Celestine Lake/Devona Lookout, Jasper NP

1:02 p.m. on July 15, 2013 (EDT)
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Getting to the trailhead for the Celestine Lake/Devona Lookout hike is a complicated business. It involves a drive up a pipeline/fire road that's so narrow that it's been posted as one way - at specified times you can drive in, then you have to drive back out only when the traffic flow is reversed. It also includes such little extras as a cliff traverse with a blind turn at the top and no guardrails, and a stream crossing or two. The Yaris managed quite well, but I might opt to ride in a truck next time.

To make the first window for driving in, we got an early start, and were rewarded by a lovely sunrise.

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The trail starts with a downhill slope to the Snake Indian River. It is still used as a fire road at the beginning so there is a solid bridge across the river, and an easy grade. 

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For the first few kilometres, the trail is easy going, wide and smooth and with only a couple of hundred metres elevation gain. The same trailhead serves the North Boundary trail, a route that as the name suggests provides access to the entire north end of the park right across the Rockies.

The turnoff for our hike was  just a few kilometres in along the NB trail, and we had a pleasant walk. It was an interesting group - one Chinese lady, one Polish girl, an elderly Belgium gentleman, an Iraqi, a Spaniard and an Iranian, and only a couple of Canadians. It made for some interesting conversations en route.

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Varying terrain as the trail climbed up from the river - from montane parkland to aspen and birch, giving way to spruce and lodgepole pine, with patches of muskeg, as we made our way to Celestine Lake.


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The lake was lovely. There is a backcountry campsite located there, but we only paused briefly for photos.


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From Celestine Lake, the trail became a bit more interesting. We started to add some elevation, and the semi-abandoned single-track began to be plagued with deadfalls.


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As we gradually ascended Devona Ridge, though, the forest gradually opened up, giving way to more open sub-alpine terrain and great views of the Athabasca and Snake Indian valleys.

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We stopped for lunch on top, then headed back. The catch with the one-way road was that there were only a few windows when we could return. Miss the 3:30-4:30 one, and we'd have to wait for the next. 

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We still wound up waiting for a while, but managed to get headed out in the 3:30-4:30 slot to make it back back to a soak in the hot tub at the Jasper pool and dinner in town.

Naturally, we narrowly avoided colliding with a couple of vehicles full of self-entitled tourons, who seemed to be believe the signage and posted times didn't apply to them. Nothing much you can do, I guess - the vehicles had rental plates, so reporting them to the wardens wouldn't have done much good - but it was tempting to block the road just to make them back up to a place where we could safely pass. 

7:57 p.m. on July 15, 2013 (EDT)
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tourons - my kind of term for idiots that don't think the rules apply to them. good trip report - sounds like it was a good hike.

8:46 p.m. on July 15, 2013 (EDT)
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Hi, TJ. The term was first coined in Yellowstone back in the '60s by the park rangers. The derivation would be obvious, I would think. :-)

1:01 p.m. on July 17, 2013 (EDT)
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Some great photos as usual Peter! thanks

December 18, 2014
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