Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Geraldine Lakes Campground

The Geraldine Lakes trail should only be travelled during dry, sunny conditions. The trail is lost on the route around the second lake in a maze of large boulders covered with crust lichens, making the hike extremely slimy and slippery. Even without the lichens, large rounded rocks are dicey on their own when wet. Although there are four lakes in the chain, the third and fourth ones are without a trail and require a tremendous amount of work to access.
          The trek to the campground presents two wonderful waterfalls, two lakes and a pond, forest, scree and two gruelling climbs. A day well spent.

Distance:             6.2 km

Elevation gain:    400 m

GPS:                N52 37 42.0 W117 54 51.8
Elevation:        1496

Geraldine Lake #1:
GPS:                N52 36 54.1 W117 55 50.6
Elevation:        1613

Top of First Waterfall:
Elevation:        1694 m

Geraldine Lake #2:
GPS:                N52 35 30.6 W117 56 23.8
Elevation:        1896

Geraldine Lakes Campground:
GPS:                N52 35 17.8 W117 56 42.0
Elevation:        1896

Trailhead: At 32 km south of the junction of Highway 16 and the Icefields Parkway is the turnoff for Athabasca Falls, which is also the south end of Highway 93a. Take this road on the west side of the parkway and drive past the Athabasca Falls parking lot for 700 m. On the left side of Highway 93a is the Geraldine Lakes Fire Road, also the entrance for the Fryatt Valley trailhead. Drive the fire road for 5.6 km, to the end of it.
The first 1.8 km takes you through a dense forest of evergreens which climbs gradually for 117 m before it reaches the first of the Geraldine Lakes. The trail sticks close to the west shoreline, creating damp feet and frustration during high water, so try to veer slightly inland to stay dry.