The Valley of the Five Lakes hike in Jasper National Park is a delightful trail all year round. I visited for a hike this past winter and found a well-trodden trail for winter hiking and snowshoeing. If you’re looking for a place to enjoy nature near Jasper, this popular spot is worth the visit.

Red chairs at Valley of the Five Lakes hike
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Red chairs at the Third Lake—take a load off!

There’s a lot to love about the Valley of the Five Lakes hike in Jasper National Park. This fairly easy trail features not one… not two… but five beautiful lakes! Ok, that’s probably not that surprising… given the name of this hike. Nevertheless, these lakes are a true delight. This was a pretty spot to visit in the wintertime, but I can’t wait to return in the summer when these white lakes turn bright turquoise.

About Valley of the Five Lakes Trail

Bernese mountain dog on First Lake at Valley of the Five Lakes hike
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Berner Belle enjoying the First Lake. She loves the snow!

Location: Jasper National Park
Distance: 6 kilometre loop
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 167 metre gain
Time: 1 – 2 hours
Dog-friendly: Yes, but dogs must be kept on leash.
Features: The Valley of the Five Lakes hike features, well… five beautiful lakes! In the wintertime, the frozen lakes and white-capped mountains create stunning scenery. In the summer months, these lakes turn bright turquoise to delight the eyes. Whatever the season, this short trail will surely impress anyone and everyone!

Finding the Parking Lot

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Drive south on the Icefields Parkway to find Valley of the Five Lakes.

One of the nice things about the Valley of the Five Lakes trail is its proximity to Jasper. The parking lot is only about 10 minutes from the town of Jasper. Drive south on Icefields Parkway (Highway 93) and you’ll eventually see the sign for Valley of the Five Lakes on the left side. Enjoy the beautiful views along the way; the Icefields Parkway never disappoints.

In case you’re wondering, there’s an outhouse located in the parking area that remains open all year round. So don’t worry—you won’t have to go in the snow!

Read: The Beautiful Maligne Canyon Hike in Jasper National Park

Toilets at Valley of the Five Lakes trailhead
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Toilet at the parking lot is open all year.

Hiking the Valley of the Five Lakes

Icy trail at Valley of the Five Lakes hike
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Ice-covered trail at the beginning.

Once I reached the parking area and strapped on my crampons, I made my way to the icy trailhead. There were several families with kids on the trail, which makes perfect sense as this hike can be done in 1 to 2 hours. Though you shouldn’t rush it, since it’s quite enjoyable to spend time by the lakes—yes, even in winter!

From the parking lot, you’ll find the trailhead next to the toilets. From there, walk through the woods until approaching the boardwalk stretching through the little valley. After you make it across, head up the hill and stay left on the trail to go toward the First Lake. The loop can be completed from either direction, but hiking clockwise will start with the First Lake and the rest will follow along the 6-kilometre journey.

Don’t forget to enjoy the views from the red chairs between the third and fourth lake. They’re kind of a Parks Canada icon!

Read: 5 Easy Hikes for Rocky Mountain Rookies (Plus a Bonus!)

Boardwalk at Valley of the Five Lakes
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You’ll find the boardwalk near the beginning of the trail.
First Lake at Valley of the Five Lakes
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First Lake.
Frozen lake at Valley of the Five Lakes
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Some ice has melted away at the First Lake.
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Crampons or micro-spikes are helpful on the snow-packed trail.
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Second Lake.
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It’s funny how the snow on the trail is last to melt away…
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Can you see Parks Canada’s iconic red chairs?
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Nice view of the Third Lake. Can you imagine the turquoise colour in the summer?
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Fourth Lake.
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Fifth Lake. That boat’s not going anywhere.
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Wooden bridge near Fifth Lake.
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Did I mention that crampons are helpful on this winter trail?

Short and Sweet Trail Near Jasper

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Wonder what’s living in that tree…

Valley of the Five Lakes is a short and sweet trail. Even though it’s not a long hike, there are other connecting trails so it’s important to pay attention. I like to use my phone GPS and AllTrails, but there are also plenty of signs for reference.

Are you new to hiking? That’s great! I’d highly recommend Valley of the Five Lakes to ease into the outdoors if you’re near Jasper. Even if you’re a seasoned trekker, you’ll likely enjoy this slice of nature. It’ll be over in an hour or so, though it’s still important to bring your hiking necessities. In the colder months, remember to pack proper winter gear as well.

Jasper National Park has many great trails to explore. At some point, on your next trip to Jasper, check Valley of the Five Lakes off your list. You won’t be disappointed!

Have you hiked the Valley of the Five Lakes trail in winter or summer? What was your experience like?

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Valley of the Five Lakes Hike in Jasper, Alberta via @outandacross
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