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Parker Ridge Trail

Intermediate
 5.0 (1)

Run to a scree ridge overlooking Saskatchewan Glacier, source of N. Saskatchewan River, with mountain views forever.


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Map Key

1.6

Miles

2.6

KM

68%

Runnable

7,463' 2,275 m

High

6,561' 2,000 m

Low

915' 279 m

Up

88' 27 m

Down

12%

Avg Grade (7°)

28%

Max Grade (15°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Fall Colors · Geological Significance · River/Creek · Views

Description

The Parker Ridge Trail trailhead is found at a large, well-marked parking area along the Icefields Parkway (Hwy 93).

To run Parker Ridge Trail, start off by entering the beautiful fir forest, on the wide dirt path at the trailhead sign. Almost immediately the trail starts climbing the ridge—Parker Ridge. This climb lasts for the first 1.1 miles when the crest of Parker Ridge is reached. Along the way, the firs thin and lower vegetation abounds, followed by lichens and finally barren scree, as elevation is gained. And awesome mountain views take over, in all directions, EXCEPT for the southwest, south, and southeast that are dominated by the sight of Parker Ridge. Some of the notable nearby peaks are Mount Athabasca and Hilda Peak to the west, and Nigel Peak to the northwest.

At about the mile mark, a trail junction with Parker Ridge Spur is reached. This spur provides additional views with a slightly different perspective than the rest of Parker Ridge—definitely worth exploring on the way back. Continuing on, almost immediately at the 1.1 mile mark, the top of Parker Ridge is reached and "jaw dropping" views on the other side of the ridge come into view— Saskatchewan Glacier with its melt pond, the beginning of the North Saskatchewan River, and MANY mountains to the south on the far side of Saskatchewan Glacier, including Castleguard Mountain in the distance. These mountains hold the Columbia Icefield, a very large icefield that is the source of Saskatchewan glacier and several other glaciers. Also there are views of MANY mountains to the east.

The last half mile of Parker Ridge Trail is relatively flat as it follows the ridge just below its crest, on the southwest side of the ridge. The amazing views of Saskatchewan Glacier, etc, can be seen everywhere along this section and there are many places to take a break, snack, and admire the expansive wonder up here. When done, return the way you came, and don't forget to visit Parker Ridge Spur on the way back.

Flora & Fauna

Fir forest, thinning to sub-alpine, then alpine, and finally barren scree.

Contacts

Shared By:

Joan Pendleton

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 1 vote

#3023

Overall
  5.0 from 1 vote
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Trail Rankings

#19

in Alberta

#3,023

Overall
10 Views Last Month
91 Since Sep 22, 2019
Intermediate

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Photos

Castleguard Mountain in the distance (center) rises above Saskatchewan Glacier. Melt water from the glacier is the beginning of the North Saskatchewan River.
Sep 22, 2019 near Jasper…, AB
Mount Athabasca (left), Hilda Peak (center left), and Wilcox Peak (right) are seen to the west from Parker Ridge Trail.
Sep 22, 2019 near Jasper…, AB
Mount Athabasca (left center) and Hilda Peak (right center) come into view as Parker Ridge Trail climbs.
Sep 22, 2019 near Jasper…, AB
Nigel Peak, to the northwest, from Parker Ridge Trail.
Sep 22, 2019 near Jasper…, AB
Parker Ridge Trail starts off in the thin fir forest with mountain views.
Sep 22, 2019 near Jasper…, AB

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