Added by Erik Peterson
Hike past 2 lakes and 2 waterfalls, with beautiful views to reward sections of steep trail and rough hiking, at times, over boulder-strewn trail. There is a backcountry campground at the second lake.
Geraldine Lakes is one of the more physically demanding half-day/day trails in Jasper National Park. However, this hike rewards you with everything that makes the Canadian Rockies wonderful, with views of pristine lakes, cascading waterfalls, and mountain vistas.
The first 1.8km to Lower Geraldine Lake will guide you along a lightly sloped, root-studded trail through conifer forest. The trail then skirts the first lake's western shore. At the far end of the first lake you hike by the first and less impressive waterfall.
After passing this waterfall be prepared for a steep 90m climb. At the top of this climb continue 1.5km over a boulder-strewn valley sandwiched between two mountains. The second and more impressive waterfall is reached at 4.3km from the trailhead.
From the second waterfall it is worth the very steep 150m climb further up the trail. From the top of this climb and behind the second waterfall you can turn around and take in the great views of both Lower Geraldine Lake and the Athabasca River Valley further beyond.
The next 1.2km traverses over more boulders and along the east side of Second Geraldine Lake to a backcountry campground. This campground is outfitted with picnic tables, fire pits and a bear pole for your food. This campsite is a good base camp for scramble attempts on a few of the surrounding mountains including Geraldine Peak.
The 6.2km hike back to the trailhead is definitely easier but you are guaranteed to hate climbing over boulders by the end of it. Much of the terrain in this valley is over large broken rocks which can become hazardous when wet or snowy. Additionally, the very rooty sections of trail through conifer forest tend to get extremely soggy at times and gaiters might be helpful depending on the weather. This rock fall and poor trail conditions makes a 12.4km hike much longer than one would expect but still more than worth the effort!
Getting there: From the town of Jasper, drive south along the Icefields Parkway until Highway 93A. Turn right onto Highway 93A and follow this road until Geraldine Lakes Fire road. Drive down Geraldine Lakes Fire Road for 5.5km to the parking area and trailhead. (Highway 93A is usually closed November-April).
- Tough hiking boots
- Camping gear (if overnighting)
- Gaiters (weather dependent)
- Bear spray
- Rain gear
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