Brazeau

Semi-primitive

The "grand tour" of the southern ranges, this circuit includes one of the park's largest backcountry lakes, two passes and an extraordinary alpine traverse with glaciated peaks, lush wildflowers and a variety of wildlife.


Fires permitted except at Jonas Cutoff Campground


No bikes permitted


No horses permitted on Jonas Pass Trail


Dogs not permitted on the Jonas Creek and Poboktan Creek trails: this includes the Poboktan Creek trail, from Sunwapta Station up to but not including Brazeau Lake Campground, and the Jonas Creek Trail, from the junction with the Poboktan Creek Trail, up to but not including the Four Point Campground.


Click to view a larger map

The Brazeau Map

Option one: Brazeau Loop

  • 81 km loop, 4-5 day hike
  • Elevation gain/loss: 1878 m
  • Maximum elevation: 2470 m
The Brazeau © C. Roy
The details

Starting at the Nigel Pass trailhead in northern Banff National Park, the trail follows Nigel Creek, gradually climbing to Nigel Pass and the boundary with Jasper National Park (7 km). Along the way, the trail passes historic Camp Parker, marked by historic tree carvings. Please leave natural and cultural objects and sites as you find them. After the pass, ford the upper reaches of the Brazeau River, and turn left towards Boulder Creek campground. The unmaintained trail to the right leads to the White Goat Wilderness Area.

Past Boulder Creek you arrive at Four Point and the Jonas Shoulder junction. Turn left to head up to Jonas Shoulder or go straight to continue to Brazeau Lake. Both are very rewarding but make for quite long days. Heading to the lake first is more popular because there is less elevation gain. Both Jonas Cutoff and Brazeau Lake Campgrounds are good base camps for day trips. If you want to spend an extra day somewhere, either of these sites would be a good choice.

What you need to know

The Brazeau Loop is a demanding, high elevation trail that crosses three mountain passes. Sudden weather changes can occur.You can hike the entire Brazeau Loop in five days. If you choose to go clockwise you will gain more elevation up the Jonas Shoulder, so most people will hike counter-clockwise. The typical trip would be to spend the first night at Four Point (13.9 km), then to Brazeau Lake Camp (18.1 km), over Poboktan Pass to the Jonas Cutoff (16.2 km), and then over Jonas Shoulder back to Four Point (18.9 km). On the last day, return to the Nigel Pass trailhead (13.9 km).

Elevation profile

Elevation Profile 

Campground information
Campground              Description

# of sites

Fire pit

UTM

Boulder Creek   
Elevation: 2036 m

This campground has pretty views and is located close to the Brazeau River.

   4

yes

11U 492962-5790100

Four Point
Elevation: 1935 m

A forested campground close to the Brazeau River with nice views. The junction for Jonas Shoulder is just after this campground. From here you will either head up the steep approach to Jonas Shoulder or continue along the river to Brazeau Lake.

   8

  yes

494770-5792240

Jonas Cutoff
Elevation: 2094 m

This campground sits next to a creek and offers beautiful views. Note this high-elevation campground is somewhat exposed; it does not provide much shelter in inclement weather.

   8

 No campfires 

11U 485891-5805050

John-John Creek
Elevation: 2012 m

This campground is located right next to John-John Creek and has beautiful views of the surrounding mountains.

   4

  yes

11U 491965-5803508

Brazeau Lake
Elevation: 1816 m

A beautiful campground on the shore of Brazeau Lake, 900 m from the main trail.

   8

  yes

11U 497590- 5805604

Brazeau River
Elevation: 1737 m

A forested campground close to the Brazeau River.

   4

  yes

11U 499608-5804813

Maps, GPS data and elevations are provided for reference purposes only. Maps are not meant for navigation. Parks Canada Agency (PCA) makes no guarantees, representations or warranties respecting these data, either expressed or implied. PCA assumes no responsibility for damages or other liabilities due to the accuracy, availability, use or misuse of the information herein provided.

