The Celestine Lake Trail is a nice adventure when camping and hiking in Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada. Considered to be moderately challenging, this hike is still suitable for families, bikes and those looking for a weekend backcountry getaway. The trial follows an old fire road most of the way so it is nice and wide. With a total of just over 200m of elevation gain from the climb after crossing Snake Indian River the rest of the trail is flat and easy.
The hiking trail to Celestine Lake in Jasper National Park is about 7km and has 203m of elevation gain. It only took us one hour and 40 minutes, making this trail a good option for a day hike too. However, we wanted to camp. The hike begins with a downhill that leads to a bridge crossing Snake Indian River. The bulk of the elevation gain comes on the other side of the bridge has the trail winds up to the bench. After this, the trail is is much easier making Celestine Lake a great choice for an overnight hike in Jasper National Park. Further on you will come to a clearing which used to be a parking lot. There is a fork in the trail here. The left-hand trail leads to Snake Indian Falls and the North Boundary Trail. The trail to the right leads to Celestine Lake which is about 2km up ahead. It is always tempting to check out a waterfall, however it is 27km from the trailhead, so take the trail that leads to the lake instead. There is one more split in the trail after passing by Princess Lake. This time the left trail is the one that leads to Celestine Lake and the right to a lookout.
Our destination for our overnight hike in Jasper National Park was Celestine Lake. It is emerald green, peaceful and a favourite spot for loons. The campground is a small and rustic with only 6 campsites. There is a water pump, however you will still need to boil the water from it. There are bear poles to hang your food and an open air, yet still private pit toilet known as a 'Green Throne'. Although the campground was fully booked on the Parks Canada website, we ended up having the place to ourselves.
With the hike to Celestine Lake taking under 2 hours, we still had plenty of time to hike the Devona Lookout Trail before dinner. Both Celestine Lake and the Devona Lookout Trails are maintained, yet low priority trails for Parks Canada. Evidence of this can be seen on the Devona Lookout Trail where a significant number of trees had fallen on the trail. This made the trail way more interesting as we had to climb over and under the trees like a natural obstacle course. The hike to the lookout is about 2.6km one-way and has 125m of elevation gain. Our entire side trip was 7 km and took us about 2 hours plus the time spent enjoying the view at the top. Rather unexpectedly, there is cell service at the top of the mountain as there is a radio tower there. This is ironic, for as we sat looking down at Athabasca River and Yellowhead highway below us we realized that all those cars driving by didn't have cell service. That section of highway is one of the cell phone dead spots, but hanging out in the backcountry and on the top of a mountain we had great service.
Accessing the Celestine Lake Trailhead for an overnight hike in Jasper National Park is a bit of an adventure on its own. The trailhead is 44km East of the Jasper townsite. Follow the Yellowhead Highway East, towards Edmonton. Take the Snaring Road turnoff, then turn right onto Celestine Road. This is where the adventure begins. Celestine Lake Road is open to alternating one way traffic during the summer. Therefore, you need to time your access carefully as the road's direction switches every hour. It is a very rough gravel road which has some steep hills, a river to ford and a very narrow part where the road clings to the side of the hill while the vehicle's passenger stares down the cliff face on the other side. Thankfully, we chose to bring our truck and even felt like we were in an off-road truck commercial. This road is not suitable for vehicles with low clearance, RV's or trailers. It is also important to note that the river ford may be impassible during high waters and heavy rains but it does have a magnificent view.
We really enjoyed our Celestine Lake Overnight Hike in Jasper National Park. It was a perfect little mountain weekend getaway. Perhaps, this summer we will head back for a bike packing trip to explore the trail to Snake Indian Falls and Rock Lake. If we do, I'll be sure to get some footage of the road and the Green Thrones to share.
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Jasper is such a beautiful place! What a great family adventure in the Canadian Rockies! There is something special about the mountains in Canada! Great article and beautiful photos Janet.
Beautiful scenery. Your blog gave a good description of what to expect. It's important to know the condition of the road and what kind of vehicles can safely use the road. Thanks!
Fabulous photos, love the reflections in the lake and interesting to hear about the off the beaten path parts of this very famous national park!