I am not a biker. Give me a trail to walk on, no matter how steep and I will hike it happily. But when I get invited on an epic adventure that is much farther than I could ever hike in a day, I'll suck it up and hop on a bike. So on a sunny and warm October day, we drove east of Jasper, turned onto the Snaring Road, then onto the Celestine Road and drove to the trailhead to Snake Indian Falls. Celestine Road in itself is an adventure - it's a rough one-way road (high clearance vehicles recommended) that is timed to keep the travelers safe (click here for the details). There are a few spicy sections that may make you nervous, but it is a beautiful drive, especially with all the fall foliage.
Snaring Road SunriseThe Snaring Road is paved until the turn off to Celestine Lake Road. Early Morning AspensSome of the beautiful foliage along the Snaring Road
We parked in the lot at the end of the road and got all of our bikes ready for adventure. Once onto the trail we crested a short hill and then dove down to the bottom of a gorge and an impressive bridge crossing the Snake Indian River. Then UP the trail went to gain the ridge that you can see to the east from the bridge. Then you begin the long steady up and occasional down for over 26km on the North Boundary Trail. We passed the junction for Celestine Lake at around 4km, which next time I would very much like to visit...perhaps just hike in.
The ridge from the bridgeThe Snake Indian River in Jasper National Park
Autumn TrailsOnce on the ridge, the trail goes through the aspens, with occasional mountain views
Autumn AspensThe south portion of the North Boundary Trail had many aspens to appreciate.
Autumn Biking Adventures Cotton CloudsI was having a real "are we there yet" moment here, but I was distracted by those clouds Stretching the LegsThe trail goes by this pretty overlook, and I needed a reason to get off the bike! Snake Indian River
As we rode the forested trail we passed by another two campgrounds (Shalebanks and Seldom Inn), a few large piles of bear scat, and around 7 logs that we had to dismount to get our bikes over. There were a few scenic spots were we had snack or butt breaks. After passing the last campground, it wasn't long before we were at the spur trail leading left to the falls. We stashed our bikes out of the way and then walked (stiffly) down to the overlook to the falls. After some photos, we headed to the rocks jutting over the falls for a snack or two and some much needed coffee. It had taken from 10am to 2pm to bike to this point (including bum rest breaks), so we weren't in much of a hurry to get back on our bikes, but we were also cognizant that fall daylight hours are limited. We made our way back up to the bikes at around 3:30pm, after a good 1.5h spent basking on the rocks.
Snake Indian Falls - Wide Angle Snake Indian Falls Snake Indian Falls - From beside the falls
I was in a bit of pain, as I have never biked for that length of time or distance, so I taped my Thermarest pad to the hard bike seat and adjusted it forward slightly. Although I was NOT looking forward to the ride out, it was indeed more downhill than up and my seat adjustment eased the pain a bit...either that or I was numb, which does the trick, too. The ride out was actually much more enjoyable, and we stopped once at the creek for another coffee before we crossed it. I'm really glad we decided to do this at the height of autumn colours as it made the long journey more interesting.
Padded SeatTrust me, this needed to happen Crossing the CreekThe rocks were slippery, but the water level was pretty low. A good day on the trail Leafy Trails
We made our way out and managed to roll into the parking lot at just before 7pm as the light was fading to dusk. Luckily we had another 30min left in our "outward bound traffic" (even if we came across three vehicles that didn't seem to see the importance of abiding by these hours). We usually go for a customary burger and beer post adventures, but everyone was so tired we all went our respective ways. Although my butt hurt for a full 5-6 days after the trip, I do recommend it, especially if you do get on a bike occasionally. 🚵♀️
Happy trails! 🍂