Opal Hills Loop

Jasper National Park

A hike into a colorful subalpine valley beginning from Maligne Lake.

Hiking Moderate

Distance
8.9 km
Ascent
547 m
Descent
547 m
Duration
2-3 hrs
Low Point
1.7 km
High Point
2.2 km
Gradient
12˚
Opal Hills Loop Map

Not as popular as the nearby Bald Hills, this alternate hike near Maligne Lake finds a hidden valley high in the mountains, where gently forest fades to meadows and then to barren slopes. The views are more subdued than on the Bald Hills ridge walk, but still spectacular and more secluded.

Description

Getting there is not easy, though. Almost immediately after starting the trail comes a steep climb, and it doesn’t let up for 1.5 km. Then it becomes a bit less steep, but your legs might not notice. Aside from a few small meadows that grant elevated views, the trail remains in the forest most of the way. When you reach the treeline, the gradient finally lessens, and you’ll enjoy a peaceful stroll in this green valley cradled beneath pointed peaks.

Sources: https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ab/jasper/activ/activ-experience/sentiers-trails/maligne https://www.laidbacktrip.com/posts/opal-hills-trail-jasper

Difficulty

Moderate

Hiking along trails with some uneven terrain and small hills. Small rocks and roots may be present.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

June, July, August, September

Features

  • Wildlife
  • Picturesque
  • Wild flowers
  • Water features
  • Family friendly
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area