Jasper National Park, Alberta Surprised by early first snow and bear tracks- but it did not stop us from hiking up the old fire look to get a panoramic view of Maligne Lake and surrounding areas. The snow actually gave the hike another dimension with the crisp white snow, green pines and clear blue sky. And it was considerably less people on the trail than in high season.

Maligne Lake is a beautiful lake about 45 km from the cozy town of Jasper. We have visited the lake several times and it is amazingly beautiful – but very crowded during summer season. People come from all over the world to see this clear blue lake surrounded by snow capped mountains and glaciers.

Curly boat house on maligne lake with snowcapped mountains

Jasper is bear country so be bear aware! We found these tracks at the trailhead this morning …

Bear paw track and hand on snow

The first part of the trail you follow the old fire road. Some sections are a bit steep, but the road is nice and wide. Only drawback was the tall pine trees covering any form of view. Despite of the snow it was fairly firm ground walking up.

Bald Hills Fire Look Out Hike Reaching the old fire look out the view opens up and you get a nice view of Maligne Lake and mountain ranges behind the lake. As we had plenty of time and after a lunch break my husband convinced me to continue on to the next summit.

View over Maligne Lake from Fire Look Out

Views from the old fire look location with the Queen Elizabeth Ranges in the back

Bald Hills Fire Look Out Hike

Lunch break

As said we decided to continue the additional kilometres to get to the second summit, that is where you get the true panoramic view. Wow was I surprised – after hiking fairly steep hills for about 2-3 hours we reached the summit and who do we meet? A young couple who had carried their sleds 610 meters of elevations to the top just for the fun of sliding all the way down again! The hike it worth it – at least the two sledders thought so!

Bald Hills Fire Look Out Hike

Hiking on snow in Rocky Mountains

We are heading for the summit past the fire look out. Check out the view! 

My somewhat subjective hiking rating: 

Trail: The trail starts at the parking lot at Maligne Lake and is well marked. From the parking lot to the old fire look out point you follow the old fire road. The road is steep at times and there is not much view  until you get up to the fire look out. To get the 360° panorama view continue on to the next summit past the fire look out, the trail to the next summit is fairly obvious once you get to the fire look out.  

Worth it? Yes – but you have to continue about 15-20 minutes up to the next peak above the to get the panorama view. The first 5 km are mostly along the fire road amongst tall pine. 

Difficulty: Moderate + (at times a bit steep)

Length: 10.4 km roundtrip for the official trail + approximate 3 km for the next summit.  

Elevation gain: 480 m (add 120 m for the next summit)

Duration: 5 hours

Kid friendly: The road is wide and easy to walk, but it is a bit steep at times. 

You should always cheek conditions and closures before you set out on a hike, refer to Jasper National Parks homepage. If you are interested in doing the hike yourself check out the ACTIVITY MAP to find the location of the trail head.

How do you keep active after first snow has fallen?

Thanks for visiting!

Signature Inger