If you make your way to Jasper National Park this year – you should consider a day hike at Wilcox Pass.
With out question, Wilcox Pass is one of my favourite hikes.
BRO – YOU’VE ONLY DONE A DOZEN HIKES
Okay. Okay. I’ll admit I have only done so many hikes in my adult life – but I strongly suggest this hike to anyone visiting the park. I might even suggest it as a more eco-friendly alternative to heading up the Columbia Icefield on a tour bus.
When to go
I’ve seen pictures of people doing this hike in the snow but I would suggest doing so between Spring and early Fall. Head to the trailhead before/by 7 a.m. if you want an uninterrupted hike up to the pass.
We went in July and were greeted with some stunning views on our way down to the trailhead, from Jasper.
What I loved about the hike
- Most of the ‘hard work’ is during the ascent to the first 1-2 checkpoints (AllTrails check points)
You start in a more wooded area as you hustle up above the tree line. I loved all the sprawling roots from the trees as they provided some extra grip.
- The seclusion of the pass itself
Once you get about 1km past the red ‘Parks Canada’ chairs you are within shouting distance of where Wilxcox pass technically begins. Once at Wilcox Pass, you can continue a few more kilometres to the lookout for the Columbia Icefield, relax + explore the pass or connect to other day hikes and trail systems.
If you are following the AllTrails map to the Wilcox Viewpoint, I recommend stopping 1 hill short. That way you don’t get the view of the highway while you look outward and admire the Icefield. I think the pass is so special in that you feel like you are sheltered from the hustle/bustle of the Icefield – why ruin that feeling? I don’t need a highway and tour busses in my view.
If you stick to the middle of the pass you will be rewarded with 360 degree views of mountains, fields filled with wildflowers, creeks and a ton of Marmots and potentially some Bighorn sheep.
We hiked to Wilcox Pass in July, 2021. Fires were still raging in B.C. so we did have smoke – but the views were still incredible. I’d do this hike again. Clear skies or not.
Skip the Icefield visit and give this day hike a try. Enjoy!