Sulphur Skyline summit and Miette Hot Springs

Sulphur Ridge "summit"
".....the closest to heaven that I'll ever be, And I don't wanna go home right now"

Ok, I apologise for the fragrant rip off of "Iris" by the Goo Goo Dolls but the above line (albeit taken a fair way out of context) almost perfectly sums up how I felt sat on the summit of the Sulphur Ridge at 9am on the morning of the 24th of September 2012.

Sulphur Skyline trail - 9.6km

Starting from the car park at Miette hot springs (around 45 minutes drive from Jasper) early on the morning of the 24th of September we looked up at the wooded slopes leading up to the steep rocky ridge line silhouetted against the grey morning sky.

The whole round trip of around 9.5km gains over 700m of elevation and it's  fairly steep in places, especially the last section above the alpine meadow which turns into a rocky path to the summit.

The first section of the path (a few hundred metres) are paved and are, apparently, popular in the summer months and later in the day but starting before the birds were awake meant no other people at all!  Then after about 2.6km you come to an intersection - you need the right hand turn, the other path takes you to Mystery Lake, and at this point the path gets much steeper.

The vast majority of this walk is through the sub-alpine forest and there isn't really a whole lot to look at aside from trees and small wildlife!  Every now and then you get a tantalising glimpse of the surrounding mountains through the trees and the views are amazing..

When you reach the meadow you'll notice a large, white, boulder that was (it's said) left behind by a retreating glacier - it certainly looks out of place and however it got there it offers a good navigation point and a great place to stop and take a drink (or layer up) for the final push.

The rocky stretch to the summit is steep and relentless but once you get there the view are nothing short of breathtaking.  The Fiddle river valley and Mount Drinnan can be seen to the East, the Miette range and Utopia Mountain to the West and South and to the Northwest the Ashlar ridge.

We spent longer than normal on the summit - just admiring the views and imagining how different it would be if the weather wasn't the sunny, still, 28c that we were lucky enough to be experiencing.

I can't imagine another place quite as breathtaking and peaceful as this and the only thing that makes up for having to come down is the wonderful Miette Hotsprings that wait for you at the bottom of the trail - well worth a visit and the ideal way to soak away the aches from the 2-3 hours spent on the trail.


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