The stunning Mount Edith Cavell hike is one of the best things to do in Jasper. Standing at 3,363 meters (11,000 feet) height, you can’t miss Mount Edith Cavell looming over Jasper town. The best way to explore this area is by foot. There are several hiking trails connecting each other to explore the stunning Edith Cavell glacier, Cavell pond, and the meadows leading up to the East Ridge summit of Mount Edith. These trails merge and can be explored as a loop. You will start with the Path of the Glacier trail and then make your way up via Edith Cavell Meadows trail to the East Ridge summit of Mount Edith Cavell. While you can just do the Path of the Glacier trail to visit the Cavell Pond and Glacier from up close, the full hike going up the East Ridge of Mount Edith Cavell is the most complete experience. It’s one of the best hikes in Jasper National Park and a must-do. Find in our complete guide everything you need to know before hiking Mount Edith Cavell.
About Mount Edith Cavell
Mount Edith Cavell is the tallest peak in Jasper National Park standing at 3,363 meters height. While the name of the hike does suggest that you climb up Mount Edith Cavell, you only make your way up through the meadows until the East Ridge of the mountain, not the actual summit of Mount Edith. This viewpoint provides a stunning view over the Cavell Glacier, also known as Angel Glacier, the Cavell Pond and the surrounding snow-capped peaks.
Mount Edith Cavell has an interesting history with different names throughout the years. While Indigenous people called it “White Ghost,” French mountaineers named it “la Montagne de la Grande Traverse,” and until World War I the name of the mountain was Mount Fitzhugh.
Mount Edith Cavell got its current name after WWI to honor a brave British nurse who saved soldiers’ lives during the war. So until today, the mountain preserves her story.
Mount Edith Cavell hike statistics
As said in the introduction, the Edith Cavell hike is basically a combination of three hikes. You can choose how far you want to go, depending on your fitness level and the amount of time you have.
The first part of the hike is officially called the Path of the Glacier trail which takes you to the milky green Cavell Pond and so-called Angel Glacier. The trail then continues up through the Edith Cavell Meadows towards the East Ridge Summit of Mount Edith Cavell. Below you will see the details and distances of these trails.
Path of the Glacier Trail
Distance: 1.8 km out and back
Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour return
Elevation gain: 84 meters
Mount Edith Cavell Meadows Trail
Distance: 8 km return including the Path of the Glacier track. 7.4 km without the Path of the Glacier track
Time: 3 – 4 hours return
Elevation gain: 562 meters
East Ridge Summit via Edith Cavell Meadows Trail
Distance: 9.3 km return
Time: 4 – 5 hours return
Elevation gain: 825 meters
How to get to Mount Edith Cavell parking?
Mount Edith Cavell Road is open seasonally and the exact opening times depend on the amount of snow. Typically the road opens sometime in May until late October. But again, it’s completely dependent on the amount of snowfall. You can check this website and Jasper National Park road updates for up-to-date road conditions.
From the Icefields Parkway, you will turn onto Highway 93A which is a famous road for spotting all kinds of wildlife. So drive carefully and keep your eyes peeled! Soon you will turn right onto Cavell Road which is a 14 km (8.7 mile) road with lots of tight switchbacks and stunning views all along until you get to the parking lot.
Vehicle restrictions for Cavell Road
It’s important to know that there are vehicle restrictions for the Cavell Road. The maximum length for vehicles is 25 feet. If you are driving a camper van, motorhome, or trailer longer than 25 feet you will need to drop them off at the designated area. There is no shuttle going further. So you either need to hike the remaining part of the road, or hitchhike your way further up.
This is a long way and quite the hassle. So a great option for RV travellers that want to hike Mount Edith Cavell is to book this guided hiking tour including transport. This allows you to explore the stunning Mount Edith Cavell area without the hassle of getting to the trailhead without your vehicle.
The perfect solution if you travel with an RV and can’t make it up the road due to the vehicle restrictions. Or if you’re a solo traveler or don’t have your own transport.
