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The incredible Mount Edith Cavell is one of our top things to see in Jasper National Park – even though we’ve only recently discovered it! While this peak is one of the most famous in Jasper and is known for being the most prominent Rocky Mountain peak located completely within Alberta, the trails here don’t seem to be as well known.
Right from the parking lot you can explore a giant valley where you can see a glacier, spot avalanches high in the mountains (from a safe distance!), and see fields of wildflowers. This is such a spectacular place, we couldn’t believe we hadn’t visited sooner!
But there are a few things you should know before you plan a day trip here. We’ll walk you through the different trails available (short and long), what time of year you can visit, how to get here from Jasper or Banff, and more.
Consider us your personal guides to everything you need to know before visiting Mount Edith Cavell. So let’s get to it!
1. About Mount Edith Cavell
Mount Edith Cavell is one of Alberta’s top attractions, forming part of the Canadian Rockies and nestled inside the heart of Jasper National Park.
The peak of Mount Edith Cavell is HUGE and the highest mountain you can see from the nearby town of Jasper. It is over 11,000 feet (3,350 meters) tall, making it one of the most visible peaks.
The mountain has an interesting history and has had a few different names over the years. The Indigenous people called it “White Ghost” while French mountaineers named it “la Montagne de la Grande Traverse” and its official name was Mount Fitzhugh until after World War I when the mountain received its current name.
Mount Edith Cavell was named in honor of Edith Cavell who was a British nurse that bravely helped to save many soldiers’ lives during WWI. She also helped to smuggle Allied soldiers safely out of Belgium while it was occupied by the Germans. She was tragically executed by the Germans, but the mountain helps keep her story alive.
Once you’re at Mount Edith Cavell, you’ll probably notice a glacier perched on the side. This is the Angel Glacier and originally got its name as it was shaped like an angel with wings of ice. While still an amazing sight, the bottom part of the glacier has eroded away, but you can still see the wings.
Mount Edith Cavell is also home to Cavell Pond which has a mint-green color! You’ll have to see it to believe it. The glacial silt that flows into the water is responsible for the color. You might also spot chunks of ice floating in the water and surrounding the pond.
Related Read: If you’re feeling peckish after your hike, why not check out the best restaurants in Jasper? Epic views and fantastic food guaranteed.
2. Where is Mount Edith Cavell?
Mount Edith Cavell is located on the eastern side of Jasper National Park and with it being over 11,000 feet (3,363 meters) high, you can’t miss it!
You’ll find the turnoff for Mount Edith Cavell along Highway 93A which is sometimes referred to as the Banff-Windermere Parkway. The turnoff takes you onto Cavell Road which will be the end of the journey if you’re driving a trailer or large motorhome (there is a drop-off area with a parking lot at the start of Cavell Road if needed). Cavell Road is a 14 km (8.7 mile) narrow road that is only open seasonally – typically mid-June to the end of October.
If you’re coming from Jasper, you’ll start on the Icefields Parkway before turning off onto Highway 93A. You should reach the Cavell Road turnoff in 15-20 minutes from Jasper town.
Driving from Banff is a longer, but more scenic drive! You’ll pass by some of the best sights on the Icefields Parkway on the 3-hour drive to the Cavell Road turnoff.
3. Is it free to visit Mount Edith Cavell?
Yes, it is free to hike and visit Mount Edith Cavell, but it is worth noting that you do need a Canada Parks Pass to enter.
If you only need entry for the day, a day pass for Jasper National Park is $10.50 CAD per adult, $21 CAD for groups/families (which allows between 2–7 people in one vehicle), and those under 17 years can enter for free.
If you are local or plan on visiting other National Parks, it might be worth purchasing a Discovery Pass like we did. It costs just $72.25 CAD per adult and gives you unlimited entry to over 80 destinations for a whole year!
Parks Canada Pass Quick Info
If you plan on spending time in Canada’s national parks (including Banff, Jasper, Yoho, Mount Revelstoke, Glacier, Kootenay, and more) then you’re going to have to pay for a Parks Pass.
