This weekend I got to adventure with my mom and two of our friends to Jasper. We headed out to the mountains Friday morning to tackle the Sulphur Skyline hike before continuing on to Jasper for dinner and staying a night in town. We had been talking about doing this hike for a few weeks so as summer comes to a close we knew we needed to head west quick! Sulphur Skyline, not to be confused with the overnight lengthy Skyline Trail, is a quick up-and-down hike that starts at Miette Hot Springs.
The trailhead stated that the trail would take about 4-5 hours, covering 8km roundtrip and 723m elevation gain. It took us just under an hour and a half to reach the summit. We weren’t trying to move fast but we just hustled our way up and didn’t take very many breaks. The trail isn’t exposed until the last half kilometer. You work your way up through the forest and then go through a series of switchbacks before breaking above the treeline for the final push to the summit.
We spent about half an hour at the windy summit, which was a really big area with 360 degree views of the surrounding mountains. It is incredible. For the moderate effort and minimal time to get there, it is completely worth the views. There were about 20 other people at the top so it’s definitely a popular one.
After taking in the views, having a snack break, and making some new friends, we headed back down the mountain to the treeline where there was a flat patch with a bench that we stopped at the drink our summit beers. When we were packing for Jasper my mom said, “I have white wine, red wine, beer, and chocolate covered almonds.” I told her she should probably bring some water too. HAHA.
We drank our summit beers, and with our subsequent lowered inhibitions we ran as fast as we could down the mountain. It was exhilarating and super fun… but it also made me want to vomit my summit beer, so there’s that. We made it down three hours after we started, with almost an hour at the top, the hike was close to two hours. We headed to the hot springs for a quick dip before Banff.
After some seriously needed showers we went for dinner at the Jasper Brewhouse for some delicious food (and LOTS of it, ugh, I think I’m still full from that dinner) and post-hike beer. It was a wonderful evening and we did a bit of walking around Jasper before crashing at the hotel close to 9pm. It’s the mountain air… it kills you! We were done!
The next day we grabbed some breakfast before heading to Maligne Canyon. We parked at the Fifth Bridge and then made the short 4km walk to the canyon. If you’re looking to avoid tourists, start further away from the canyon. We opted not to start at the Sixth Bridge due to time restraints (this unfortunate soul had to be at work in the afternoon) and it took us less than an hour to reach the canyon. It’s a pretty easy trail, a bit of up and down but nothing too strenuous.
We spent a bit wandering the canyon, admiring the amazing view at every turn. I really want to return in the winter and do the ice canyon walk. It is a beautiful place, and yes very touristy because it’s easy to access and it’s close to Jasper, but beautiful nonetheless.
We had an amazing weekend of hiking and wandering, but also saw TONS of wildlife. Driving back from the Hot Springs we saw FOUR bears. They were together but got separated due to the traffic and the two cubs climbed the trees while the bigger ones walked along the road. It was really cool but we also felt bad for them! We saw at least 6 elk driving into Jasper and met at least a dozen mountain sheep who seemed quite at home in the Hot Springs parking lot.
All in all it was a fantastic weekend of adventure and just enough time in the mountains to get my fix. It’s amazing how exhausting it is to be in the mountain fresh air for a couple days. After work Saturday night I was so done! The rest of my weekend was spent working so I am so appreciative of the couple days I had to escape!
What did you do this weekend?
Anyone run the Edmonton Marathon? (<- If so, congrats!!)
What type of wildlife do you get most excited to see?