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Bike and hike to the headwaters of the Athabasca River
Timestamp Free: 2020.02.28 - 05:07:42
Ranges: North America Ranges / Rocky Mountains / Canadian Rockies / Continental Ranges / Park Ranges / Winston Churchill Range
(4 days) Elevation Gain: 200m
Difficulty: 1: The only difficulty comes in the many river crossings
This is a report about a trip into a rarely visited part of Jasper National Park
This trip starts at the Sunwapta Falls parking lot, 53 kms south of the Town of jasper. I had tried this trip a few years ago but got turned back by high water. I tried it in mid July and that was a mistake. So this time I figured early June would work well. I had planned to carry in a light weight raft with me so that I could paddle the Columbia Glacier lake to the glacier itself and then raft the river back to my bike at the suspension bridge. But after trying everything to make it work I decided to leave the raft behind. The first 15.5 kms is an enjoyable, easy mountain bike trail. For the first few kms you are going mostly downhill and through the trees. At km 6.5 you reach the turnoff to Big Bend campsite. This is a very pretty spot with great views of the upper Chaba area. Shortly after Big Bend you come to the only hill that you need to push your bike up and it's pretty steep. Once on top of the hill and you have regained your breath, the trail offers nice views of the surrounding peaks, but then you plunge back down to the river and thick forest and the views from there to the suspension bridge over the Athabasca River, the views are very limited. Once at Athabasca River Crossing campsite the trail you need to follow goes right through the camp passed the tent pads and half a km from the camp brings you to the suspension bridge over the river, which if you cross, the trail takes you to Fortress lake in Hamber Provincial Park. A few meters south the bridge is where i stash my bike. I have stashed my bike there many times over the years and I've never had problems with porcupines, but you may be more comfortable hoisting it into a tree.
[photo]athab2.jpg[caption]Picture of my destination from the bridge[/photo]
It is recommended to stay on the east side of...
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