Picture yourself on a deserted island, in the middle of the river, Rocky Mountain style. Haul your camping gear for a night or two. Let the river take you effortlessly downstream. It is always better when the water is high. Bring your own firewood, as there won’t be any to use, unless you want to camp without a fire.
Methods of traveling to this area is Canoe, Kayak and Raft. I find a raft is is the slowest means, but it can haul plenty of gear.
Starting points on this trip can vary. Several areas, you can park and put in to the river. Old Fort Point (my favorite), parking and easy access to the river, also the ending point to the rafting companies, be sure not to park where the rafting companies need access to.
Shorter distance access is at the Mobery bridge (the one that crosses the Athabasca to access the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge and Maligne valley), the gravel area just north of the bridge is where you can put in.
Another access is the Sixth Bridge, there is parking where the day use area is plus you can put in at the Maligne river to get a little rush prior to connecting the Athabasca river.
What ever you decide, you still have to shuttle a vehicle at Jasper Lakes, there are some parking pull outs on the southside of Hwy 16. When you come out from the Athabasca Island, you will hit slow and shallow waters of the Jasper Lakes, just head for the hwy and you should find your vehicle.
Book your campsite with Parks Canada and your vehicle and you should have no trouble parking over night at these points. Hope this helps, and if you need more info on this, please leave a comment below.
Access: Athabasca River, head North East
Parking: Old Fort Point, North side of Moberly Bridge
Trailhead: Almost any egress along the Athabasca River
The autumn is a great time to catch up on the hikes that we missed during the summer hectic rush. Jasper slows down and the trails are not as traveled, so it feels like you own a private reserve.
This trail is one of the popular one at Maligne Lake, where you can have an amazing view of the Lake from an elevation of approximately 2,700 meters. If you venture past tree line, the unobstructed view across the valley is where you see the start of the Six-trail pass, Skyline trail and much more.
The day we picked was just close to perfect as the weather was cool and the skies were blue. This year has brought us an unusual amount of precipitation, so needless to say that any blue-sky day is a good day. With the elevation at Maligne Lake, the moist conditions were showing with the mountain peaks covered with snow. Getting back to the hike, Opal Hills loop is only 8.5 kilometres, but very steep. Fast elevations gain to treeline then a gentle terrain on sub-alpine part of the loop. If you want to get any higher, you can try and summit the peak of Opal, another steep hike and a little more time.
Silly me, forgetting to bring gaiters for the snow and if you do this one in the summer and want to bag the peak, the gaiters will help with the scree (loose rocks). Anyhow the snow was not that deep, so I only got slightly wet. The loop did not take more than 5 hours, so this makes it a great day trip just to enjoy the area. Enjoy the photos that were taken that day.
Access: Mailgne Lake Road, from Jasper, 48 km South
If you want to summit, crampons are recommended for the section prior to summit. Otherwise the trail was fairly straight forward, canoe across from Coronet campsite dock, head into the valley until you find a suitable accent north and try not to get cliff-ed out and once past treeline, head west towards the summit of Mt. Paul.
A great day trip to tackle when staying at the majestic Coronet Creek campsite. You will need a watercraft to get to this area. At a elevation of about 2800 metres, about the height of Pyramid mountain. This hike requires an early start so you can summit. Unfortunately, we were denied the summit yet again. The photos here are just some of the views you can look forward to, even if you do not make it to the top.
There are snow pitches and exposure, so be prepared! The final ascent to the top of Mt. Paul is quite intimidating (one of the reasons for the turnaround).
The rewards are still great even when the summit is not reached.
A special thanks for my mountain models:
Kelsey, Rhonda, Larry, and Mike
Access: Maligne Lake, 21 km south, by canoe or kayak, approximately 1 hours drive, plus four to six hours by boat