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Moose River Route: Smoky River Crossing to Moose Pass

Difficult
 5.0 (1)

Beautiful, wild Rockies at their best—rivers, fir forests, and prettiest, huge, high mountain meadows at Moose Pass.


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Map Key

5.1

Miles

8.2

KM

Point to Point

6,658' 2,029 m

High

5,262' 1,604 m

Low

1,396' 426 m

Up

0' 0 m

Down

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

17%

Max Grade (10°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Commonly Backpacked · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Camping along this trail is limited to random camping. A permit that can be picked up at the trail desk in the Jasper Information Center in Jasper, is needed. Visit or call the Jasper Information Center to get information about this random camping.

Need to Know

The entire Moose River Route (about 40 miles) goes from a trailhead about 40 miles east of the Berg Lake Trail trailhead, on the Yellowhead Highway (Hwy 16), to Berg Lake Trail at the British Columbia/Alberta border. However, this trail description is only about the Moose River Route section from the Smoky River crossing to Moose Pass.

This trail starts with the Smoky River ford that can range from easy when the water is low - ankle to calf deep, to treacherous with high water levels such as waist level or possibly higher. Water levels are usually lower by the end of August when the winter snow melt has subsided. However, even then, they will typically be lower in the morning and higher in the afternoon due to glacier melt during the day. Water levels are also higher after rains. Regardless of water level, the current is swift. Best to use trekking poles when crossing such fast flowing water.

Description

Beginning on the southwest side of the Smoky River, the trail crosses the river at a flagged crossing, from a cairn at the end of a big log on the southwest side, to a hikers sign on the northeast side. However, to ford the river where the water is lower, head downstream along the gravel flats about 0.25 mile to where the river has spread out and is shallower, as described by Moose River Route: Smoky River Crossing Alternate.

After crossing the Smoky River, there is a trail junction with Coleman Glacier Trail. Go left here to enter the dense fir forest and begin climbing a forested ridge. After about 0.8 miles, one can hear Calumet Creek, a large tributary of the Smoky River, below. However, still in the thick forest, Calumet Creek can not be seen yet. From here, the trail follows Calumet Creek all the way to the Moose Pass meadows, where the creek's headwaters cascade down from the snow and glaciers of the surrounding peaks.

After about 1.8 miles, still in the forest, the trail levels out. Another 0.3 miles later, the trail emerges from the forest into a broad, mile long wet meadow with Calumet Creek running the length of the meadow. Many side streams flow through this meadow into Calumet Creek. At the meadow's edge, almost immediately, it is easy to lose the trail. Actually, there may not be a true trail here, just paths that others have taken. DO NOT CROSS CALUMET CREEK in this meadow. Angle for the forest on the south side of the meadow to pick up the trail about half way through the meadow. This can vary, but definitely by 3/4 of the way through the meadow one should be on trail at the forest's edge on the south side of the meadow, with Calumet Creek next to the trail on the left (north).

Now on good trail, leaving the big, wet meadow behind and re-entering the fir forest, Calumet Creek Horse Camp on the banks of Calumet Creek, is passed. From here, the trail climbs continually to Moose Pass. The forest thins into meadows dotted with firs, and finally into the most beautiful, treeless meadows surrounded by rugged mountains of Calumet Ridge with their snow and glaciers, peaks to the east and south also, as Calumet Creek runs through the meadows.

From Moose Pass, one can continue on Moose River Route, down the other side of the pass into the remote, wild Moose River Valley (not described here).

This is a segment of the GDT (Great Divide Trail).

Contacts

Shared By:

Joan Pendleton

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 1 vote

#1753

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  5.0 from 1 vote
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#1,753

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451 Since Sep 9, 2018
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Photos

Calumet Creek headwaters flow through the expansive Moose Pass meadows below rugged Peaks of Calumet Ridge. Looking northwest from just west of Moose Pass.
Sep 11, 2018 near Grande…, AB
Looking north, left to right - Unnamed hill, peak(s) that some consider to be part of Calumet Peak (lower than Calumet Peak), and northwest shoulder of Calumet Peak. Headwaters of Calumet Creek flow down from the glaciers and snowfields of Calumet Peak.
Sep 11, 2018 near Grande…, AB
Looking northeast, left to right - Calumet Peak, low ridge, ridge forming north side of Moose River valley descending southwest from Moose Pass, with the headwaters of Calumet Creek in the foreground, seen from the trail just west of Moose Pass.
Sep 11, 2018 near Grande…, AB
Calumet Creek. The trail runs along the creek after crossing the large open, flat, wet meadow to the west.
Sep 11, 2018 near Grande…, AB
More mountains, glaciers, and snowfields come into view to the west-southwest when descending through the Moose Pass meadows. Mumm Peak, Mount Anne-Alice, Mural Glacier, Mount Phillips, and Gendarme Mountain (left ot right).
Sep 11, 2018 near Grande…, AB
The headwaters of Calumet Creek flow down through the mountain meadows just west of Moose Pass. Seen looking west-northwest from the west side of Moose Pass.
Sep 11, 2018 near Grande…, AB

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Aug 27, 2018
Joan Pendleton