Skyline

Semi-Primitive 

Download a printable PDF version (3.1 MB)

An exceptionally beautiful backpacking route: the highest trail in Jasper National Park.


No campfires
No fires permitted.
No bicycles No bikes permitted between Maligne Lake and Signal fire road.
No dogs Caribou range.
Dogs are not allowed.

Click to view the map

Skyline map

The Skyline © R. Bray

The Details

With almost 25 km of this trail hiked above treeline, the Skyline is Jasper’s highest and possibly most scenic trail. The high elevation allows for amazing views that extend over much of the park, encompassing vast meadows, windswept ridges and the chance to spot wildlife in the distance. Crossing three mountain passes, the Skyline trail offers a variety of flora, fauna and scenery unique to Jasper National Park. Be prepared for all weather conditions, and always check current conditions before setting off. Snow can fall any time of the year, and the section of trail called “the Notch” can be impassable early in the season.

What you need to know

The Skyline trail is Jasper’s most popular backcountry hiking trail, so we recommend booking in advance. This trail can only be hiked in the summer months, typically between July 15 and October 1.

Special considerations

The Skyline trail has two trails which can be used as escape routes during poor weather. The Wabasso trail is a long, rough 15-km trail with a steep descent of 1100 m, which ends on the Icefields Parkway, 14 km south of Jasper. The Watchtower trail is a 13.2-km trail which descends 985 m to the Maligne Lake Road. This trail is typically quite muddy throughout the season. and in high water for the Maligne river can be an issue.
Be prepared for all weather conditions when hiking the Skyline trail, as sudden weather changes can occur.

The Skyline © C. Roy

Suggested itineraries

The recommended direction to hike the Skyline is from south (Maligne Lake) to north. Most hikers walk the Skyline trail in 2-3 days, although one can spend an extra day to explore the alpine areas along the way. Hikers need to consider weather conditions and high altitudes when planning their length of stay.

  • 44.1 km, 2-3 day hike
  • Elevation from Maligne Lake: 1410 m gain, 1928 m loss
  • Maximum elevation: 2510 m

Option one: 2 days
Start at Maligne Lake and hike 20 km to Curator campground. The following day, hike the 24 km out to the north trailhead on Maligne Lake Road.

Option two: 3 days
Start at Maligne Lake and hike 12 km to Snowbowl campground. The following day hike 18 km to Tekarra campground. The third day will be a 14-km hike out.

Trail distances (in km)

Maligne
Lake


Evelyn Creek

4.8


Evelyn

Creek


Little
Shovel

8.3

3.5


Little

Shovel


Snowbowl

12.2

7.4

3.9

Snowbowl


Curator

21.3

16.5

13.0

9.1

Curator


Tekarra

30.9

26.1

22.6

18.7

9.6

Tekarra


Signal

35.6

30.8

27.3

23.5

14.3

4.8

Signal

Signal Trailhead

44.1

39.3

35.8

31.9

22.8

13.2

8.5


Signal
Trailhead

Elevation Profile

Elevation profile

Campground information

Campground

Description

# of sites

Fire pit

UTM

Evelyn Creek (Elevation: 1824 m)

A small, quiet campground by a creek, good for hikers getting a late start in the day.

4

 

No campfires

452481-5843006

Little Shovel
(Elevation: 2233 m)

A campground with beautiful views over Maligne Lake and the Bald Hills, situated below Little Shovel Pass. This campground is great for campers who want to avoid the busier Snowbowl campground.

7

 

No campfires

450097-5843025

Snowbowl
(Elevation: 2094 m)

Popular campground located in a spectacular meadow, sheltered by trees, with easy access to water.

7

 

No campfires

447313-5844782

Curator
(Elevation: 2070 m)

Popular with hikers taking 2 days to hike the Skyline trail. This campground is situated
0.8 km off trail and 1.2 km from spectacular Curator Lake.

7

 

No campfires

442215-5849105

Tekarra
(Elevation: 2062 m)

A beautiful campground with great views, located next to a fast moving creek.

