Category Archives: hiking

More free shuttle buses in Banff for 2017

There will be more Roam buses and Parks Canada shuttles plying the roads of Banff National Park this summer as the park and Town of Banff gear up for the busiest summer ever. Parks Canada shuttles will be free, and Roam bus fares nominal. The expanded shuttle services, announced by Parks Canada on May 12, will serve not only general sightseers but also hikers looking to access trailheads around Banff, Lake […]

Spring hiking with crampons

With the onset of spring, most well-travelled winter trails turn into skating rinks with the daily freeze-thaw cycle. That’s why I decided to store my skis and snowshoes and try a well-reviewed pair of Hillsound Trail Crampon Ultras. For serious hiking on snowpacked and icy trail, particularly over mixed terrain (occasional mud and rock), I found two brands that fit the bill—the Hillsound Trail Crampon Ultras and Kahtoola Microspikes. Both are made […]

The Canadian Hiker’s & Backpacker’s Handbook

When Ben Gadd asked me to write the Foreword to The Canadian Hiker’s & Backpacker’s Handbook back in 2008, I was surprised and a bit taken aback. Wasn’t there already a wealth of “how-to” books about hiking and backpacking on the market? And backpacking was nowhere near as popular as it was back in the 1970s and 80s. After I read the manuscript in preparation for writing my Foreword, I […]

Aileen Harmon: Requiem for a hiker

January 14, 1912-January 9, 2015 Aileen Harmon was a pioneer hiker and naturalist in Banff National Park—the first child of Banff landscape photographer Byron Harmon and the last of the pre-World War I Banff “kids” who would become the park’s first climbers, skiers and hikers. When she passed away at the age of 102 (five days shy of her 103rd birthday), a flood of memories came back to me. Not just […]

Coping with gridlock in Banff

Planning a trip to the mountain parks this summer? Prepare for gridlock. Canada, the Canadian Rockies, and particularly Banff, are everywhere you look these days. On the cover of the December-January issue of National Geographic Traveler and as the subject of a flattering feature article. And as a full, two-page photo spread in Lonely Planet magazine’s “Best in Travel 2017”. Just two examples of the flood of publicity lauding  travel to Canada, particularly […]

Akamina Parkway closure

Hikers bound for several of Waterton Lakes National Park’s most popular trails won’t have the luxury of driving to trailheads on the Akamina Parkway this summer. Parks Canada has closed the popular 16-kilometre roadway from Waterton Townsite to Cameron Lake while crews replace facilities at the Cameron Lake Day Use Area. The closure, which applies to pedestrians and cyclists as well as vehicles, is scheduled to last until November. In […]

Measuring the length of Canadian Rockies hiking trails

When we set out to create the first edition of the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide, we needed a way of accurately measuring the trails, many of which had never been measured before. Professional surveying wheels with their small wheels and substantial weight were out of the question; we required a wheel large enough to roll over rocks, roots and other trail obstacles wed to an accurate odometer. That’s when we came up […]

Backpacking with Luci® lights

Technology continues to bloom in the backcountry, but one of the best and simplest I discovered this summer is the Luci solar-powered light. LED lights are nothing new on the trail. LED light output and reliability is used in headlamps and even strip-lights to illuminate tent interiors. The only drawback is the same as with most technology, playing with batteries and, sometimes, weight. Along comes Luci by MPowerd, an innovative, inflatable, solar […]

Larch Valley Hike: On the Busiest Day of the Year

Although the hiking season is generally spent trying to avoid the crowds,  today we headed up to do the Larch Valley Hike on what is surely the busiest day of the year. This was due to a combination of factors: late September (with larch trees at their golden best), a favourable weather report, and a Sunday. The free shuttle set up by Parks Canada to transport hikers from the Lake Louise Overflow Campground to Moraine Lake has been running […]

Golden larches gild the Rockies

Just like Halloween and Christmas, alpine larches (Larix lyallii) are providing an annual celebration in the Rockies’ high country. And despite rather grim weather last weekend, hundreds of larch enthusiasts hiked through mud and rain to pay homage to this unique tree that paints mountain ridges and passes gold every September. Larix lyallii is one of three species of larch in Canada that are deciduous conifers—unlike true conifers, needles turn gold […]