Backpack - Tonquin Valley


Backpack - Tonquin Valley

Photo-oriented backpack. Enjoy stunning high towering mountains and lake scenery, fall color, varied wildlife and more in Jasper NP's exeptionally beautiful Tonquin Valley. No inquiries accepted for leader permission until registration opens; requests submitted prior to June 20 will be ignored.

  • Moderate
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 60.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 7,000 ft
  • Pace: 1-2

8:30 am Astoria River trailhead, via Mt Edith Cavell Road

Updated 6/4: 

Read all leader notes and route/place link before submitting request for leader permission. 

Leader permission requests with responses to required experience/qualifications will not be accepted until registration opens.  Requests prior to June 20 will be ignored.   Required experience/qualifications will be posted here  before June 20.  Participants must be well-experienced photo-oriented backpackers with recent 5+ day backpack experience during last 12-24 months, and be experienced with some potential snow travel, stream crossings and safe travel/camping in grizzly backcountry. 

** Members only for photo-oriented backpack.  Minimum 3 participants, with tent sharing expected (up to 3 per tent).  2 tent sites reserved, with small chance to increase # tent sites if other reserved sites are canceled.   Priority consideration through July 15 for leader approval:  Prospective participants with strong photo interests  in Tonquin area and willingness to share tents.  Prospective participants registered for other trips with same date(s) as this trip will NOT be considered.  

Description:    Photo-oriented backpack for well-experienced backpackers in this premier scenic Canadian Rockies destination.  Backpack exploration into one of the most exceptional scenic backcountry areas in the Canadian Rockies. Enjoy stunning scenery along Astoria River, Tonquin Valley lakes and Rampart peaks, Eremite Valley and more on hikes from camps into spectacular mountain valley and passes. Day hike options from camp include Eremite Valley to Arrowhead Lake, Amethyst Lakes (N & S ends), Fraser Glacier moraine, Moat Lake, Clitheroe Peak, and more. Photo opportunities abound from sunrise to sunset for beautiful reflections, glaciated peaks including the towering Ramparts (series of 10 peaks rising 3000' from Tonquin Valley), cascading streams, lakes, wildflowers, fall color and wildlife (caribou, moose, bear, pika, etc). Book Reference: The Canadian Rockies Trail Guide (Patton & Robinson) and Don't Waste Your Time in the Canadian Rockies (Copeland), Jasper-Robson: A Taste of Heaven (Beers). Map: Jasper / Maligne Lk (Gem Trek) or Amethyst Lakes 83D/9

Participants must be well-experienced

IMPORTANT NOTE: Participants must be fit to backpack 6-10+/mile days with 700-2000' gain/day, at moderately high elevations (6000-8000').  Before leader approval request, be sure to have a current passport.

Trip minimum 3; maximum 6.

Leader reserved backcountry camp permits.  Backcountry fee payable at registration:  (based on 3 persons minimum), will be decreased if 4-6 persons.  Backcountry fee includes per person cost for campsite and daily wilderness pass.  Additional local costs will be incurred for Canadian NP entrance pass (daily or annual fee), accommodations, etc.

Include notes with registration, if you are interested in sharing tent (1 tent / per site, 2-3 persons/tent).   Leader has 3-person 4-season dome tent to share.

Reserved camp sites: 10/1 Astoria River, 10/2-3 Surprise Point, 10/4-5 Maccarib, 10/6 Astoria.

Cancellation fees: 50% prior to 9/1.  For cancellations after 9/1, up to 100% of fee is non-refundable unless another participant fills the space.

  • Photos (scenics, caribou, bear, etc.):
  • Tentative itinerary (to add mileage & elev changes):
  • Day 1:  TH to Astoria camp & optional short hike from camp
  • Day 2:  Astoria camp to Surprise Point camp & explore near camp:  Amethyst south shore, Surprise Point hillside.
  • Day 3:  Sunrise over Amethyst Lake and Ramparts.  Early morning wildlife viewing - caribou, deer, moose, etc.  Astoria camp to Eremite Valley and Arrowhead Lake; possible hike over Fraser Glacier moraine above Outpost Lake/ACC hut.
  • Day 4:  Surprise Point camp via Clitheroe or Amethyst lake shore to Macarib camp. 
  • Day 5:  Macarib camp to Amethyst Lake north shore for sunrise/early AM light.  Hike trails/routes to Moat Lake, Tonquin Hill, Tonquin/Vista Pass, Majestic Mountain slopes.
  • Day 6:  Maccarib camp to Astoria River camp. 
  • Day 7:  Astoria River camp to Astoria trailhead.  Drive to road end for optional short hike to Mt Edith Cavell glacial tarns.   

Recommended accommodations:   pre-/post-backpack front-country camps at Jasper NP Wapiti CG or Whistler CG, hostel (HI Jasper or Edith Cavell), or motel in Jasper or Tete Jeane Cache.  Leader staying 9/30 at Wapiti CG/Jasper NP 9/30.


Tonquin Valley

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials plus overnight gear which may include:

  • Tent with footprint/ground tarp (no open tents or tarp shelters)
  • Stove and fuel
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Water filter
  • Bear canister, ursack or extra stuff sack and cord designated for hanging food.  Bear-proof food storage structures provided at designaed camps.
  • Cooking pot/pan with plate and utensils
  • Toilet paper and shovel or blue bag to deal with waste
  • Extra layers for likely cool to cold day/night temps
  • Microspikes, depending on snow cover trail conditions & potential snow forecast
  • Bear spray required
  • Gaiters recommended
  • Microspikes if some cover or potential snow
Trip Reports