Single Daily Admission:
This type of pass is valid for one person for one day. It is ONLY the best value if you are traveling alone and only plan to visit a national park for a couple of days.
- Adult (ages 18-64) is $11 CAD
- Senior (65+) is $9.50 CAD
- Youth/Child (17 or younger) is FREE
Group Daily Admission:
If you’re traveling in a group or with family, you can buy a single-day admission for your entire vehicle (up to 7 people in one vehicle.)
- $22.00 CAD gets your entire vehicle entry for one full day
Parks Canada Discovery Pass
The “Discovery Pass”Discovery Pass” is what Parks Canada calls their year-long (365 days from the purchase date), multi-park entry pass. This pass will give 365 days of access to all participating national parks in Canada. This includes the most popular parks like Banff, Jasper, Yoho, Kootenay, Glacier, Mount Revelstoke, and so much more.
- Adult (age 18-64) – $75.25 CAD
- Senior (65+) – $64.50 CAD
- Group/Family (up to 7 people in one vehicle) – $151.25 CAD
Hot Tip: Although more expensive up front, if you plan on spending more than 7 days in different parks in Canada within a 12-month period, then the Discovery Pass is actually the better deal!
Parks Canada Passes can be bought online here or at one of the Visitor Centers or booths at the entrance to many national parks.
4. Is there parking at Mount Edith Cavell?
Yes, Mount Edith Cavell does have a parking lot, and it is actually the trailhead for the main trails in the area!
Once you turn off the Icefields Parkway onto Highway 93A, you will reach Mount Edith Cavell Road. If you’re driving a large trailer or motorhome, there is a designated area to drop them off before driving down this narrow road. Keep in mind this road is only open seasonally – typically from sometime in June to October, but it’s weather dependent.
Mount Edith Cavell Road is a beautiful journey but not the smoothest ride, with a lot of switchbacks and a hefty incline! This road has its own interesting history as it was built by hundreds of men who needed work during the Great Depression in the 1930s.
Once you reach the end of this 14 km (8.7 mile) road, you’ll come to the parking lot for Mount Edith Cavell. We did notice that the parking lot fills up pretty quickly, so we recommend arriving early to be sure you snag a spot!
5. Is access to Mount Edith Cavell open all year round?
Unfortunately, no. The road leading up to Mount Edith Cavell tends to open from mid-June to mid-October, but this is highly dependent on the weather. This means it’s an activity best done if you’re going to be visiting Jasper in the summer.
The road is officially closed every year for caribou conservation between November 1 and May 15.
6. When is the best time to visit Mount Edith Cavell?
The best time to visit Mount Edith Cavell is definitely in the summer and early fall. If you want to see the alpine meadow on the upper trails bursting with color from spectacular wildflowers, then you’ll need to be here sometime between mid-July to mid-August. Again the time can vary, but you’ll give yourself the best chance of spotting them during that time.
Summer means you can also explore the area in shorts (see me in the photo above!). It makes snow and ice a bit of a novelty when you can find it in the summer!
As the road is closed for a good portion of the year, there is only a small window of time (generally mid-June to October) that you can do the hike to Mount Edith Cavell, so it does get quite busy in this period. We recommend getting there in the morning, so you can grab a parking spot and beat the crowds along the trail.
While the road to Mount Edith Cavell is sometimes open before spring, this is mainly for cross-country skiers as the trails might still be covered in snow and not suitable yet for hiking!
7. How long is the Edith Cavell trail?
There are two main hikes at Edith Cavell – the short Path of the Glacier Trail and the longer Cavell Meadows Trail. You’ll start along the same path for both (which actually starts out paved) before they split off depending on which hike you choose. Both have amazing views of Edith Cavell Mountain, the Angel Glacier, and Cavell Pond!
Path of the Glacier Trail
This is the shortest and easiest route and still has a big payoff when it comes to views. The Path of the Glacier Trail is perfect if you’re not up for a long hike, you’re traveling with kids, or just don’t want to commit to an hours-long hike.
