Asulkan Valley Trail
Asulkan Valley trail / © Parks Canada - Sue Lamont
Length - 6.9 km (one way)
Hiking time - 3-4 hours, uphill
Elevation range - 1245 - 2114 m (869m)
Trailhead - Illecillewaet Campground
Map coordinates - 117°29'31"W 51°15'49"N
*Please Note: Seasonal bridges will be removed for winter beginning October 1st. Access to the Asulkan Cabin will require a creek crossing after this time.
Writing of this valley in 1905, cartographer and explorer Arthur O. Wheeler described the Asulkan as "a gem of mountain scenery. The valley feels enchanted. There is magic in the atmosphere." Glacier views, mountain scenery, waterfalls and a pleasant valley walk through forests and across avalanche paths combine to make the Asulkan an excellent introduction to this part of the Columbia Mountains. The name "Asulkan" was first used by William Spotswood Green, who climbed in the area in 1888. It reportedly means "wild goat" in the dialect of one of the First Nations of the region, and recognizes the abundance of mountain goats he saw at the end of this valley in Asulkan Pass.
The first half of the trail is relatively easy going, with great variation in vegetation. Watch for hoary marmots sunning themselves in open rockpiles. The mountain walls across the brook form an impressive backdrop accentuated by a number of waterfalls. Dippers (water ouzels) hunt in the stream and you may hear a pika's warning eek! in the talus slopes.
After 4 km the trail begins to climb steeply, ending with a stiff hike up the very steep crest of a glacial moraine. At trail's end, the lower tongue of the Illecillewaet Glacier lies below you. At the end of the trail is the Asulkan Cabin, available to public use upon reservation with the Alpine Club of Canada. Persons wishing to proceed to Asulkan Pass should be equipped with mountaineering gear and be knowledgeable in its use.
Trail Conditions Report
Download the Hiking in Glacier National Park brochure (PDF, 4 MB)
Back to day hikes
©Parks Canada - Laurie Booker
Note: To read the PDF version you need Adobe Acrobat Reader on your system.
If the Adobe download site is not accessible to you, you can download Acrobat Reader from an accessible page.
If you choose not to use Acrobat Reader you can have the PDF file converted to HTML or ASCII text by using one of the conversion services offered by Adobe.