Saturday Night Loop, Minnow Lake Campground
10.5 km
324Elevation Gain (m)
This trail has a few names: Saturday Night Lake Loop, Jasper #3 and the Twenty-mile Loop. The loop is actually 27.5 km long and can be done on any night or day that the urge hits. The trail to Minnow Lake Campground is an effortless 10.5-km walk through an interesting forest of lodgepole pine, aspen groves and birch stands. Water is abundant, as the trail is lined with lakes and streams. There are three campgrounds on this trail, but anything beyond Minnow Lake only requires more effort with little more reward, since Minnow Lake Campground is the prettiest setting in this loop. Located 800 m off the main trail, it is very peaceful and the quiet lake is calming.

The clear, shimmering waters of Marjorie Lake serve as a mirror. These shores are a worthwhile rest stop on the way to Minnow Lake Campground.

With the trail beginning in a residential area and many locals using it for their morning dog walks, the initial impression is that of traipsing through the suburbs. Nevertheless, within 10 to 15 minutes the locals and the buildings are gone. It is very important to pay close attention to the trail for the first 10 minutes, as there are three junctions and no directional markings. Though the trail is marked with a black-lettered number “3” on a yellow diamond background on the occasional tree. The first junction is within a couple of minutes of the start of the trail, just after you cross Cabin Creek. Turn left here and travel up a short uphill jaunt. Immediately after this, at the top of the little climb, is the second intersection, where the trail continues to the right. Within a few more minutes, the third junction appears, and the correct choice is to veer left.

After 2.5 km of effortless strolling from the trailhead, through open woodland, the trail arrives at Marjorie Lake and runs alongside the length of it. The forest here is reminiscent of a British Columbia Interior forest. This spectacularly clear mountain lake is backdropped by Indian Ridge and Muhigan Mountain, with the latter situated more to the northwest. Two more kilometres beyond here, Caledonia Lake appears through the trees. This lake is considerably larger than Marjorie Lake, at almost 750 m in length. The trail ascends and parallels the eastern shoreline, producing an exceptional downhill view for the length of the lake.

Beyond Caledonia Lake, the trail follows a connector stream and heads into the forest for 20–25 minutes until reaching Small Lake to the left, with a limestone ridge looming over the trail high up on the right.

Fifteen to twenty minutes past Small Lake, and 9.5 km from the trailhead, is the junction to Minnow Lake Campground. Stay left and 800 m of easy going will take you to Minnow Lake Campground. Continuing up to the right for 4 km will bring you to High Lakes Campground, but it pales in comparison to Minnow Lake. This 4-km distance gains 155 m in elevation and is really not worth the effort considering the impressive views bestowed by Minnow Lake.

As the exploration and mapping of the Rocky Mountain Parks gave way to tourism development, the Jasper area fell significantly behind the southern regions of Banff and Lake Louise. Most of the responsibility for expanding the trail network and access to the backcountry was shifted to the park wardens. They took over the construction, preservation and overall operation of the trails. An example of these duties was demonstrated by Warden J.A. Rootes’s blazing of a rough path from the town of Jasper to Caledonia Lake in 1913. This was done to promote fishing in the area and was the first recorded exploration into this part of Jasper.

The following year, a Dominion land surveyor, Hugh Matheson, may or may not have discovered Marjorie Lake. Historical information about this trail is sketchy, so it is uncertain whether the original trail cut by Rootes had missed Marjorie Lake. It is also unclear why Matheson gave the lake the name, as apparently, there is no known connection between him and a Marjorie.


From the intersection of Highway 16 and the Icefields Parkway, drive into the township of Jasper. Immediately, the Icefields Parkway becomes Connaught Drive. From the traffic light, drive 1.8 km on Connaught, turn left onto Miette Avenue and go 700 m to the end of Miette Avenue. Turning left here will put you on Pyramid Lake Road, which quickly becomes Cabin Creek Drive behind a mobile home park for 700 m. On the right side of Cabin Creek Drive, across the street from the second of two signs marked “Poplar Avenue,” is a short gravel road. A gate at the end says “Water Supply. No Trespassing.” Park here. The trailhead is on the left, down the embankment.

Hike Map
Gerry Shea

Gerry Shea

Gerry Shea lives in Kamloops with his wife and children and he is also the author of The Aspiring Hiker’s Guide 2: Mountain Treks in British Columbia.

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