The first stop in our Canadian hiking journey was Tangle Ridge in Jasper National Park. This hike is an excellent opportunity to reach ~10,000 feet in the Icefields Parkway region without navigating any technical sections. You just need some good ole physical fitness and a little weather wisdom and you’re set!
Jasper is the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies. There are over 600 miles of hiking trails in Jasper, many of which are in the rugged backcountry and away from the crowds. On this hike we saw ZERO people. So if you are looking to find solitude and some incredible views, this may be the hike for you!
I need to add: the Icefields Parkway drive is truly spectacular. The 140 miles passing through and by Jasper, Banff, Kootenay, and Yoho National Parks are worth at least a day to enjoy. So many glaciers, rugged mountain vistas, and WILDLIFE! We saw brown bear, black bear and moose. Check out this little guide to the drive here.
- Round trip length: 7.5 miles
- Start elevation: 6,070 feet
- End elevation: 9,850 feet
- Elevation gain: 3,780 feet
- Trailhead: Tangle Falls parking area off of the Icefields Parkway.
- Permits: a national park pass is required for entry into Jasper National Park. It was $9.80 (CAD) per adult per day or $136.40 per adult for an annual pass. We spent a week in the Canadian national parks so the annual pass was approximately one Canadian dollar cheaper. #thrifty
We crossed the Icefields Parkway from the Tangle Falls parking area. On the right side of the falls there was a sign for Wilcox pass – follow that! We started up the trail that runs along the road for about five minutes before turning left (north).
Right before we did that we were almost mauled by big horn sheep:
We hit Tangle Creek after half a mile or so. We crossed when we saw the rocky drainage on the opposite side of the creek leading to a trail, marked by a cairn (GPS: 5791217N, 481298E, UTM 11 N, NAD83). From here the trail was well-established until treeline. It was steep and exposed in some sections.
Soon after we hit tree line a giant scree slope greeted us. We made our way up slowly – it was stable and easy to navigate.
After living at sea level for 6 weeks this hike almost killed me. At 8,000 feet I felt the altitude in a very humbling way.
Eventually after stopping 42 times so the dizziness and unusually rapid heartbeat would decrease, we reached the top!
At the top of Tangle Ridge:
I posed for pictures. My jacket matches the sky and my shorts match the ground.
Then we had to accept the reality that we could not live on top of the world. Goodbye views and life contentment.
Tangle Ridge was an awesome hike – excellent views and no crowds. A must-do if you’re in Jasper National Park!