I flipping LOVED this trail. East Ridge Summit is the name of the peak just above the top viewpoint in Cavell Meadows. It’s a continuation of the incredible views you’ll see from the meadows below, just even better! Most hikers don’t bother to hike beyond the main trail, so we had this summit all to ourselves, even though it is relatively easy to access.
The best thing about this trail is the views are constant the whole way to the summit. If you ever get tired, just turn around for fabulous views.
East Ridge Summit trail– the basics
Distance: 9.3 km
Elevation gain: 825 m
Highest Points: 2571m
Time: 4.5-5.5 hours. We spent 4 hours 40mins (not including our stop for lunch)
What to bring:
Even in summer, bring warm clothes and rain gear.
The 10 Essentials (as always)
Facilities: Toiles with incredible views at the trailhead
Dogs: No dogs for this one.
How hard is it? Intermediate/hard. In the summertime when the trail is snow-free, it is pretty easy to follow, but there are some very steep sections. When there is snow, you may need to bring crampons and an ice-axe (and know how to use them) to do this safely.
East Ridge Summit trail map
East Summit Trail (via Cavell Meadows) – Getting started
Hiking up to East Summit is an extension of the much more famous Cavell Meadows trail. You can find full details on my previous post, but basically you need to start at the trailhead at the far end of Cavell Road (South of Jasper). Follow the Cavell Meadows trail to it’s highest point, where the trail to East Summit starts.
Going beyond the trails end
The hike up to East Ridge Summit is tougher than the family-friendly loop around Cavell Meadows. However, although this trail is not officially maintained by Parks Canada, it is still pretty obvious and mostly easy to follow in summer when the snow has melted.
The trail is not technical so it’s pretty easy for a summit in the Rockies. Having said that, it is still a peak in the Rockies; So make sure you have good shoes, the 10 Essentials and be ready to turn around if conditions become dodgy. If you come early in the summer when there is snow, you may need crampons/ice axe etc to do this hike safely.
East Summit trail above Cavell Meadows
As you can see from my photo above, the first part of the trail above the meadows is pretty clear and easy to follow. Please keep to the rocky pathway to avoid treading on the delicate plants and flowers that are clinging on to the mountainside.
There is a large rock which makes a brilliant seat (and viewpoint) at about 2445m elevation. It’s a great place to stop for a snack as the views are incredible. The photos below of Mount Edith Cavell and Angel Glacier were taken from this spot.
Looking up to East Ridge Summit
This is the view up from the viewpoint. The path is harder to see as you reach the rocky part of the mountain where few plants can grow.
The other problem with the lack of plants at this elevation, is the path can get a little slide-y. There isn’t much to hold the rocks together, so sometimes you take a step forward, just to have the rocks beneath you slide half a step backwards.
The trail does get steep. But the views of Mount Edith Cavell and the Angel Glacier just get better and better as you ascend.
East Ridge Summit shoulder
Once you make it up to the shoulder between East Ridge Summit and Mount Edith Cavell, you get some great views of the surrounding ridges and peaks. These are all part of Mount Edith Cavell.
This is the scenery we’d just hiked up – isn’t that incredible!? The car park is way down in the valley (below that chunk of snow on the flank of Mount Edith Cavell). The end of the official trail is where the shadow meets the sunlight on the ridge below.
We met a few hikers as we climbed up, but we didn’t see anyone on the top half of the mountain. It’s pretty crazy how quiet this summit was when the main trail below is so busy.
Last push to East Ridge Summit
The shoulder we’d been aiming for turned out to be a false summit. We had to go a bit higher to reach the real peak. We scrambled straight up, then found a better (safer) path to the left of here later. (Oops.)
East Ridge Summit
You’ll know you’ve made it up when you find this little cairn. It’s pretty windy up here, but there are spectacular views of the Canadian Rockies in all directions.
Mount Edith Cavell
The views of Mount Edith Cavell are similar to the views you can see from the meadows. It’s just now you’re up high, it’s easier to see the remnants of the Ghost Glacier and the various ridge-lines and peaks that you can’t quite appreciate from below.
This is the view northwest towards Franchère Peak (middle) and Chak Peak (left). There is a fantastic trail heading behind Mount Edith Cavell in front of those mountains (the Astoria river trail to Toquin Valley.)
Smoke to East
We did this hike where there was still a lot of smoke from wildfires (August 2021). This was the view East towards the Icefield Parkway. There should have been more epic mountain views, but the smoke left it just hazy.
To return back to Cavell Meadows, you just need to retrace your steps down the mountain. Be extra careful on the steep sections. As always, the path seems much harder on the descent.
I’m sharing one last photo of Marc looking tiny next to Mount Edith Cavell.
Panoramas of Mount Edith Cavell
While smoke masked the mountains to the east, the best views from East Summit Ridge were all of Mount Edith Cavell. I zoomed out a few times to give you a good idea of the vastness of these ridiculously epic views. If you’re like me, and you like seeing the names of the surrounding mountains, click here to see this view via the Peak Visor app.
There is so much to love about this trail! It wasn’t busy beyond the main trails to Cavell Meadows. The views are simply spectacular and the hike up to East Ridge Summit is not too much of a challenge (considering it is a peak in the middle of the Canadian Rockies!) Marc and I loved every moment of it!
If this sounds a bit too hard, you can still see the area (including all those glaciers) from the Cavell Meadows trail instead.