Sulphur Skyline Hike

Jasper, Alberta

One morning we were awaken by what sounded like a 4th grader learning to play the trumpet.  It quickly dawned on us that the sound wasn’t poor trumpeting, it was the unusual call of a male elk.  So we quickly got out of bed and raised the shades.  Just a few feet from us was this fellow.

He was standing guard while his “woman friend” and child enjoyed a tasty breakfast.  Rutting season has begun!

His better half

While we were researching hikes in the Jasper area, a photo of a hiker standing on top of a high mountain ridge caught our eye.  The hiker had just reached the summit of the Sulphur Skyline Hike.  Although only about three miles one way, this hike is listed as challenging due to the 2,300 foot gain in altitude.  We knew we just had to hike this trail.

Our last full day in Jasper was warm and sunny so we knew it was time to do this hike.  To reach the trailhead we drove about 25 miles east on the main highway, then 10 miles south into the mountains on a side road to the Miette Hot Springs parking area. The hiking trail starts above and right of the pool complex.

The scenery on the main highway was impressive

Some locals kept an eye on us as we rode by

From the parking lot we could see a snow covered peak in the distance.

Snow in the distance

A closer look

Little did we know as we set out that the snow covered area was our target!  The trail began on a nice paved path, but immediately began to gain elevation.

Snow covered the trail all the way up

The sun warmed us as we hiked through the snow

After hiking up and around numerous switchbacks on the trail for what seemed to be an eternity, we came to an open meadow just above the tree line.  At last, we were at the summit!

But wait, are those hikers coming down at us?  Oh no, the trail continues up that snow covered rock pile!  But we can’t quit now, can we?

So after a brief rest we began the final quest for the summit!

The trail was covered with slush and snow as we climbed up.

As we neared the top we didn’t have to worry about the trail anymore as it just disappeared under the snow!

At that point you just picked a path and headed up.  Loose gravel made the trek even more interesting.

Even the nimble hiker found the climb a challenge . . .

. . . but she never quit!

It is a difficult climb, but the views from the summit make it all worth while.

I’m at the top of the world!

Lunch with a view!

Will you be joining us for lunch?

We passed a number of small groups of hikers on the way up, but fortunately the summit was deserted for most of our visit.  After enjoying the views and a light lunch it was time to make our way back down the mountain.

The nimble hiker has left the summit!

While the hike up the mountain was a bit of a challenge, we found the views from the top to be the most spectacular we have ever experience.  In every direction there was a beautiful snow capped mountain in sight!  If ever in Jasper, don’t miss this one!

So now our visit to Jasper is over.  It’s time to head south about 180 miles to visit the town of Banff and the National Park.  More on that later . . .

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23 Responses to Sulphur Skyline Hike

  1. cathy says:

    Great pics! The Yellowstone elk are getting antsy as well. One big bull has been charging cars in Mammoth. Love hearing the bugles!

  2. As usual, you guys are awesome! Wow…looks fantastic. AND I love the pics of your lunch view. Terrific!

  3. RJRVtravels says:

    Nice! Great day – great pictures and congrats on the summit.

  4. Linda Wolfe says:

    Beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Laurel says:

    That is an AMAZING hike — you definitely had to work for those views! Do you ever use hiking poles? I don’t usually, but occasionally on steep or slippery hikes they seem helpful. Got a laugh out of your description of the bugling elk — such a fun sound to hear. You’re certainly seeing an abundance of wildlife. Great photos!

    • placestheygo says:

      Laurel, we don’t use poles. We look at them and think maybe they would be nice at times. But we haven’t made a purchase yet. So far we really haven’t found that we need them.

      Takes a former educator to come up with that comparison for the bugling elk:)

  6. pmbweaver says:

    Fantastic header photo.
    Such a nice gentleman that elk is. I am sure “woman friend” and baby felt very safe with him on the look out.
    Well, I think I am speechless. This is the most beautiful trail I think I have ever seen anyone do. I would just sit there for hours and take it all in. I sat looking at the one photo for at least three minutes and I am thousands of miles away. Fabulous!
    What is your little buddy’s name? He sure is a friendly one.

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks, Marsha:) We said that same thing. It was our hardest hike and most spectacular. I am so glad we did have the snow in Jasper. The glaciers would all be there but not those beautiful snowy peaks on each mountain. It was very special to have the top to ourselves and have the winds calm, as well:)

      Our “friend” was way too friendly!!

  7. LuAnn says:

    I really wish we could watch the elk during their rut. It was one of the most exciting parts of our time in Yellowstone. You know, you are going to scare off all your friends from hiking with the two of you after seeing what you’ve been doing (lol). Those views from the summit look amazing. 🙂

  8. Ingrid says:

    Spectacular! LuAnn warned me about you two and your hiking abilities. Never a doubt in my mind you’d make it to the top 🙂

  9. I agree with LuAnn, we are really really scared of hiking with you two 🙂 it will take us a year to catch up at your level. But the reward up there is really worth the challenge.
    Oh my ! the view is really outstanding. Thank you John and Pam for taking us along on all your hikes. Way too cool.

  10. jcgc50 says:

    Oh, I so want to do that hike! Looks simply fabulous. Can’t believe you made it up there through the snow without using poles!
    Gayle

  11. Lenore says:

    Wow! You guys are like a couple of long horned sheep yourselves! Super hikers!

  12. Sherry says:

    Wow that was some hike. I was wondering if the snow and sun made anything icy but I guess slushy until it turns night fall. Maybe not good in the early morning. Those were just spectacular views. And you sure did earn them. Not sure I could manage this one but I’d have loved to have an elk bugling right outside my door. I was feeling really sorry for you guys running into the snow but now I’m pretty envious.

  13. Gay says:

    Breathtaking…your pictures are just breathtaking. Sure wish we could have joined in for that one. I would have been in summit heaven for sure!

  14. What incredible peaks! You guys are putting us to shame with your amazing hikes…good for you!

  15. Janna says:

    Gorgeous photos–looks as if it was one of those perfect, clear, blue sky days!

  16. Wow! Beautiful hike! It looks like quite a challenge but worth it for sure!

  17. Pam Leonard says:

    Liked your lunchmate! Glad the snow didn’t turn you back, though it might have turned me around. Perhaps you’ll inspire us to tough it out when we encounter a similar situation.

  18. Erin says:

    Waking up to a bugling elk … now that’s something! Our Jasper trip predates our motorhome, so we stayed at Alpine Chalets just outside the township on that occasion … had an elk come visiting every day with his harem. Early one morning, saw the same elk along the road and stopped to take photos; that’s when we heard it bugling, calling its harem to come to him … eerie noise. The hike looks great … have done a 1000 foot elevation gain; twice as much could be a challenge, but I am putting this on our list for a future trip … those views would be worth the effort.

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