My daughters and I went out exploring along the Overlander Trail a few weeks ago. This was a nice easy walk with lots of different things to explore. The hiking party consisted of myself, my 4 year old daughter, and my toddler in a single chariot.
Completing the Flower loop took us about 1 hour, 25 minutes. I imagine this walk without the chariot would be much shorter. The path was narrow with lots of roots, not appropriate for pushing any sort of stroller. In fact many times I found myself balancing the chariot on one wheel while lifting up the others to alternate maneuvering over hurdles. I even resorted to pulling the chariot backwards behind me in an effort to easier navigate roots. Nevertheless, my 4 year old had no problem and enjoyed the root jumping.
At one point close to the end of the trail when I was feeling this chariot pushing couldn’t get much worse, I notice that up ahead the river had eaten away the bank almost destroying the entire path. My daughter had no problem safely detouring this obstacle. She simple climbed the fallen tree bordering the path and tramped through the shrubs making it back to the path on the other side. Detouring was not an option for me and the chariot. I could not get it over the log or through the shrubs. So, when you can’t go under or over or around, you go through. I lifted the chariot up on one wheel, planted my legs securely, and pushed ahead… and my little passenger peacefully slept through it all.
I imagine the hike would also have been shorter had we not stopped to throw rocks into the stream and play on the beach along the Athabasca River. But these diversions are what make our little walks so much fun for my children. My daughter has a great imagination and in this photo she is playing ‘puppy’ where I throw a stick and she fetches it by running across the beach on all fours. I wonder what the fisherman down the beach thought of our play?
The beach is quite close to the parking lot if you take the first left along trail 10a. It would be a nice place for play and picnicking if you didn’t want to do the whole loop.
The trail is aptly named the Flower Loop as the wildflowers are quite lovely along this trail. Do the walk in early summer, mid June to mid July to see the flowers at their prime. We were delighted to see so many yellow lady’s-slippers on our walk.
Overlander Trail, Flower Loop, Jasper National Park, Canada
Distance: 2.1km (1.3 miles)
Time with young children: about 1 hour
Trailhead: at Sixth Bridge parking lot, 7.5 km east of Jasper via Highway 16 and the Maligne Road.
Trail Description: Begin by crossing the bridge over the Athabasca River. Option 1- turn left onto 10a or option 2- continue straight along 10, turning left onto 10a after 0.8km (0.5 miles). Please note that 10a does not allow bikes. Your first option will bring you along the Athabasca and then rounding around to the main Overlander trail. The second option will have you follow 10 along the road a little ways and then cut into the trees on a well used trail until you see the turn off for 10a, bringing you down along the river and then back to the parking lot.
Trail 10, the Overlander Trail, is a well used wide trail. It is packed dirt with some roots and rocks. Trail 10a, The Flower Loop, is a narrower single person trail with more roots and rocks. At times the trail is quite close to fast moving water.
This trail is not appropriate for any type of stroller.
Amenities: This is a well used parking lot which can fill up on busy days. There are picnic tables and outhouses at the parking lot.
For more information, visit Jasper National Park website or the visitor center in town and keep safe on the trails.
2 thoughts on “Hiking with Kids, The Overlander Flower Loop”
Great trail to take your young kids on an hour or so hike along the Athabaska River to an old road that returns you to Bridge 6 parking lot. The trail is relatively flat but quite rooted and narrow so it is difficult for strollers but can be done with a tree wheeled one. The trail gets close to the rushing river at certain times of year so make the kids beware of the tripping hazards and don’t run on the trail. We saw elk, several bird species and many wildflowers. There is a small wooden bridge over a swamp where you can take nice photos posing on the bridge with beautiful mountains behind you. We stopped at an old wooden corral swinging gate to take photos of the kids sitting on the gate in western style. Just loved this wilderness trail around a 3 km. or so loop where it felt like you were in true wilderness along the green glacier silted river.
Rod, it sure does sound like you had a lovely walk along the flower loop. My daughters really enjoy the little bridge and sandbank on that trail. Thanks so much for sharing!