Unmarked by human hand, boundless vista of mountains, breathtaking views, endless jagged peaks and mesmerizing trails with the occasional fresh grizzly bear scat—welcome to the trail of Tonquin Valley in Jasper, Canada.
Jasper, located 200km north of Banff was the first-leg of an epic West coast trip with my brother-from-another-mother, Belissimo.
Armed with our bear banger, we hiked the backcountry of Tonquin Valley known for its dense population of Grizzly Bears and one of the top hiking trails in North America.
Though we didn't encounter any big, fuzzy creatures, we did experience the best of Jasper. Below are some of the moments captured from our trip.
If you live in Canada, you owe it to yourself to visit Jasper's backcountry, specially the Tonquin Valley at least once in your lifetime - and when you do, here are some tips that might help you out with your trip.
- To reserve your backcountry permit, start by contacting Parks Canada (note: you have to leave a voice mail & you'll receive a call-back)
- You'll be emailed a map of the different campsites on the Tonquin Valley to choose from
- Unlike most trails, the Tonquin doesn't loop naturally. You'll need to have two cars. Drive to one end, park you car. Then drive to the next, to start the trail or
- You can start at Cavell Trailhead and enjoy the trails till Surprise Point; then hike back to Cavell Trailhead via Amethyst lakes
- Tonquin Valley is semi-primitive, with good trail conditions but has frequent and steady strenuous uphills
- For extra peace-of-mind, be equipped with a can of bear spray and a bear banger
- If possible, stay at Surprise Point at least one night - it's breathtaking