If you hike the Henry MacLeod Trail – beginning at the far end of Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park, you’re in for a treat. But unless you’re camping at the Coronet Creek Campground, accessibility is a huge issue. Certainly mountain climbers make it into a multi-day trip but your average Joe isn’t about to paddle 21 kilometres, hike 16 kilometres and paddle 21 kilometres out again in a day. However, it’s a great hike if you are planning to spend a few nights camping on Maligne Lake.
What you’ll see on the Henry McLeod Trail hike
The hike starts just past the tent pads at the Coronet Creek campground. The trail is signed at the start and at the rustic campsite eight kilometres later. No other signage is around but 99% of the trail is obvious. The only time you may have to look around a bit for the trail is after each of the stream crossings.
I loved the mix of trail underfoot – soft mossy, almost bouncy through the woods to stony paths alongside the river. Most of the time there was some sort of view though it wasn’t until about a kilometer from the end that you could enjoy full on glacier and mountain views.
This is the sort of trail where you can take your time – especially since you’re not rushing back to your car to drive home. Stop and admire the wildflowers. Eat lunch by the river. Dunk your head in the river if it’s a really hot day. Smell the pine scented air. This is definitely a hike for the senses.
The only concern hiking the Henry MacLeod Trail – and it’s a bigger issue earlier in the season, is that you must make two stream crossings. Take some time to scout the best place to cross.
The trail doesn’t gain a lot of altitude – perhaps 300 metres in total. At the end of the trail – if you’re so inclined you can explore the lower moraines of the glacier though that might entail more stream crossings.
Interestingly we hadn’t planned to do this hike. We thought we’d walk a kilometre or two and turn around – and have a relaxing day at camp instead. But we wanted to see what was around the next corner, and the next… The hike turned out to be far more delightful than anticipated.