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Old Fort Point Trail is a short loop near the town of Jasper that offers panoramic views of the Athabasca Valley and its main landmarks.
From the top of Old Fort Point, a prominent bedrock hill beside the Athabasca River, you can see many points of interest including Pyramid Mountain, Lac Beauvert, Whistlers Mountain, Mount Edith Cavell, and the Jasper townsite. More mountains can be seen from a second viewpoint on the trail, including Signal Mountain and Mount Tekarra.
Old Fort Point Trail is also a great place to see wildflowers in Jasper and even features a pair of Parks Canada’s red chairs at the lesser-visited southeast summit.
Most people who visit Old Fort Point go counterclockwise on the trail, heading uphill to reach the main viewpoint a short distance away, then return the way they came, skipping the rest of the loop.
By hiking the full Old Fort Point loop (as described below), you’ll get to visit both summits and see the wildflowers, if they’re in season. You’ll also have the pleasure of enjoying a quiet walk in the forest before joining the crowds at the top of Old Fort Point.
Old Fort Point Hike
Distance: 4.2 km round trip
Difficulty: Easy- moderate
Elevation Gain: 122 m
Surface: Dirt and rock
Trail Type: Loop
Time: 1.5- 2 hours
Trailhead: Old Fort Point Road at the parking lot on the right just after the bridge.
Old Fort Point Trail Description
The Old Fort Point hike starts from a parking lot on the right hand side of Old Fort Point Road, near the bridge crossing the Athabasca River. There is a sign at the trailhead with some brief information about the trail. For this hike you’ll be following trail #1, indicated by yellow markers along the route.
Old Fort Point Loop can be hiked in either direction, but going clockwise means the steepest part will be downhill at the end of the hike.
To go clockwise on Old Fort Point Trail, start walking into the forest at the trailhead marked 1 and 7b. Continue straight when you reach the junction with trail 7b.
The first part of the hike is a pleasant walk on a mostly flat trail. The scenery is what you’d expect to see in the forest- tall trees, grass, and some moss-covered rocks.
The trail very gradually gains elevation as it passes through the forest. Eventually you’ll reach a junction with trail 7a where there’s a map of the area with your current position marked. Stay on #1 to finish Old Fort Point Loop.
Soon the trail curves to the right, beginning what will be a wide U-turn at the east end of the loop. The trail then arrives at a more open area, giving you a glimpse of the surrounding mountains, before crossing a small bridge and re-entering the forest.
Back in the trees you might see some wildflowers beside the path as it ascends more steeply through the forest.
As you get closer to the end of the “U-turn” the woods start to thin and more views appear. At about the 2.2 km mark the trail turns right and heads back west towards Old Fort Point (going straight on trail #9 leads to the Valley of the Five Lakes).
For the rest of the hike the trail proceeds through an area of open forest and meadows, gradually gaining some more elevation as it makes its way towards the southeast summit.
This part of Old Fort Point Trail is great for seeing wildflowers since they grow in the grassy areas beside the trail.
At the top of the hill there’s a short spur trail to the right that leads up to the red chair viewpoint. Directing the way is a small picture of a chair nailed to a tree.
Once you reach the grassy meadow at the southeast summit you’ll be greeted with a 360-degree view of Jasper National Park. The red Adirondack chairs are perfect for relaxing and taking in the mountainous scenery.
Peeking up from behind a field of yellow wildflowers is Pyramid Mountain to the northwest. The Colin Range can be seen to the northeast while Signal Mountain and Mount Tekarra can be enjoyed from the red chairs looking east. The always snow-capped Mount Edith Cavell dominates the skyline to the south.
Once you’re ready to continue your Old Fort Point Hike, head back to the main trail and go right. The trail makes some minor elevation changes as it passes by more wildflowers and views of Whistlers Mountain.
Soon the rocky northwest summit of Old Fort Point comes into view. This is the main lookout on Old Fort Point Trail and since you don’t have to hike the full loop to get here, more people visit it than the red chair viewpoint.
It’s believed that the name Old Fort Point came from being in close proximity to Henry House, a trading post that was built by the North West Company in 1811 then abandoned in the 1930s. While the fort is long gone, the name has stuck.
After following the trail to the top of the rock, you’ll once again get to enjoy more fantastic views of Jasper. The townsite and Pyramid Mountain can be seen on the other side of the Athabasca River while upstream is Whistlers Mountain.
Old Fort Point also offers great views of the turquoise Lac Beauvert and Jasper Park Lodge on its shore.
Once you’re finished at the summit, take the path back to the main trail and follow it down and around to the front of the rock.
Here the trail begins a steep descent towards the parking lot to finish the loop. The trail is rocky and rugged in places, but also crosses over a grassy meadow where bighorn sheep sometimes like to graze.
As the trail descends there are more stunning views of the Athabasca River. Eventually you’ll come to an informative plaque about the Athabasca and why it’s been named a Canadian Heritage River.
The hike ends soon after passing by the bridge that crosses the Athabasca River. Go down the wooden staircase and you’ll arrive back at the parking lot where Old Fort Point Trail starts.
Review of the Old Fort Point Hike
Old Fort Point Trail is one of the best short hikes in Jasper thanks to its beautiful mountain views and abundance of wildflowers.
It’s nice that the trail offers opportunities for both an easy summit and walk in the forest, with two viewpoints showing off different panoramas of Jasper.
Another benefit is that the trail is close to town, so it’s a convenient choice for people who don’t want to drive far from Jasper. However, this is somewhat of a disadvantage too, since being close to town attracts more people.
The good news is that those who want to hike, instead of just visit the main viewpoint, will be able to do so in relative peace since most people choose the shorter route up Old Fort Point.
Tips for Hiking Old Fort Point Trail
Location: Old Fort Point is located about 2.5 km east of the town of Jasper in Jasper National Park.
Getting to the Old Fort Point Trailhead: From downtown Jasper, take Hazel Ave southeast to Old Fort Point Road then turn left. Cross the Athabasca River then the parking lot at the trailhead will be on the right.
Best Time to Hike Old Fort Point: This hike can be done year round but is best from spring through autumn. To see wildflowers, plan to do this hike in late spring or early summer (the photos in this post were taken in mid-July).
Facilities: There is an outhouse at the trailhead parking lot.
Visitor Guidelines and Safety: This hike is in bear country so bring bear spray and know how to use it.
- Stay on the trail to avoid trampling wildflowers and other vegetation.
- Do not approach wildlife and watch from a safe distance.
- Leave no trace by carrying out all your garbage.
Gear and What to Bring: Hiking boots are nice to have but this hike can be done in regular running shoes. Hiking poles aren’t necessary but if you have bad knees they do come in handy for the descent from Old Fort Point.
- Dress in layers because the weather can change quickly in the mountains.
Nearby Activities and Places to Visit
You may also enjoy these other things to do and places to visit in Jasper National Park:
- Kayaking Lac Beauvert
- MT. EDITH CAVELL HIKES- PATH OF THE GLACIER TRAIL AND CAVELL MEADOWS
- Athabasca Falls
- Kayaking Pyramid Lake
These hikes are further away but still in Jasper National Park:
Accommodations in Jasper National Park
For your convenience, here is a list of HOTELS IN JASPER NATIONAL PARK. Please consider booking your Jasper accommodations through the included link. It costs nothing extra and helps support this website. Thank you!
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