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Canada famously has some of the most visually stunning ranges of the Rockies. It will come as little surprise that it also has some of the most stunning hiking trails in the Rockies as well. The Skyline Trail is a hiking trail in Jasper National Park in Canada's province of Alberta and is famous for its sweeping views. This is a high hiking route, with the bulk of the route running at or above the treeline, given it sweeps uninterrupted views.

Jasper National Park is famously one of the most stunning national parks in all of North America. Jasper is also open during the winter. Go in the winter, and visitors will see a completely transformed wintery world of the Canadian Rockies. Of course, the Skyline Trail is impassable during the winter.


The Skyline Trail - One Of The Best Hikes Of The Rockies

The Skyline Trail is considered one of the best trails in Canada's Rockies. Hikers are spoiled for views of the valleys, lakes, forests, and mountain ranges of Jasper National Park.

Much of the Skyline Trail hike is above the tree line (this can also make it more challenging as hikers are exposed to the weather conditions). It is famous for being one of the best backpacking trails in Jasper. Around 25 kilometers of the 44-kilometer-long trail is above the tree line.

  • Length: 44-47 Kilometers

Breathe in the fresh alpine air while gazing out over vast meadows and windswept ridges while keeping an eye or two out for wildlife roaming around in the distance.

Before hiking the route, take time to study the map of the trail. There are options to add segments to the trail as well as an escape route in case the mountain pass becomes impassable.

Wildlife along the route includes timber wolves, black bear, coyote, grizzly bear, moose, deer, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, lynx, mule deer, beavers, elk, wolverines, cougars, porcupines, and more. Bird life includes raptors, great gray owls, golden eagles, great horned owls, and bald eagles.

Related: 10 Tips For Hiking In Jasper National Park For The First Time

Duration & What To Know Of Hiking The Skyline Trail

Hikers need to be really for a challenge, the trail does cross three challenging passes, and it is the highest trail in the national park at one section.

There are several starting trailheads along the Skyline Trail, but hikers normally start at Maligne Lake trailhead, where the altitude is higher. Maligne Lake is around 48 km from the Jasper townsite. Other trailheads where hikers can start are Signal Mountain, Wabasso Lake, and the Watchtower.

  • Duration: Typically 2-4 Days
  • Elevation Change From Maligne Lake: 1,410 meter gain, 1,928-meter loss
  • Max Elevation: 2,250 meters

Hikers normally complete the trail in two days from Maligne Lake to the bottom of Signal Mountain, while other hikers take a more leisurely pace.

It is important to check the weather forecast in advance and to be prepared for adverse weather conditions - snow can fall any time during the year. Remember to wear layers and check for recommendations for hiking on the trail.

  • Season: Normally Early July to Early October

As the trail crosses high mountain passes, it is only hikable during the summer months. The season is typically early July to early October. During these months, it is very busy; there are plenty of less crowded routes in the region if one would like to avoid the crowds.

Dogs are banned on the trail, so pooch will need to stay at home.

Camping Along The Skyline Trail

The Skyline Trail has a total of six campgrounds. They are Evelyn Creek (5 km), Little Shovel (8 km), Snowball (12 km) Curator (19 km), Tekarra (30 km), and Signal (35 km). Camping is only permitted at the designated campgrounds (reservations are required).

The campgrounds have tent pads, bear poles with metal cables, toilets, and picnic tables. Fires are not permitted unless metal fireboxes are provided.

  • Tip: Book Well In Advance To Get A Camping Spot

Campers need to contact Parks Canada for details and booking as they are often booked months in advance. Remember to plan in advance as the Skyline Trail is one of the busiest backpacking trails in the Canadian Rockies.

If one feels the urge for a breathtaking hike through some of Canada's most spectacular scenery, then plan ahead and hike the Skyline Trail.