Athabasca Island

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.

Chill­in’ way to float
Haul­ing gear on inflat­a­bles

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.

Soft sandy beach
remote and serene

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.

beau­ty sur­rounds this place
pri­vate beach

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.

the hauler, every­thing you need can be packed
more options after this island

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.

Did I men­tion, pack fire­wood?
fire­wood, check!

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.

go just a lit­tle fur­ther and the land­ing will be bet­ter

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

Activ­i­ties: Sights / Raft­ing / Canoe­ing / Kayak­ing



Opal Hills

Opal Hills

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.

View of Maligne Lake

Opal-Hills-539   Opal-Hills-543

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

Park­ing: Yes

Trail­head: Trail starts at first park­ing lot

Dis­tance: 8.5 km loop

Activ­i­ties: Hik­ing / Sights



Mount Paul

Mt. Paul

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

 Park­ing: Yes at Maligne Lake park­ing lot

Trail­head: Starts Maligne Lake

 Dis­tance: approx­i­mate­ly 8 km

 Activ­i­ties: Hik­ing / Canoe­ing


Willow Creek

 North Boundary Trail

Be pre­pared to get your boots wet for this hike to one of the camp­sites on the North Bound­ary Trail. We (Lydia and I) access this route by Rock Lake in the Wilmore Wilder­ness Park. If you take the route from Celes­tine Lake, it takes about 33km, but if you take the route we took, it is only 13km. While dri­ving to Rock Lake we encoun­tered Elk, Goat, Sheep, White­tail Deer and Mule deer.

Rock Lake access
Rock Lake access
Willow Creek
Wil­low Creek

New Bridges

The trail is well marked and beat­en by hors­es. The gen­tle open ter­rain through this val­ley make this trip a walk in the park. Upgrades to the trail was notice­able as we crossed some new­ly built bridges by the Fly-in Trail Crew of 99 (FTC99). The sight of these bridges was def­i­nite­ly a bless­ing to our feet.

Willow Creek foot bridges
Wil­low Creek foot bridges
Willow Creek foot bridges
Wil­low Creek foot bridges

Dur­ing rainy weath­er, you might come across water crest­ing slight­ly over old­er bridges on the far end. But the upgrad­ed bridges are will gen­er­al­ly serve well to keep your feet dry. There is a sec­tion of the creek cross­ing that you can­not avoid get­ting your feet wet, even after attempts to find shal­low chan­nels and pole vault­ing across with no suc­cess! Squish, sloosh, squish …lucky the camp site is not that far.

Willow Creek Headquarters

Arriv­ing at the Wil­low Creek Head­quar­ters (war­den sta­tion) we met up with friends from Jasper. You guessed it, the FTC99 (Sean, Angela, Math­ieu and Pats). They were in for ten days of hard labor. We got to join them for din­ner (a feast I might add) and asked them all about how their tech­niques of con­struct­ing and detail­ing these bridges. All I can say is, HARD WORK. The camp site is about two kilo­me­tres passed this sta­tion.

Our barn abode
Our barn abode
Inside the warden cabin
Inside the war­den cab­in

Since we knew the crew, we got invit­ed to stay and camp out with them. Glad­ly tak­ing them on their offer we enjoyed music, fine food and friends. Vis­i­tors on horse­back passed through to the horse cor­ral at Wil­low Creek camp site.

Willow creek stables
Wil­low creek sta­bles
Horse route
Horse route


As a local, here's my spin...