The hike up to Old Fort Point summit may not be the easiest hike around, but its relative distance to the town of Jasper and the resulting view from the top make this hike a must for anybody visiting Jasper National Park.
I don’t recall who it was that suggested I go there, but I’m glad I listened because it wasn’t on my list of places to visit, but offered some of the more spectacular views of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. The total length of this hike if you follow the looped trail markers, is about 4km and will take you about one to two hours. Going to the summit, however, is a much shorter hike, albeit not necessarily any easier. The elevation gain is about 130m. but don’t let that fool you; if you start from the base of the cliff near the Athabasca River monument (where the photo above was taken), taking the wooden stairs, it’s a fairly steep climb all the way up in a short amount of time. Be sure to take breaks if you get tired.
Climbing up the pathway, you’ll first reach an initial plateau area where you can walk around and enjoy the panoramic view. In the photo below, these hikers decided to take a break at this plateau before continuing on to the summit.
If you look around though, you’ll see that there’s a lookout just above where you’re standing. To get to the highest point, you’ll have to continue on the trail going around the lookout point. Keep to the left and you’ll eventually make your way up to the summit. Take care hiking around the lookout point though, as the path does get a little narrow.
Bears are also known to frequent the area now and again so be on the lookout for them as well.
The view up at the very top is very rewarding, especially after hiking up a steep grade such as this. Be sure to stay awhile and take in the scenery. Those low-laying clouds that hug the mountain’s peak can only be seen in the mornings.
On the way down, be sure to take in the scenery on the other side of the lookout, where you’ll be able to see the mountain ranges in the far distance. The morning clouds right above the valley made for some great photos.
I loved this view so much that I came back multiple times making sure I was here during a sunset and a sunrise.
At the top of the summit, you can continue on the loop hike by following the trail behind the lookout. I opted to go back down the way I came up as I was merely interested in the view and not the loop hike itself.
Whatever the case may be, this is a hike that should not be missed. Take it easy and take your time if needed. Don’t feel like you have to run up the trail, which looks like what this girl may have done!