Time and distance are return. Straddling the continental divide between Jasper National Park and Mount Robson Provincial Park, Miette Pass is one of the most beautiful mountain passes I have ever visited, too bad the trail sucks. Ok that's not completely true, the first fourteen klicks are on good trail, it even has board walks over the swampy sections - it's the rest of the trail that sucks. Difficult though the trip may be, the scenery at the pass is phenomenal and the possibilities of further exploration are wide and varied. Meander through alpine meadows, bash your way to high country lakes, scramble minor peaks or climb a host of technical summits... oh the possibilities!
You start the trail with an easy four and a half klick stroll down the old Yellowhead Road from the Decoigne Warden Station. Just before the old Miette River bridge site turn right on a good path and begin a stiff climb up the side of the Miette Valley. Cruising along steep side slopes and plunging through old forests, the trail up to the old Rink warden cabin site is a pleasant jaunt through the woods. Back in Â‘99 this section of trail was in great condition. I wonder what happened to the rest of the trail? Take a good break here as it is the only open area on the first half of the trail.
The next eight klicks grind slowly upwards on a rocky, rooty, muddy trail. Be careful, a badly sprained ankle or twisted knee here would be a real drag. If you plan it right you'll tackle this trail when the ground is frozen after a fall frost. After twenty-two klicks the forest will finally release it's grip on you but it's a mixed blessing. Ahead is over five klicks of black spruce bog, willow meadow and other equally wet places, and to start it off is a ford of a small stream issuing from the cleft between Mounts Moren and Bridgland.
There used to be big yellow markers along this boggy route but most of them are lying in pieces at the base of their respective trees. So easy is it to loose the trail, that you may as well plan on a bushwhacking the rest of the way to the Miette Lake - so as to avoid the disappointment of not finding the trail. Trail books on the area describe two fords of the Miette River and an extra campground along this section of 'trail'? We made good time over frozen ground, but added a couple of extra kilometres by backtracking around standing water and weaving around stands of trees.
The Miette Lake campground, found at the south end of Miette Lake, is a long 28 kilometres from the trailhead. A thin screen of trees provides a wind break for a pleasant little fire ring. The old bear pole was rotten through in Â‘99 so take plenty of rope to hang your food.
The campground is situated above a ford of the Miette River and a ‘trail' to Miette Pass; a triple pass composed of South, Centre and North Passes. In a short two klicks from the campground the trail crests Centre Pass at the continental divide before vanishing into the expansive meadow below Salient Mountain. Thus ends this trail/route description at 30km, return the way you came. The maps you'll need are government topos "83D16 Jasper", "83D15 Lucerne" and "83E2 Resplendent Creek" all of which are available from the The Friends of Jasper. Registration required and fees apply, call the Jasper Trail office for more information 1-780-852-6177.
While the trail/route described above is an adventure in itself, it's possible to push deeper in to the wilderness. A trail/route over Grant and Colonel Passes connects the Miette to the Moose River and eventually takes explorers all the way to Mount Robson. The stretch from Moose River should only be considered by the most experienced and tenacious wilderness travellers. The numerous crossings of Moose River are glacial cold swims at most times of the year and the ford of Stepp Creek should never be underestimated. Talk to the Jasper Trail Office and a Mt Robson Ranger before tackling this journey and add "83E3 Mt Robson" to your map pouch.
Submitted by 'mtncat'.
Drive west of Jasper on Hwy 16 for 18km and turn right on the Decoigne Road just before the park entrance station. Cross the railroad and Miette River before turning left on the Old Yellowhead Road. Just past the entrance of Decoigne Warden Station the road is gated, park here but do not block the gate.
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Posted By: lollypop
- Sat Jun 25 16:44:04 UTC 2011
UpsideYou are alone - beat up - but alone. DownsideLong, muddy all year, big and dangerous river crossing, trees down, no trail in many areas and for long stretches, difficult route finding. The last time though here we met two people who were lost! They were stumbling around near the Moose river crossing tying to figure out which way to go. They were way off course and we only found them because of their whistle blasts. This is lonely country. CommentI've walked this trail several times and I must say that even on dry days it is a challenge. The park has made this a wildeness area. This means that the trail will not be maintained. We did it again last year (2010) and we wish we hadn't. You can count on at least 2 days to get to Miette Lake from the highway as there are more than 300 trees down on the trail. We lost count. Many of the trees are piled up to over 5 feet high and the time consuming, and sometimes dangerous, side trips needed to get around the trees are tough on the body. The boardwalks previously mentioned are in need of repair and are not safe in some areas. It won't be long before you will need to stay off of them and slop though the marsh. The park is not planning on doing any clearing.<BR>The "Rink" cabin no longer exists and overall the trail is very difficult to follow and is very wet at all times of the year. The bugs tend to be very bad until the first few frosts. The trip past the pass and into Mount Robson Park is equally harsh and you will need to take a chance on the Moose River. There are times of the year when there may be no safe way of crossing. You'll need to make that decision after 3 or more days of walking! Although this trip has some rewards it is not worth the effort and potential dangers. Take good care everyone. Happy trails.