Snowshoeing Maligne Lake ~ Jasper, Alberta

Finally got to snowshoe along Maligne Lake. I don’t  make the journey up to Maligne Lake often but when I do I always wonder why I don’t do it more often. Family Day it seemed to line up just right – good weather, good roads, available time and good company to join me.

Maligne Lake ~ Jasper National Park

During the summer months dogs are not allowed on the sub alpine or alpine trails that surround Maligne Lake due to caribou habitat so its not an area that is on my mind much, but in winter and the lake is frozen dogs are allowed on the lake. With this new found information Stop Nothing But TIme (make sure you check out her write up as well) and I load into the truck with my two crazy  Labs, day packs and our beloved snowshoes – watch for a future post about snowshoeing with dogs.

Maligne Lake ~ Jasper National Park

Upon arrival to the lake there are two different parking lots. The first parking lot is located on the east side of the lake and is the main parking lot with easy access to the lake tours in the summer. We chose to park in the second parking lot on the west side of the lake where you will find access to to popular trails boat launch and an outhouse for your use.

All geared up we hit the lake with no set destination in mind. At around 2.5kms I am in need of a rest. Clearly I am out of shape. Even though the lake has a dense snow pack it is still tough going. We have a snack and a drink, then continue on. At 4.0kms you come across a giant rock which I hear is just amazing in the summer as it protrudes out of the crystal clear water but in the winter it makes a great sun reflector and wind barrier.

Maligne Lake ~ Jasper National Park

If you have never been up to Maligne Lake I can not suggest it enough. Weather you come up and take a boat ride in the summer or enjoy the frozen lake for a snowshoe, ski or even a fat-bike ride this area will not disappoint.

How to get there…

From Jasper

1.8 Kms turn Right onto Maligne Lake Road/Jasper Park Lodge, once over the bridge you will get to Y in the road stay left

44kms to get to Maligne Lake

Drive time : 1 hr drive

From Hinton

Follow Hwy 16 for 74kms

Turn right onto Maligne Lake Road/Jasper Park Lodge, once over the bridge you will get to Y in the road stay left

44kms to get to Maligne Lake

Drive time : 2 hours

You may want to factor in some extra time as the drive up the valley is beautiful and you may find yourself stopping for photos along the way

What you should know before you go…

Pets are allowed on the Lake and a couple of the small trails beside the lake. Make sure you review the maps carefully, speak with tourist information before you decide to venture off the lake with your pet.

There are 4 different trails to choose from in the winter months ranging in difficulty and length. Parks Canada has a great website with all the trail information.

Hiking Maligne Lake in Winter

ALWAYS check your weather report, trail conditions and current closures before heading out. The weather can change quickly in the mountains and you need to be prepared.

Caribou Winter Habitat closures Maligne Lake is effeceted by the annual winter caribou closures.

NO cell reception

Maligne Lake Winter Trail Map

 

Facts about Maligne Lake

  • Length – 22.3 km
  • Minimum – maximum width – 100m to 2km
  • Maximum depth – 96m
  • Total volume of water – 792 200 000m3
  • Average water temperature – 4°C / 39°F

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Maligne Lake ~ Jasper National Park



Maligne Canyon Ice Walk ~ Jasper, Alberta

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Back in January Sarah over at Stop Nothing but Time got up at the crack of dawn, loaded ourselves and our gear into the truck and headed to Jasper to stand on a frozen Lake Beauvert for sunrise.

Maligne Canyon Ice Walk ~ Jasper, Alberta

After some breakfast the decision was made to go hike Maligne Canyon. I have hiked this trail many times in the summer months and 2015 was my first winter Ice Walk.  Heading back into the frozen wonder of the canyon was something I was excited for.

How to get there…

From Jasper we take the Maligne Lake Road to the fifth bridge parking lot. This hike is enjoyed by many with multiple guided tours happening daily.

Maligne Canyon Ice Walk ~ Jasper, Alberta

Photo Credit Stop Nothing But Time

Gear is loaded up and Ice Trekkers are put on our feet to assist with traction (we are about to walk along a frozen river) and the truck key is safely stored away in a pack pocket.

What to Expect

As you cross the parking lot towards the river you will see a bridge that will take you across the river and signage with lots of information

Maligne Canyon ~ Jasper Alberta

Trailhead Signage

Maligne Canyon ~ Jasper Alberta

Fifth Bridge

With this only being my second time out on the ice walk I was surprised just how different it was from the visit in 2015.  As you approach the bridge that will take you across the river it is hard to believe that this river is completely frozen over just a few hundred yards up the way.

