There are so many hikes in Jasper National Park (and all of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks) we didn’t have time for, but Beauty Creek provides an opportunity for one last jaunt as we leave the park.
We tried to hike here a few days earlier, but couldn’t find the trailhead. Now, having consulted our trusty copy of Parkways of the Canadian Rockies, we know to look for it across the road from the tangled section of the Sunwapta River where I had stopped to take photographs the other day. (We were so close!)
The first part of the trail follows the top of a berm to an abandoned roadway, but even here the creek and surrounding wetlands offer plenty to see.
This section is well marked!
Once you reach the creek, you turn away from the road (it ends at the creek where evidence of a washed-out bridge remains) to follow a wooded path up along the creek.
It’s clearly a path used by a variety of visitors, not just hikers.
(We decided we were sharing the trail with a wolverine this morning. Fortunately we didn’t run into him along the way.)
Beauty Creek itself twists and tumbles through a narrow canyon filled with cascades and small waterfalls (Parkways says there are eight), however, in most spots, the river is nearly invisible unless you stand at the very edge of the canyon and peer straight down.
It’s gorgeous and we had it all completely to ourselves!
The trail leads to Stanley Falls, but – even though it isn’t very far – we ended up turning back before we reached it. We couldn’t stop thinking about how many miles we had to travel that day to reach our evening’s destination! With all that driving on our minds, we severely restricted our hiking time. (And we kept stopping to wander along the ledges and take pictures.) If you go, do continue on to Stanley Falls, as it looks gorgeous.
Stanley Falls – photo by newsummits.wordpress.com
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
The Beauty Creek trailhead is located at a small, unmarked parking area on the east side of the Icefields Parkway, almost on top of a huge culvert just south of the Beauty Creek Hostel. The trail is all uphill going in, but easy. However, it may not be a great hike for anyone with a fear of heights, as most of the cascades are only visible by standing at the canyon edge! Stanley Falls is about one mile in.
Poetry from Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”
Along the Icefields Parkway
Jasper National Park