One of the best hikes in Jasper National Park, Canada, is the Old Fort Point loop trail.
Shaped by ancient glaciers, Old Fort Point is a giant craggy mound of bedrock looming 426 feet (130 meters) high above the surrounding valleys. From the top of this mammoth limestone rock, you get 360 degree views of the Jasper Skytram terminal on top of Whistlers Mountain, Jasper town across the wide rushing Athabasca River, and the iconic Jasper Park Lodge snuggled up to the cobalt blue Lac Beavert.
The views are truly stunning – one of the must-see sights in Jasper!
Old Fort Point hike, Jasper
Thankfully, the Old Fort Point hike is an easy-to-moderate Jasper hike (not an all-day thigh-burner). If you’re looking for a half-day hike to super-charge your Jasper holiday, this loop trail packs a mega punch.
Stats: Old Fort Point Trail, Jasper
Jasper trail map: Old Fort Point hike
Download a PDF of the above Jasper hiking map to enlarge the map of the Old Fort Point loop trail.
Getting to the Old Fort Point, Jasper, trailhead
The trailhead is a mile (1.6 km) from Jasper town. From town, make your way down Hazel Avenue across the railway line, then across Yellowhead Highway 16. Turn left on Old Fort Point Road. Drive across the Athabasca River on the Old Fort Point iron bridge. You’ll see the parking lot on your right, just after the bridge.
Recommended route: Clockwise Old Fort Point loop, Jasper
The fastest way to reach Old Fort Point is via the steep wooden stairs leading up from the parking lot. Many people go up this way. One couple we met on our way down told us they simply saw the stairs, wondered where they would lead and started climbing up.
We recommend what we think is a better alternative.
In our view, the best way to hike to Old Fort Point is to follow a clock-wise loop that takes you gently up a longer forested trail. Then you take the stairs back down at the end.
The clockwise route is easier on your knees – and the stunning views (like the climax in a blockbuster movie) make a bigger impact at the end.
Start at Trail #1 behind the signposted trail board at the edge of the parking lot.
The path is relatively flat and easy to begin with, through the trees. Fireweed, Indian paintbrushes and other pretty mountain wildflowers line the trail.
Bears have been spotted here, so keep an eye out for them and be bear-aware. We saw a pile of fresh bear scat (mixed with red berries) on the trail, reminding us to talk a little louder and make noise.
The trail then curves to the right and comes to a fork. Trail #1a is a slightly longer .1 mile (.3 km) extension. Trail #1 rises at a shorter, steeper incline.
But both trails join up at the same place, leveling out at a viewpoint with two red Parks Canada chairs. You get some great panoramic views here of the surrounding mountains and valleys below.
Snap your Insta shots.
Then continue further a little way until you come to Old Fort Point, which looks like a large jagged ridge. Climb up the final 20 feet (6 meters) or so to the top – and drink in the even more astounding views of Jasper and its surroundings.
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Once you’ve soaked it all in, it’s downhill from here. Be careful not to slip on the loose gravel and rocks – walking down the wide steep slope in a zigzag pattern helps.
Soon you’ll come to the steep staircases we mentioned earlier. They take you back to the parking lot. As you descend, you get terrific close-up views of the Old Fort Point Bridge spanning the Athabasca River.
One of the best easy Jasper hikes
After doing this hike, we canceled our Jasper Skytram tickets for the next day.
Perhaps it was the warm sunshine, the blue skies and the pleasant breeze. Or the good company of family on the trail. Or maybe both. But Old Fort Point was one of those perfect hikes for us. The views were so splendiferous and the day so wonderful, that we simply didn’t feel the need to do the Jasper tram after this beautiful hike.
Next time, however… The views from the top of the Skytram on a good sunny day look like they could be even better!
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Photo credits: 2, 4, 8, 10, 12 to 15, 17, 18 © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase | Hiking map courtesy Parks Canada | 11 and 16 Andrea Norrie