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I had heard about this park while reading a National Geographic Traveler magazine edition that was rating national parks ... and Willmore was one of the top picks of the surveyors for this aricle due to beauty, accessibility, and especially preservation and conservation.
Willmore represents some of the last unexploited habitat for many species of wildlife in Alberta; almost 20% of Alberta's mountain goats & bighorn sheep are found here; other wildlife includes grizzly bear, mountain caribou, cougars & wolves. Resthaven Glacier extends into Willmore from Jasper National Park too! It is rare to see others on the paths here, as motorized vehicles are prohibited in Willmore and therefore has fewer visitors.
There are about 750km of trails within this park - most of them established during the early fur trading days. Minimal trail maintenance occurs, so experience in backcountry exploration is necessary to access most of this park.
There are only 2 official staging areas to reach this park. One is toward the northeast corner at Sulphur Gates, the other is to the southeast at Rock Lake which is located about 30km east of Hwy 40 down a poorly conditioned road.
Updated Apr 4, 2011
I had seen this park on a map, but it meant nothing to me until I got into the Hinton area and began talking with locals. After hearing their descriptions, I was stoked! So .... off I went, with a hand drawn map from the visitor center to guide me to one of my stopping points.
My first stop was Athabasca Tower which allows a panoramic viewpoint over the Wanyandi Meadows toward Jasper ..... I would never have taken this dirt road so far if I didn't have that local's map! It was totally worth the time and effort! There is a more well known stopping point at the nordic center closer to the main road ... I didn't even stop there, I had been told the Tower Lookout was THE place :) The road ends at a radio tower looking thing, just past a forest fire watch station .... I walked up the hill a short distance further and ..... was in awe.
Updated Apr 4, 2011