Thursday, 22 January 2009

Hiking Trails - Tonquin Valley - Part 1


Tonquin Valley is in a wilderness area of Jasper National Park, in the Province of Alberta. The elevation of the valley is 2,000 metres (6,500 feet). A previous post on August 5th, 2008 was done on Amethyst Lake here which will provide extra information.

Hikers going into the wilderness areas will need a wilderness pass for access, as well as a permit for overnight camping. National Park Wardens patrol the backcountry areas throughout the year. Hikers should not count on being able to find a Park Warden in case of an emergency. Hikers are expected to be self-reliant.

Fees for backcountry use and camping which are valid for Banff, Jasper, Kootenay and Yoho National Parks:
Overnight, per person = $9.80
Season, per person = $68.70
Reservation = $11.70
Daily Fishing Permit = $9.80
Annual Fishing Permit = $34.30

The length of the trail is considered moderate for 72 km over a duration of 5 days. No dogs are allowed on this trail.

Rservations must be made three months in advance for the campsites. There are 7 campsites where use of a stove is mandatory as no open fires are permitted; inluding the Wates-Gibson ACC Hut where reservations can be made through the Alpine Club of Canada and two back-country lodges that specialize in horse trips but accept hikers as well: Tonquin Adventures and Tonquin Valley .

Elevation gain is 700m
Maximum elevation is 2210m

The trailheads are at 12.7km on Cavell Road and at 6.3km on the Marmot Basin Road.

The best time for hiking to Tonquin Valley is in the fall due to the rainy weather and muddy trails in the summer.

The first trail to Tonquin Valley in Jasper National Park, Alberta is the Portal Creek Trail.

The hike for this post begins at the parking lot on the Marmot Basin Road and ends at the Portal Campground, approximately 9 km up the trail. Next week's post will detail the next part of the trail to the Maccarib Campground at the Tonquin Valley.


[3 -Indian Paintbrush-click to enlarge]

[4- Columbine wildflower at Portal Creek Valley]

Three hundred metres up the trail from the parking lot will bring the hiker to a bridge over the Portal Creek.

[5 - Portal Creek]


[7-Lectern Peak, Portal Creek Valley]

The four kilometres to Circus Creek is forested, and here it is recommended the hiker with his/her fellow travellers make sufficient noise to be heard by any bears in the area.

[8 -Circus Creek]

Once the Circus Creek bridge has been crossed, the forested area thins and more scenery is available.

[9 -Hikers crossing Circus Creek]

[10 -Lectern Peak and Portal Creek Valley]

[11 -Hiking up Portal Creek Valley]

[12 -Portal Creek Valley from slopes of Perevril Peak]

After the hikers cross the scree slopes beneath Perevril Peak the trail drops down an avalanche slope to the valley floor.

[13 -Waterfall into Portal Creek Valley]

[14 -Looking up Portal Creek Valley]

[15 -Columbine and Portal Creek Valley]

[16 -Portal Creek and Oldborn Mountain-click to enlarge]

[17 -Alpine Meadows below Maccarib Pass - click to enlarge]

The Portal Creek Campground is reached, which has four tent pads, two tables, a bear pole with cables and a privy.

Photo Credits: [1] to [17] inclusive: brilang CC=nc-sa-flickr.

Sources: ParksCanada link for backpacking into the wilderness here .


Sepiru Chris said...

OK Barbara, this is the land of my annual vacations as a child; now I am missing Canada...

RedLan said...

I am a nature lover. I like the beautiful views and wow, the beautiful wild flowers. Thanks for sharing them. Keep traveling!

Charles Gramlich said...

the wildflowers are so gorgeous. We live in a place of plenty, where flowers are concerned, but still Lana and I photograph and study the tiniest blooms. They are just so wonderful.

Barbara Martin said...

Chris, if you have perused the other hiking posts you will have seen the majority of the hikes take place in the Canadian Rockies. Therefore, you will have plenty of opportunity to become homesick like myself. Everytime I post about Banff or one of the western national parks I yearn to return, sigh.

Barbara Martin said...

Redlan, welcome back. Nature is a reminder for all of us to reflect and relax from our busy schedules.

Barbara Martin said...

Charles, the wildflowers have delicate colours and form to attract those busy insects seeking nectar. Some of the plants are so tiny one could miss seeing them unless looking carefully.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

What magnificent mountains! It's good to read that they are well-protected.

Bears!! I think I would want to sneak around making as little noise as possible so the bears wouldn't know I was there... (Or am I bigger than them?) Is the reason for making noise to give them the chance to move away, so they are not surprised and angry?

Shelley Munro said...

Aw, this area looks gorgeous. I really enjoyed all the wildflowers we saw during our visit last summer.

bindu said...

What a lovely trail! I wish I lived near the mountains. There is so little in terms of good hiking in the Austin area. We miss that.

laughingwolf said...

more reasons why i love the west... thx barbara

Barbara Martin said...

Raph, it unwise to surprise a bear, particularly a brown bear (grizzly) as they tend to react immediately rather than contemplate the intrusion. You are quite correct that the noise allows them to move away discreetly from your location.

Giraffes are certainly larger than grizzlies, although they do follow the caribou into the alpine meadows for their nefarious purposes. (For those other visitors please see Raph's site for an explanation).

Barbara Martin said...

Shelley, I was hoping the photos would be better for the area but rain does come when least expected.

Bindu, perhaps a drive away will help with the necessity of nature to fill your soul.

Tony, I believe you mentioned Jasper was your favourite place to retire.

Reb said...

Barbara you must know the old joke, how can you tell from the scat that it is a Grizzly and not a black bear in the area

Grizzley scat has bear bells in it.

Lovely, photos.

Cloudia said...

Oh Canada!

Barbara Martin said...

Reb, no, never heard that one. I can pretty much make out the difference in size of bear tracks to identify them.

Cloudia, indeed.

Unknown said...

Wow, I love your blog,Awesome photo’s and awesome location. This is wonderful Island and very natural and attractive.

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