Maligne Canyon ~ Jasper Alberta

Once you cross the river and turn right along the trail you have two options to take you to the frozen section of the trail. We decided to take the path that takes you along the edge of the river before taking you back up to the trail for a short bit before heading back down to the river but this time it was frozen.

It is at this spot that I stopped took a few photos and started my hike along the frozen river

Maligne Canyon ~ Jasper Alberta

Waterfall at the point where you start the Ice Walk

Due to popularity of the area the path is well packed and visible

Maligne Canyon ~Jasper Alberta

Path along the river.

Maligne Canyon ~ Jasper Alberta

Always an opportunity to take a picture for others

 

The hike is not very long but has always taken me a good two to three hours to make my way up and then back.

Maligne Canyon ~Jasper Alberta

Maligne Canyon ~Jasper Alberta

Maligne Canyon ~Jasper Alberta

Maligne Canyon ~Jasper Alberta

 

Gear Needed

Winter boots
Ice Grippers
Appropriate clothing for weather
Hiking poles if you have them
Water
Camera

If you are ever in the Jasper National Park during winter I can not recommend this hike enough

Maligne Canyon Ice Walk ~ Jasper, Alberta

Maligne Canyon Ice Walk ~ Jasper, Alberta

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Whirlpool Camp ~ Jasper, Alberta

This was the first time I took Mya along with me and for those of you who do not already know who Mya is she is my chocolate lab aka. Crazy Brown Dog She has gone car camping with me multiple times but never back country and she was defiantly up for the challenge

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One happy pup about to hit the trail

With Whirlpool campground being at the  6.5kms mark along the Athabasca Pass Trail it was the perfect opportunity to take Mya and a few ridiculous luxury items as well.

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Yes that is a frying pan and eggs

The trail follows an old fire road so its easy to follow. Near the beginning of the trail you pass by Moab Lake which is fishable.

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This campground is very primitive.  No luxury of the green throne here … You guessed it only a hole in the ground and a log for you to perch on. For some this might be a deal breaker but I have to say it was not all that bad.

This was the first time I got to use my Mountain Hardwear Optic Vue 3.5 and I have to say I love it. It was a little big for just Mya and I but would be perfect for two people and a four legged companion or three people.

Our weather was wet and windy but it kept the mosquitoes away that we found during our day hike a little further up the trail.

We came across a couple of these torn up trees that had been stripped by a porcupine. Something I had never seen before. I found it fascinating.

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Mya was unsure on how she was to react to the bird that was chasing us down the trail.

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Parts of the trail past Whirlpool where very wet, it looked like a creek had rerouted itself to follow the trail. There is also a log crossing that for myself was more difficult than I had expected. The log was wet and it crossed over a raging creek. Stop over to  Stop Nothing But Time to see her post about our trip for a couple of images from this spot.

Our steak and egg supper was by far the best back country food I have yet

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Berg Lake Trail ~ Mount Robson Provincial Park

Last year my friend Sarah over at Stop Nothing but Time
convinced me to hike the Berg Lake Trail with her, her son and Nephew.

I sure am glad I did!

Hiking the Berg Lake Trail ~ Mount Robson Provincial Park ~ Beautiful British Columbia

Mount Robson

This was one of those hikes that when you see the pictures it instantly gets added to the bucket list. So when opportunity struck the planning began.

You MUST reserve your spot well in advance

With this years hike already booked and in the planning stages it is already very evident that things this year will be different beginning with length of time on the trail and the biggest difference for me is that my daughter will be joining me
The plan
To hike to Whitehorn Campground and then up to Emperor Falls campground where we will spend two nights and use it as a base camp for a day hike into Berg Lake
The idea of breaking up the hike in is one I am thankful for this time around. Having my daughter with me I need to remember not to push too hard or she will not have fun. Her having fun and enjoying this trip is the most important part.
 
Trail Head to Kinney Lake Campground; 7kms; Easy
The beginning of the trail from the trail head to the the first camp at Kinney Lake will take you thru an old growth Cedar/Hemlock forest along an easy trail. This portion of the trail is used for Day use hikes where bikes and Dogs are allowed. Both of these are not permitted past Kinney Lake.

Hiking the Berg Lake Trail ~ Mount Robson Provincial Park ~ Beautiful British Columbia

A short dip of the hands to cool down

Hiking the Berg Lake Trail ~ Mount Robson Provincial Park ~ Beautiful British Columbia

Taking a moment to soak the feet

Hiking the Berg Lake Trail ~ Mount Robson Provincial Park ~ Beautiful British Columbia

Sarah explaining where we were headed

Kinney Lake Camp to Whitehorn Camp; 4km; moderate

The trail that continues on from Kinney Lake narrows and becomes a little more technical than the first section. There is a bike Rack at this point for those who chose to bike the first 7kms in. It is here that you can take one of two trails. One will take you along the flood plain but is not always passable so make sure you check at the visitor center before you hit the trail if this is an option or not. If it is not then you take the higher ground where you will hike across boulder fields and across landslide areas.

