Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Hiking Trails - Skyline Trail - Day 4

For readers joining today's hike, the Skyline Trail covers 45km from the trailhead at Maligne Lake to Annette Lake near Jasper. The Skyline Trail is in Jasper National Park in Alberta.

From the Curator campground to Tekkara campground the distance is 11km with a loss of elevation of 100m. If the weather looks to have turned inclement and appears to be settling in, it is recommended that hikers take an alternative route out: via the Watchtower Trail or the Wabasso Trail. The reason is the 4km over the Notch and along the ridge on Amber Mountain leaves the hiker completely exposed to the elements. Any hiker should be prepared for hard conditions on the ridge as it can be very cold. It has been known to snow in July.

About 200m from the Curator campground is the Shovel Pass Lodge run by an outfitter who caters to hikers although trail rides by horseback are their forté.

Here the alpine meadows tend to be barren of vegetation except for lichen and the odd clump of wildflowers.

[69-Trail above the Curator campground]

[70-Marmot in rocks]

Beyond the Curator campground the trail climbs toward Curator Lake where The Notch is visible.

[71-Looking toward The Notch]

[72-Curator Lake and The Notch]

[73-Hiking past Curator Lake toward The Notch]

[74-Looking back over Curator Lake toward the Big Shovel Pass and Curator Mountain]

Once past Curator Lake the trail begins an abrupt ascent to the Notch.

[75-Climbing toward the cornice on The Notch]

The elevation increases on the climb to The Notch with 345m in slightly over 2km to a height of 2,480m.

When nearing the cornice at the top of the pass hikers are reminded to navigate this on the right. To stand on or below the cornice is a risk experienced hikers do not take.

[76-The Cornice at The Notch]

[77-The Cornice at The Notch at pass]

[78-Snow capped Mt Robson 90 km away]

[79-Mt Edith Cavell across Athabasca Valley from The Notch]

[80-Looking down at Curator Lake - click to enlarge]

From The Notch the trail follows the top of the ridge on Amber Mountain and down the other side for a distance of 5km.

[81-Unnamed tarns from Amber Mountain]

[82-View south from Amber Mountain]

[83-Skyline Trail along Amber Mountain]

[84-On Amber Mountain ridge]

[85-Distant Mt. Robson from Amber Mountain]

[86-Hikers traverse the Notch going south - click to enlarge]

[87-Hikers headed toward the Notch in opposite direction - click to enlarge]

At the north end of Amber Mountain the trail begins to descend in a twisted trail,

[88-Tekarra Mountain and zig-zagging trail]

[89-Hiking down]

through a rock filled valley with Mount Tekarra on the left and Excelsior on the right.

[90-Colin Range from Skyline Trail]

[91-Centre Lake and Centre Mountain]

[92-Amber Mountain col - click to enlarge]

[93-Heading down trail]

[94-Closer look at Mt. Tekarra - click to enlarge]


[96-Tarns beneath Mt. Tekarra - click to enlarge]

At the head of the valley is Center Creek and Center Lake on the north side of Mount Tekarra. Mount Tekarra, 2,693m, is situated between the Athabasca and the Maligne River valleys. The mountain was officially named in 1859 after a First Nations guide led explorer James Hector and his expedition to the Athabasca River.

[97-Mt. Tekarra - click to enlarge]

[98-View of Mt. Tekarra 50m from campground - click to enlarge]

The Tekarra campground is at the 30km mark of the 45km distance. This photo is taken about 50m away from the Tekarra campground which is surrounded by pine trees. As there is water nearby hopefully the hiker has remembered to bring along mosquito repellant though not citronella, as this tends to attract bears.

The campgrounds are basic ‘backcountry campgrounds’ with a small patch of uneven ground, small common area with two picnic tables, a food suspension cable and an open pit toilet. The use of gas stoves is mandatory as campfires are not permitted.


Source: ParksCanada
Bear Management

Photo Credits: [69][70][71][72][73][74][75][76][77][78][79][81][82][83][84][85][88][89][90][91][93][95]-brilang CC=nc-sa-flickr, [80][86][87][92][94][96][97]-runningclouds CC=nc-sa-flickr, [98]-inottawa CC=flickr.


Frank Baron said...

Beautiful and dizzying. I don't have the energy to even contemplate such a hike but sure enjoyed the virtual accompaniment. Thanks Barbara.

Sekhar said...

Thanks for taking me along on this trip Barbara :)

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Completely amazing terrain!

BernardL said...

The lake must be a real treat after hiking over what looks like a moonscape.

Barbara Martin said...

Frank, this hike is not on my list due to the strenuous exercise of the trail. Walking along the top of an exposed ridge, especially in windy weather is not my idea of an afternoon jaunt.

I posted this hike for the unusual terrain encountered, a stark contrast to the heavy forested areas below.

Sekhar, you are quite welcome.

Pamela, I agree. The area has its own beauty of the vistas from the skyline trail.

Teresa said...

Barbara, I loved the pictures. I wish I had the knees left to hike this trail. Oh well, your beautiful pictures took me there in spirit.

Anonymous said...

Rubbing my hands with glee at this post. Japser has become one of my favourite places.Too strenuous to do in person, but what a feast for the senses!Thank you so much Barbara.

Cloudia said...

An amber mount?
In Samarkand!!

RuneE said...

An impressive tour at a high altitude. It must be very exposed to the weather. Thank you for shearing!

Reader Wil said...

Barbara, I am impressed! This hike must have taken you hours and hours. The scenery is awesome and breathtaking! Thanks for sharing and showing this. Have a great weekend.

Philip said...

Barbara these are stunning photos of stunning scenery the vistas are outstanding great post !

laughingwolf said...

crisp, clean mountain air... nothing like it :)

thx barbara

Barbara Martin said...

Teresa, your knees are probably like mine: worn out. Though I take apple cider vinegar in the morning in an 8 oz glass of water to ease the pain (which it does). I'm planning on a bit of hiking in later summer and will certainly do a post after.

Pam, this hike is for lean and hard bodies, but I agree the scenery is fantastic.

Cloudia, it certainly is in spirit.

Barbara Martin said...

RuneE, as it is a high altitude, I posted the hike in a gradual manner as it should be done to prevent altitude sickness. Something I forget to re-post about on occasion for those devil may care hikers.

Wil, it did take me hours and hours to post as the photos didn't upload the first time round.

Philip, thank you. It is this rugged beauty that appeals to me.

Barbara Martin said...

Tony, there is much more Jasper coming.

Barbara Martin said...

Bernard, the remnants of glacial rock take many years to allow plants of any size to grow. At one time this was all covered by one immenze glacier.

jim lawless said...

Clearly this is fabulous but I am not sure it is the trail I was looking for. The one I am after is near a cut off on the second half of the Cape Breton drive. In a pull off you walk up to a board walk which goes through a small mountain top, in which all of the trees area about two feet high, stunted I am told by the freezing weather which doesn't kill t he tree but the buds that have grown. The trees the guide said are at least one hundred years old. Does this ring a bell?

Barbara Martin said...

Jim, welcome, and I am sorry to tell you this is another 'Skyline Trail' located in Jasper National Park in Alberta. You might try the website: or
from ParksCanada for the Cape Breton location. Although I have been to Nova Scotia, I have never been to Cape Breton. The trail you are looking for sounds magnificent.