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Sulphur Skyline Trail is one of the most rewarding hikes in Jasper National Park. On this half-day journey from Miette Hot Springs to the summit of Sulphur Ridge, you’ll pass through a forest and ascend above the tree line to a panoramic viewpoint showcasing the Fiddle River Valley, Utopia Mountain, and Ashlar Ridge.
Sulphur Skyline Hike
Distance: 8.1 km round trip
Difficulty: Moderately strenuous (Parks Canada rates it as difficult)
Elevation Gain: 653 m
Surface: Mostly packed dirt with exposed roots and rocks
Trail Type: Out and back
Time: 3.5- 4 hours (including breaks and lunch at the summit)
Trailhead: Miette Hot Springs
Sulphur Skyline Trail Description
Sulphur Skyline Trail begins near the entrance to Miette Hot Springs. At the roundabout, you’ll see a large sign marking the trailhead with some brief information about the hike.
Departing on the wide, paved path, you’ll venture into the forest and away from the hot springs. Soon the trail transitions to gravel and then single track as it begins a steady, but not yet steep, ascent through the trees. You’ll notice yellow diamond signs with the number 30 marking the way (Sulphur Skyline is trail #30 in Jasper’s network of official hikes).
During this first stretch of trail, there’s not much to note as far as scenery goes, but you will pass by the occasional wooden bench if you need to stop for a break. The constant ascent can be taxing even though the incline isn’t extreme at this point.
As you get higher up on Sulphur Skyline Trail the forest periodically reveals views of a ridge across the valley. While the scenery is nice, it’s just a teaser for what’s to come.
Keep following the trail through the forest and at the 2 km mark you’ll come to a junction at the crest of Shuey Pass. A sign indicates that Sulphur Skyline Summit is 1.8 km away.
Keeping straight on Sulphur Skyline Trail, the path soon turns right and begins a more strenuous climb through the forest. There will be two sets of switchbacks sandwiched between a more straightforward section of trail.
During this long ascent through the forest, there are some pleasing, though partially obstructed views of nearby rocky peaks and the forested valley you just walked alongside. At the summit, you’ll be able to enjoy the same scenery from above the tree line, so no need to linger too long here.
After the second set of switchbacks, the trail arrives at a meadow with plenty of open space for admiring the surrounding mountains. This is also a great place to rest before tackling the final climb to the summit. If you’re lucky, you might be able to grab a spot on the bench.
Beyond the meadow is the steepest part of the Sulphur Skyline hike, but also the most scenic.
As the trail climbs up a rocky slope above the tree line, there are expansive views on the right of forested valleys and mountains as far as you can see. Especially impressive are the successive sawtooth peaks of Ashlar Ridge in the distance.
Some other things you can see down in the valley are Miette Hot Springs and the tree-framed trail you walked for the first half of the hike.
Partway up the open slope the trail curves left then zigzags toward the summit of the ridge.
Once you reach Sulphur Skyline Summit there is a spectacular 360-degree panorama of peaks and valleys. Looking southeast you can see Fiddle River winding between some mountains and to the southwest you can see Utopia Mountain.
When the weather is nice and not too windy, most hikers sit at the summit and have a picnic, but if you prefer, you could have a snack at the meadow below.
Once you’re done taking in some of Jasper’s finest scenery from the summit, you can start the return hike back to the hot springs on the same trail. The hike will be easy since it’s downhill almost all the way, you just have to be careful not to slip on the loose rock when descending from the summit.
Review of the Sulphur Skyline Hike
The Sulphur Skyline hike is one of the best day hikes in Jasper National Park thanks to its dramatic views of peaks, ridges, and valleys. With such gorgeous scenery circling the summit, it’s no wonder Sulphur Skyline Trail is popular among Alberta locals and international tourists.
Even though the Sulphur Skyline hike requires some endurance for the steady ascent, it’s still a good choice for beginner and intermediate hikers who want to visit their first summit or try a harder trail. The path is well marked, frequently travelled, doesn’t have any technical sections requiring scrambling, and delivers hikers to some of Jasper’s best alpine scenery in a short distance.
Another nice thing about the Sulphur Skyline hike is that it can be done on a day trip from Edmonton. The trail is close to Jasper’s northeast border, so you don’t have to drive far into the park, and the hike only takes a few hours so you can finish by mid-afternoon.
Pictures of the Sulphur Skyline Hike
Here are some more photos taken while hiking Jasper’s Sulphur Skyline Trail.
Tips for Hiking Sulphur Skyline Trail
Location: Sulphur Skyline Trail is in Jasper National Park, at the end of Miette Road. The nearest park gate is the northeast entrance by Hinton.
Getting to the Sulphur Skyline Trailhead: Take Highway 16 (the Yellowhead) to Miette Road. Follow Miette Road to its terminus at the Miette Hot Springs.
Best Time to Hike Sulphur Skyline Trail: Miette Road is typically closed from mid-October to early May, so the Sulphur Skyline hike can only be done from late spring to early fall. You can confirm seasonal road information with Parks Canada here.
- This is a really popular hike in the summer, so if you don’t like crowds try hiking it on a weekday. You’ll also want to choose a clear day for the best views at the summit.
Facilities: There are outhouses at the Miette Hot Springs picnic area near the trailhead.
Visitor Guidelines and Safety: This trail is in bear country so bring bear spray and know how to use it.
- Weather changes quickly in the mountains and this area is prone to afternoon thunderstorms, so come prepared with layers and rain gear. If the weather looks threatening, stay below the tree line.
- Leave no trace by packing out your garbage.
Gear and What to Bring: Wear hiking shoes/boots with sturdy soles and good grips. Hiking poles are nice to have for the descent.
- Bring plenty of water and some food to enjoy at the summit.
Nearby Hikes and Activities
You may also enjoy these nearby trails and other things to do in Jasper National Park:
Accommodations in Jasper National Park
For your convenience, here is a list of HOTELS IN JASPER NATIONAL PARK. Please consider booking your Jasper accommodations through the included link. It costs nothing extra and helps support this website. Thank you!
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