Chaba trail: Big Bend and Athabasca Crossing

Jasper National Park

Hike or bike through the forest along this old fire road and emerge at Big Bend Campground for spectacular views of the Athabasca Valley. Big Bend Campground is a great destination for first time backpackers or families. Stay overnight at the campground, or carry on to Athabasca Crossing campground, where you can glimpse the upper Athabasca River. This trail is an excellent early or late season choice.

Planning considerations

  • Maintained trail: High priority
  • 6.3 km to Big Bend; 14.8 km to Athabasca Crossing
  • Trail #126: 2 - 3 days
  • Bikes permitted
  • Dogs permitted
  • Horses permitted


The details

A 6.3 km hike or bike from Sunwapta Falls through the forest leads you to the Big Bend Campground, a beautiful campsite right on the river with great views of Dragon Peak. This campground is an excellent spot for beginner hikers and people who want to practice their backcountry skills. From here you can spend half a day exploring further along the trail towards Athabasca Crossing (great for bikes), or wander along the beautiful Athabasca River near the campsite. Those who want to go a bit further can continue another 8.5 km to Athabasca Crossing Campground, another nice spot near the river.

  • Travel beyond the Athabasca Crossing campsite is not possible due to an unbridged crossing of the Athabasca River.

Elevation profile


Text version
  • The elevation profile shows the trail beginning at 1380 m.
  • There is an overall descent of approximately 50 m over 6.3 km to the Big Bend Campground with some hills.
  • There is a slight climb over 8.5 km to Athabasca Crossing Campground (1365 m) with rolling hills.

Campground information

Campground information
Campground Elevation Description # of sites Toilet type Food storage UTM
Big Bend

Campfires  No horses
1330 m This campground is located next to the Athabasca River and has excellent views of Dragon Peak. 4 Throne Lockers 11U 455753
Athabasca Crossing

Campfires  No horses
1365 m A nice site next to the river with nice views. 4 Throne Lockers 11U 455310

How to get there


From Jasper: 54 km

  • Take the Icefields Parkway south towards Banff for 54 km.
  • Turn right at Sunwapta Falls Resort and park at the end of the road.

From Banff and Lake Louise: 235 km

  • Follow the Icefields Parkway north towards Jasper.
  • Turn left at Sunwapta Falls Resort and park at the end of the road.

Are you prepared?

Safety is your responsibility

 Safety is your responsibility

Refer to the Jasper National Park Backcountry Planning Guide:

  • descriptions of trail types and campground facilities;
  • equipment checklists;
  • responsible camping practices;
  • safety information.

Before heading out, check trail, weather and road conditions at:


NTS National Geographic Gem Trek
Athabasca Falls 83C/12
Fortress Lake 83C/95
Jasper South Jasper and Maligne Lake


A backcountry camping permit is mandatory for all overnight trips and can be obtained online at or by calling 1-877-737-3783.

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