• Activities:

    Hiking, Fitness

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Spring, Summer

  • Trail Type:


  • RT Distance:

    9.3 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    984.3 Feet

Swimming Hole

Take a break from the Banff crowds on this quiet but beautiful trail to the toe of the Saskatchewan Glacier!

The Saskatchewan Glacier is usually seen from above, on Parker's Ridge, but this much quieter trail will give you access to the very base of the glacier. Though much longer than the famous Parker's Ridge, this trail is easy and meanders through morraines and forest before reaching the toe of the glacier. Stunning waterfalls, erratics, and fossils are dotted along the way for your visual pleasure. 

This is an unmarked unofficial trail and setting off can be slightly confusing. Park at the old abandoned concrete bridge just before big bend on the Jasper Park highway. Don't attempt to access the route from the west parking area near the centre of big bend, it turns into a long miserable bushwhack. Once you're parked, immediately head right on the trail that follows the river. 

Drop down onto the gravel flats and follow the old road tracks until you reach the trees. Find the grown over old road that was built in the 1930's by the U.S. Army's 87th Mountain Division. From here, the trail is easy to follow through the forest until you get to a junction a few hundred metres after coming out of the forested area. There are two routes from here. This first route is absolutely beautiful but you cannot get as close to the Saskatchewan Glacier due to an impassable south lateral moraine. Unless you are highly skilled in climbing, you should take this route (left at the junction). 

Follow this trail along past waterfalls and morraines until you reach the glacier and the lake below. Enjoy!  

Pack List

  • 10 essentials 
  • Bear spray (this is grizzly territory!)
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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