Trailhead: Located at the northwest end of the Maligne Lake parking lot approximately 56Km east of Jasper in Jasper National Park. Expect to see lots of hikers here during the summer months.
Description: If you’re looking for a good selection of wildflowers, this is the hike for you. As you hike higher and higher the wildflowers and the varieties are constantly changing to the altitude and terrain. No dogs allowed here, it’s a protected Caribou range.
Stay on the well worn trail, turn right at the return loop intersection located approximately 1.5Km from the start. From here the trail climbs steep slopes and will test your stamina. It’s a tough uphill grind to the meadows but well worth the effort. Once you arrive at the meadow it’s akin to walking into a flower garden. Best in late June and all of July.
Beware of Grizzly bears here. This meadow is perfect bear habitat and there is not enough room in the small meadow valley for both you and a bear. Keep an eye out and make lots of noise while arriving at the meadow. At this point you can take the left trail through the meadows and back down the loop or take the right trail that leads up to the ridge to your right straight ahead of you.
If you make it up the 1st ridge and still have steam keep going up the ridge to your right staying on the trail as to not disturb the fragile wildflowers. The views from the ridge are excellent. You can see Maligne Lake below and Bald Hills directly across the valley to the south. The trail now turns into rock and scree that traverses a steep slope up to the next ridge. Keep your eye out for mountain goats and sheep. Once you arrive at the final ridge it’s a short hike to the top of the peak in front of you.
On your way back down head towards the entrance and complete the loop through the meadows and back down to the start. If you want to see better views east towards Maligne Lake, hike nearby Bald Hills. In 1908 Opal hills was named by Mary Shaffer after the the resemblance of wildflowers to jewels. Don’t be fooled by the term ‘Hills’. Opal Hills and nearby Bald Hills are mountainous. Mary named most of the peaks near Maligne Lake while exploring this area. Seems to me if she didn’t see a glaciated peak she called it a hill. You are in bear country