The trail is 1.6 km (1 mile) roundtrip and you should plan for about an hour – although it can be a bit longer or shorter depending on how often you stop. You’ll start on the far side of the parking lot near a display talking about the history of Edith Cavell. Climb up a few stairs to the path which starts out paved for a bit.
The hike is uphill, but it’s more of a steady climb rather than a sharp incline. When the paved part ends (about 0.5 km/0.3 miles) in, there’s a split in the trail. You’ll need to keep going straight to continue on this short trail.
My favorite point of this hike is the viewpoint looking out over Cavell Pond – see how many icebergs you can count floating in the water! It’s also a nice spot to look across the valley and see the Angel Glacier. This is the end of the trail, so you can simply turn around and head back the way you came.
If you’re planning on this short hike, I’d advise getting here early in the morning. Sometimes tours will stop off here and it can get quite crowded toward lunchtime.
The trail down to Cavell Pond
Before we talk about this hike, there are warning signs to not hike down to Cavell Pond due to rock slides and falling ice chunks (that can be as big as houses!). So while a lot of people do take the trail down, it’s at your own risk!
From the first viewpoint, it’s about 10 to 15 minutes to get down to the pond, or around 25 minutes from the parking lot.
Cavell Meadows Trail
For the best experience of Edith Cavell, you are going to want to do the full trail! The Cavell Meadows Trail itself is about 8 km (5 miles) roundtrip with an elevation gain of 1,640 feet (500 meters)! It will likely take you anywhere from 3-5.5 hours to complete, depending on how far up the hike you go.
Most people do not go up to the highest point as it is a very steep climb and often the weather conditions won’t allow it. This means you get to choose how high up you go! We personally didn’t go up to the very top, but we didn’t feel like we missed out.
You’ll start following the Path of the Glacier Trail up until the paved portion ends. Then take a hard left as you head up the mountainside. Along the edges of the trail there will be lots of moraine (think big rocks and debris!) left behind from ancient glaciers. These rocks are home to some of the cutest wildlife near Banff – look out for the adorable pikas and marmots!
Once you leave the rocky terrain behind, the trail heads into a forest before heading to Cavell Meadows – that’s where all the amazing wildflowers are if you’ve timed this hike right!
You can either go through the meadows and see the picturesque wildflowers now or choose to do it on the way back down. We actually decided to do it on the way back down and tackle the steeper route on the way up. If you do pick this option, keep going straight along the main path rather than veering off toward the meadows.
As you keep climbing up the trail you will come across two more viewpoints. Most people don’t make it up to the final viewpoint as the path is steep and uneven. The viewpoints are very well sign-posted along the way but once you come out at the viewpoint you’ll know you’ve found it!
Take a while to look down at the unbeatable views over the Angel Glacier and look up at the beautiful surrounding mountain peaks. We stayed quite a while up here but once you are ready to head back down, you can follow the way you came. Just make sure you don’t miss out on seeing the gorgeous wildflower meadows on the way back!
The trail is rated as moderate as it does have some steep parts and bits that require a good bit of physical fitness. However, we personally think it’s not too difficult for the most part, and slightly older children didn’t seem to struggle.
Related Read: There are also some amazing hikes to do in Banff National Park, like the Consolation Lakes trail at Moraine Lake.
8. Facilities at Mount Edith Cavell
There isn’t a lot in the way of facilities at Mount Edith Cavell. Near the trailhead entrance, you’ll find the parking lot, and a small day-use area that has toilets and picnic tables.
There are no cafes or truck shops but there are a lot of picnic benches around with beautiful views, so do bring a packed lunch or snacks if you are taking on the whole trail. You won’t find any toilet facilities after the trailhead so keep an eye out for those grizzlies if you do need a nature-wee!
We found that there was next to no cell phone service for most of the hike, so take the time to disconnect and admire the beautiful surroundings, and post to Instagram when you get back!
9. Tips for visiting Mount Edith Cavell
Bring bear spray
Jasper National Park is famous for its wildlife and is home to two types of bears, the black bear and the grizzly bear. You might even spot some while you’re here so remember to keep your distance and have bear spray on you at all times!
