No Dogs: The Bald Hills has been identified as critical Woodland Caribou habitat, a threatened Species-at-Risk in Canada. In an attempt to reduce stressors on this disappearing icon of the Canadian wilderness Parks Canada has banned dogs from all Caribou habitat in Jasper National Park.
The Bald Hills Trail in Jasper National Park is a pleasant but at times steep hike up an old fire road to what is, without a doubt, the best viewpoint overlooking Maligne Lake.
Cross the paved road above the parking lot and head up the gated fire road to the old fire tower lookout site. Pretty simple, éh! Well the 480m of elevation over 5km will challenge most hikers.
There are several trail junctions along this fire road in the following order:
2) 300m up the fire road on the left is the signed trail leading to the Moose Lake Loop, Upper Moose Lake Loop and the Maligne Pass trail.
3) On the right at 1.3km is an unsigned junction that leads to the Lorraine Lake Loop. This trail is too wet for summer and is almost exclusively used by x-c skiers in winter.
4) There is a signed junction on the left at 2.5km. This is the shortcut trail to the Bald Hills, it saves a kilometre but is very steep.
5) At 3.2km you'll pass the Evelyn Creek Loop trail on your right. This trail, which connects with the Skyline Trail, is another x-c ski trail and has little to offer in the way of scenery.
The official trail ends at the 5km mark, the site of an old fire tower long since torn down, there is an old hitching rail from the days Maligne Lake Tours used to offer horseback trips up the fire road. While the views from the lookout are fine, the obvious road/trail continues for another 2km and 130m of elevation to an even more commanding view of the area from the north summit of the Bald Hills.
The signed upper junction of the shortcut trail is passed 75m beyond the lookout site. Cross-country skiers who venture beyond the lookout site should be aware that they are entering avalanche terrain. www.avalanche.ca
The 10km is return distance. Elevation gain is 480m (1,580').
Parks Canada produces a day hiking guide of this and many other trails in the park called "Summer Trails" which is available for free from the Jasper Information Centre in the Jasper townsite and the parks desk in the Columbia Icefield Centre.
As well, Parks Canada produces a trail guide of this and all other x-c ski trails in the Park called 'Winter Trails', which is available for free from the Jasper Information Centre in the town of Jasper.
Submitted by 'mtncat'. In winter please check the local avalanche bulletins and conditions.
From the town of Jasper drive east for 2km on Hwy 16 and turn right on the Maligne Lake Road. Cross the bridge follow the Maligne Lake Road for 47km and park at roads end.
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Posted By: rlong007
- Fri Jul 19 21:15:55 UTC 2013
Upsiderelatively quick hike, can explore at the top, amazing views of Maligne lake and other side of bald hills DownsideMain trail quite uneventful CommentJust did this one yesterday. Decided to take the shortcut and glad I did. The views from the shortcut are outstanding! The main trail offers virtually no views and can be quite boring - took it on the way down and wish I did the shortcut again. Definitely recommend the shortcut. The views from the top are quite amazing I must say. I'm a novice hiker and was ok with this hike. Definitely had to take some breaks on the shortcut but again, was well worth it, especially now that I know what the main trail is like.
Posted By: Backcountry Chickpea
- Fri Apr 26 16:25:28 UTC 2013
UpsideNot busy in the winter. DownsideIf you leave the trail you can sink into some very deep snow. CommentWe've done this trail twice now, both during the winter months.
The first time in February was with snowshoes and believe me, you'll need them! We decided to take the short cut which I wouldn't recommend doing in the winter. It's very easy to lose the trail and there are avalanche areas near that shortcut. We ended up making our way back down the hillside on no trail at all and the snow was deeper than we are tall, the snowshoes made it that much more challenging. Incredibly fun but definitely not the safest and quite difficult.
Second we walked it last weekend without snowshoes, which seemed no big deal as the lower trail was packed really well but as you gain in elevation it is very apparent that snowshoes would make it much easier. We saw some beautiful cougar tracks in the fresh snow, but the cougar was nowhere to be seen. On a sunny day you want to have a good pair of polarized sunglasses, that glare off the snow is bright.
This trail is well worth the effort! The view is incredible and you can expect to meet some whiskey jacks up top.
If you want to leave the trail, carry a beacon just to be on the safe side.
Posted By: rlong007
- Fri Mar 02 01:54:02 UTC 2012
Comment(snowshoe) Didn't finish due to lack of stamina and winter boot issues but thought it was a good trail for the part I did. Hope to return in the future when in better shape to complete it and with people. Snowshoeing alone left me feeling a bit skiddish as it should.
Posted By: hugh
- Fri Aug 06 19:12:09 UTC 2010
UpsideMy wife, 16 year old son and I did this hike on July 6, 2010. We had a spectacular clear blue sky and warm temps. The hike started a little slow as the climb up the old fire road seemed to last forever. We missed the short cut which would have saved us a kilometer, so if you do this hike look for the shortcut trail. <BR><BR>The scenery was nice as we approached the old fire lookout. It got even better as we neared the base of the Bald Hills. A good bit of the trail leading to the top was covered in snow. That being said, it wasn't difficult to walk through it towards the top. Once we got to the top, we were awestruck. The views of Maligne Lake below and the 360 degree views of the surrounding mountains were amazing. This hike was highly recommended to us by one of the Parks Canada rangers. I certainly understand why.<BR><BR>There are actually three bald hills. The initial approach is up the north hill. It is an easy to moderate hike to the center hill and to the south hill. Alpine hiking at its finest. If you have the time to go to these other "summits", it would be worth your while.<BR><BR>On the way down, my son and I decided to cheat and actually slid down the snow on top of our backpacks--probably went about 75 - 100 meters. We didn't get going to fast, it was easy to brake with our feet. That was an experience that we won't forget.<BR><BR>If you are in the Jasper area, this is a hike that you must go on. Well worth the effort. Remember, don't miss the shortcut about 1/3 to 1/2 way up the fire road. Also, consider going to the summit of the center and north hills.<BR><BR><BR>
Posted By: marvin
- Tue Jun 10 16:09:14 UTC 2008
UpsideGreat view over maligne Lake and the Athabasca valley (Mt. Edith, The Whistler) DownsideSome curious squirrels throwing mushrooms out of the trees and having fun CommentEasy trail up to the old fire tower lookout then it becomes difficult because of the scree. Gone the shortcut and then we folloed more then 1 hour ridge to the south. Although a sunny mid September day we needed our sweaters and windcheaters at the ridge. Fresh snow laid on the upper section
Posted By: ranger_eric
- Sat Oct 15 18:56:32 UTC 2005
UpsideGeat views of Maligne Lake, good workout. DownsideSometimes bears in the area, be very aware. CommentLong, good hike. The view from the top makes the hike worth it. Just be aware there are bears in the area