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Skyline Trail (44km) (9/1/2017)

PRE-REGISTRATION & PAYMENT REQUIRED: Once you've reviewed the event details, and decided you'd like to join us, you MUST sign up at the bottom of this page. You will then make your payment for this event at the venue, NOT in advance to the EOC.

You are STRONGLY encouraged to read this page in its entirety before signing up. If you'd like to attend, we ask that you abide by our rules and procedures as a time/cost saving process (with an end result of keeping membership free and lower cost events).

The Basics:
Event Type:Hike
Event Location: Jasper National Park
Date(s) & Time:Fri, Sep 1 2017, Sat, Sep 2 2017, Sun, Sep 3 2017, Mon, Sep 4 2017  10:00 AM  (Carpool Departure: 5:00 AM   *log in for location*)
Registration Cut Off: Sun, Aug 20 2017 1:00:00 PM
Event Duration:4 days, 3 nights
Difficulty Rating:D6: Advanced
Event Coordinator(s): Beata
You must be logged in to get the Event Coordinator contact information.
Member Cost:$35.00/Person (See Detailed Cost Info Below)

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 18 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:6
Minimum Group Size:3
Number Registered So Far: 5 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: No

NOTE: Prior backpacking experience is a requirement for participating in this trip - the Skyline Trail is not appropriate for beginners. We are aware that there has been significant interest in this event, and although we are taking into consideration all requests to participate in this trip, it is highly unlikely that we will be able to accommodate members who neither Beata or Ryan are personally familiar with.

For this Labour Day weekend, we will be backpacking the Skyline Trail in Jasper National Park. Almost 25 km of the trail is above the treeline, which makes the Skyline Trail Jasper’s highest trail. That most of the trail is above 2000 m of elevation also means that there is a significant chance that we may be dealing with adverse conditions, even in September. Snow can fall on the trail at any time of the year – because of this, the trail is generally only hiked from July 15 to October 1. This is a trip for very strong and resilient hikers, as we should expect to encounter freezing temperatures at night.

The typical approach for the Skyline Trail is to hike from the Maligne Lake trailhead to the Maligne Canyon trailhead. However, due to campsite availability constraints, we will instead be hiking the trail in the reverse direction. Because of the 500 m difference in elevation between Maligne Canyon and Maligne Lake, this will mean more net elevation gain during our trip. The trip will include a two night stay on a side-branch away from the Skyline Trail within the Watchtower Basin at the Watchtower campsite, and there will be one day dedicated to day hiking excursions through the core of the Skyline Trail.

We have booked 3 tent pads per night at each campsite, and anticipate that we will be able to have a group of 5-6 people. If you are interested, please add your name to the waiting list, and please email Beata or Ryan to discuss your previous backpacking experience.

Friday September 1: Before beginning our trek, we will need to set up a car shuttle: at least one vehicle parked at Maligne Lake Trailhead (exit point), and one parked at Signal Trailhead (starting point). Our hike from Signal Trailhead to Signal Campground will almost certainly be the least enjoyable part of the trip: a tedious 8.4 km slog up a fire road through the forest, with 840 m of elevation gain. Signal Campground (elevation 2014 m) is 600 m away from the Signal Lookout (an abandoned fire lookout), from which we will be able to get views down to the Athabasca Valley and the Jasper townsite.

Saturday September 2: We will be hiking along the highest points of the Skyline Trail as we work our way towards Watchtower Campsite. The first 5.3 km of the trail countours around the northern slopes of Mt Tekarra as we approach Tekarra Lake and Tekarra Campsite (2060 m elevation). We will continue hiking through the valley past Tekarra Campsite, and then begin a switchbacking ascent to the summit ridge of Amber Mountain. 8.3 km past Tekarra Campsite we will reach the Notch (elevation 2510 m) – the highest point of the trail. As we approach the Notch and hike along the ridgeline, we will have an incredible view of the Athabasca Valley and Mount Edith Cavell (fingers crossed that the weather is clear!). We will then descend a scree slope below The Notch. Just before we would reach Big Shovel Pass (elevation 2320 m) we will follow a trail junction which will lead up to Watchtower Col (elevation 2375 m), before descending down to Watchtower Campground (elevation 2015 m). In total, we will hike 21.5 km, with approximately 550 m of elevation gain and 500 m of elevation loss during the day.

