Skyline Trail

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.

Photo Album

Skyline Trail 2004 Photoset on flickr.com

July 31-August 2, 2004

Pre-trip camping: Snaring River overflow campground

Saturday, July 31

Unnamed Lake

Unnamed Lake, Skyline Trail, Jasper National Park

Butterfly on flower

Butterfly on a flower, Skyline Trail, Jasper National Park

Wildflowers

Wildflowers, Skyline Trail, Jasper National Park

Little Shovel Pass

Hiking up to Little Shovel Pass, Skyline Trail, Jasper National Park

Richard and John at Little Shovel Pass

Richard and John at Little Shovel Pass, Skyline Trail, Jasper National Park

Skyline Trail in the Snow Bowl

The Skyline Trail through the Snow Bowl, Jasper National Park

Wildflowers at stream side

Wildflowers at stream side, Skyline Trail, Jasper National Park

Wildflowers in the Snow Bowl campground

Wildflowers in the Snow Bowl campground, Skyline Trail, Jasper National Park

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

Hiking through wildflowers

Hiking through the Wildflowers, Skyline Trail, Jasper National Park

Mountain Stream and Wildflowers

Mountain Stream and Wildflowers, Skyline Trail, Jasper National Park

Cotton Grass

Cotton Grass, Skyline Trail, Jasper National Park

Wildflowers and Curator Mountain

Wildflowers and Curator Mountain, Skyline Trail, Jasper National Park

Brian at Big Shovel Pass

Brian at Big Shovel Pass, Skyline Trail, Jasper National Park

Curator Lake and Big Shovel Pass

Looking back over Curator Lake towards Big Shovel Pass and Curator Mountain, Skyline Trail, Jasper National Park

Brian at The Notch

Brian at the Notch; Curator Lake below, Skyline Trail, Jasper National Park

The Skyline Trail on Amber Mountain

The Skyline Trail along Amber Mountain, Skyline Trail, Jasper National Park

The Tekarra Valley

The Skyline Trail and the Colin Range, 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

Hiking through wildflowers

Hiking through the Wildflowers, Skyline Trail, Jasper National Park

Pyramid Mountain

Pyramid Mountain, Skyline Trail, Jasper National Park

Mount Tekarra

Mount Tekarra’s northmost peak, Skyline Trail, Jasper National Park

Riot of Color

Wildflowers, Skyline Trail, Jasper National Park

Wildflowers

Wildflowers, Skyline Trail, Jasper National Park

Trail's End

The group at trail’s end

Moss Campion

Moss Campion, Skyline Trail, Jasper National Park

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.

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