6 - 7
FATMAP difficulty grade
***This trail is closed for the 2022 season*** Welcome to one of the best backcountry adventures in Jasper National Park.
This is a seriously epic multi-day adventure through some incredibly remote terrain.
This is at minimum a 2 day trail.
For those of you considering attempting it in a single day, I would strongly advise against it.
I'm all for big days, but it would be a huge ask to complete this in single day considering the amount of elevation and route finding required. This route starts at Pobokton Campground.
This is the most likely start point for most groups due to its proximity to the Icefields Parkway and location on the Great Divide Trail.
The biggest challenge to this route actually begins before you even arrive on trail...
it involves getting a wilderness permit.
This area is heavily restricted by Parks Canada.
Only 1 group per day is granted a wilderness permit for this entire area, which includes Avalanche Campground.
To obtain a permit, call the the Jasper Parks Office once backcountry reservations are open. Thanks to the strict permit restrictions, you will see no one else on this trail.
You are completely in the wilderness here, there is no trail, no campgrounds and no cell service.
You need to be 100% self sufficient on this route and be an expert at route finding.
So why should you venture out into such a remote and challenging area? Well to put it simply...
this area is absolutely spectacular.
With picturesque lakes, stunning waterfalls and beautiful valleys, you will be left in awe at the unbelievable scenery & tranquillity on this trail.
This is also an alternative route to the decommissioned Maligne Pass Trail.
That route is still a faster option if you are hiking the Great Divide Trail, but you miss out on all the stunning scenery you find on the 6 passes trail.
Where you choose to set up camp will most likely differ from what I have suggested here.
Camping between passes 2 & 3 as shown here is a good option for breaking up the distance, but you will need to make your own judgement as to how far you can go in a day.
I actually ended up camping at the base of the 2nd pass.
This isn't a great location to camp, but it does have good shelter, water and an epic view.
Finding level ground is a challenge though and it leaves you with plenty of distance to cover on day 2.
Grizzly bears do roam this area, we saw lots of tracks close to our campground and spotted the bear in the next valley the following morning.
The trees here are terrible for hanging a food bag, so a bear proof container will make your life much easier.
Due to the amount of hazards on this trail, combined with how remote it is, a satellite communication device is highly recommended, especially if you are hiking solo.