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Hike up the mighty Athabasca River to the Chaba River amid high, rugged mountains.

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Point to Point

4,590' 1,399 m


4,391' 1,338 m


421' 128 m


507' 155 m



Avg Grade (1°)


Max Grade (5°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Commonly Backpacked · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildlife

Family Friendly Relatively easy trail, closely spaced campgrounds with wonderful facilities, in beautiful settings.

Need to Know

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.


The Chaba Trail trailhead is found at Sunwapta Falls, a popular tourist stop along the Icefields Parkway (Hwy 93). From the trailhead sign, the trail starts by crossing over the Sunwapta River where many tourists admire the falls. Shortly after, entering the fir forest, the trail leaves the tourist scene behind.

For its entire length, Chaba Trail is in the fir forest with teasers of the rugged surrounding peaks and Athabasca River, peeking through the trees. The trail is basically flat with just enough short ups and downs to keep things interesting. The trail follows the Athabasca River upstream to where the Chaba River empties into the Athabasca. In places where the trail is nearest the river, the river can be heard and sometimes seen, through all the trees. A few small creeks are crossed, all with good log bridges across them.

At the 3.8 mile mark, Chaba Trail meets Big Bend Campground Path that takes one to Big Bend trail camp, a lovely trail camp in a spectacular setting. Continuing on, Chaba Warden Shelter Spur where one can discover the Chaba Warden Shelter in a very picturesque setting, is reached at the 7.8 mile mark. A cute little turquoise lake is passed at the 9.0 mile mark just before Athabasca Crossing trail camp is reached.

Athabasca Crossing trail camp is where the Chaba River (from the southwest) empties into the Athabasca River. A few unofficial trails from near the trail camp eating area, take one down to the rivers, where one can get a good look at and explore this confluence.

At Athabasca Crossing trail camp, Chaba Trail veers left/southeast and runs through the trail camp. Follow the hiker signs here to continue on the trail. Leaving the trail camp behind, the trail soon reaches the Athabasca River that is smaller now, as this is upstream from where the Chaba empties into the Athabasca. Here the trail runs right along the Athabasca for about a quarter mile to where the old bridge used to be, and so where the trail currently ends.

Flora & Fauna

Fir forest.


Shared By:

Joan Pendleton

Trail Ratings

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  5.0 from 1 vote
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in Alberta


11 Views Last Month
538 Since Sep 24, 2021
Easy/Intermediate Easy/Intermediate



Athabasca River looking upstream/southeast near where the old bridge was washed away in 2014.
Sep 26, 2021 near Jasper…, AB
The Sunwapta River is in a gorge below Sunwapta Falls, on its way to Lower Sunwapta Falls.
Sep 21, 2019 near Jasper…, AB
Rugged peaks are seen through the trees of the beautiful forest that Chaba Trail runs through.
Sep 26, 2021 near Jasper…, AB
Views of the Athabasca River, Mount Sadleir, Fortress Mountain, and other mountains, tease the hiker through the trees of the forested Chaba Trail.
Sep 26, 2021 near Jasper…, AB
A cute turquoise lake along the Chaba Trail. Mount Sadleir in the distance (center left) and the shoulder of Fortress Mountain on the right.  Fortress Lake (not visible) is tucked in between Mount Sadleir and Fortress Mountain.
Sep 26, 2021 near Jasper…, AB
Athabasca River looking downstream/northwest near where the old bridge washed away in 2014. The Chaba River empties into the Athabasca from the left in front of Fortress Mountain. (upper center). Stunning Fortress Lake is behind Fortress Mountain
Sep 26, 2021 near Jasper…, AB


Current Trail Conditions

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Sep 10, 2021
Joan Pendleton

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