Hiking the Berg Lake Trail ~ Mount Robson Provincial Park ~ Beautiful British Columbia

A sign along the way reminding us to be careful

Hiking the Berg Lake Trail ~ Mount Robson Provincial Park ~ Beautiful British Columbia

The suspension bridge into Whitehorn Camp

 

Hiking the Berg Lake Trail ~ Mount Robson Provincial Park ~ Beautiful British Columbia

Shelter at Whitehorn Camp

 

Hiking the Berg Lake Trail ~ Mount Robson Provincial Park ~ Beautiful British Columbia
Whitehorn Camp to Emperor Falls Camp; 5km; Moderate to Difficult
I won’t lie this portion of the trail is my least favorite. From Whitehorn Camp to the start of the Switchback up the mountain is a nice leisurely stroll along the river where you start the trek up the hill thru the Valley of a Thousand Falls. I recommend you take your time and go at your own pace up and make sure to take in the different view opportunities. Near the top is where you will get to the short side trail that will take you into the powerful Emperor Falls. This section of Trail is very wet and slippery due to the moisture being thrown off of the falls. Take your time and it is all worth it.
*Make sure to fill up with water as Whitehorn is the last available water source before going up the Hill.

The Emperor Falls Campground is 500m past the trail to the Falls.

Hiking the Berg Lake Trail ~ Mount Robson Provincial Park ~ Beautiful British Columbia
Do not forget to fill up your water

 

Hiking the Berg Lake Trail ~ Mount Robson Provincial Park ~ Beautiful British Columbia
Looking down towards Whitehorn Camp

 

Hiking the Berg Lake Trail ~ Mount Robson Provincial Park ~ Beautiful British Columbia
First glimpse of Emperor Falls

 

Hiking the Berg Lake Trail ~ Mount Robson Provincial Park ~ Beautiful British Columbia
Emperor Falls Roaring below Mount Robson

 

Hiking the Berg Lake Trail ~ Mount Robson Provincial Park ~ Beautiful British Columbia

 

Hiking the Berg Lake Trail ~ Mount Robson Provincial Park ~ Beautiful British Columbia
Time for a nap

 

Hiking the Berg Lake Trail ~ Mount Robson Provincial Park ~ Beautiful British Columbia
The mist from the Falls feels amazing
Emperor Falls to Marmot Camp; kms; Easy to Moderate

When leaving Emperor Falls camp and heading towards Berg Lake you will pass thru Marmot Camp which is located at the south end of the lake. To get there you hike thru the valley and along the flats. This is one of my favorite sections of the trail. It was wide open and the views were breathtaking

Hiking the Berg Lake Trail ~ Mount Robson Provincial Park ~ Beautiful British Columbia
I loved the trail between Emperor and Marmot

 

Hiking the Berg Lake Trail ~ Mount Robson Provincial Park ~ Beautiful British Columbia
The flats between Emperor camp and Marmot

 

Hiking the Berg Lake Trail ~ Mount Robson Provincial Park ~ Beautiful British Columbia
Stopping for water

 

Hiking the Berg Lake Trail ~ Mount Robson Provincial Park ~ Beautiful British Columbia
 
Marmot Camp to Berg Lake Camp; kms; Moderate

 

From Marmot to Berg Lake the trail will take you thru the trees along the Lake to get to the other side.  There are numerous look outs along the way to stop and it all in. Once to the other side of the Lake you have arrived at Berg Lake Campground. From here there are many other Options for day hikes as well as two other Campgrounds.
Hiking the Berg Lake Trail ~ Mount Robson Provincial Park ~ Beautiful British Columbia
The first view of Berg Lake from Marmot Camp

Berg Lake

If you hike to and stay at Berg Lake you will have many options for day hikes. There are also two more camps past there. Many people hike all the way to Berg Lake and use it as a base for the many hikes from there. Berg Lake Camp has a shelter and outhouses
Hiking the Berg Lake Trail ~ Mount Robson Provincial Park ~ Beautiful British Columbia
Other Options:
Last year I did part of the Tobaggan Falls. This year I plan on doing all of it. As the years pass I would like to explore all of these other options
Hiking the Berg Lake Trail ~ Mount Robson Provincial Park ~ Beautiful British Columbia
My view from the Tobaggan Falls Trail
Info taken from BC Parks for the other options listed below
Hargreaves Lake Route (1/2 day): From Marmot campsite near Berg Lake, this route climbs to Hargreaves Lake and Glacier. From the viewpoint, the trail continues and crosses the Toboggan Falls Route on course to the Mumm Basin.
 
