Summit Door Jamb Mountain and Loder Peak

Bighorn No. 8, Alberta

based on 2 reviews


Added by James Hueser

Distance: 13 km (8 miles). Elevation gain: 900 m (2950 ft). Duration: 4 hours. Climb two easy peaks in one day. Fossils, geology, and limestone canyons in Jura Creek. Great scramble for beginners.

If you're looking for views, vistas, and great scrambles in the Rockies, this is a great place to start. For any geology enthusiast, furthermore, this hike cannot be missed, offering great opportunities to search for some seriously ancient fossils.

The trail begins on the west side of the parking lot – you will see a wide trail heading west, and a narrower trail heading north. Follow the narrower trailer, which gains elevation quickly, giving you a good work out. The trail also involves navigating some slabs, without being too technical, making this a great introduction to scrambling for beginners. It does take some route finding to reach the top, but it is still manageable – just keep heading up!

The push to Loder Peak has a lot of shale (identifiable by its orange color), so keep an eye out for fossils. There are lots of stromatoporoids, as well some really clear bedding planes. From the top of Loder, you will have a great view of Yamnuska to the east, as well as Old Goat Mountain, which is the true summit of this mountain range.

You then have two options for going down. The first is to head back the way you came, but this involves descending all those 30 degree slabs, which is not the most fun!

The alternate way down is along the north side of the mountain. Follow cairns down the north side of Loder Peak and work your way down the gully. Also be careful of dislodging loose rocks, if there is anybody below you. Early in the season, there may be enough snow to slide most of the way down. If not, it is a steady gully walk to Jura Creek. There are lots of fossils in this area, especially coral!

Jura Creek is one of the best parts of this hike – in addition to the fossils, it's a lot of fun to pick your way through this braided channel. There are also a few bedrock channels that you can explore if the water level is low enough.

The best and coolest part about Jura Creek, however, is the geology you can find on one of the cliff faces. Keep an eye out for it, right after the first bedrock channel/canyon. This cliff is amazing from a geological standpoint because it contains three different rock formations: Palliser limestone, Exshaw Shale, and Banff limestone. These formations span millions of years, and the Exshaw even spans over the Devonian-Carboniferous boundary!

The rest of the hike follows Jura Creek, winding in and out of the trees. A lot of the trail in the forest was washed out from the 2013 floods, so you will have to keep to the river bed for most of the way. The channel widens significantly, and you will be able to climb up out of the river bed on the east side, taking you back to a trail to the parking lot.

Note that although the parking lot is just off of the road, you do have to drive through a ditch to get there, so be careful of bottoming out.

Read More

Download the Outbound mobile app

Find adventures and camping on the go, share photos, use GPX tracks, and download maps for offline use.

Get the app


Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly

Summit Door Jamb Mountain and Loder Peak Reviews

We had a great time on this hike. The description of the trail written here is pretty accurate, expect for allotted time. We are fairly experienced hikers, but it took us 7.5hrs to do the whole loop (breaks included). We certainly would not recommend this hike to a beginner as there are many challenging sections of slab, way finding, and shale scree as noted. Also would not recommend on a rainy day as many of the slab sections become very slippery. Though there was some water in the river bed found lots of routes around and we did not have to get our feet wet.

Steep all the way to the top! Trail is easy to get lost on so once you're nearing the top, there will be a mark in the trail to tell you where to go. Left side of the mountain is the rock climbing side so be sure to stick to the right to be able to continue your hike. Not lots of tree coverage so be sure to pack sunscreen! Poles is highly recommended.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


Hiking Jura Creek

Heart Mountain and Grant MacEwan Scramble

Hike through McGillivray Canyon

Climb McGillivray Slabs

Hike Grotto Creek

Icewalk in Grotto Canyon