Panorama of Maligne Pass and Replica Peak backpacking trail in Jasper National Park
Panorama of Maligne Pass and Replica Peak backpacking trail in Jasper National Park

Maligne Pass and Replica Peak backpacking trail

Jasper National Park
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Maligne Pass and Replica Peak backpacking trail

Distance: 24.0mi
Elevation: 5,768ft
Time: 2-3 days

Difficulty Rating:

User Ratings:
9.8 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty

Maligne Pass is a wonderful alpine pass in a rarely-visited area of Jasper National Park. Maligne Pass is one of the largest alpine passes in the Rockies, dotted with tarns and wildflowers and surrounded by some of the largest peaks in the Rockies.

Maligne Pass and Replica Peak backpacking trail Map

Getting there

From the town of Jasper, drive south on the Icefields Parkway for 44.7mi, south of Sunwapta Falls to the Poboktan Creek Trailhead. The trail begins across the highway bridge on the north side of the creek, behind the old warden station.

I’ve done this 16 people have done this
I want to do this 78 want to do this route

About

Re-supply points

None

When to do

Mid July - September

Mountain Huts

No

Backcountry Campsites

Yes

Toilets

Trailhead

Pets allowed

No

Accommodation Type

Tent

Family friendly

No

Route Signage

None

Crowd Levels

Low

Route Type

Out and back


Maligne Pass and Replica Peak
Elevation Graph


Route Description for Maligne Pass and Replica Peak

The Maligne pass backpack trip was once one of our favourite backpacks in the Canadian Rockies. It had incredible wildflowers and alpine meadows and wasn’t as busy as many other backpacks in Jasper National Park. Unfortunately, it is no longer a maintained trail, which means bridges may be washed out and the trail overgrown in places. This means committing to a trip here now requires more experience with route finding and creek crossings.

We do not have a first-hand account of the conditions after 2015, when all the bridges were intact. The trail may be covered with brush in some areas, and bridges have been removed. It is a beautiful area, however please proceed with caution. It is recommended to discuss your trip intentions with parks Canada staff at a visitor center prior to departure. Wildlife frequently travel through this area, so it is important to be cautious and aware during your trip.

Remember that even though this isn’t a busy trip, you still need to book your backcountry campsite in advance. Use the Parks Canada Website for your booking.

Day 1

The first day on the Maligne Pass backpack is a 6.7mi hike from Poboktan Creek Trailhead to Avalanche Backcountry campground. Along the way you’ll gain 1886ft of elevation. The route should take 4-5 hours.

Cross the highway bridge on the north side of the creek behind the warden station. Initially the trail follows Poboktan Creek, reaching a junction at the 3.8mi  mark. The trail to the right crosses Poligne Creek, and takes hikers towards Jonas Pass.

Instead, head left for Maligne Pass, soon reaching a bridge over Poligne Creek. Immediately after crossing the bridge, the ascent will steepen considerably. This is short-lived, and nothing too strenuous.

Avalanche Campground is located 2.9mi from the trail junction, and 6.7mi from the trailhead. There are four sites here, however only one party may book per night, so you will have the campground to yourself.

Day 2

Leave your tent at Avalanche Campground and head out on an epic trail that takes in Maligne Pass, a potential scramble up Replica Peak and return via some alpine lakes. The basic circuit through Maligne Pass and back along the lakes is 7.1mi and gains 1345ft. If you want to add on the scramble up Replica Peak, it is an additional 2.0mi (return) and another 1575ft of ascent

Depart the campground, heading towards Maligne Pass. The trail will deteriorate into a muddy, rocky condition for 1.2mi before ascending towards Replica Peak. Glimpses through the trees on the west will reveal vast alpine meadows. Near the 1.9mi mark, views will open up considerably for the last 0.6mi to the pass and its beautiful blue lake.

2.6mi from Avalanche Campground (and after gaining 804ft of elevation) you’ll reach a point in Maligne Pass where you can either go left and descend along the path to a lake or go right and ascend Replica Peak, which is located to the east of the pass.

We suggest hiking at least partway up Replica Peak, as the views are incredible. Be aware that there isn’t a great nor clear path up, so only do what you feel comfortable doing.

To go up Replica Peak, head up the scree slopes east of the lake, contouring to the right of the steeper, rocky patch. The scree section is loose, so be prepared to slide backwards as you gain the slope. After gaining 820ft from the pass, crest the westernmost ridge of Replica Peak. This ridge offers incredible views in all directions. Ascend the ridge from here towards a 164ft scree chute. This chute should take 10 minutes to ascend with caution before reaching the last bit of solid rock to the summit.

The descent is quick and allows time to explore the meadows below Maligne Pass. We suggest making a circuit for the day and exploring a range of lakes you can only see once you get higher.

So don’t backtrack along the muddy trail you started your trip on, instead head east towards some lakes, initially descending then quickly ascending roughly 328ft to a small lake, at which point you go north for a short-while to another small lake, before heading south, passing a very large lake and several other smaller unnamed lakes. Check out the map and the route while you’re on Replica Peak and the route will make more sense. Have a map or GPS unit with you as well to aid in navigation.

After passing the smaller unnamed lakes, the route is roughly parallel to your hike in, only about 328ft higher. This route requires some mild bushwhacking and route finding, but if you’ve got a good feel for directions and a map (or a gps unit with the track loaded on it), then you’ll be fine. Eventually the route drops you off back at the Avalanche campground.

Day 3

Today is a hike out on the route from the first day, a 6.7mi hike from Avalanche Backcountry campground to Poboktan Creek Trailhead. Some people make a long Day 2 and hike out that day, however that makes Day 2 a really long day. We prefer to really savour Day 2 and hike out on Day 3.

Sample Itinerary:

Note: Total GPS distance varies from each days distance due to side trips and slight route variations each day.

Day 1: Trailhead to Avalanche Campground (6.8mi/1936ft)

Day 2: Campground to Maligne Pass and Replica Peak (7.8mi/1345ft) (9.7mi, 2871ft if you do Replica Peak as well)

Day 3: Campground to Trailhead (6.8mi/-1936ft)

Insider Hints

  • Avalanche campground requires a permit, book early to ensure you get your dates.

  • The HI Athabasca Falls is 30 minutes North. This is the best HI wilderness hostel along the Icefields, so book in there if you can.

Comments

Lindsay Hunt 3 months ago

We did this hike mid September 2021. The views are phenomenal from the top of Maligne Pass as well from Replica Peak. As there was a fair amount of snow on the final approach to Replica Peak, I wouldn't suggest doing the summit without proper equipment - we only had spikes and poles and this was a stretch. When returning to Avalanche Campground do the route via the tarns and lakes. Alittle bit of bushwacking and GPS is require to get you back to the campground. Did this trip over 3 days. Highly recommended.

9.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
17h 24m Time Taken
Diana C. 2 years ago

It's a nice area, unfortunately you will not get a quiet moment here as it is so very busy.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
CarlOUT 3 years ago

Really enjoyed this one. Done it in 3 days, as did not have to rush anywhere. Great backpacking trip.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
TheTick 3 years ago

spent 3 great days during this trip. it was harder to figure out what to take with us than the hike itself. it was really cool

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
Wicked T 3 years ago

Great backpacking trip. Thought of doing it in 2 days but I really enjoyed it and just slowed down a bit to explore. Really great. Would recommend this and backpacking in general for people who like wildlife.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
5 Comments

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