A helpful waiter shared this gem as a local’s view of the best hikes in Jasper. This beautiful route goes up to the backside of Mount Edith Cavell offering great views, though the hike on to Verdant Pass involves some route finding and most don't make the entire journey.
From Jasper take the route 93 south for approximately 12.0km, then turn right onto Mount Edith Cavell Rd. This road is extremely narrow and taking a campervan up the road is prohibited and trailers or fifth wheels must be left at the bottom. Continue almost to the end of the road, parking across the road from the Edith Cavell Hostel at the Tonquin Valley/Astoria River Trailhead.
|When to do|
June through September
Out and back
Due to the fact this trail isn’t well known, we recommend doing this hike with others for safety reasons.
Start along the trail and descend quickly down to the Cavell Lake stream. Look across the beautiful Cavell Lake up to stunning Mt. Edith Cavell. There is only one trail to be taken, so continue across the bridge along the trail. Many backpackers, who continue to an ACC cabin farther up the valley, also use this wide and flat trail. At certain times of the year this route is well trafficked by many bugs and thus bug spray is a must.
Continue on this wide trail and enjoy the intermittent views across the valley of Franchere and Chak Peak. After 4.5km along the official trail you will see a faint path on your left. This is the unofficial trail that leads to Verdant Pass. There are two moderately sized boulders and a cairn at the fork on your right, however most people miss them – including our group and the group that was also ahead of us. Don’t worry, if you come to the bridge at 5.0km you have gone too far! Turn around and keep your eyes open for the trail.
The trail up is not maintained, and it quickly narrows as you climb a steep path up to a plateau. Expect to get close up with trees and shrubs and to use natural log bridges if there has been a lot of rain recently. If it has rained earlier, trees and shrubs will unload their water on you as brush past. This is the worst part of the hike, as the trees are thick and yield limited views.
The trees will thin as the grade of the trail increases. After a longer climb you will find yourself at a thinly wooded forest, with views across of Throne Valley on the right and the sloping Chevron Mountain on the left. From here you have finished essentially all the climbing of the hike.
You will follow along the trail and emerge from the trees at a sparse alpine meadow beneath the backside of Mount Edith Cavell. This stunning meadow offers more stellar views of the valley and down to Teal Lake. The path trails off at the peak of the meadow, leaving you on the top of a large moraine. With some route finding (and route-making) you can make your way down to Verdant Pass, though most hikers stop here as the clear trail disappears.
Return the way you came up.
The drive to this hike is incredible, and many people stop to take pictures. We recommend not stopping to take pictures as the road is very narrow.
The Edith Cavell Hostel is a great base to explore this area. You can hike this Verdant Pass hike one day and then head to Cavell Meadows hike another day.
There is a wonderful backpack up the Tonquin Valley from the nearby Verdant Pass trailhead. While you can camp, a stay at the Tonquin Backcountry Lodge, the ACC’s Wates-Gibson Hut or Tonquin Valley Adventure Lodge is a must-do if you love the backcountry.
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