We drove south on hwy 93 then turned onto hwy 93a just pass the south park gate. A few kilometers up this road past Marmot Basin turn off is the Edith Cavell road.
The road is closed in the off season, so check in at the parks office for information on when the road closes, or else you might have to hike 14 extra kilometers to this trail head.
It was about 8:30am and the air temperature is still crisp. This trail is not listed on the park signage that has fallen due to lack of maintenance. You will find a parking area just past the Cavell youth hostel on the right where you can park your vehicle while you hike this trail. I recommend getting a topographic map (Amethyst Lake Topo Map) of this area because there are many trails that start off at this point and making a mistake is not fun.
After an hour of leisure walking on a well beaten trail, seeing some grouse along the way,we arrived at the junction to turn left onto the Verdant Pass trail. This junction is not well marked, but if you reach the creek, you have gone too far and have to back track about 400 meters. The junction has two large boulders directly across the trail head. This is where we began our gradual accent through a wooded and lichen rich path. After an hour the path starts to really climb and it brings you out above treeline and you get a beautiful view of the pass further south.
We passed above a gully and kept on the trail until it started to bring us behind the south face of Edith Cavell (approximately 11:30am) and this is where the path ends and we had to choose our own route towards Verdant Pass. You can explore almost anywhere from here and get distracted from your original plan. (You could even bag Cavell from here!)We used the first and second cirques of Edith Cavell as a hand rail to lead us right into the heart of the pass.
If you head straight into the second cirque, you will fall upon a beautiful alpine lake (tarn) where we had lunch. It was one o’clock and I was thinking to myself if only we had gotten a late start, the sun would have hit the tarn perfectly for an awe inspiring photo! Nevertheless, we had a great picnic and enjoyed the gorgeous day with the temperature rising to the thirties (Celsius, of course) and Andy was thinking to himself , “This would be a great place to just hang out”.
Chantal had other plans as she had already mapped out the turn around at another 5 or 6 km past this sweet spot. Half an hour later we continued south towards the ridge that overlooks the historic Whirlpool valley. We were in luck as the terrain which is usual bog was dry and we reached the ridge at three o’clock and soaked in the breathtaking panoramic view of the area which you see below.
We went on a photo frenzy, finished our grub, vegged out for half an hour and unfortunately had to tear ourselves away from this majestic view. We arrived back to the car at 8:15pm with a beautiful sunset.
Access: Hwy 93A – after the South park gates follow signs to Edith Cavell Road.
Trailhead: From Parking across from the Hostel
Distance: depends on how far you want to go
Activities: Sightseeing / Hiking