Hiking in Jasper National Park.

Opal Hills

Opal Hills

Summary:

The hike among Opal Hills will take you to a lofty vantage point among many beautiful wildflowers.
Hiking Distance      Opal hills is about a 8.2 km loop.
Hiking Time      It will take anywhere from 2.5 hours to 5 hours to complete the opal hills circuit, depending upon your view or lunch breaks.
460 m elevation gain.

Getting There
The Opal Hills trail can be found by driving to Maligne Lake on the maligne lake road, and parking at the first parking area on the left at the 43 kilometer point.

The Hike
From the hiking trailhead, follow the path to the "Lake Trail Loop" and turn left. This Lake Trail Loop moves right at the second intersection after a little over one hundred meters. Just hike straight ahead. You will climb steeply to a trail junction where the Opal Hills Trail begins. Stay on the right (counter-clockwise) for the fastest way, which is a very steep hike to the viewpoint. You could alternatively go left for an easier, albeit longer hike.

Following the steep way to the view, you will reach a sign at kilometer 2.8; where the hiking route divides. Another hiking route branches to the right down through trees to a good viewpoint. We prefer to take the path ahead that climbs steeply half a kilometer to a great viewpoint where the hiking trail fades on the hillside.

Then hike back to the trail sign. The route will turn right, crossing a stream which then loops behind a rockslide heap. You can cross the stream by either turning right at the sign, hiking over the stream either at a steep enbankment or in dense willows. The easiest crossing, however, is to hike down a dozen meters past the trail sign, taking the clear hiking path on the right.

After finding the main hiking trail again, follow it behind the rockslide pile and descend steeply to the Opal Hills Loop junction at kilometer 1.7. Continue hiking down to the valley finishing once again at the trailhead kiosk.



Grizzly Bears have frequented the Opal Hills hiking areas the last number of years, so please be Bear aware on Your hikes.