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Beauty Creek Trail is a short, easy hike in Jasper National Park that often goes unnoticed by people travelling along the Icefields Parkway. The trail doesn’t look too interesting from the road, but it leads to Stanley Falls at the top of a scenic canyon.
The Beauty Creek canyon used to be a popular roadside attraction before the Icefields Parkway was rerouted in the 1960s. Now that the trail is slightly removed from the highway, few people even realize there’s a forested gorge and waterfall just a short walk from the pullout.
Beauty Creek to Stanley Falls Hike
Distance: 3.2 km round trip
Elevation Gain: 101 m
Surface: Dirt with exposed rocks and roots, a section of old pavement
Trail Type: Out and back
Time: 1- 1.5 hours
Trailhead: A small pullout on the east side of the Icefields Parkway about 15.5 km north of the Columbia Icefield Centre.
The Beauty Creek hike starts from a marked roadside pullout on the Icefields Parkway. At the trailhead there’s a large sign with some information about the hike and a simple map of Beauty Creek Trail.
As the name suggests, the trail follows the path of Beauty Creek, making its way from the highway then into the forest to travel above the creek’s canyon to Stanley Falls.
The first section of the hike is out in the open as the trail curves along the creek, proceeding towards Tangle Ridge in the distance. The trail then passes through a narrow band of trees and soon emerges at the old Banff-Jasper highway.
Once at the road, turn right and continue on the flat path towards Tangle Ridge. Beauty Creek will be on your right and the forest on your left.
Near the end of the road you’ll reach a fork in the trail. Go left here into the forest to start the gradual uphill climb along the Beauty Creek canyon.
For the remainder of the hike the trail makes its way through the forest, roughly following the edge of the canyon. Along the way there are many great viewpoints for admiring Beauty Creek and its series of cataracts.
Since Beauty Creek Trail is an unmaintained path, there are no safety railings or fences along the canyon. It’s important not to get close to the canyon’s edge while enjoying the scenery.
About 1.4 km into the hike you’ll reach a nice viewing area where there’s a log bench to sit and rest while looking out onto Beauty Creek. From here you can see a small waterfall rushing through a narrow gap between the canyon’s rock walls.
Continuing on the forested trail there are more great views of Beauty Creek and its mini waterfalls. In some places you can really notice the turquoise colour of the water.
Eventually you’ll arrive at Stanley Falls, the final destination of this hike. There’s nothing too distinct about the falls at first glance, but you’ll know you’re there when you see a green sign saying “Stanley Falls” nailed to a tree.
At the sign the view of the falls is just okay, but if you walk a few metres beyond that the trail goes beside the waterfall. Here you can see it from above plunging down into the canyon. From this vantage point it’s easier to tell that Stanley Falls is the highest cataract on Beauty Creek.
Remember not to get too far off the trail when trying to see the waterfall because there’s no railing to prevent people from falling.
Past the falls the trail goes a little further along the creek and then into an unmaintained wilderness area, where it fades into a forested valley. Most people turn around at Stanley Falls.
To get back to the trailhead return the same way you hiked in. It’s an enjoyable walk since it’s a gentle downhill and there are views of some nearby peaks.
Review of the Beauty Creek Hike
The hike along Beauty Creek to Stanley Falls is one of the most pleasant short hikes in Jasper National Park. Based on how quiet the trail is, and how easy it is to find, you could say that it’s a hidden gem in plain view.
There’s not one main highlight of the Beauty Creek hike, as the entire length of the trail shows off plenty of gorgeous views. The scenery is similar to the popular Maligne Canyon but it doesn’t attract large crowds, probably because of its remote and unassuming location on the Icefields Parkway.
For people who hike with children, you should carefully consider the risks of this hike before heading out on the trail. The path runs near the canyon’s edge and there are no safety barriers, plus a lot of tripping hazards.
With so many fantastic sights and hikes along the Icefields Parkway, it’s easy to overlook Beauty Creek and Stanley Falls, but they are absolutely worth stopping at, especially if you’re in the mood for a short, easy hike.
Tips for Hiking Beauty Creek Trail
Location: Beauty Creek Trail is located near the south end of Jasper National Park, in between the Columbia Icefield Skywalk and Beauty Creek Wilderness Hostel, on the Icefields Parkway. It’s approximately 88 km from the town of Jasper and 144 km from Lake Louise Village.
Getting to the Beauty Creek Trailhead: The trailhead is accessed from the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93). From Lake Louise drive north on the parkway and from Jasper drive south. Watch for a small pullout on the east side of the highway with a sign for Beauty Creek.
Best Time to Hike to Stanley Falls: Beauty Creek Trail is best hiked in the summer and early fall.
Facilities: None. The nearest outhouses are at the Stutfield Glacier Viewpoint and the closest place to buy and food and drinks is at the Columbia Icefield Centre.
Visitor Guidelines and Safety: This hike is in bear country so bring bear spray and know how to use it.
- This trail is not maintained and there are no safety railings around the canyon or Stanley Falls. Don’t get close to the edge of the canyon, creek, or waterfall.
- Leave no trace by carrying out all your garbage.
Gear and What to Bring: Hiking boots aren’t necessary but closed toe shoes with a sturdy sole are recommended because of the exposed roots and rocks on the trail. Hiking poles aren’t needed unless you prefer hiking with them.
Nearby Hikes and Places to Visit
You may also enjoy these nearby trails and places to visit:
Accommodations in Jasper National Park
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