Sandwiched between towering glacier-clad mountains, the trail up the Eremite is a must do for all hikers bound for the Tonquin Valley in Jasper National Park
. This trail which is off-limits to horses is best done from the Wates-Gibson Hut http://alpineclubofcanada.ca/facility/wates.html or Surprise Point and Clitheroe campgrounds.
From the junction with the Astoria River
trail it is a quick 100m down to Clitheroe campground. Clitheroe may not have the scenic properties of the other campgrounds but it's centrally located and well sheltered in the trees. The Tonquin Valley warden station is passed at 1km and you'll cross the Astoria River at 1.5km just downstream from the outlet of the Amethyst Lakes. This is a good location to fill the water bottles before heading to Surprise Point c/g. After crossing a very wet meadow you'll pull into Surprise Point Campground at 2km. This is the most popular campground in the valley but the spectacular views are taken in exchange for an exposed location. Sometimes the wind keeps the mosquitoes away but if it doesn't I hope you're prepared. Clitheroe c/g has eight tenting sites while Surprise Point only has four, both are equipped with the regular compliment of tenting pads, bear poles with cables and a green throne privy.
Please be aware that camp fires are not permitted in the Tonquin Valley and dogs are now taboo as well.
Behind Surprise Point c/g the trail strikes off into the forest and slips down the backside of Surprise Point to the junction with the ACC Chrome Lake trail. Turn right and follow this trail for 300m before turning left and resuming your journey up the Eremite. Having covered half the distance you are still 4km from trails end at Arrowhead Lake. Yet such a beautiful valley just begs further exploration and many people do venture beyond the lake, if you do, please tread lightly.
The Friends of Jasper
have the maps you'll need for this trip which is of course the 1:50,000 government topo '83D9 Amethyst Lakes', or you can opt for Gemtrek's 'Jasper and Maligne Lake @ 1:100,000'. Booking is required and fees apply, call the Jasper Trail Office at 1-780-852-6177. Reservations, which can be made up to three months in advance, are a good idea if you are visiting on a weekend in summer or early autumn.
Submitted by 'mtncat'.
Start the hike from the Wates-Gibson Hut, Surprise Point c/g, Clitheroe c/g or Tonquin Valley Adventures cabins.
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