7

 

No campfires

437992-5855673

Signal
(Elevation: 2014 m)

A quiet campground at the top of the Signal fire road. There are great views over Jasper and surroundings from the hills above the campground.

7

 

No campfires

434058-5858562

Directions to trailhead

Maligne Trailhead (south)
Take Highway 16 East towards Edmonton. Two km from Jasper, turn right across the bridge onto Maligne Road. Continue for 46 km south on the Maligne Road to Maligne Lake. Continue on the road past the chalet and across the bridge to the parking lot on the west side of the lake. The trailhead is on the right-hand side of the road, just before you reach the parking lot.

Signal Trailhead (north)
Drive 8 km south on the Maligne Lake Road. Parking area is on the right.


Safety in the Backcountry

Safety in the Backcountry © R. Bray

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 offices
Trail Information, 780-852-6177

General information
Jasper Information Centre, 780-852-6176
www.pc.gc.ca/jasper
EMERGENCY: call 780-852-3100
877-852-3100

Carry a topo map
NTS
Medicine Lake 83C/13
Athabasca Falls 83C/12

Gemtrek
Jasper and Maligne Lake

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.

Garbage
Please—Pack it in and pack it out! You are responsible for everything you take into the backcountry and this includes garbage. Do not dispose of garbage in pit toilets—it may attract animals.

Washing
To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 70 m away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Strain out those last bits of food waste and pack them out. Disperse strained water on land.

Stay on the trails, vegetation is fragile.  © C. Roy
Camping
Please camp only at the campsites indicated on your Backcountry Camping Permit and use the tent pads (where provided).

Campfires
If fires are allowed, use the metal fireboxes provided, keep your fire small and use only deadfall. Tend to your fire at all times and extinguish it completely before you move on. Gas stoves are cleaner and more efficient for cooking. We recommend you use one.

Shortcutting trails
Shortcutting between trail switchbacks damages both the soil and plant life. This not only ruins the look of an area, but makes it susceptible to further damage by erosion.

Collecting natural or cultural objects
Rocks, fossils, horns, antlers, wildflowers, nests and all other natural or historical objects in a national park are protected by law. Leave them as you found them for others to enjoy.

For more information on low impact travel in the backcountry contact: leavenotrace.ca 
1-877-238-9343

Backcountry equipment checklist

Have you got it?

This is a list of suggested equipment for Jasper's backcountry trails.

Mountain weather is unpredictable; be prepared for winter conditions at any time of the year. Snow may persist in high mountain regions into the summer and avalanche danger may occur in any season. This equipment list does not account for the special knowledge and equipment required to travel in avalanche terrain.

Clothing

Shelter

Other essentials

Optional

Long underwear

Wool sweater, down vest, or fleece jacket

Raingear - pants and jacket, gaiters

Hat and gloves /
mittens

Boots with ankle
support and good soles

Sandals or runners for fording streams and at camp

Life jacket

Extra warm clothes in waterproof bag



 

 

 

Tent with waterproof fly

Food should include enough for an extra day

Water filter, purification tablets or extra fuel for boiling your water

Waterproof bag to store food at campgrounds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wilderness pass

Bear spray and the knowledge to use it

Topographic map

Compass

Waterproof matches &/or lighter

Insect repellent

Flashlight and extra batteries

First Aid kit

Signaling device (whistle or mirror)

Toilet paper

Rope - approx. 8m. A throw bag works well

Waterproof bags for all gear

Binoculars

Altimeter

Field guide(s)

GPS

SPOT™ Device or
satellite phone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Backcountry camping permits

A backcountry camping permit is mandatory for all overnight trips and can be obtained online at reservations.pc.gc.ca or by calling 1877-737-3783.

Travelling frequently?

Travellers can purchase an annual backcountry pass, valid in all the mountain national parks for a full year after purchase date. If you have an annual backcountry pass, you also need a free backcountry camping permit for each trip.

Share your Experience

 Share your experience          facebook.com/JasperNP



    Twitter    twitter.com/JasperNP