The Mount Edith Cavell Meadows trail lets you discover the mesmerizing natural beauty of the Canadian Rockies. This moderate hike combines glaciers and wildflowers into an easily accessible trail, making it a must in Jasper National Park.
Rising over 11,030 feet, Mount Edith Cavell is the most recognizable peak in Jasper National Park. The mountain is also the tallest in Athabasca Valley, recognizable by the hanging Angel Glacier and distinct diagonal lines running across its face.
Epic views of this namesake mountain, along with wildflower meadows, are highlights on the Edith Cavell Meadows trail. The jaw-droppingly beautiful hike also shows off glaciers and a milky green glacial pond.
Amazingly, it’s one of the most accessible hikes in Jasper, and there’s even an easier trail option. It’s no surprise many people consider this among the best hikes in the park!
Mount Edith Cavell Guide
- Mount Edith Cavell Meadows Trail stats
- Mount Edith Cavell Hike overview
- Know before you go
- The route
- Tips for hiking Mount Edith Cavell
- What to pack
Edith Cavell Meadows trail stats
- Location: Jasper National Park, Alberta
- Distance: 4.6-mile loop
- Elevation gain: 1,820 feet
- Difficulty rating: Moderate
- Timing: 3-5 hours
- Pets: Not allowed, but they are welcome on the initial/lower paved portion of the trail
- Permits: You don’t need a permit to hike Edith Cavell Meadows specifically, but you do need to pay for a daily permit or have a Parks Canada Discovery Pass to enter the park
- View the trail notes
Mount Edith Cavell hike overview
The alpine scenery in Jasper National Park is world renowned, and the Mount Edith Cavell trail does an excellent job showing it off. Dramatic towering peaks, a very active glacier, a glacial pond, and colorful wildflower meadows…the gang’s all here!
Throw in the rugged, winding Cavell Road to get there, and you’ve got all the ingredients for one heck of a memorable day hike.
One of the best things about hiking the Edith Cavell Meadows trail, though, is that you don’t have to work super hard for these incredible views.
True, the best views, and the meadows filled with wildflowers, come after climbing straight up for a little over two miles. But you can also choose the much easier, paved Path of the Glacier trail for head-on views of Mount Edith Cavell, Angel Glacier, and Cavell Pond.
Things to know before you go
Before hiking up to Edith Cavell Meadows, there are several things to take into consideration.
Best time of year to visit Mount Edith Cavell
Cavell Road doesn’t open for the season until mid-June, and it closes again in mid-October. The national park typically opens the Edith Cavell Meadows Trail in mid-July, once it’s (mostly) free of snow and ice.
With that said, the best time to hike it is a short window between mid-July and mid-August. This is when the famous wildflowers are at their peak, creating blankets of color across the landscape.
If seeing the wildflowers isn’t a priority, August and September are also excellent for this hike. As September goes on, the crowds get noticeably lighter—but the temperatures start to drop quickly, too.
In late September or October, be prepared for snow and ice at higher elevations on the trail.
How long does the Mount Edith Cavell hike take?
It takes an average of 3-5 hours to hike Mount Edith Cavell Meadows. Of course, factors such as your individual pace and how often you stop impact that timeframe.
If you are just planning to hike to the glacier lake, your total hiking time will be around 45 minutes round trip.
How difficult is the Mount Edith Cavell Meadows hike?
Hiking Mount Edith Cavell Meadows is moderately difficult. Just about anyone who’s somewhat active or has even minimal hiking experience should do just fine on the trail.
The most difficult aspects of the hike are the steep incline and the high altitude. If at all possible, spend a couple of days acclimating yourself to the elevation before doing any major hiking in Jasper. Altitude sickness is very real, and it isn’t fun!
Drink plenty of water, and consider trying the lower Path of the Glacier hike first, before attempting to go all the way up to Edith Cavell Meadows.
Aside from the elevation and steepness, navigating the moraine field is the only somewhat technical part of the trail. A slower pace and trekking poles can offer greater stability here, again, even for novice hikers.
Obtaining a permit for your Mount Edith Cavell Meadows hike
While you don’t need a permit to hike Mount Edith Cavell Meadows, you do need a Parks Canada Pass. You can get an annual Discovery Pass, or a single-day pass, which starts at $10.50 CAD per adult or $21.00 per group/family (2-7 people).
We broke down the route for hiking the Mount Edith Cavell trail into parts to give you an idea of what to expect on the route.
Your Mount Edith Cavell Meadows adventure really starts on the way there. Cavell Road is wild enough that it’s practically the first leg of the hike!
Specifically, the last 8.6 miles (14 kilometers) is extremely narrow and winding. Don’t let that deter you, though. Just take your time and be extra careful, and you’ll be just fine.
Notably, because it’s at such high elevation, Cavell Road is also open only for a pretty short season. Every year, the earliest it opens is June 14, and it’s closed again by October 15.
Path of the Glacier
Once you arrive at the parking lot, take the stairs to the paved trail. The first 0.6-mile section of the Edith Cavell Meadows hike is actually the easy, straightforward Path of the Glacier trail.