Toboggan Falls Route (2 hours, return): From the trailhead at the Toboggan Creek bridge near Berg Lake campsite, the trail climbs to Toboggan Falls and the surrounding alpine basin. This route intersects the Hargreaves Lake and Mumm Basin routes. Continue up beyond this junction for an extra 45 minutes and you will reach a small cave.
 
Mumm Basin Route (1/2 day): A steep alpine trail leads to views of the alpine lakes, mountains and glaciers. The trail can start or end in Robson Pass or Berg Lake campsites.
 
Snowbird Pass Route (1 day): Snowbird Pass is closed May and June due to caribou calving. A challenging route marked by rock cairns (caution required), it provides spectacular views of the back of Mount Robson. From berg Lake campsite the trip is 22 km, return. Start north of Rearguard campsite, follow Robson River then travel up to Robson Glacier’s moraine. Hike up to an alpine meadow, beyond which is Snowbird Pass.

 

Moose River Route (7 days): This route should be attempted only by well-equipped, experienced hikers as river crossings and route finding are required. This 105 km route can be accessed via Berg Lake, through Robson Pass onto Adolphus Lake continuing on the Jasper National Park trail system. The route takes you over Moose Pass back into Mount Robson Park and down the Moose River to Hwy 16 near its confluence with the Fraser River. For day hikers, trips along this trail offer view of Adolphus Lake (7 km return, to Berg Lake) or Coleman Valley (26 km, return, to Berg Lake).
Hiking the Berg Lake Trail ~ Mount Robson Provincial Park ~ Beautiful British Columbia
A winter View
I strongly recommend you head over to Stop Nothing but Time and give it a read for a more detailed account of gear and preparations
If you ever get the chance to experience what this area has to offer take it
Fun fact
Mount Robson Provincial Park, is included within the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks as a UNESCO world heritage site
 Hiking the Berg Lake Trail ~ Mount Robson Provincial Park ~ Beautiful British Columbia            Hiking the Berg Lake Trail ~ Mount Robson Provincial Park ~ Beautiful British Columbia

 



Trial & Error = Lessons Learned

With training for next years summer Hiking season already well underway, today was a day full of lessons learned.

I pack up my bag, load up the pups into the truck and pick up my friend Sarah Burns over at Stop Nothing But Time for our first hike into the WillmoreI have been up here before hiking into Jasper National Park instead. 

Its not long into our hike before I start to realize this will not only be an absolutely beauty of a day but I will learn a lot.

 

Wild Hay River
 
Lesson 1: Always remember your trekking poles
This is the one item that I have been on the fence about for some time now. I currently own a cheaper set of poles that I have used periodically along the hikes closer to home. With today being the first real hike of the winter season with approx. 4″ of snow on the ground and a couple of nice inclines and declines carrying a pack at 18lbs (remember I mentioned in training) poles would have been a great tool to have along.
 
Lesson 2: Remember a ball for crazy brown dog
Seems a bit strange.. I know to say having a ball would be a lesson learned. For those of you who know me already will understand this statement. For those of you who do not,  you soon will. Mya affectionately known as Crazy Brown Dog is my 2.5 year old Chocolate Lab. Like most Labs out there she is full of Spunk and even after a good long hike will want to play fetch when we stop. A good ball (Kong Extreme Ball is one of our favorites) is the best way to keep her occupied while I prepare lunch. Whether it is for fetch or to just have a good chew session with. 
 

 

 
Lesson 3: When reheating Mocha pay attention
Do I really need to explain this one!
I boiled it over and made a huge mess 
 
Lesson 4: Bring blanket for The Old Boy 
This one is another dog related lesson. Sam my black Lab is officially a Senior. At the age of 11 years young he refuses to stay home. Granted he wont be tagging along on heavy hiking days but can easily still handle 10 kms a day. He does deserve a nice blanket to call his own and to help keep him comfortable. Even if he is camera shy and refuses to give me any pictures! 
 
Will I always take my dogs?
 YOU BET….Having them with me even if it means I have to carry a little extra is well worth it. Their company and antics are something that I do not ever want to be without.
 
I am sure that there will be more lessons to be learned and I will happily learn them as long as it means getting outdoors and enjoying my time away to rejuvenate my soul.