Path of the Glacier Trail – Best Canadian Rockies Day Hikes

#25 – Canadian Rockies Day Hikes: Path of the Glacier Trail

Path of the Glacier Trail
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  • Location: Jasper National Park
  • Trailhead: Mount Edith Cavell Parking Lot
  • Type: Out-n-Back
  • Rating: Moderately-Easy
  • Total Distance: 1-mile
  • Trailhead Elevation: 5,840′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 222′
  • Recommended Time: 30 minutes – 1 hour
  • Recommended Season: Mid June – Late September

An Ever-Changing Landscape

The Google Map above is a little misleading as the Path of the Glacier Trail has changed in recent years and it is no longer a loop but an out-n-back trail. It is a great example of how quickly the landscape in the Canadian Rockies can change and the risk that accompanies traipsing through these gorgeous mountain environments. In 2012, a huge chunk of ice, estimated by the park service as 50-60%, of the Ghost Glacier broke away from the cliffside of Mount Edith Cavell and smashed into the Cavell Pond below. According to reports by the Spokesman-Review, this enormous impact sent a tsunami through the valley that wiped portions of the Cavell Parking Lot off the landscape. Luckily, this catastrophic event took place in the early morning hours and no one was hurt.

Glaciers of Edith Cavell
Mount Edith Cavell’s many glaciers and Cavell Pond. The Ghost Glacier is now a tiny spec on the left side of the image. The Angel Glacier is the larger one on the right.

The New Path of the Glacier Trail

Cairn Man
A rock monster overlooks Cavell Pond at the base of the sheer cliff face of Mount Edith Cavell.

The Path of the Glacier Trail has been substantially changed since the 2012 event. While the trail previously traversed through the valley, it now climbs the adjacent moraine and arrives at an overlook of the Cavell Pond and the remaining glaciers that cling to the cliffs of Mount Edith Cavell.

Mount Edith Cavell

Mount Edith Cavell
The Path of the Glacier Trail is an amazing hike but the best place to see the full grandeur of Mount Edith Cavell is from Cavell Lake.

While Mount Edith Cavell isn’t the highest peak in the province of Alberta, Canada, it is one of the most beautiful mountains in the Canadian Rockies. It is an iconic peak on the Jasper landscape and a must-see when visiting the National Park. If you are looking for a longer and more challenging hike then leave the asphalt behind, pass over the moraine and into the mountainous terrain on the Edith Cavell Meadows Trail. (Listed as #31 on our Best of the Canadian Rockies Day Hikes).

Cavell Road

Path of the Glacier View
The Path of the Glacier Trail terminates at an overlook of Cavell Pond and the Cavell Glacier that hugs its shoreline.

The 9-mile Cavell Road, while paved, isn’t for the faint of heart. It is very narrow and curvy with tree limbs hugging the road. While we found it to be a bit of a nerving drive as our camper scrapped against the tree limbs, some Europeans that we later hitchedhiked with commented that the narrow road felt very much like home but much more scenic.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Jim says:

    Fascinating journey. Not surprised by the glacier calving producing such results. In Lituga Bay, Alaska in 1958 just such an event produced the largest recorded tsunami ever. Beautiful country y’all have enjoyed.

    1. NomadicMoments says:

      Nature is incredible but innately dangerous. Beauty is often found in the most dangerous places.

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