Distance: 1.6 km to Stanley Falls, short half-day hike, allow as much time as you want.
Access: Another hike no longer marked or maintained. If you’re driving south on the Icefields Parkway from Jasper the pull-off is 2 km south of the Beauty Creek Hostel. There is a little sign but it can be easily missed and it doesn’t actually give the name of the trail. If you’re heading south the pull-out is on your left.
Tip: Bring a camera; afternoon lighting is the best. There is no railing or anything to stop you from going over the edge of the canyon. The trial is quite close at times so be wary if you’re bring along kids which is a great idea because it’s short and there are lots of cool waterfalls. What kid wouldn’t love that?
Beauty Creek, the name speaks for itself. So do my photos. I also wanted to keep this post short as my last one was quite lengthy. But don’t be fooled, this might be short but it’s not short of awe.
There is an interesting story behind this once well-known hike. Before the old Banff-Jasper, or “B-J” highway was redone Beauty Creek trail was a popular roadside stops. The highway was rerouted in the 50s and 60s with the boom of the auto-tourist and the name was also changed to “The Icefields Parkway”. This hike will take you along remnants of the old highway. It’s quite easy at this point to see but it’s overgrown with pussy willow and long grass. In the summer there are plenty of wild flowers growing in the old ditches too. Prepare yourself for a grand total of 8 waterfalls within 1.6 km.
The trail begins from the pull-out and follows the crest of a gravel water dike into a little piece of forest. On the other side of this forest is the old highway. When you emerge from trees turn right and follow the roadbed 0.6 km to where a bridge once spanned Beauty Creek. You can carefully make you way down the side and onto the old pieces of concrete bridge that now they partially submerged under the creek. From here you can also peer into the opening of the canyon.
After climbing back up to the main trail turn right back into the forest and follow the trail along the north side of the limestone canyon. The trail climbs steadily through the forest passing a number of waterfalls. The last waterfall is Stanley Falls at 1.6 km. Spend some time here exploring the rocky platforms and take your fill of photos before someone else realizes there is something spectacular beyond the road. There is a faint trail beyond the falls that leads into the forested valley. At this point most people turn back. Unless you’re a waterfall addict.
If you continue on there is a very rough trail, mostly washed out but you can discern it for the most part. Sometimes using the creek bed is necessary too. Another 2 km later and you can find 3 more waterfalls cascading down a head wall. Totally worth the ankle-twisting journey. I’ve refrained from adding photos of this last journey so that it’s a surprise, mwaha.