Edith Cavell is one of the few glaciers along the Icefields Parkway that you can basically drive to. There is a short distance from the parking lot to the glacial lagoon where you can see icebergs floating close up. The mountain road that climbs into the high mountains is only accessible from mid June (usually June 21st to mid or end of September – depending on the snow.
Welcome to Jasper National Park
Jasper National Park is located north of Banff and is considerably larger. The highway 93 north takes you along the Icefields Parkway which National Geographic calls the most beautiful drive in the world.
The park entrance is 2km west of Lake Louise. The the only other two exits are 5 hours north just outside Hinton Alberta, or the boarder of Mount Robson Provincial Park in British Columbia which is about 20 minutes west of Jasper townsite.
A little bit about Edith Cavell
There are two trails at Edith Cavell, you can do either or both. I highly recommend taking advantage of both, especially seeing as it is quite a drive to get there. The first trail is called Edith Cavell Meadows. As the name implies, you hike into the nearby meadows which is essentially an alpine pass. The views the entire way are spectacular. You’ll find yourself taking photos, a lot. The distance is 8.4km round trip, and 582m elevation.
The other trail is called Angel Glacier. This trail is a relaxed trail that takes you down to the edge of Angel Glacier where you can see icebergs from close up. If you’re like me, you might even be tempted to get inside the iceberg pond to snap some unique angles. Both hikes are well worth humping your camera equipment around.
Getting to Edith Cavell
The Icefields Parkway will take you to Cavell Road. Cavell road is 14km long and takes you up through a narrow road in the forrest with occasional views.
Photography Tips For Shooting at Edith Cavell
Best Time of Day for Photographing Edith Cavell
Time of day can be tricky here. I’ve never been fortunate enough to really catch a good sunrise or sunset here. Because you’re so high in the mountains, you either need the sky to be completely clear or almost completely clear for any dramatic light.
I’ve had pretty good luck with mid mournings where the sun is still gentle and the overall contrast is still low. It’s actually nice to have the sun in the sky to really make the glacial lagoon pop with colour!
What Camera Gear to Bring
- Bring a sturdy tripod – I love my Peak Design travel tripod – watch my review here
- A wide angle
- Consider waders or rain boots to get deep into the lagoon
- Polarizer can help with the glacial lagoon if the sun is reflecting off the surface of the water or ice
What Outdoor Equipment to Bring
- Bring your rain gear, it can get cold if fast if you get wet up in the alpine here
- Bring an extra fleece or insulated jacket – it get’s cold up in the meadows and down next to the ice
- Visit my gear list to view a detailed list of my backpacking and camera gear
Technical Photography Tips for Shooting at Edith Cavell
The face of Edith Cavell is massive. The scale is really hard to comprehend. A wide angle is the only way to capture it all. Even 24mm will really, really limit you.
Make good use of your lens hood. The sun can be extra difficult to deal with at elevation.
Where to stay
There are at least 5 campsites within about 45 minutes of the trailhead. The private ones are mostly first come first serve. The Parks sites near town you can reserve in advanced. There are also dozens of hotels and motels, lodges and resorts in and around the townsite. You typically won’t have too much trouble finding a place, even when it’s fairly busy in peak summer.
Where to eat
Jasper townsite is only about 30 minute from the trailhead. You’ll have all your typical small town options in Jasper. There are some great local breweries and fun pubs to hang out at after your hike.
This trail can and does get crowded. The parking lots are also infamous for being packed. I recommend going early or late to avoid the crowds.