Looking over the Athabasca Valley from Devona Lookout—one of the popular June trips for hikers and cyclists from Jasper's Celestine Road.

Looking over the Athabasca Valley from Devona Lookout—one of the popular June trips for hikers and cyclists from Jasper’s Celestine Road.

I don’t get to Jasper nearly enough these days. Time was we would spend a good chunk of our summers hiking and backpacking in the park. And one summer we worked in nearby Mt Robson and made frequent day trips there.

That’s why I find myself feeling frustrated this week as some of the best early hikes in the Canadian Rockies are opening up. In fact, nearly all the lower elevation trails around the townsite and down the Athabasca Valley are open, though there have been grizzly bear warnings and closures on some of the trails west of town.

The road to Miette Hot Springs is open, which provides access to the Sulphur Skyline (125), one of the best short hikes in the Front Ranges.

The Celestine Road is open for the Devona Lookout (127) day hike or an overnight to Snake Indian Falls (both are popular trips for cyclists). The drive to the trailhead is slow and a bit rough in spots, but open meadows along the roadside are filled with wildflowers at this time of year. (Check in at the Visitor Centre for the current limited-access schedule and latest road conditions before you go.)

The Cavell Road opened this weekend, but the Cavell Meadows trail is closed until snow melts and conditions dry out. Meanwhile, hiking is limited to the Cavell Lake viewpoint 0.7 km beyond the parking area.

You can get a quick overview of current trail conditions in the park by linking to the “Jasper Trail Condition Report”. But I prefer to access the “Jasper Trail Alliance-Facebook” page for lively conversation and updates from one of the most active backcountry communities in Canada (check “June 11” for a report on Devona Lookout).

(Trail numbers are references in the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide.)

File photo by Brian Patton