This half day tour to Mount Edith Cavell includes a guide, private transportation and pick up from your hotel in Jasper. Limited to a small group, you will be assured of a personal experience. Secure your spot fast before the tour is sold out!
→ Check here current prices and availability for the guided Mount Edith Cavell hike
What is the best time to hike Edith Cavell trail?
With the road only being open from late May (or as soon as the snow has melted), until late October (it will close with the first big snowfall), the hiking window is between these months. In the summer months, the vibrant wildflowers are in full bloom along the Edith Cavell Meadows making the trail even more beautiful. In June you can expect more snow on the peaks than later in the season around August and September until the first snowfall in October. Overall, the best time to hike Edith Cavell is between June and September. The road leading up the the parking lot will be closed with the first snowfall in early October. This depends on the year, so keep a close eye on the road conditions.
Is Mount Edith Cavell hike difficult?
I would rate the Mount Edith Cavell hike moderate. It just depends if you go for the full hike leading up to East Ridge, or only go to the Edith Cavell meadows or just the Path of the Glacier trail. Going up the East Ridge you will have to hike some steep sections over a gravel slope. But the first part of Path of the Glacier trail is over a paved path which is very easy.
The trail then continues in the forest with gentle switchbacks until you get to the open meadows with breathtaking views. From here on the trail gets more difficult with a challenging uphill climb along a slippery gravel slope. Hiking poles would be very helpful at this part of the hike, and shoes with great grip are definitely a must as well.
How long is Edith Cavell hike?
Depending on if you combine both the Path of the Glacier trail and Edith Cavell Meadows trail, the hike will be between 7.4 km and 8 km. The full Edith Cavell hike until the East Ridge summit is 9.3 km return which includes the meadows trail and a stop at the viewpoint overlooking Cavell Pond and Cavell Glacier.
Mount Edith Cavell trail description
We did the full Mount Edith Cavell hike which encompasses the Path of the Glacier trail, Edith Cavell Meadows and then summiting the East Ridge of Mount Edith Cavell.
As mentioned before, you can also only walk the Path of the Glacier trail which is a perfect option if you are short in time or with company that has difficulty walking. The Path of the Glacier trail is paved and even wheelchair friendly!
Path of the Glacier trail
From the parking lot, you’ll start directly on the tarmac trail that is the Path of the Glacier. This 0.9 km easy trail leads alongside a huge pile of moraine, created by the glacier many years ago.
You will get to a viewpoint overlooking Cavell Pond which has a mesmerizing milky green color. The color is created by the glacial silt that floats in the water and reflects the sunlight.
Here you also have the closest view of the Angel Glacier. A fun fact is that the name comes from the shape that the glacier originally had. Years ago, when the glacier wasn’t as retreated as it is now, its form looked like an angel with wings of ice. Because the bottom part of the glacier has eroded over time, it’s not as obvious anymore. But you can still see the ‘wings of ice’.
You can get up very close to the glacier and Cavell Pond. However, often huge chunks of ice calve off the Cavell Glacier falling into the pond. Therefore you shouldn’t get too close to the glacier when walking down to the pond.
For an elevated look over the pond and Mount Edith Cavell, you can climb up the moraine pile. But be careful, there might be some loose rocks, so choose your path carefully. If you make your way into the forest you will see a few worn paths going down the slope and up the moraine pile. These are the safest ways to go. And afterwards you can easily continue the hike towards the Edith Cavell Meadows.
Edith Cavell Meadows trail
After the moraine pile the trail takes you into the forest which is a gentle uphill climb of several switchbacks. This part of the trail takes you towards the meadows which is some of the most beautiful parts of the Edith Cavell Meadows hike. In the summer months, you’ll see blooming wildflowers. And thanks to the evergreen foliage, you’ll always be in for a beautiful contrast of green trees and the rugged brown snow-capped mountains as backdrop.
