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Hiking The Henry MacLeod Trail In Jasper National Park

Hiking the Henry MacLeod Trail in Jasper National Park

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 at either of the campsites on Maligne Lake.

"The Henry MacLeod Trail starts at the far end of Maligne Lake"

The Henry MacLeod Trail starts at the far end of Maligne Lake

What you’ll see on the Henry McLeod Trail

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.

Great texture in old stump on the Henry Macleod Trail

Great texture in old stump on the Henry Macleod Trail

"Remnants of a huge debris flow"

Remnants of a huge debris flow

You might see the odd deer on the trail

You might see the odd deer on the trail

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.

"Small falls over a roaring stream"

"Me enjoying this hike"

Me – enjoying this hike

Some of the gorgeous mountain-glacier views along the hike

Some of the gorgeous mountain-glacier views along the hike

"Walking on lovely mossy trails"

At times lovely walking on mossy trails

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.

The official hike ends at the nearby camp - though climbers will head for the glacier

The official hike ends at the nearby camp – though climbers will head for the glacier

"The Coronet Glacier"

The Coronet Glacier

The trail along the river's edge back to camp

The trail along the river’s edge back to camp

"A brain numbing hair wash"

A brain numbing hair wash – with biodegradable soap

Interesting lichens and flowers on this old tree stump

Interesting lichens and flowers on this old tree stump

"A new wildflower type for me"

Anyone know kind of flower this is?

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.

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

A hike on the Henry MacLeod Trail in Jasper

Leigh McAdam

 

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 57,000 followers. Her blog: HikeBikeTravel is frequently cited as one of the top travel and outdoor adventure blogs in Canada.

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

This Post Has 23 Comments
  1. It never fails to amaze me how you can combine words like “huge debris flow”, “destructive avalanche path”, and “great hike”. You outdoors people never cease to amaze me, at least until I take a look at some of the fantastic pictures you bring back. You will have to provide a little more explanation for the hair wash picture though.

  2. It never fails to amaze me how you can combine words like “huge debris flow”, “destructive avalanche path”, and “great hike”. You outdoors people never cease to amaze me, at least until I take a look at some of the fantastic pictures you bring back. You will have to provide a little more explanation for the hair wash picture though.

    1. @Mette This hike was deserted – we saw two hikers in the distance and that was it. I wish that was always the case though if you hike just a few miles you usually lose the majority of the people.

  3. We used to do that on Sundays. Jump in the car and just keep going to see what’s around the next corner, then the next. Love how your hike turned out, Leigh. And no, I’m not tired of reading another post on hiking.
    The views are just breathtaking. Not so sure I’d want that brain numbing hair wash though!

  4. We used to do that on Sundays. Jump in the car and just keep going to see what’s around the next corner, then the next. Love how your hike turned out, Leigh. And no, I’m not tired of reading another post on hiking.
    The views are just breathtaking. Not so sure I’d want that brain numbing hair wash though!

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