At almost 11,000 feet (3,300 meters) above sea level, Mt Edith Cavell is one of Canada’s most impressive mountains — and the province of Alberta’s most notable peak. The mountain was named after a British nurse who was executed in WWI for helping Allied prisoners escape from occupied Brussels. The bright turquoise glacial meltwater of Cavell Pond below the rugged summit of Mt Edith Cavell is one of the most beautiful vistas in Jasper National Park. It is one of the few places in the world where a short walk can bring you up close and personal with a glacier. Vegetation grows slowly at such high elevation, and Mt Edith Cavell experiences heavy visitor use. It is considered a fragile ecological area (where even a footprint can last for decades), so please do stay on the marked trails. In the spring, you may see and/or hear avalanches thundering down Mt Edith Cavell’s stark north face.
From the parking lot, a well-groomed trail leads uphill to an excellent view of the mountain and Angel Glacier. The Path of the Glacier Loop meanders through the geological debris left behind by the retreat of the local glaciers. The trail ends at a small meltwater pond full of icebergs, and offers a fantastic view of both the Angel and Cavell Glaciers. Flower lovers may be especially interested in the Cavell Meadows Trail, which leads above the glacial debris to a subalpine meadow that explodes with wildflower life during the month of July.
Traveling south from Jasper, follow Highway 93A for 3.2 miles (5.2 km). Turn right onto Cavell Road right after crossing the Astoria River. The trailhead is by the parking lot (which fills up early) at the end of Mt Edith Cavell Road. The trail to Cavell Meadows is 2.4 miles (3.8 km) each way. During the winter months when Cavell Road is closed to traffic, it becomes a popular trail for cross-country skiing. Skiers often stay overnight at the Mount Edith Cavell Hostel before venturing out into the backcountry of the Tonquin Valley.