This six-day alpine circuit is one of the most popular backpacking trips in the Mountain Parks of the Canadian Rockies. The trip spends two nights at Brazeau Lake, one of Jasper National Park’s largest backcountry lakes and also includes a 13 km long alpine traverse. This is one of the highest backpacking trips in the parks and includes the chance to see a variety of wildlife, including marmots and if you are lucky, mountain caribou.
This trip is rated as challenging because we will hiking at least 14km each day. We will leave start off with six days of food in our backpacks but we’ll be staying at the same campsite on the first and last night so we’ll be able to cache some food there to lighten our packs a bit. Each person will be carrying a share of the group equipment and food, with pack weights up to 45 lbs, depending on how lightweight you can pack. You will need to be fit enough to carry a backpack for multiple days in hilly terrain.
We will be staying in lightweight backpacking tents and in established Jasper National Park backcountry campgrounds. Each campsite is equipped with outhouses and food storage facilities. You are responsible for supplying your own tent, sleeping bag and sleeping pad, however, we will arrange for rentals on your behalf if you require, extra charge will apply.
Meals will be lightweight backpacking dried food, although we will have some fresh food earlier in the trip. Each day will consist of three nutritious and tasty meals and some snacks to keep us fueled throughout the day.
Meet in Canmore the evening before the trip start date to sign waivers, discuss the logistics and to ensure everybody has appropriate equipment for the trip.
On day one, we drive to the trailhead at Nigel Creek, about three hours from Canmore. From Nigel Creek, we’ll head up and over Nigel Pass to our first campsite at Four Points. The distance is 14 km with an elevation of 350 meters up, 300 meters down.
On day two, we’ll leave some food behind at Four Points for our final night and begin our counterclockwise loop through the headwaters of the Brazeau River. Today we’ll hike to Brazeau Lake. The distance is 17 km and elevation of 200 meters down.
Enjoy day three with a day hike. The Brazeau Lake area is just so nice, we’ll stay here for an extra day. We’ll have the option to do a day hike and some exploring in the area and enjoy a backpack-free day.
For day four, now that we are rested up, we’ll head out along the south side of Brazeau Lake and then up and over Poboktan Pass. From there, we’ll head down to the Jonas Cutoff campground. The distance is 16 km and an elevation of 550 meters up, 200 meters down.
Day five from Jonas Cutoff will see us head to the southeast and up and over Jonas shoulder into the Jonas creek drainage. We’ll trend up to the wide Jonas Pass and then down to the Four Point campground that we stayed at the first night. The distance is 18 km with an elevation of 400 meters up, 400 meters down.
On this final day, we’ll retrace our steps up and over Nigel Pass with great views in this direction too and back to our starting point at Nigel Creek trailhead. The distance is 14 km, elevation at 300 meters up, 350 meters down.