I just returned from a trip to Jasper National Park’s world renowned Skyline Trail. The weather was excellent, and we had a great weekend. Here are the details.
July 31-August 2, 2004
Pre-trip camping: Snaring River overflow campground
Saturday, July 31
We set out from Maligne lake on our hike of the Skyline trail. The first 4.8 km to Evelyn creek campground was a pleasant walk through the forest. Upon leaving that campground, the trail set off uphill with a vengeance – switchbacking many times en route to Little Shovel campground where we had lunch. The day was warm and sunny which was very nice. After leaving our lunch break, we set of uphill again to Little Shovel Pass at 10.3 km. Views in either direction from the pass were spectacular. We were being watched by bighorn sheep on the ridge top. Then we dropped down into the Snowbowl where Snowbowl campground is located. There was no snow present in the vicinity of the trail or campground. There was also limited water at the campground. The wildflowers were plentiful as were the mosquitos.
Stats: Distance: 12.2 km; Elevation Gain: 550 m; Elevation loss: 160 m.
Sunday, August 1
Looking back over Curator Lake towards Big Shovel Pass and Curator Mountain, Skyline Trail, Jasper National Park
We started out from Snowbowl campground in the morning and meandered our way through alpine meadows to Big Shovel Pass. Wildflowers were again plentiful. From Big Shovel Pass we dropped back down into the upper Wabasso valley – a very barren looking region with little vegetation. We stopped near the shores of Curator lake for lunch all the while looking at the trial trail before us. From our lunch stop to the Notch, we climbed 270 metres in 2.6 km. Ultimately we made it to the top of the Notch. Some of our group who had energy to spare decided to scramble up an adjacent peak while the rest of us took it easy. Views included Mount Edith Cavell to the southwest, the Ramparts in the Tonquin Valley to the west and Mount Robson, 90 km distant, in the northwest. Eventually we set off along the ridge crest of Amber Mountain with the ground dropping off to the left and right of us – excellent views all around. Finally we dropped off the skyline and into the valley with Centre lake and Tekarra campground, our destination for the night. The mosquitos were plentiful again.
Stats: Distance: 18.7 km; Elevation Gain: 535 m; Elevation loss: 555 m.
Monday, August 2
We headed off from our last campsite with one last surprise in store for us – the next 5 km were still above treeline! We had been anticipating dropping below tree line and heading back to the cars in short order. Instead we had another 5 km of wildflower filled alpine meadows to traverse before we dropped down the Signal Mountain fire road. Views were not quite as good due to a light haze caused by forest fire smoke drifting in from BC’s fires. The final 8 km down the fire road were a monotonous trudge through the forest. (un?)Fortunately we had John telling jokes to entertain us.
Stats: Distance: 13.2 km; Elevation Loss: 900 m.
Total Stats: Distance: 44.1 km; Elevation Gain: 1085 m. Elevation Loss: 1615 m.
Edited: 2006-06-25 – Updated photo album links.
Edited: 2008-02-22 – Updated photo links to Flickr and the text of the story.