Tonquin Valley  

Semi-primitive



 No campfires
No fires permitted. 
 
 No bicycles No bikes permitted.
 No dogs  Caribou range.
Dogs are not allowed.

Click to view the map

Tonquin Map

  • 43.7 km, 2-3 days
  • Elevation from Cavell Road to Amethyst Lake: 1053 m, 1293 m loss
  • Elevation from Portal Creek to Amethyst Lake: 1293 m, 1053 m loss
  • Maximum elevation: 2210 m

The details

Tonquin Valley © Parks Canada / R. Gruys

The Tonquin Valley’s scenery is unrivalled. The trail takes you into one of Canada’s premiere alpine regions, a unique combination of barren peaks, ghostly ice and fertile lakes. The valley is popular for its stunning views of Amethyst Lake at the base of the Ramparts Mountain Range. It’s famous for its variety of wildlife, which includes grizzlies, black bears, and mountain caribou. It does also have a reputation for its muddiness and an abundance of mosquitoes, so be prepared for a bit of everything. Maccarib Pass is a definite highlight and the day trips into the Eremite Valley and Moat Lake are
great for those with some extra time.

What you need to know

The Tonquin Valley Trail can be hiked in the summer months and skied in late winter. In the summer months the area tends to be quite muddy and the bugs can be bad. Late summer and fall are the best times to hike the Tonquin Valley. Like all backcountry trails, the Tonquin is frequented by wildlife, so be sure to keep a clean campsite and use the bear poles provided. If travelling in the winter months be sure to check avalanche conditions, pack all avalanche safety gear, and practice no trace camping. Be prepared for all weather conditions.

Special considerations

The Tonquin Valley has two outfitters lodges:

There is also an Alpine Club of Canada Hut (ACC) which is a great base for daytrips, or for mountaineers planning on climbing the Ramparts:

Trail distances (in km)

Trail distances

Elevation profile

Elevation Profile 

Campground information

Campground                    

Description

# of sites

Fire pit

UTM

Astoria
(Elevation: 1690 m)

This forested site sits on a ridge above the Astoria River.

4

 

No campfires

422681-5837524

Switchback
(Elevation: 2067 m)

A somewhat forested campground, which still has great views of the surrounding mountains.

8

 

No campfires

418802-5837175

Clitheroe
(Elevation: 2080 m)

This forested campground offers views of the Ramparts Mountain Range. It can be used as a base camp to explore the Eremite Valley.

8

 

No campfires

416199-5838929

Surprise Point
(Elevation: 1978 m)

This campground close to the base of the Ramparts Mountain Range has stunning views. It is also a great base for day hiking into the Eremite Valley.

4

 

No campfires

415545-5837389

Amethyst
(Elevation: 1985 m)

Located close to Amethyst Lake with spectacular views of the Ramparts Mountain Range, this is the most centrally located and most popular campground in the valley.

8

 

No campfires

414457- 5840086

Maccarib
(Elevation: 2012 m)

This campground is perched nicely at treeline with great views of the valley.

8

 

No campfires

414561-5842975

Portal
(Elevation: 1979 m)

A nice campground in an open forest next to a creek.

4

 

No campfires

421730-5843293

Directions to Portal Creek Trailhead

Tonquin Valley © Parks Canada / R. Bray

Portal Creek on Marmot Road (16 km from Jasper). This trailhead is accessible year-round.

From Jasper
Take the Icefields Parkway towards Banff, and turn right immediately after the park gate, onto Highway 93A. Continue along 93A for 2.4 km, and turn right onto Marmot Road. The trailhead is on your left at km 12 of the road, marked by a hiker sign.

From Banff and Lake Louise
Follow the Icefields Parkway north towards Jasper. Turn left at the junction to highway 93A and Athabasca Falls, 200 km north of Lake Louise. Continue along 93A for 21.5 km, and turn left onto Marmot Road. The trailhead is on your left at km 12 of the road, marked by a hiker sign.

Directions to Astoria Creek Trailhead

Cavell Road (29 km from Jasper): In winter the Cavell Road stays closed until February 15 for caribou conservation. After February 15, the road is trackset for cross-country skiing. The road is typically open to vehicles from
mid-June to October 15.

From Jasper
Take the Icefields Parkway towards Banff, and turn right immediately after the park gate, onto highway 93A. Continue along 93A for 5.2 km, and turn right onto the Edith Cavell Road. The trailhead is across from Hostelling International’s (HI) Edith Cavell Hostel,
at km 12 of the road.

From Banff and Lake Louise
Follow the Icefields Parkway north towards Jasper. Turn left at the junction to Highway 93A and Athabasca Falls, 200 km north of Lake Louise. Continue for 18.8 km, and turn left onto the Edith Cavell Road. The trailhead is across from Hostelling International’s (HI) Edith Cavell Hostel, at km 12 of the road.

Safety in the backcountry

Safety in the Backcountry © Parks Canada / R. Gruys 

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.

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. The campground is equipped with a bear pole for food storage. There are picnic tables present.

Human waste
Use the toilet provided. 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. There is a pit toilet at all campgrounds.

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