You might also want your bug spray to hand to keep the smallest pests at bay as at some points throughout the year there are a lot of mosquitos in this area.
You can also visit the nearby Cavell Lake
If you have a bit of time before or after visiting Mount Edith Cavell, you should take a trip to the nearby Cavell Lake which is not to be confused with the Cavell Pond that you find at the base of the mountain.
You can find Cavell Lake on the road leading up to the parking lot, another great spot you can park along. It is pretty well sign-posted (and huge) so you shouldn’t struggle to find it but it is not far from the HI Mount Edith Cavell Wilderness Hostel.
The lake itself is stunning and makes a great picnic spot, but the trail down to it is very rough, so bring your best walking shoes!
Watch for motorcycles and bikes
The road leading up to Mount Edith Cavell is very popular for both bikers and motorcyclists so you will want to keep an eye out when you are walking around and try not to stand in the middle of the road for photographs.
As you can imagine, the hikes up the trails at Mount Edith Cavell are a lot higher in elevation than where you will have started. We found that while the temperature was manageable in Jasper, as we got more into the hike, it got colder and colder! For this reason, layers are going to be your best friend! You will likely need a warm base layer, then a fleece, and a warm jacket that will protect you from the wind.
If you are only visiting the first viewpoint, you will be fine in a pair of runners but we strongly recommend wearing hiking boots if you are attempting the Cavell Meadows Trail.
10. Is visiting Mount Edith Cavell wheelchair friendly?
Unfortunately, it’s not. Even the hike to the first viewpoint is uneven and has an incline, so you would likely struggle in a wheelchair. With that said, if you’re like my mate, Chris, you’d still give it a go! You can see the path above is pretty smooth.
Jasper National Park has a lot of wheelchair-friendly attractions and tours which you can see here.
If you do want to see the incredible peak of Mount Edith, you can book this helicopter ride over the Canadian Rockies which is fully wheelchair accessible! Over the course of the tour, you’ll take in breathtaking aerial views of Miette Hotsprings, Brûlé Lake, and Solomon Peak.
One of our favorite parts about this tour is how customizable it is. You have the option between a 30, 60, 90, or 120-minute flight, depending on how adventurous you’re feeling! The 60 and 120-minute tours offer an incredible amount of flexibility, with the latter allowing for a landing on a mountaintop as well! Tickets for this experience start from $167 CAD per person and can be booked online here.
11. Is visiting Mount Edith Cavell worth it?
The views were literally unbeatable, it was one of our favorite hikes to do in the area and is one of the best things to do in Jasper!
Jasper National Park is known for its wildflowers and the meadows along this trail are breathtaking, we really were in awe seeing them in full bloom. With the Mount Edith Cavell trail not being open all year around, if you do have the opportunity to go, take it!
Other Activities to do While You’re in Jasper
Jasper National Park is just filled with fun things to do and see! So besides visiting Mount Edith Cavell, there are a few other activities that we recommend that you check off your to-do list. They are:
- Whitewater rafting – Jasper is one of the best places in Alberta to go whitewater rafting with a few different rivers nearby. For an adrenaline-filled rafting experience complete with Class 3 rapids, opt for this rafting tour. It has nearly all 5-star reviews and costs $123 CAD per person. For something a little calmer and family-friendly but just as highly rated, choose this scenic rafting experience for only $85 CAD each.
- Spirit Island – Maligne Lake is arguably the most famous lake in Jasper National Park. At Maligne Lake, you can hike, canoe on the lake, or eat at a lakeside restaurant. However, the best activity at the lake is this scenic Maligne Lake Cruise which takes you out on the water for the best vantage point. The cruise also takes you to the famous Spirit Island, which is so picture-perfect that you’ve likely seen it on Instagram before.
