Wilcox Pass
Day 1 of camping trip


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Distance - 13.1km Elevation gain - 335m

Wilcox Pass is not a long or challening hike, but it's a beautiful one, and well worth taking the time to wander and enjoy.
We started right from our campground at the south end, hiked up the road, and started ascending the switchbacks.
This is the most view-heavy portion of the hike, with a spectacular look over to the Athabasca Glacier and Columbia Icefields behind.
It's also advised to start from this side in the morning, before the sun gets behind the peaks to the west.

Kyle, Laurier, and Neil start off down the road.

Leigh and Kyle hiking up the well-built trail.

A first view out to the Dome Glacier and Mount Kitchener.

Neil hikes up the ridge.

Nigel Peak environs to the SE.

Looking back down the hiking trail.

Neil and Leigh head up the slope.

Looking ahead into the pass.

Athabasca and Dome Glaciers to the west.

Mounts Athabasca and Andromeda.

Athabasca Glacier icefall.

The edge of the icefall spills over the cliff.

The Dome Glacier up close.

The trail up above the treeline.

Creek gully below the trail.

Wilcox Peak rises above the pass.

Wilcox Pass.

We stopped for lunch at the south end of the pass, with a big view of the Icefield to the west, and the broad pass spreading above us to the north.
In the early days of Rocky Mountain exploration, the Athabsca Glacier was much larger, and extended all the way to the base of Mount Wilcox, blocking the valley.
The standard travel route at that time was through Wilcox Pass - which certainly does look like a decent road.
The pass is broad and all above treeline, making for a long, enjoyable ramble.
If you're short on time, hiking just to this point and then returning would be a very worthwhile hike, but continuing through the pass is very neat.

Looking through the pass.

Hiking in underneath Wilcox Pass.

A lunchtime pano from the south end of the pass.

The pass.

Looking back out the pass to the south.

After lunch we continued north through the pass. The terrain is the same for a while, with just the angle on the peaks on each side changing.
It's not until near the north end of the pass that it becomes more rolling, and we descend onto some lower terraces.

Laurier, Neil, and Leigh hike on.

Looking back at the snow-dusted pass.

Wilcox Pass from the east.

Nigel Peak off to the east of the pass.

The rolling Wilcox Pass.

Hiking along a small starting stream.

More pretty alpine terrain.

Leigh and Kyle starting down the terraces.

Near the north end of the pass the terrain gets rockier, and there is no trail for a long distance, but travel is easy and obvious.
We saw a few sheep on a lower terrace on our way by.
We continued out the pass, and a trail coalesced as we descended.
The trail eventually drops below treeline again, and descends rapidly to end up at the Tangle Falls trailhead.

Leigh and Kyle hiking down the rocks.

The sheep down below.

Wandering through the open upper pass.

Hiking in the shadow of distant Nigel Peak.

Leigh and Kyle on the trailless pass.

Laurier heads down the north end.

Laurier and Kyle in the colourful shrubs.

The view out the north end of the pass.

Kyle and Laurier hike down into the forest.

A view back to the north end of Wilcox Peak.

Hiking through the lower forest.

Looking back from the end of the trail.

An old cabin just off the end of the trail.

The trail finishes alongside the road.

A low-water Tangle Falls from the roadside at the north end of the Wilcox Pass trail.

The upper two tiers of waterfall.

The main Tangle Falls

Kyle hikes in to the base of the falls.

Looking across the flowing parts.

Photos taken by Rachel

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