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Hike from willowy meadows, into the forest, and next to the turquoise Snake Indian River with awesome mountain views.


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Map Key

24.6

Miles

39.7

KM

Point to Point

5,615' 1,711 m

High

4,462' 1,360 m

Low

1,893' 577 m

Up

893' 272 m

Down

2%

Avg Grade (1°)

25%

Max Grade (14°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Commonly Backpacked · Fall Colors · Historical Significance · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildlife

Need to Know

The North Boundary Trail is a long distance wilderness trail through the roadless, northern backcountry of Jasper National Park. The forests, meadows, mountains, and valleys with their rivers, offer a sublime beauty and true wilderness experience for those with the stamina, expertise, and comfort in remote isolation, to hike this trail. This specific trail description covers about 25 miles of it along the Snake Indian River, from a major trail junction and trail camp at Willow Creek, to the remote Three Slides trail camp.

Camping along this trail is limited to the established trail camps. Permits and reservations are needed for the trail camps. They can be gotten online at the Parks Canada permit/reservation website: https://reservation.pc.gc.ca/

Please review the Parks Canada website and follow Leave No Trace principles.

Description

This trail description picks up where North Boundary Trail - Celestine to Willow Creek ends, at Willow Creek trail camp. All mile marks are distances west of Willow Creek trail camp, the trail start of this description.

Exiting Willow Creek trail camp, head west through the expansive, willowy open area and its great views of the distant mountains. Alternating between travel through fir forest and open meadows, passing trails to Little Heaven trail camp and a shortcut back to Willow Creek Warden Cabin, and crossing a few creeks along the way, the trail reaches the beautiful, turquoise Snake Indian River at the 2 mile mark.

From here, the trail follows the Snake Indian River upstream for the rest of this piece of the North Boundary Trail. Continuing on, it is a forest trail, traveling primarily through the beautiful fir forest. Sometimes the trail is next to the Snake Indian River, and in these stretches, some of which are quite long, the views of the river, distant mountains, and nearby wet meadows surrounding the river, are stellar. And one can only see these beautiful, remote places by walking in :>) Other times, the trail is away from the river in the very quiet and peaceful deep backcountry forest.

At the 7.2 mile mark, a short side trail, Wellbourne Falls Spur, that leads to Wellbourne Falls is passed, well worth a visit. Hiker trail camps are also passed - Wellbourne at the 7.6 mile mark, Blue Creek at the 15.1 mile mark, and the spur trail to Three Slides at the 24.5 mile mark.

Right after/west of Blue Creek trail camp, there is a trail junction with the trail to Ancient Wall, and Blue Creek must be forded. The route can be a bit confusing here, due to the old bridge over Blue Creek that no longer exists. Leaving Blue Creek trail camp (going west), after crossing a side creek, there is a fork in the trail. The right branch has a sign for the "Foot Bridge" that no longer exists. This right branch climbs up a hillside and is the trail to Ancient Wall. The unmarked left branch of the fork leads down to Blue Creek and the place to ford the creek. Look downstream after reaching Blue Creek and you can see a yellow diamond on the far banks and the trail on the far side of the creek. After crossing the creek and going a very short ways the trail veers right, and comes to a trail sign pointing the way to continue on the North Boundary Trail.

Although this trail description ends just after Three Slides trail camp, the North Boundary Trail continues on.

Flora & Fauna

Fir forest - spruce, fir, lodgepole pine, etc. Meadows of willows. There is an abundance of animal tracks. Deer, elk, moose, wolves, bears, and more all call this home.

Contacts

Shared By:

Joan Pendleton

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 1 vote

#4909

Overall
  5.0 from 1 vote
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Trail Rankings

#29

in Alberta

#4,909

Overall
5 Views Last Month
41 Since Sep 9, 2021
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Photos

Beautiful turquoise Snake Indian River below.  Rajah, 9,901 ft., the double peaked mountain in the center is quite photogenic on this perfect mid September morning.
Sep 16, 2023 near Hinton, AB
Sunset from the banks of the Snake Indian River at Wellbourne trail camp.
Sep 16, 2023 near Hinton, AB
A new day begins as mist rises from the Snake Indian River at Wellbourne trail camp.
Sep 16, 2023 near Hinton, AB
Beautiful, turquoise Snake Indian River and rugged mountains into the distance in the North Boundary Trail backcountry.
Oct 2, 2021 near Hinton, AB
The serene, remote wilderness beauty of the turquoise Snake Indian River meandering through lush, green subalpine meadows surrounded by rugged peaks dusted with August snow.
Oct 2, 2021 near Hinton, AB
Snake Indian River, just upstream of Wellbourne Falls.
Oct 2, 2021 near Hinton, AB

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