This 13km trail in Jasper National Park connects with the Skyline Trail . It can be done as a dayhike or overnighter, or combined with the Skyline Trail for a longer jaunt. From the trailhead you cross the Maligne River on a good bridge (recently rebuilt) and climb a series of switchbacks next to Excelsior Creek before making a turn to the SE and traversing the lower slopes of The Watchtower. At 6km you'll turn south and enter the Watchtower Basin. The view into the basin here is enticing to say the least. Plan on wet boots from this point if you visit early in the season. The trail is sometimes faint as you make your way up valley. At 9km ford the creek (a rock-hop later in the season), the campgound is a few hundred meters past the ford. The trail which continues up valley disappears in the alpine meadows but is visible ahead where it climbs a headwall leading to the Watchtower Col. 200 meters after the Col the trail connects with the Skyline Trail at km17.
Submitted by 'mtncat'.
The trailhead is 20 km from the Jasper townsite. Follow Hwy 16 east from Jasper for 2km, turn right and follow the Maligne lake road for another 18km to the trailhead.
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Posted By: trail_and_error
- Mon Sep 07 00:48:28 EDT 2009
UpsideGood Uphill climb, nice stream runs through much of the hike, not very busy.
DownsideMOSQUITOES! Holy smokes, hey were crazy, We were there in mid july... also the trail was a little muddy.
CommentIt was nice, but like I said the mosquitoes made it very hard to enjoy.
Posted By: northwalker
- Sun Mar 13 22:50:07 EST 2005
CommentThe trail description is pretty accurate, the trail can be difficult to find and the creek crossing to the campground is far from obvious. We used this as an escape route from the skyline when a snowstorm made it too treacherous to attempt climbing up the notch to the more exposed section. I've posted a picture taken from the top of the headwall looking down the watchtower basin from the skyline trail. It's actually the only picture I took on this trail, mostly due to the weather and wanting to get to the road and hitchike back to the van at the skyline trailhead before dark.
Lorne Finucane Ontario Editor
Posted By: bfcoffey
- Tue Mar 08 10:25:29 EST 2005
CommentLooks like a good trail. Would the submitter please email 'firstname.lastname@example.org'.