Hiking Brazeau Lake Loop
Hiking Brazeau Lake Loop Trail-Some helpful Information
The trailhead is about 71 miles ( 118 km) south of Jasper on Hwy 93, or north of Lake Louise about 69 miles (116 km).
There is a signed parking lot for the trailhead.
Many hikers choose to trek only as far as Nigel Pass, a moderate hike that can be accomplished out and back in a day (about 8.4 miles RT or 14 km). A permit is not required for day use, but backpackers will need one. Parks Canada has all the details about permits and maps.
The Brazeau Lake Loop trail is a 47 mile (78 km) hiking trail through classic Rocky mountain scenery.
The route, shaped more like a lollipop than a loop, crosses:
- Nigel Pass at 7299 ft (2225 m),
- Jonas Pass at 7611 ft (2320 m),
- Jonas Shoulder at 8103 ft (2470 m)
- Poboktan Pass at 7559 ft (2304 m)
- and back across Nigel Pass one more time to return to your vehicle.
Most hikers take between 4 to six days to complete the circuit. Clubtread forum posts an excellent description and log for the route. The adjacent map came from this site.
We did not hike the entire loop.
We had read many accounts that described the section from Poboktan Pass to Brazeau Lake back to Jonas Pass Junction was heavily forested and afforded very few views.
As you will see from the photographs on this page, the Jonas Pass side of the loop is absolutely spectacular.
We returned after Poboktan Pass by the same route. This gave us the opportunity to experience this magnificent trail in reverse and it was equally impressive. We highly recommend it.
Day One Nigel Trailhead to Four Point Campground- 8.3 miles (13.9 km)
Gain: +1099 ft (+335 m) …Loss: -902 ft (-275 m)
The trail begins in forest and meadow, following the pretty Nigel River.
The meadows support wildflowers in season…the forests grow mushrooms!
We leave the forest behind and hike through the wider meadows of Nigel Creek Valley.
The ascent to Nigel Pass steepens, but it is still a moderate climb.
Vegetation has given way to barren rock and slides.
It’s about two hours to the pass from the trailhead.
Shortly after Nigel Pass, hikers must cross the Upper Brazeau River.
It can be an exciting event depending on the water level.
We always carry crossing shoes in our packs.
Day Two Four Point Campground to Jonas Cutoff Camp- 11.4 miles (19 km)
Gain: +1820 ft (555+m) … Loss: -1148 ft (-350 m)
This is one tough day especially with a backpack…long distance…big elevation gain
There are no places to camp in between. One must go the distance.
The hike out of Four Point campground is up a steep hill through forest.
Soon, the forest opens up and a long, steady, beautiful ascent to Jonas Pass absorbs your interest.
If the English language could add another level of super, like the Spanish language adds “isimo” to mean very, very super, than, we would have to describe this section from Jonas Pass to Jonas Shoulder as superisimo!
The broad valley is lined with superlative peaks still clad in snow even in late August.
After descending Jonas Shoulder towards Jonas Cutoff Camp…look back behind.
The shoulder stands huge against the background peaks!
Jonas Cutoff Camp to Poboktan Pass/Return to camp
It’s a 3.8 mile (6.4 km) round trip to Poboktan Pass and back to camp. We gained 538 ft (164 m) to climb to the pass.
It was easy to enjoy as the scenery exploded around us. We had plenty of time to sit and contemplate, even read a book for awhile. What a place to spend a day!
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