Backpack the Vision Quest Trail

Canada Vision Quest Trailhead

  • Activities:

    Survival, Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

Forest
Lake
Scenic

Distance: 6.1 miles (10 km) roundtrip (or more). Elevation gain: 2,620 ft (800 m). Amazing views of Abraham Lake. Steep initial hike and scrambling/ridge walk. Great backcountry camping.

This short, but steep hike includes a moderate scrambling section, leading to an open spine that becomes increasingly difficult. The views of Abraham Lake are well worth the uphill grind, however, and this makes for a great half-day or beautiful backcountry overnight trip.

About one third of the way up the trail you will reach a level area, which is said to have been a Stoney vision quest site, though this hasn't been confirmed. This is a great spot for a campsite, or you can continue climbing for higher views.

Once you get above the tree line, there is no longer a marked trail, allowing you to choose a route yourself. The final piece of the hike is a moderate scrambling section called the Buckle. At the top there are amazing river valley views, where you can appreciate the blue-green color of the mighty Abraham Lake.

If you choose to camp overnight and take in the amazing night skies over Clearwater County, be sure to stay alert to bears.

Getting there: Follow David Thompson Highway 11 for 82.6 miles (133 km) west of Rocky Mountain House, just east of the David Thompson Resort. Turn right onto a secondary road marked "Waste Transfer Station.” The trailhead is just to the right of the fence. Its GPS coordinates are 52°12'57.25"N 116°28'14.57"W.

Pack List

  • Hiking boots
  • Hiking poles
  • Clothing layers
  • Food
  • Water
  • Camp stove and coffee
  • Camera
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Reviews

Overall rating: 

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This is one of the best hikes I have ever done. It's not an easy trail, and most of it is straight up, but the view at the top in unbelievable. It's away from the popular places in Banff and Jasper, but well worth the drive up there. If you are looking for a photo op, I would recommend bringing a wide angle lens to capture all of Abraham Lake.

6 months ago
6 months ago

Vision quest is a must hike! All up steep rocky terrain with a wicked view of Abraham Lake all the way to the peak!

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

Stephen Underhay

26 years old, originally from Yellowknife NT, central Alberta is now where I call home. A professional firefighter/EMT, I'm afforded a lot of time off to explore my hobbies. Climbing, paddling, hiking and camping off the beaten path are how I spend my time. Recently taking up adventure photography I've now gained a direction to focus my pastimes.

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