Under a sunny blue sky, Lake Annette in Jasper National Park has beautiful the blue/green colours normally associated with glacial fed lakes. Combined with stunning panoramas, it is the perfect after dinner stroll close to the town of Jasper. The trail around the lake is as flat as it gets in the Rockies and paved to boot, making it easy for everyone, including folks in wheelchairs and parents with baby strollers. The trail was constructed with funds from the Clifford E. Lee Foundation.
From any of the parking lots (the trail crosses the corner of one of them) it is an easy walk down to the paved trail around the lake, trail # 4d. Left or right around the lake, it doesn't really matter, all is good. Make your way around the loop, stopping at interpretive panels to discover the names of landmarks, and benches to enjoy the view. The small pond at the corner of the lake called Ocher Lake, which is filled with quicksand.
There is no visible inlet or outlet from Lake Annette, all the water enters and exits the lake through mysterious means. Jasper National Park is home to what might be the longest underground river system in Canada. Starting from the floor of Medicine lake almost 30 km away, the Maligne River runs underground through an unexplorable cave system to the floor of Lake Annette and many other places in the surrounding valley. Maligne Canyon and Medicine Lake are other areas where you can explore this puzzling natural feature.
Having filtered itself through the cave system the clear waters of Lake Annette makes for a short but pleasant paddle for those with a canoe or kayak. Due to the lakes clarity it is also a popular scuba diving destination. Edmonton dive shops make regular trips to the lake in summer, setting up an orienteering course on the lake bed. Divers and paddlers normally put in from the dock at the first parking lot. Divers, you can fill your tanks at the new Fire Station in town.
Jasper National Park produces a free day hiking guide called 'Summer Trails' of this and many other trails in the park, it is available at the Jasper Information Centre. Gemtrek produces two maps of the area 'Jasper Up Close' at 1:35,000 and 'Jasper and Maligne Lake' at 1:100,000. The Government topo 83 D/16 Jasper at 1:50,000 shows the area as well but rare is the trail that is correctly plotted on this map.
Submitted by 'mtncat'.
From the town of Jasper drive east for 2km on Hwy16 and turn right on the Maligne Lake Road. Crossing the bridge turn right towards Jasper Park Lodge, one kilometre later turn left into the 'Lake Annette and Lake Edith Picnic Area'. This picnic area is large and has several parking lots. There are three parking lots on the Lake Annette side of the picnic area, take any right turn or go straight ahead at the four-way intersection to access them.
The picnic area is handicap accessible and equipped with many picnic tables (some well back in the forest) and fireboxes but no firewood. There are outhouses, change rooms, kitchen shelters, and a brand new climber for children(2005). The beaches along both lakes are a great place for a swim after a week or more of hot summer weather.
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