The trail up The Whistlers in Jasper National Park gains 1200 metres of elevation and passes through all three of the park's life zones The distance given in the intro is 8km to the summit plus two extra klicks, one back down to the top of the Jasper Tramway (http://www.jaspertramway.com/) and the other from the bottom of the tramway to the trailhead parking lot. The Tramway charges about half price to hikers who purchase a one-way ticket at the top terminal. If you wish to ride up and hike down, you'll pay full price in dollars and pain. Be warned, this is not a spring hike, the upper sections of this trail are prone to avalanche till late June.
Starting in the montane life zone, the trail rises through beautiful lush mixed forest, a virtual hotbed of ecological diversity. So important and rare is this type of forest in Jasper that Parks Canada has labelled it critical wildlife habitat and asks visitors not to venture off trail. With so much elevation to gain the trail pushes up the mountain at a heart pounding rate. At 2.5km a rockslide provides nice views and a place to rest. After the slide the trail resumes its climb, entering a dark subalpine forest of spruce, pine and fir, the second life zone of the day.
Levelling out after 3km the trail makes its way under the tramline (smile and wave) and traverses towards the creek draining The Whistlers cirque, before resuming its steady grind up the mountain at 4km. The next two klicks, despite the stiff grade is enjoyable as the trail passes through a delightful flower filled subalpine forest. On the last klick to the summit ridge the trail breaks out of the trees and into the alpine, the third and final life zone on the day. This is a great place to take a nice long break, for when you hit the summit ridge the flowers are all but left behind and you'll join the throng of tourists who rode the tramway up the mountain.
The final kilometre to the summit is a cake-walk compared to the rest of the trail. Weaving in and out of hyperventilating and often ill dressed tramway riders will give you an ego boost that'll put a spring in your step. The trail braids out giving you the choice of steep or not-so-steep trails. There used to be little brass trail markers on the ground, but many have gone missing. The trails to the left have the easier grade. From the summit at 2470m a sea of peaks fills the eye and inspires the soul. A rotatable peak-finder helps point out the prominent peaks in the surrounding valleys, including Mount Robson, tallest mountain in the Canadian Rockies at 3954m.
If you plan to ride the tramway back down, be sure to arrive at the terminal before the last tram of the day, or you might have a long dark walk back down the mountain. From the bottom terminal of the Jasper Tramway it is 1km down the Whistler Road and up to the parking lot.
Submitted by 'mtncat'.
Drive south of Jasper on Hwy 93 (The Icefields Parkway) for 2km. Turn right on the Whistler=s Road and go 3km, then turn left on a gravel road and go 250m to the parking lot.
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Posted By: thereqal
- Mon Aug 08 16:13:19 UTC 2016
UpsideThe view from the top is beautiful, not technically difficult in any way, close to Jasper townsite DownsidePoorly maintained trail, better views can be found elsewhere without so many people, the cost of a trip down on the Tram is absurd, the view is the only "payoff" CommentWe decided to do the Whistlers as it was close to the Jasper Townsite and we wanted a hike with elevation involved. Honestly, of all the hikes I've done this season, the Whistlers was the most disappointing, just given how poorly maintained the trail was and how little there was to see on the hike up. We are both in pretty decent shape - it took us about 5.5 hours to go up and down. Originally we weren't planning to hike down, as we thought the Tram would be free (like Sulphur Mountain) or at least discounted for hikers going only one way, but they still wanted to charge full price (20$ is a little much in my opinion).
If you absolutely need to do something near Jasper and are dying for a 360 view of the mountains, this is the hike to do but there are so many other hikes near Jasper that are worth the climb with much more exciting scenery on the way.
Posted By: ChrisMarry
- Tue Sep 03 00:53:04 UTC 2013
UpsideGreat views of Jasper and so many lakes around, great elevation with 1209 m, option to go with the gondolas on the way down. DownsideLots of people at the top like many other tourist trails, a little boring and in the forest for a while. CommentWe made it up and down as we didn't want to pay $17 per person to go down with the gondolas, we found that was a little expensive for what it's worth... 15.2 km return to the top, not too steep and no technical difficulties. That's actually why we didn't enjoy it that much. Also because it was pouring rain all the way down and it was unfortunately cloudy at the summit. But we would definitely try other hikes next visit in Jasper rather than doing this one again.
Posted By: Monkeygirl
- Sat Jun 15 00:54:58 UTC 2013
UpsideGorgeous scenery. Amazing trek through the three zones. Serenity at its best. DownsideHit all the elements on our trek to the summit (sun, wind, rain, hail and snow). The weather changes quickly, make sure you dress for all seasons. A little difficult seeing the marked trails once you reach the alpine (due to the some of the path being snow covered). Challenging but worth it! CommentWe visited Jasper June 11th, 2013 for one week. This was our first hike of our stay in Jasper. Challenging yet worth every bit of huffing and puffing (lol). Amazing. Will do it again! Wanted to do the Edith Cavell as well but trail is closed until mid-July.
Posted By: CdnIceman
- Mon Jun 27 19:13:59 UTC 2011
UpsideAn absolute treasure in Jasper National Park. The trek through the three zones gradually changes. Before you know it you're gazing upon an apparent barren mountain side but is still full of life. DownsideDifficult is the rating, Its even more so when there is low level cloud coating all the surfaces with a fine film of moisture. Not reccomended for the unseasoned hiker, which I was at the time. CommentCome prepared. The base is a lot warmer then the peak, bring a warmer layer and rain shell. Bring water and snack food or lunch. The trail takes 3-6 hours to summit, longer if you return on the trail.
Posted By: trail_and_error
- Thu Aug 27 15:10:04 UTC 2009
UpsideNice views, good for the legs. DownsideThe destination is the tram. CommentBetter than taking the tram up.
Posted By: 2049design
- Mon Mar 16 18:45:03 UTC 2009
UpsideSome fantastic scenery including a birds eye view of Japser about half way up the mountain. DownsideIf you are not a seasoned hiker I would not recommend as it has a constant incline that can deter hikers about half way up. CommentAbout 3/4 of the way up there is a beautiful white tree stump that is beautifully contrasted among all the green.