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Day 6: Three Slides camp to Blue Creek camp

15 km (9.3 mi.)
elevation loss: 91 m (300')

The NBT crosses Blue Creek on a suspension bridge, just a few hundred metres past the junction with the Upper Blue Creek trail, and another 500 m brings one to the side trail to Blue Creek camp. The hiker's camp seems to be situated on an island in the middle of the Blue Creek "delta", and is susceptible to flooding during periods of high runoff. Even in dry conditions, the site looks more like a horse corral than a hiker's camp. If I were to repeat this route, I would probably choose to hike the extra 12 km to the next camp, Welbourne.

Day 7: Blue Creek camp to Willow Creek camp

24.6 km (9.3 mi.)
elevation loss: 139 m (456')

From Blue Creek, the NBT heads east to an area of low peaks and mixed willow and aspen meadows. While the scenery lacks the grandeur of previous days, the trail is easy and open for most of the way. Near Willow Creek, the trail reaches its furthest departure from the main ranges, and then it veers southeast and back into more familiar terrain.

Day 8: Willow Creek camp to Celestine Lake Road

32.7 km (20.3 mi.)
elevation loss: 110 m (361')

The final stretch of the NBT is routine and actually rather tedious, with the notable exception of Snake Indian Falls, one of the most spectacular sights in the Rockies. The side trail to the falls is 11.4 km from Willow Creek camp. Set in a rugged amphitheater, the power of this thundering cascade is awesome. However, for the remaining 21 km to the trail's end, you will have to endure the walk on a dry, forest-enclosed fire road.

Depending on your interests and travel arrangements, you may wish to camp at Shalebanks, which is just over 20 km past Willow Creek, or at Celestine Lake, which is 1.6 km from the end of the Celestine Lake Road (the end of the NBT). On my last visit, car access was restricted beyond the Snake Indian River bridge, so you may have to walk an extra 5 km before there is the possibility of hitching a ride. The road is negotiable with a regular car, although there are some frightening corners, and the views of Jasper Lake and the surrounding peaks is superb (assuming you are not the driver!). Snaring campground (drive-in), just 1.5 km past the beginning of the Celestine Lake Road, is a total of 28.5 km from the end of the NBT.

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This page was modified on Dec. 9, 2001