Since it is so easy, you can pretty much bank on this part of the hike being packed with people. It’s understandable, because the unobstructed views of the glacier and valley are absolutely beautiful.
Right at half a mile, the pavement ends. To continue on to the Cavell Meadows Trail, take a left. However, just a tiny bit further ahead is a spectacular overlook of Mount Edith Cavell and Cavell Pond down below. It’s worth the few minutes’ detour.
Stopping at the Cavell glacier Pond was one of the highlights of our time in Jasper National Park!
Quick note: don’t confuse Cavell Pond with Cavell Lake, which is just off the main road getting to the trailhead. That’s well worth a stop, also, and a perfect lunch spot!
Keep your eyes and ears open at the overlook, because this is an excellent spot to witness the glacier calving! Look for icebergs floating in the water, too. Because of the danger of falling ice, the park urges visitors not to approach the pond—so this is an ideal viewpoint.
Back in 2012, a column of ice so large fell off that it flooded the trail and turned the parking lot (and even parts of the road!) into a dangerous sheet of ice!
Edith Cavell Meadows Trail
To continue on to Edith Cavell Meadows, leave the viewpoint and go back a short distance to the trail junction. Turn right, heading away from the parking lot.
The climb starts almost immediately once you get off the Path of the Glacier Trail. You’ll quickly have to traverse some large moraine fields, the rocky remnants of huge ancient glaciers.
There are some excellent photo ops in the moraine, but you have to do some scrambling to get to the best ones. Watch your footing, and keep an eye out for smaller wildlife like marmots.
After making it across the moraine fields, the Cavell Meadows Trail takes you up through the forest. The ascent here is steep, with several switchbacks, but it’s not a long section.
Once you’re above the treeline, your efforts will be richly rewarded. Not only does the trail level out, but it also circles the gorgeous wildflower meadow this trail is famous for! The views of Mount Edith Cavell towering above the flower field is truly unforgettable.
You can take the loop in either direction. If you go clockwise, you’ll climb up an incline slightly away from the wildflowers first. Whereas if you hike it counter-clockwise, you’ll hit the wildflowers first and then come down the steepest part.
It’s totally your preference, because you’ll get the exact same scenery either way. Whichever direction you go, stop at the overlook at the far end for amazing views of the meadow.
Finish the loop and reconnect with the main Edith Cavell Meadows Trail to re-trace your steps back to the parking lot.
Tips for hiking Edith Cavell Meadows Trail
- Trekking poles are a must. Even if you don’t typically hike with them, poles are tremendously helpful on the rocky moraine and steep ascent and descent on this trail.
- There’s a pit toilet at the trailhead. This is the only facility for the entire hike, so go before you hit the trail.
- Remember that the open season for Cavell Road is very short. At best, it’s open from mid-June to mid-October. However, in the past it has opened well into July and closed as early as September. Check the Parks Canada website for up-to-date conditions.
- Consider booking a guided tour. If you’re not comfortable driving Cavell Road on your own, or you prefer to hike with a group, several Jasper-area outfitters offer guided tours (and do the driving, too!).
- Large trailers and RVs aren’t allowed on Cavell Road. Vehicle length is limited to 25 feet. However, if yours is longer than that, you can drop it in the designated area just before the road officially starts.
- The summit is notoriously cold and windy. Even on warm summer days, the final lookout in the meadow is always bitter cold and windy. Bring at least a windbreaker or something with long sleeves.
- Brace yourself for mosquitos. They can be brutal on the Edith Cavell Meadows trail, especially during peak summer hiking season. Apply bug spray, wear layers, and use any other repellent tricks you have up your sleeve.
- Don’t feed the critters. Some might think this goes without saying, but others can’t resist the cute little shrieks of begging marmot and pika. Don’t feed them, as it teaches them to (dangerously) associate humans with food.
What to pack for visiting Mount Edith Cavell
- Navigation: we recommend using Alltrails+ to download the offline trail map
- Get your first week of using Alltrails+ for FREE when you sign up using our link!
- Hiking daypack
- Water bottles and/or bladder for your Camelbak
- Bug repellant
- Sun protection: sunscreen, hat, sun glasses
- Headlamp (if hiking close to dark)
- Camera/tripod (this one’s our favorite for hiking)
- Lots of layers (here is a great resource if you’re wondering what to wear hiking)
- Rain jacket
- Comfortable hiking boots or shoes
- Hiking poles (optional)
- Battery pack (if you are relying on your phone)
- Plenty of snacks: check out our favorite hiking snacks here!
Be sure to download our FREE hiking packing list before your next trip and never leave another essential behind again!
You may also like…
- Best Hikes in Jasper National Park, Canada
- 10 Best National Parks in Canada
- Epic Hikes in Banff National Park
- Valley of Five Lakes: Jasper National Park Trail Guide
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Have you ever hiked the Mount Edith Cavell Meadows trail in Jasper National Park, Canada? What was your experience like? Do you have more questions about doing the hike? Comment below and let us know!