Trail distances (in km)

Nigel Trailhead

Boulder Creek        

10.7

Boulder Creek

Four Point

13.8

3.1

Four Point

Brazeau River

29.3

18.6

15.5

Brazeau River

 


Brazeau Lake

32.3

21.6

18.5

3.0

Brazeau Lake

John-John

39.4

28.7

25.6

10.1

8.9


John-John


Jonas Cutoff  

46.9

36.2

33.1

17.6

16.4

7.5

Jonas Cutoff

 


Nigel Trailhead

80.0

68.9

65.8

50.3

49.1

40.2

32.7

Nigel Trailhead


Special considerations

There is a new reroute between Four Point and Brazeau River campgrounds along the west side of the river. Permanent signage was installed in late summer 2014. Do not cross the bridge over the river to the east side. That trail and Wolverine campground are for horse use only. Cline Creek camp has been decommissioned.

Option two: Nigel to Poboktan Creek

The Brazeau © N. Gaboury

This is an impressive hike with over 13 km of travel above treeline. Good views and prime habitat for park wildlife.

  • 54 km one way, 2-3 day hike
  • Elevation gain: 1346 m, elevation loss: 1691 m
  • Maximum elevation: 2470 m
    The details

    Hike from Nigel Pass to Four Point Campground (13.9 km). The next day is a strenuous day over Jonas Shoulder to Jonas Cutoff Camp (18.9 km). The third day, continue north along Poboktan Creek to Waterfalls Camp (9.3 km). This section of trail is also used by horses; you can expect some boggy terrain and a few muddy sections. Continue to hike out along Poboktan Creek to the Sunwapta Station on the Icefields Parkway (12 km).

    Elevation profile

    Elevation profile

    Campground information

     

    Campground              

     

     

    Description

     

     

    # of sites

     

     

    Fire pit

     

     

    UTM

     

     

    Waterfalls           
    (Elevation: 1916 m)  

     

     

    This campground is situated on a bench above a beautiful waterfall, with wonderful mountain views.

     

    4

     

    yes

     

     

    476187-5813156

     

     

    Poboktan
    (Elevation: 1773 m)

     

     

    A forested campsite next to Poboktan Creek.

     

    4
    yes

     

    479517-5810723

     

    Directions to trailhead for both options

    From Jasper
    116 km south on Highway 93 (the Icefields Parkway). Turn left at the Nigel Creek parking lot. The parking lot is 13 km south of the Icefields Centre.

    From Lake Louise
    Take Highway 93 (the Icefields Parkway) towards Jasper for 114 km. Turn right into the Nigel Creek parking lot. The parking lot is 2 km past the Big Bend, a large, steep climb out of the river valley.

    Side trips for both options

    More experienced hikers may use the Nigel Pass Trail as a starting point to explore the White Goat Wilderness Area. There is an unmarked, unmaintained route through Cataract Pass, which will take you into this wilderness area. Although permits are not required to camp in the White Goat Wilderness Area, some hikers will choose to camp at Boulder Creek (permit required) before heading into the White Goat. Since the White Goat is an unmaintained area, good topographical maps, good route finding skills, and the ability to navigate water crossings are a must when travelling here.

    Safety in the backcountry

    Safety in the backcountry

    You are responsible for your own safety. Be prepared for extreme weather and mountainous terrain. Cell phone coverage is unavailable in most areas.

    Trail report
    Before leaving, check the Jasper National Park trail report for up-to-date conditions at www.pc.gc.ca/jaspertrails

    Trail office
    Trail Information, 780-852-6177

    General information
    Jasper Information Centre, 780-852-6176
    EMERGENCY: call 780-852-3100
    877-852-3100

    Carry a topo map
    NTS Columbia Icefield 83C/3, Sunwapta Peak 83C/6 National Geographic Jasper South.

    Leave no Trace

    Food storage
    To reduce your campsite’s attractiveness to bears, all food, garbage, toiletries and cooking equipment must be hung from the food storage cables provided at designated campsites. In wildland camping areas, bear-resistant containers are strongly recommended to store food. All campgrounds are equipped with a bear pole for food storage. There are picnic tables present.

    Human waste
    There are barrel toilets at all campgrounds. When there are no facilities nearby, select a spot away from trails, campsites and at least 70 m from water sources. Dig a hole 12 to 16 cm into the dark-coloured, biologically active soil layer. Loosely fill the hole with soil afterward. Use as little toilet paper as possible.