The trail climbs almost a kilometre over it's 15km length and on a hot summer day with a full pack you'll wonder what ever made you decide to do such a foolish thing. But the long haul up to Elysium Pass in Jasper National Park is worth every bucket of sweat you'll leave on the trail. Then armed with a map and solid route finding skills the area around the pass becomes an explorer's paradise.
The first part of this trail has already been described in the Dorothy, Christine and Virl Lakes Trail. From early summer on make sure you fill up your water bottle(s) at the Minaga Creek crossing, there is no other reliable source till you reach the pass.
Turn left at the junction and follow along high above Minaga Creek for 4km to the bottom of the switchbacks. The switchbacks drag on for what feels like forever but is probably only 4km and 400m of elevation, where they emerge into a rockslide and views finally open up. Above you is Emigrants Mtn and across the valley juts Mt Fitzwilliam.
The trail through the rockslide is very enjoyable after the slog up the switchbacks but continues to climb nontheless. There are a couple of places where the trail is not so obvious as it winds it's way across gullies and through thick stands of krummholz.
Above the rockslides as the trees begin to thin out and the trail enters into beautiful little wildflower filled meadows. The trail continues to climb the slopes of Emigrants Mtn to a bare ridge overlooking Elysium Pass. This is a fantastic viewpoint and a great place to make a late lunch or an early dinner, if you have any water left.
The trail now drops 150m in the next kilometre where it comes to an abrupt end at the creek that drains the pass. When I visited Elysium Pass I was unable to find the campground but have since learned that it is 300m downstream on the other side of the creek and 100m back in a stand of trees. The campground is apparently very simple, with a bear pole to throw a rope over and board between two trees for a privy.
There are no trails to the pass or anywhere else up there for that matter. But with a map and a good sense of direction there are many possibilities for exploration. I went up the valley behind Emigrants Mtn and summitted an unnamed peak at it's head. And I might've had wonderful pictures to show you but for that nasty storm. C'est la vie!
Elysium Pass is prime grizzly bear habitat so please take the precautions of making plenty of noise on the trail and practice safe food storage techniques.
Note - distance is return.
Submitted by 'mtncat'.
Drive west of Jasper on Hwy 16 for 11km. The parking lot is on the right, just after the Meadow Creek bridge.
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Posted By: Mr_Oreo_Cookie
- Fri Jul 24 16:10:33 EDT 2009
UpsideNew bear pole placed at campsite just be sure to bring some rope so you can use it.
DownsideBugs. Be sure to bring plenty of bugspray or else you may find yourself on the menu. A few of the bridges have been moved on some of the smaller creeks so prepare to get your feet a little wet if you are not quick in crossing
CommentAlways a great hike and the view from the top looking down into the pass is breathtaking. If you have a good set of legs and a strong back I definitely reccommend undertaking this hike. If you have time stay and extra day and go exploring the pass it allows for a nice break to recover for the trip back down and allows you to see even more of the backcountry.