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Wilcox Pass August 23, 2017

  • Location - Jasper National Park, Alberta

  • Distance - 8 km, plus 2.4 km to the Wilcox Ridge, 14 km to the Tangle Falls

  • Elevation Gain - 335 m

  • Wilcox Pass elevation - 2,375 m

  • Time - 4 hours

  • Difficulty - moderate


Highlights

 

This is a beautiful hike with views that are going to blow your mind. It is in this place where snow, ice, rock and sky dominate the land. A place where nature rules and where humans look on in awe.

Trailhead

Wilcox Pass is located near the Columbia Icefield, 47 km north from the Saskatchewan Crossing, and 100 km south of Jasper on Highway 93. The east trailhead is located at the entrance of the Wilcox Creek Campground 3.1 km south of the Columbia Icefields Centre. The west end trailhead can be found 14 km west at Tangle Falls on the highway headed towards Jasper.

Hiking

The Athabasca Glacier spreads across the valley and hugs the steep slopes of Mount Wilcox. Walter Wilcox and his horseback party travelled this valley up from Lake Louise in search of the Athabasca River. Their journey, blocked by a canyon, forced them to take an alternate route. Today's trail to the top of the pass follows in their footsteps. The first part of the trail goes through an old grove of trees with a slight elevation gain. As you leave the tree line behind, the trail enters into the alpine zone with beautiful meadows and outstanding views of the Columbia Icefields area. Here you’ll find no better view of the surrounding glaciated peaks, Mount Athabasca (3,491 m), Mount Andromeda (3,450 m), Snow Dome (3,451 m) and Mount Kitchener (3,505 m). Columbia Mountain (3,747 m) the second highest mountain in the Rockies can also be spotted from higher elevation. There are several creeks running through the surrounding meadows with wild flowers growing everywhere. Big Horn Sheep are usually very close to the trail and what a privilege it is just to watch them. Keep children and pets near by as they are agitated by even the smallest of dogs. Continue on until you reach the pass summit sign, where the meadow is very wide. From here you can take a trail to your left that leads to the ridge overlooking the Icefields Centre, and the full length of the Athabasca Glacier. However, there is more options like climbing Mount Wilcox Summit, Nigel Peak, and Tangle Ridge. For first timers is the best to turn back to the trailhead and leave the summits for another time. 

Perks of the Trail

  1. Big horn sheep are main attraction and they are ready for photo shooting.

  2. Wilcox Pass may be one the finest hikes found in Jasper National Park.

  3. Stunning views on glaciers will blow your mind away.




Beauty Creek August 23, 2017

  • Location - Jasper National Park, Alberta

  • Distance - 5 km

  • Elevation gain - 150 m

  • Stanly Falls elevation - 1,665 m

  • Time - 1.5 hours

  • Difficulty - easy


Highlights

Most people drive past this hike as it is tucked away neatly along the side of  the Icefields Parkway highway However, if you’re looking for a short and pleasant hike after a long drive, Beauty Creek trail is the one. To start, this trail mingles beside a green colored creek, and you’ll quickly encounter several beautiful waterfalls up until the last and biggest of them all, Stanley Falls.

Trailhead

The trailhead is clearly marked with a sign indicating Beauty Creek trail on right side of the Icefields Parkway in the river flats, just a 10 minute drive north of the Columbia Icefields.

Hiking

Beauty Creek is a major drainage between Tangle Ridge (3,001 m) to the south and Sunwapta Peak (3,315 m) to the north. To start the trail, leave the parking lot and head through the trees before connecting with an old road. This old road is the remnant of the original Icefields Parkway highway. To continue onto Beauty Creek Trail,  turn right and follow this road up to the missing bridge site over Beauty Creek. Once you reach this junction, turn left and follow the trail as it ascents up the creek. In a few short minutes, you will find yourself in a canyon full of waterfalls. There are many gorges where it is easy to descend to the creek where you can enjoy the splashing water. The official trail end is Stanley Falls, a picturesque waterfall roaring into a round pool, but if  you love waterfalls, then you might continue another 2 km using the not so well defined trail and the creek bed. The goal of this slippery path are three waterfalls, each a glory into of itself, cascading down from the very tall mountains. Do this, and you will come upon many physical challenges, something that Beauty Creek trail, for better or worse, lacks.

Perks of the Trail

  1. The trail is short and very pleasant any time of the year.

  2. This hike is hidden game.

  3. This is a must do if you are traveling along the Icefields Parkway!


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