Backpack the Tonquin Valley

Rate this Adventure Canada Tonquin Valley Trailhead, Jasper National Park

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The Tonquin Valley takes you into Jasper National Parks renown backcountry. The trail is a must do for any avid backpacker as it provides breathtaking views of Amethyst Lake and the surrounding Rampart mountain range. This trip can be done in 3 days but one can easily spend up to a week exploring what the Tonquin has to offer.

The Tonquin Valley is well known for its strong grizzly bear population. If you plan on tackling this hike check bear warnings prior to leaving and always keep a can of bear spray easily accessible.It also is recommended that hikers wait till late summer or early autumn to complete this hike. Early season rain and snow cause muddy conditions and deteriorate trails. If one comes up to muddy sections stay on the trail as going off trail causes further damage to the area.

There are two ways one can access the Tonquin Valley. The more popular and scenic route is the Maccarib Pass. This trailhead is accessed by the Marmot Basin Resort road and is located right next to portal creek. The second way to get into the valley is via the Astoria River trail. This trailhead is located across from the Mount Edith Cavell hostel. It is the shorter but steeper option of the two as it consists of multiple switchbacks that aren't very forgiving. Both trails lead into the Tonquin Valley and meet up at the Amethyst Lake Campground. Once in the valley one can day hike the Eremite Valley and Chrome lake trails.

The Tonquin Valley has a total seven campgrounds along the trail as well as two privately operated backcountry huts. Due to the trail's popularity these all tend to fill up fast so make sure you book your accommodations early. All of the campsites are equipped with bear poles, tent pads, eating area and a green throne so you can answer nature's call. During the earlier months the campsites are infested with mosquitoes so don't forget your bug spray!

One of the downsides to the Tonquin Valley is there isn't actually a complete loop where you can return to your car. Because of this most people hike into the valley and then go back out the way they came in. An alternative is to hike point to point and then hiring a shuttle to bring you back to your car. Hitchhiking back is not recommended as you can get caught at the trailhead during less busy times of the year.

Pack List

  • Trail Map
  • Tent
  • Backpack
  • Boots
  • Gaiters
  • Stove
  • Food clothing
  • Rain gear
  • Appropriate clothing
  • Bear spray
  • Bug spray
  • Camera
  • Campsite reservation (
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Backpacking, Camping, Fishing, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:



Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:



43.5 Miles

Elev. Gain:

1640.4 Feet


Easy Parking

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