Tonquin Valley

HARD 20 reviews
#16 of 57 trails in

Tonquin Valley is a 72.1 kilometer 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 best used from July until September.

DISTANCE
72.1 km
ELEVATION GAIN
1859 m
ROUTE TYPE
Point to Point

backpacking

hiking

forest

lake

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

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.

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing hike, but lots of mosquitoes, i would 110% recommend bringing a full body bug suit if you're tackling this one.

hiking
1 month ago

This was a beautiful trail and offered plenty of access to water sources. Overnighting at Amethyst is a must if you’re doing this trail! If I were to do it again I would make a longer trip out of it by overnighting a few nights using Amethyst as a base camp and doing some exploring in the area.

backpacking
2 months ago

Did this hike as a part of 4 day backpacking trip last Aug. Could not do the full loop as we had only one car. But the trail from portal creek via Maccarib pass is absolutely stunning. Sunrise in Amethyst lake with the reflections of Ramparts on the lake.....that is a scene not to be forgotten ever.

backpacking
2 months ago

Redid this trail for second time. Used Astoria trailhead again. Went beginning of August, bugs were bad, but worth it. Nicest area we felt was at surprise point. Bugs weren’t bad, gentle breeze and a view that photos could not do justice. Would I go for a third time, no doubt about it. On the trail this time we did have a mountain lion jump out at us, it was a younger one but did it ever move fast

hiking
5 months ago

I did this hike solo in October. It made for a rather heavy pack as I had to pack for winter camping. The first campground is portal to my recollection. Be wary of the sign that tells you it’s 8kms to the campground. I am quite fit and light on my feet and it felt that me like it was more like 15. I didn’t hitch hike back, I redid the route and upon close inspection of the sign on my return, someone had actually carved in to the sign ‘more like 16’. I will be returning to do it again in July with warmer weather and intend to wear a gps watch this time. The first night I got about a foot of snow in the elevation. It was a lovely morning and although the trail was covered in snow, the route was still obvious. I did not encounter any wild life while awake, however I had a trail of prints in the snow around my tent. Not bear or cougar though! The sights are lovely and the trail is super easy (at least I thought so!) In the summertime this is known as one of the most buggy trails in Alberta so I would highly recommend that you go to Mountain hardware at the cross iron mills mall and pick up a head bug net, as they sell them for only five dollars - it will save you from going insane with all of the bugs. The trail can also be quite muddy in some spots... whatever. It’s nature!!

9 months ago

One of the most beautiful places we've backpacked. Bring clothing for heat and cold- we had snow and very hot days too. We were lucky to see Caribou 2 nights outside Amythyst campground.

10 months ago

Words cannot describe this trail. Spent 3 days in the valley. Hiked in to Amethyst lake. Spent the second day hiking to Erenite valley where you get up close to Alpine lakes and glaciers. The trail is "unmaintained" but seemed pretty well maintained to me. and hiked out through maccarib pass to the other trail head. Unreal experience, my only complaint is that we saw no wildlife other then a pine groesbeck, a couple spruce grouse and an osprey. Was really looking to see some large mammals but maybe next time. Seriously can't wait for my next trip to Jasper.

10 months ago

the most bugs I have ever seen, also saw a momma grizzly with two cubs and another big maybe poppa grizzly at the pass about 50 feet away

10 months ago

was on the trail last year, late August. bugs weren't bad, but it snowed and we froze cutting our trip short, also as we were coming out on Astoria trail literally ran into a Grizzly, only 2 meters away. make lots of noise especially along the river, it was right beside the bridge when we came around the corner. excellent views, and fresh water would love to do it again

11 months ago

Not as much wildlife as they said there was but the scenery is still beautiful! expect mosquitoes

backpacking
11 months ago

Beautiful hike! Some difficult portions though and the distances are misleading!

backpacking
Saturday, January 28, 2017

Great hike !
I started from the Marmot road. I camped to Amethyst campground and the spot was awesome in the morning and at the sunset. I proposed to end with the Astoria valley because of the section in front of Old Horn Mountain... It's rather boring at this point if you go up !
The negative about this trail is the Portal campground section. They are many flies and mud.

7 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

hiking
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hiking
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10 months ago

10 months ago

hiking
10 months ago

backpacking
11 months ago