- Drive the Icefields Parkway – The Icefields Parkway is the super scenic stretch of road that connects Jasper with Lake Louise. There are tons of attractions on the Icefields Parkway including hikes, stunning blue lakes like Peyto Lake, as well as the Columbia Icefield. If you’ve ever wanted to walk on a glacier, you can do that at the Columbia Icefield on this guided hiking tour that takes you onto Athabasca Glacier. If you aren’t much of a hiker, join this bus tour onto the glacier instead – you’ll still stand on the glacier but no hiking is required!
- Explore Maligne Canyon – Located on the edge of Jasper town is the beautiful Maligne Canyon, where you can hike alongside and peer down into the deep canyon. There are also a few bridges you can walk on to really take in the views. In the winter, we highly recommend doing an icewalk in the canyon where you put on ice cleats and explore frozen waterfalls, ice caves, and walk in the middle of the frozen canyon!
- Visit Pyramid Lake – Pyramid Lake is a calm lake that offers reflections of the surrounding mountains including the symmetrical Pyramid Mountain. In the summer you can swim, hike, canoe, and SUP on the lake. In winter, go ice skating or ride in a horse-drawn sleigh. For an extra special treat, spend the night lakeside at the Pyramid Lake Resort.
Where to Stay in Jasper
To really take in the sights and the hikes, it’s worth staying in Jasper for a few days! That way you can easily get to places like Edith Cavell before the crowds!
When compared to Banff (and the dozens of hotels in Banff), there actually aren’t that many to choose from in Jasper. That’s right, accommodation in Jasper is limited, and therefore it’s important to book your stay as far in advance as possible!
These are some of my personal favorite hotels in Jasper, suitable for any type of traveler with any type of budget!
Jasper Downtown Hostel (Budget Backpackers)
Jasper Downtown Hostel is the best place to stay for those on a tight budget. The central location, shared facilities, and friendly atmosphere make it a great place to stay. They offer budget dorm beds as well as affordable private rooms. You can book Jasper Downtown Hostel on either Booking.com or Hostelworld.
Whistlers Inn (Moderate to High Budget)
Whistlers Inn is the perfect place to stay if you are looking for a nice escape right in town and only a short walk from popular bars, restaurants, and attractions in Jasper. They also have a rooftop hot tub – need I say more? You can check prices and availability on Booking.com.
Pyramid Lake Resort (Luxury)
Pyramid Lake Resort is beautiful, and it is set in an even more beautiful location! Pyramid Lake is the perfect place for hiking, swimming, kayaking, or even skating in the winter. Pyramid Lake Resort doesn’t cut any corners and it’s a highly-rated hotel. It’s also a popular place to stay for those visiting Jasper on a honeymoon!
You can check availability and book on Booking.com.
Renting a Car in Alberta
If you’re arriving in Alberta via plane then I can’t recommend getting a rental car enough. Canada is a large country and traveling between cities and even just getting out to some of the best places to visit in Alberta requires transport. Although you can use public transport, on some occasions, it means your trip will not only require more time but more planning.
Renting a car will definitely make exploring all of the fun things to see and do in Alberta easier.
Car rental in Canada isn’t super cheap, but it isn’t overly expensive either, especially if you get a budget car. The cheapest car with pickup and drop-off in different locations is around $100 CAD per day. The price does vary though depending on the time of year and the type of car that you rent. For car rentals, I use the website DiscoverCars.com. It’s a search engine with lots of deals with good customer service. In fact, I’ve used them all over the world including in Chile, New Zealand, and Australia.
Another popular option is to rent a campervan or motorhome (only for the brave in winter.) Using Motorhome Republic you can search hundreds of deals across multiple companies to pick a great vehicle and the cheapest price. Having a motorhome is a stunning way to see Canada, and using crown land and campsites, you can often camp for free or very cheap in the most beautiful places imaginable!
Thanks for reading!
Hopefully, this guide on everything you need to know before visiting Mount Edith Cavell was helpful as you plan your trip! This is one of those hidden gems in Jasper for us that now that we know about, we can’t wait to return! Maybe we will even see you there.
Let us know how you get on visiting Mount Edith Cavell in the comments below, and if you fancy a bit of extra reading, here are a few more helpful blogs: