking.
Pyramid Lake Resort is another favorite spot of ours, located 10 minutes out of town next to Pyramid Lake. Adventure from your door and curl up next to the fireplace or soak in the resort’s outdoor hot tub after your adventures.