All posts by Brian Patton

Brian Patton

About Brian Patton

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

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 […]

Wildfire closes Banff, Kootenay trails

Update July 31, 2017—Trails in the Sunshine Meadows and north along the Bow Valley Highline (Simpson Pass, Healy Pass, Egypt Lake, Whistling Pass) reopened Wednesday, July 26. But increased fire activity prompted Parks Canada to close the trails and Sunshine Village again on Monday, July 31st. For the latest on fire activity and closures, check Parks Canada’s daily Verdant Creek Fire Update.  A lightning-ignited wildfire in Kootenay Park’s Verdant Creek valley has forced Parks […]

Made in Canada for hikers

Canada has a lot to celebrate on its 150th birthday. Not the least being  companies that design and manufacture innovative and quality products in Canada for hikers. I’m a big fan of “Made in Canada”, and I recognize the quality of the Canadian product is equal and often superior to its American competitors. In fact, for many Canadian companies, that is the secret to success. If you can’t beat the competition on price, produce […]

High country snow lingers on park trails

An above average snowpack in the Mountain Parks will likely plague many high trails until late July this year. Trails above 2200m (7,200ft) on north and east facing slopes will be particularly vulnerable to lingering snow banks. While snowpack tracked close to normal through the first half of the winter, there was a big surge in accumulations at all recording stations in March and near-record peaks by the beginning of May. Warm weather […]

Travel restrictions on Jasper’s Cavell Road

Motorists who want to drive the Cavell access road to the base of Jasper’s Mount Edith Cavell this summer will require a special permit, and only 180 are being issued for each day. The restrictions are due to ongoing construction at the road’s southern terminus and the Mount Edith Cavell parking area, which will continue throughout the summer. The access road opened to the public on Monday, June 19,  and will remain so until September […]

Elk Lakes’ refurbished trail system

The core trails in B.C.’s Elk Lakes Provincial Park are fully functional again following a three-year recovery from the floods of 2013. But one of the most popular trails into the park via West Elk Pass has been relocated and no longer travels direct to Upper Elk Lake. Nearby Peter Lougheed Provincial Park in Alberta took a big hit from the 2013 floods, but all the trails in Elk Lakes […]