Sunday September 3: As we will be having an extended stay at Watchtower Campsite, this will be a day dedicated to day hikes. A short option is a 2 km (return) side trip to a small lake beneath The Watchtower. Or, an ascent back up the headwall (which we descended the night before) will take us back to the Skyline Trail. We may descend on another side branch from the Skyline Trail down to Curator Lake, or may consider ascending back up The Notch.

Monday September 4: After ascending the headwall between Watchtower Campsite and the trail (300 m elevation gain in 4 km) to its intersection with the Skyline Trail near Big Shovel Pass (elevation 2320 m), we will then descend to the lush alpine meadows in The Snowbowl. After passing Snowbowl Campsite (elevation 2094 m), we will climb up to Little Shovel Pass (elevation 2240 m). A switchbacking descent will take us past Evelyn Creek Campsite (elevation 1824 m), Mona and Lorraine Lakes to Maligne Lake (elevation 1690 m). In total, we will hike 21 km on this final day of the trip, with 450 m of ascent and 776 m of descent.

Total Distance: 51.4 km over 3 days of backpacking, approximately 1840 m of elevation ascent and 1276 m of descent, plus a day of day-hiking.

Note: After hiking 21 km on Day 4, we will also need to organize the return portion of a car shuttle. Given that it takes an hour to drive between the two trailheads, for a group of six people it would be necessary to have three vehicles in order that everyone can be shuttled back to Signal Trailhead (Maligne Canyon) together. If the logistics do not allow for a car shuttle to be easily facilitated, a fallback option would be to hike directly on Monday from Watchtower Campsite to the Watchtower trailhead (9.4 km, 635 m descent). Not only would this decrease the distance hiked on the last day, but the Watchtower and Signal trailheads are only 20 minutes drive, rather than a 1 hour drive, apart. Our preference, however, is to do the hike to Maligne Lake, given that it will be a far more scenic and rewarding hike.

Required Items to Bring:
Water, food
70 L Backpack and gear
Warm clothing in case of inclement weather
Recommended Items to Bring:
Use our Event Checklists to make sure you have everything you need.
Hiking poles
Bear repellent
Mosquito repellent (some portions of the trail may have a lot of mosquitoes)
Water purifier
Backpacking stove
First aid supplies
Ear plugs

How to Get There:
Event Directions:Our hike will begin at the Signal Trailhead (along Maligne Lake Road, 800 m west of the Maligne Canyon teahouse) and will end at the Maligne Lake Picnic Area
Carpool to Event Distance (round trip):800Km
Carpool Departure Time: 5:00 AM
Carpool Location:   Log in for location
Carpool Directions:   Log in for directions
Carpool Cost: The event coordinator(s) will help you to arrange a centralized carpool if you require it, but it's not guaranteed. Please DO NOT pay your driver en route. Passengers will pay the coordinator, and he/she will distribute the money to the carpool drivers. SO PLEASE BRING CASH!!! Approximate vehicle expense for this event is $184.00 (calculated at total Km * $0.23, effective Thursday, June 21, 2018). This is based on $0.09/Km for maintenance, plus current gas price divided by 9. This cost will be multiplied by the number of carpooled cars, and divided by the number of carpool participants.


- We encourage all members to follow our Etiquette Guidelines at all times while participating in EOC events.
- Please scroll through and read the entire online waiver when you sign up.
- Details of this event are subject to undergo a change at any point in time, with or without warning.

Cost & Payment:
Member Cost:$35.00/Person
Cost Includes:Backcountry fee for 3 nights (at $9.80/night) plus share of reservation fee ($1.80/night/person, assuming 6 people participating)
Make a Payment:Although there is a cost for this event, you do not pay through the EOC. Please review the event details carefully for information about how/where to make your payment.

Cancellation/Partial Attendance:
Please review our Cancellation Policy carefully!