The trail of the meadows splits for another stunning lookout at Mount Edith Cavell Glacier which is well worth the stop. From here on the trail only gets steeper along the gravel slope, so it’s a nice last break before going further up. You can’t miss this viewpoint as it is very obvious going up the small hill just a few minutes from the main trail.
Mount Edith Cavell East Ridge viewpoint
After you leave the meadows behind, the trail changes into a gravel slope. This is the most difficult part of the hike, and hiking poles will help you a lot. Especially the last, steep part up the ridge. Some people choose to skip this last part of the hike because it is too difficult. But if you have experience with hiking and your fitness level is good, then I highly recommend pushing it to the East Ridge summit of Mount Edith Cavell.
You traverse the ridge before zig-zagging up along the gravel ridge to the East Ridge summit. This might be a bit of a challenge as it’s very steep and feels slippery under the foot because of the loose gravel. We even had some snow along this part of the trail in late September which made it even more challenging.
Nevertheless, the panoramic views from the East Ridge summit were well worth the climb. The ridge is a huge plateau with enough spots and boulders to sit down and enjoy your lunch. Remember to pack in what you pack out and follow the Leave No Trace principles.
Do you need a National Park Pass to enter Mount Edith Cavell?
Because Mount Edith Cavell is located inside Jasper National Park, you’ll need a Parks Canada Pass to enter. Depending on the number of days you plan to visit the Canadian National Parks, you can either buy single daily admission tickets or the Parks Canada Discovery Pass which is a multi-park entry pass for 365 days. You can purchase the different Parks Canada Passes online at the Parks Canada website, at the National Park Visitor Centres or booths upon entering the many national parks. See all the options and prices below.
Single daily admission pass
This entrance fee ticket is sold per person, per day, per National Park. It is only the best option if you are solo traveling and just visiting one or two national parks for a couple of days.
- $10.50 CAD for an adult (from 18-64 years)
- $9.00 CAD for Senior (65+)
- FREE entrance for kids younger than 17 years
Group daily admission pass
For the ones traveling with 2 or more people in one car, you can buy a single-day group admission pass. This pass gives entrance for up to 7 people in one vehicle.
- $21.00 CAD for one vehicle entry for one full day (maximum 7 people)
Parks Canada Discovery Pass
The “Discovery Pass” is the best option for travelers who plan to visit multiple National Parks. Basically if you’re spending more than 7 days in the Canadian National Parks, you’ll have a much better deal buying the Discovery Pass. This multi-park entry pass is valid for 365 days to access all participating national parks in Canada. These include Jasper, Banff, Yoho, Kootenay, Glacier, Mount Revelstoke, and much more.
- $72.25 CAD for one Adult (age 18-64)
- $61.75 CAD for one Senior (64+)
- $145.25 CAD for a couple or group/family up to 7 people in one vehicle
Is there Wildlife at Edith Cavell trail?
Both Black bears and Grizzly bears live in Jasper National Park. Although the Mount Edith Cavell hike is popular and heavily trafficked, you should always be bear-aware and carry bear spray with you. As well Grizzly bears and Black bears can be in the Edith Cavell hiking areas and they have been spotted before. We didn’t see any wildlife during our hike at Edith Cavell, but this doesn’t mean that they weren’t there.
Other species of wildlife you’ll have the chance to spot along the Edith Cavell trail are mountain goats, bighorn sheep, pikas, and marmots. The surrounding wilderness also hosts a diverse bird population, including eagles and other alpine birds.
A fun fact is that Highway 93A, which you’ll turn onto from the Icefields Parkway to get to the Edith Cavell parking, is optimal for wildlife viewings. So keep your eyes peeled! Maybe you’ll see a bear, moose or deer from the safety of your car.
More Canada travel inspiration
I hope you enjoyed this complete guide about the Mount Edith Cavell hike in Jasper National Park. For more travel inspiration of British Columbia and Alberta, head over to our other Canada travel guides. See below our Canada guides per National Park and area for more travel inspiration.