Tonquin Valley sign

Tonquin Valley

Tonquin Valley

Tour­ing in the back­coun­try of Jasper is nev­er a dis­ap­point­ment even when you encounter var­i­ous weath­er changes. This 25km trek and be done by cross coun­try skis, but we toured with Tele­mark gear. It was a lit­tle heav­ier but well worth the sta­bil­i­ty.

Head­ing to Sur­prise point for some turns

We had booked with an out­fit called the Ton­quin Adven­tures (, the accom­mo­da­tions is locat­ed in the heart of the Ton­quin Val­ley perched next to Amythst Lake. There are oth­er cab­ins out there like the ACC hut and anoth­er out­fit. For a cou­ple of dol­lars more than the ACC hut, we had deluxe beds and more pri­va­cy which is worth much more to us. Lets face it, we trav­el to remote areas to get away, not get busy.

Ton­quin Adven­tures cook lodge
Amethyst bridge to the lodge

Our trip start­ed ear­ly in the morn­ing as this tour takes between 5 to 10hrs depend­ing on lots of vari­ables, like weath­er, equip­ment fail­ure, fatigue, break­ing trail and so on. The day start­ed with clear skies and a bro­ken trail to McCarib Pass, so lucky for us it was great rav­el­ing and to top of the trip, the cus­to­di­an (Don) of Ton­quin Adven­tures, broke trail com­ing out from the cab­ins which made our life so much eas­i­er, since it was our first time going in, we did not have to look for the cab­ins. Once we turned into the Val­ley after the McCarib camp­site, the weath­er start­ed to blow and a snow storm was to come.

View of the snow depth from the front door
Sun­rise from the east

After a leisure­ly 9hr tour we made it to the cab­ins and checked out our pad for the next cou­ple of days. Din­ner was on our minds and BEER, mmmm BEEER!

Good snow pile up from the delayed access peri­od

Snow was com­ing down hard and think­ing of tomorrow’s events. Morn­ing came quick and the snow is still blow­ing, not let­ting the con­di­tions stop us from a tour, we trekked off towards Sur­prise point and found some pow­der, short lit­tle runs in the glades but much bet­ter than being coup up in the cab­ins. The snow was blow­ing side ways when head­ing back to the cab­ins, which made it very inter­est­ing.

Sure helps when the trail has been bro­ken for you

Dread­ing the trip out with the wind still howl­ing was on everyone’s minds, we decid­ed to head out ear­ly and had to break trail all the way out because our track had dis­ap­peared. But once we got out of the Ton­quin Val­ley, the wind sub­sided and it was a pleas­ant tour out and had some great turns down McCarib Pass.


Access: From Jasper, head South, Hwy 93a, turn to Mar­mot Basin or Edith Cavell Road

Park­ing: Yes

Trail­head: Por­tal Creek park­ing or at the Hos­tel on Edith Cavell road

Dis­tance: 55km loop

Activ­i­ties: Ski­ing / Hik­ing / Horse­back / Fish­ing / Sights


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