All posts by Brian Patton

Brian Patton

About Brian Patton

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

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 […]

Waterton Park: After the Kenow Wildfire

  As autumn snow dusts the peaks down to the 2000-m level, Waterton Park has reopened, more or less, and is licking its wounds following the Kenow wildfire, the most devastating forest fire in the park’s history. The townsite is open for business and visitors are hiking the trails on the east side of the valley, including Crypt Lake, for a few more days. But it will take until next year […]

Wildfire evacuation alert in Waterton Park

    Update September 8, 2017—Parks Canada ordered a mandatory evacuation of all remaining visitors and residents from Waterton townsite this afternoon. The order was the result of a weather forecast predicting increasing westerly winds tonight and tomorrow with gusts as high as 70 km/h. These conditions increase the chance of the Kenow Fire jumping the Great Divide and moving into the park’s core. The town and corridor has been successfully evacuated and gated […]

Fire hazard forces closure of BC parks

As British Columbia experiences its worst wildfire season ever, the BC Wildfire Service has closed access to the backcountry in the Rocky Mountain Forest District in the province’s southeast corner, which includes Mount Assiniboine, Elk Lakes and Akamina-Kishinena Provincial Parks. This closure also restricts access to most of the trails in the Sunshine Meadows area of Banff National Park, including the popular hike to Rock Isle Lake, Larix and Grizzly Lakes. […]

Castleguard Meadows revisited

The trail to the Castleguard Meadows via Alexandra and Castleguard Rivers has never been easy. But since we first included it in the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide, there has been no maintenance and things have only gotten worse. A few intrepid backpackers make the journey each summer, either via the 35-km trail or cross-country over the Saskatchewan Glacier. Here is a current look at the entire route, trail and glacier, as travelled […]

Avalanche debris obstructs park trails

Many hikers are calling this the summer of wildfire smoke, but it’s also the summer of avalanche debris. These hiking obstacles are the result of heavy spring snowfall followed by avalanches that deposited trees and other debris across mountain park trails. It wasn’t just a matter of snow piles covering stretches of trail. In some areas, large trees were deposited in tumbled tangles 5m high, indicating that these were once-in-200-year slides. Popular trails […]

Floe Lake, Rockwall Trail closed by wildfire

Update August 16, 2017—The trail to Floe Lake and the southern half of The Rockwall Trail have reopened. Keep track of current conditions on the Kootenay National Park Trail Condition Report. The Verdant Creek wildfire has claimed another popular hiking area in Kootenay National Park with the closure of the Floe Lake trail and the Rockwall Trail south of Tumbling Pass. The area closure was enacted on Saturday, August 5, […]

Mount Assiniboine Park closed by wildfire

Update July 31, 2017—Though trails in the southern half of Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park reopened Wednesday, July 26, increased fire activity and a forecast of continued hot, dry weather prompted BC Parks to close the park again on Monday, July 31st. For the latest on fire activity in the park, check the Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park website. The B.C. Wildfire Service has closed all access to Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park due […]