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]
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:  to  inclusive: brilang CC=nc-sa-flickr.
Sources: ParksCanada link for backpacking into the wilderness here .