Over Labour Day weekend we planned to go hiking in Jasper National Park to Nigel Pass and beyond. We were actually hoping to get as far as Jonas Pass on the Brazeau Loop but unfortunately that didn’t happen. Luckily the hike to the Four Point Creek campsite where we ended up is absolutely lovely.
Jasper National Park hiking: Getting to Nigel Pass
Its 7.2 kilometres to reach Nigel Pass and requires 361 metres (1,185 feet) of climbing. It’s gradual and not very taxing, even with a fully loaded backpack. The area is reportedly frequented by grizzly bears but we didn’t even see bear scat.
Once you reach austere looking Nigel Pass you have a view down to the Brazeau River and excellent views of Parker Ridge and Mt. Saskatchewan as you look back the way you came.
After a straight forward crossing of the Brazeau River it’s a climb up through rock slide debris, followed by a steep and hot descent in the afternoon sun to the Brazeau Valley. Even on a Labour Day weekend the fall colours were showing up in ground hugging plants.
Camping in Jasper National Park near Nigel Pass
There are several campsites in the Nigel Pass – Brazeau Loop area, all of which must be reserved in advance. On the way to the Boulder Creek Campground where we ended up there’s one bridge to cross. We stayed here for two nights as we couldn’t get reservations for the slightly nicer Four Point Campground – despite the fact we found it deserted the next day.
Our plan had been to hike to the campground and the next day hike up to Jonas Pass – which is on the Brazeau Loop, a 5-7 day backpacking trip we didn’t have time to do. The hike up to Jonas Pass is supposed to offer some of the best mountain scenery in the Rockies. But when we got to that trail there was a sign saying that dogs weren’t allowed because it was caribou country. (They are allowed as far as Four Point campground.) I had been told otherwise by staff at Jasper National Park so I wasn’t too happy. We decided we would hike up the Brazeau River a bit instead but the scenery after the warden’s cabin wasn’t very inspiring. So we turned around and headed back to our campsite and spent the rest of the day reading and relaxing – which in some ways considering my summer schedule was a welcome treat.
We will go back to do the full Brazeau Loop but we won’t be bringing the dog next time.
If you are interesting in spending the night in the back-country reserve a backcountry permit from Jasper National Park. Call (780) 852-6177 and leave a message. They usually return your call within a few hours and can email you over one. Make reservations well in advance especially for busy long weekends. It’s possible to reserve 90 days ahead of time. The cost is a very reasonable $9.80 per person per night though there is a reservation fee of about $11 as well.
Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest board.