Sulphur Skyline Hike- Jasper National Park

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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. 

Rocky mountain peaks behind hikers descending from the summit of Sulphur Skyline Trail.

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 

Track log/map of the Sulphur Skyline hike.
Track log/map of Sulphur Skyline Trail

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).

Trail in the forest.

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.

Bench beside the trail.

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.

View of a ridge through gaps in the forest.
Forested ridge across the valley.

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. 

Sulphur Skyline Trail in the forest.
Trail sign nailed to a tree trunk.

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.

Trail marker on a tree beside the path.
Sulphur Skyline Trail going through the forest.

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.

Mountain and treetops.
Mountain peak towering above the treetops.
Forested valley framed by mountains.

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.

Sulphur Skyline Trail heading towards the summit.
Big rock in the meadow with mountains in the background.
Group of hikers sitting on a bench in the alpine meadow.

Beyond the meadow is the steepest part of the Sulphur Skyline hike, but also the most scenic. 

Sulphur Skyline Trail leading up a hill to the summit.
Hikers on Sulphur Skyline Trail.

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.

Mountain range framing a forested valley.
Forested valley with mountains.
Forested valley with mountains.

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.

Forested valley and mountains seen during the Sulphur Skyline hike.
Valley and mountain view from Sulphur Skyline Trail.

Partway up the open slope the trail curves left then zigzags toward the summit of the ridge.

Hikers on Sulphur Skyline Trail with mountains in the background.

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. 

View of Fiddle River from the Sulphur Skyline Summit.
Utopia Mountain
Utopia Mountain
Utopia Mountain and Sulphur Ridge.
Mountain view from Sulphur Skyline Summit.

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.

Mountains seen from Sulphur Skyline Summit.

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.

Mountains and valley views on the Sulphur Skyline hike.

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.

Mountain peaks with Ashlar Ridge.

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.

Hiking Sulphur Skyline Trail.

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.

Ridge with mountains in the background.

Pictures of the Sulphur Skyline Hike

Here are some more photos taken while hiking Jasper’s Sulphur Skyline Trail.

Forested ridge.
A view through the trees while hiking in the forest
Trail, trees and mountains.
Getting closer to the meadow
Trail sign.
From the meadow it’s 400 m to the summit
Hikers in an alpine meadow.
Looking back at the meadow before heading up to the summit
Rocky slope with a mountain range in the background.
View during the ascent
Rocky mountains towering above the tree line.
Overlooking a mountain valley during the Sulphur Skyline hike.
The valley coming into view
Ridge and mountains.
More mountains to look at during the ascent
Mountain view at the Sulphur Skyline Summit.
At the top of the ridge
Fiddle River Valley.
Overlooking the Fiddle River Valley
Ridge and mountains.
Mountains all around
Trail leading towards a mountain-framed meadow.
Heading down from the summit towards the meadow
Trail with mountains trees and mountains.
Leaving the meadow and going into the forest
Tree-framed trail leading toward a mountain.
Mountain view on the return hike
Trail above a valley leading toward a mountain.
More beautiful views
Trail descending into a forested mountain valley.
Hiking down into the valley on route to Miette Hot Springs

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.
Sulphur Skyline Trail with mountains in the background.

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!

Nearby Hikes and Activities

You may also enjoy these nearby trails and other things to do in Jasper National Park:

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At Adventure Alberta, you’ll find locally written guides to Alberta’s outdoor recreation areas. From national and provincial parks to lesser known conservation sites, we’re busy discovering the best places to hike, bike, paddle, ski, and explore so you can plan your own active, Alberta Adventure!