Thursday, 2 April 2009

Hiking Trails - Skyline - Day 1

[1-Maligne Lake]

The Skyline Trail is located south of the townsite of Jasper in Jasper National Park in Alberta. This mountain region is accessible via a truly spectacular trail crossing beautiful alpine meadows and ascending over several passes. Renowned for its scenery and resident wildlife, the area is resident to Big Horn Sheep, Elk, Caribou, Mountain Goats, Marmots and many others. Alpine wild flowers are in full bloom by late July and into August. The highest pass on the Skyline trail is called the Notch. From here the full skyline is visible as the route follows a safe but exposed ridge.

[2-Stream on Skyline trail]

The Skyline trail has horseback trips ranging from 3 to 4 days. Shovel Pass is home to Jasper Park's oldest backcountry horse camp: The Shovel Pass Camp. For the slightly more energetic hikers wishing to hike the trail but without the burden of carrying any gear, they may have it packed into the Shovel Pass Camp on horseback. Private cabin accommodation is available here mid June to mid September. Guided trail rides to the Shovel pass lodge .

[3-Stream on Skyline Trail]

The Shovel Pass Lodge received its name from the shovels the original railroad surveyors carved from trees in 1911 to dig out the heavy snows along a pack trail they had created from the railway head. Many of those shovels were left as trail markers, and others are now displayed at the museum in Jasper.

[4-Pine Nuts - click to enlarge]

The Skyline trail is considered difficult, covering a distance of 45 km with an elevation gain of 1,380 m (4,526 ft) and a maximum elevation of 2,490 m. The best time to tackle this trail is in summer or fall.

[5-Cow Moose - click to enlarge]

There are two trailheads: one at Maligne Canyon at the North end and Maligne Lake for the Southern end. The preferred direction is to start at the south and head north as the southern trailhead is a few hundred metres higher than the north. Half of the trail is above the treeline for great views and often in colder temperatures due to altitude.

[6-Unnamed lake]

There are six campsites on the trail. Due to the delicate nature of the area there is a ‘leave no trace’ practice in effect, thus no campfires and what you pack in, you pack out. Reservations must be made in advance to stay at the campsites. There are camping fees. Information can be found here.



The trail from the trailhead at Maligne Lake to Evelyn Creek campground is 4.8 km of forest.

After crossing the bridge the trail begins a steady elevation gain with many switchbacks leading to the Little Shovel campground at 10.3 km.

[9-Breaking out of trees]



[12-View toward Maligne Lake]

[13-Southeast view toward Maligne Lake]

[14-South view from Skyline Trail]


[16-South view from Skyline Trail]




[20-Waterfall in distance]

[21-Trail toward Little Shovel Pass]

[22-Little Shovel Pass in sight]

[23-Good spot to have a break]


Source: ParksCanada

Photo Credits: [1]-LazyGun CC=nc-sa-flickr, [2][3][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23]-brilang CC=nc-sa-flickr, [4]-Evan
CC=nc-nd-flickr, [5]-Leto A CC=nc-sa-flickr.


laughingwolf said...

my ab fave part of alberta, thx barbara :)

debra said...

Wow, Barbara, those photos are magnificent. The view of Maligne Lake is breathtaking. It must be amazing to hike there,each thing you see is more majestic than the next.

Philip said...

A beautiful series of photographs Babara as always and a very interesting post great work :)

Barbara Martin said...

Tony, then you're in for a treat for the next five weeks: same time, same place.

Debra, Maligne Lake has many wonderful views, especially by taking one of the boat tours.

Philip, thank you. The following posts provide interesting scenery into prime Caribou country.

Charles Gramlich said...

that pine nut photo is so cool. And the pink wildflowers!

Lana Gramlich said...

As Charles said; the pine nuts are really cool! Looks like a fantastic area, all around, but most of Canada is, afterall. ;)

Teresa said...

What gorgeous scenery, Barbara. I love the snow-capped mountain in the first one, and the moose by the lake. Thank you for leading us on these breath-taking virtual hikes.

Barbara Martin said...

Charles, the alpine flowers are spectacular when blooming providing a riot of colour.

Lana, Jasper Park's mountain valleys are wider than those closer to Banff due to more glacial movemnet. Though there seems to be more wilderness hiking trails in Jasper National Park that also access the surrounding provincial parks and wilderness conservation areas.

Teresa, there are many angles of photos taken of Maligne Lake including the famous shot of Spirit Island on the southern end of the lake which will be posted tomorrow morning.

J. L. Krueger said...

About all I can keep saying is how great it is to see all these sights.

I never get tired of going on a "hike" with you at your blog!

Barbara Martin said...

J.L., you can enjoy all you desire for the next several months of 'long hikes' in the Canadian Rockies.

laughingwolf said...

i'll be here, fur shur ;) lol

Marian Perera said...

So those are pine nuts. I remember the characters in George R. R. Martin's novels eating these, but I had no idea what they looked like (or tasted like).

I've only been in Canada for about three years and haven't ventured outside Toronto, so it's wonderful to vicariously explore the world out there through your pictures.

Barbara Martin said...

Marian, you can purchase pine nuts in bulk food stores or health food stores in Toronto.

Merisi said...

I wished I could purchase Canadian pine nuts! Here I can find only Chinese ones and they are not as tasty as yours, only very expensive.

Barbara Martin said...

Merisi, you might be able to purchase them through a bulk foods store online and have them shipped.