Tonquin Valley is a 44.8 mile point-to-point trail located near Banff, Alberta, Canada that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and backpacking and is accessible from July until September.
Tonquin Valley will awe you. At an elevation of approximately 2000 metres (6500 Ft), and 33 kilometres southwest of Jasper, lies the beautiful Tonquin Valley and it's majestic Ramparts. There are three routes to travel into the Tonquin Valley. The Mount Edith Cavell route leads up the Astoria Valley, over a high alpland trail and down into the valley. The excitement builds up during the early stages of the morning, subsides at the half-way point, lunchtime, then rises again as the trail switchbacks under the gendarmes of Old Horn Mountain. As the alplands (lupine, gentian and heather) are crossed, the serrated Ramparts appear on the horizon, looming larger and higher with every step of the way. Then the view opens up . . . . . acres of flowers, Amethyst Lake, mighty glaciers and the main range of the precipitous Ramparts. The Portal Creek trail rises to 2160 metres (7100 Ft) as it leads over the flowered alpine meadows of Maccarib Pass and follows the ripply meandering's of Maccarib Creek to the north end of Amethyst Lake. It starts at the junction of Portal Creek and the Marmot Road. The traveler of this route is almost certain to see the "Maccarib" which is the Indian name for Caribou. The Caribou in this area are among the darkest and largest of the species. The Meadow Creek trail starts at Geikie and follows Meadow Creek. The trail is a real roller coaster of a trail and sometimes difficult to follow especially as it nears Tonquin. It is used mostly by climbers planning to camp below the peaks at the north end of the Ramparts, especially if assaults are aimed at the 3308 metre (10854 Ft) Mount Geikie. It is not a recommended route. Either of the first two routes are excellent for travelling. They pass through spectacular scenery and end up at the World Famous Tonquin Valley. Once in the valley there is a variety of trails in the surrounding area to explore each of which has spectacular scenery. A true mountain wilderness experience. The Alpine Club of Canada (ACC), which operates huts for hikers and climbers, also have three other huts in Jasper National Park; Mt. Colin Hut, Fryatt Hut and Mount Alberta Hut. The ACC backcountry huts are rustic mountain shelters. Sleeping arrangements are in communal bunk rooms which are equipped with sleeping mattresses. Coleman stoves are used for cooking and coleman lanterns for light. The huts are well supplied and some have a wood burning stove. Reservations are required at all ACC facilities and are made through the national ACC office.