All posts by Brian Patton

Brian Patton

About Brian Patton

Brian Patton is co-author of the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide.

Banff’s Sawback Trail: The Fitch Variation

Every once in awhile, one of our contributors comes up with a better itinerary than what we feature in the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide. That happened this month when Gavin Fitch sent us a report on his seven-day trip this August along Banff’s Sawback Range. We write-up the Sawback Trail as a fairly direct 73-km trip from Mount Norquay to Lake Louise via Mystic, Pulsatilla and Boulder Passes. But Gavin’s […]

Wildfires close trails in Kootenay, Banff

Parks Canada has closed a number of trails in Kootenay and Banff National Parks due to wildfires that have been burning and expanding since late July. The Mount Wardle Fire in Kootenay Park has had the biggest impact, resulting in partial closure of Highway 93S, and the closing of Kootenay Park Lodge and all trails in the core area of the park, including the popular Floe Lake and Rockwall Trail […]

Canada Day—Take a hike, eh!

Last July 1st, blog correspondent Jim Shipley and his buddy Frank hiked to the top of The Nub in Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park to celebrate Canada 150. As Jim’s photo attests, it was a little bit snowy backpacking into the park via Bryant Creek and Wonder Pass at that time of year. But what a great way to celebrate the country’s birthday! If you went somewhere special this Canada Day, […]

Permethrin-treated clothing arrives in Canada

After years of frustration, Canadians are now able to purchase clothing that is commercially treated to protect against mosquitoes and ticks and the diseases they can carry. Using “No Fly Zone by Burlington” technology, Marks (aka Marks Work Wearhouse) released a line of men’s and women’s clothing under its Wind River label in May. Shirts, pants, jackets and hats produced with permethrin-treated cloth are now available in major Marks outlets […]

Visiting Waterton Park in 2018

Update July 1, 2018—Parks Canada trail crews have been hard at work in Waterton, and several trails have reopened west of the townsite in the wake of the Kenow Fire. These trails include Bertha Lake, the Waterton Lakeshore to the U.S. boundary, Crandell Lake from Red Rock Parkway, and the Crandell Loop from the townsite.  (The Red Rock Parkway is only open to pedestrians and bicycles, and the Akamina Parkway remains […]

Lake O’Hara: A quota for paradise

“Welcoming visitors since 1925 to what is certainly one of the singularly most stunning alpine locations on earth.” This description on the Lake O’Hara Lodge website is certainly no exaggeration.  Lake O’Hara’s scenic reputation and outstanding trail system has been drawing hikers for decades. In the 1970s, a quota system was introduced for bus access to the lake, one based on accommodation at the lodge, the Alpine Club of Canada’s […]

Summit Trail Makers: Volunteering for trails

Parks and wilderness recreation managers across North America are increasingly turning to volunteer trail crews to help maintain backcountry facilities. With the exception of the Jasper Trail Alliance, Parks Canada has rejected volunteer help, despite a steady reduction in trail maintenance and a deterioration in backcountry infrastructure. Administrators provide a vague list of reasons for rejecting volunteer participation. Parks Canada’s Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) union supports expanded facility and […]

Post wildfire recovery in Waterton Park

It is estimated that 30% of Waterton Lakes National Park was burned by the Kenow wildfire that swept through the park in mid-September. The scenes of charred forest and buildings left park fans, including hikers, wondering what the future holds. For many who spent their entire lives enjoying Waterton’s unique landscape and flora, there was despair at what transpired in less than 48 hours. There was a tremendous sense of loss (see Waterton […]

Review: Katadyn BeFree Microfilter

After years of searching for the perfect water filter for the backcountry, I recently discovered  the Katadyn BeFree Microfilter with Hydrapak 0.6L flask—a water filter and soft, collapsible bottle that comes very close to the good old days of scooping water directly from streams with a canteen or tin cup. The variety of water filters and various treatment devises nowadays is overwhelming. Some people use tablets or chemical drops (chlorine […]

Backpacking Banff’s remote Front Ranges

  Each summer, Calgary hiker Jim Shipley organizes a multi-day backpacking trip into the remote valleys and passes of Banff or Jasper Park, exploring country that he and his buddies haven’t visited before. While Jim contacts us for pre-trip tips, we always receive more information than we provide. Following his trek, he composes a detailed report with photos and sends it along for use in this blog—reports that always provide revisions for […]