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Nigel Pass
Banff National Park, Alberta
July 29, 2017

Nigel Pass probably sees more backpackers than day hikers. At least that’s what Zora, Dinah and I found when we hiked it. But Nigel Pass is a worthwhile destination in itself, and unlike backpackers who simply pass over it, we had time to walk its length and enjoy the stretch of rock and alpine meadow that ends above a shallow tarn.

The trip begins with a mindless walk up a 2-km road to Camp Parker. Other than some historic corrals, there is little to see along the way. At the end of the road, we turned onto a trail that leads to two bridge crossings in succession before entering the woods. Eventually, the trees loosened their grip on the scenery and the vastness of Nigel Creek Valley hit us. Ahead we caught glimpses of the beige rocks marking Nigel Pass.

When we reached the rolling pass, we left the trail and wandered through meadows and along striated rock to the west end. Below us, Brazeau River Valley extended north while a nearby tarn sat at the west end of the pass. After a break, we made our way back to the trail. As hikes go, this is an easy trip with good scenery for little effort.

KML and GPX Tracks


Starting down the road


The road ends at Camp Parker. The trail starts on the left.


Starting down the trail


Crossing a bridge over Hilda Creek


Crossing Nigel Creek a couple of minutes later


After the trail meanders though the woods, the scenery opens up


Crossing a side stream


We took a break at these cascades


We got our first look at the pass


The pass appears ahead


Northern sweetvetch


Not far now


This is about as steep as the trail gets


Behind us, Parker Ridge is barely visible because of a smoky haze


At the pass, we exited the trail when it turned right


The pass is quite broad


The trail continues over the pass and crosses Brazeau River


Zora starts hiking along the pass


Dinah and Zora appear in the centre


Yellow mountain saxifrage were common on the pass


I followed behind


We were fascinated by this enormous rockface


No scrambling here, just a hike


The west end is slightly higher than the east end


I stopped to look north down the Brazeau River Valley


A closer look at the valley


Looking up the river


A tarn sits at the west end of the pass. Nigel Peak on the right.


Heading back


83 C/3 Columbia Icefields

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