Category Archives: Kootenay National Park

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

Park wardens: past and present

When we published the 2nd edition of the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide in 1978, Jim Thorsell provided the cover photo of two park wardens in wool knickers packing from Floe Lake to Numa Pass. When Jim revisited Floe Lake last month, he discovered two very different park wardens. They’re still packin’ (a bit differently), but they smile a lot more these days.  

A case for park trailminders

The recent citation issued to a civilian trailminder in Kootenay Park has brought national attention to a question I’ve been asking for quite sometime. Why is it that provincial parks, lands & forest agencies, and municipalities can work with volunteer groups to maintain recreational trails and facilities, but Parks Canada cannot… or won’t? While Radium’s David Pacey was operating without Parks Canada authorization (Retiree ticketed for clearing trails in Kootenay National Park, […]

New Gem Trek maps

Gem Trek has just released a batch of revised titles. And as usual, these colourful recreational maps provide the latest and best information for several popular hiking areas in the Mountain Parks. Kootenay National Park-5th edition. This 1:100,000 scale map is printed on waterproof material and, like most other maps in the series, provides both contour lines and attractive colour relief shading. This map is particularly useful since it not only covers Kootenay National […]

National Geographic maps

In 2012, National Geographic produced four maps covering Banff South, Banff North, Jasper South and Jasper North. These 1:100,000-scale, double-sided maps are printed on waterproof, tear-resistant material and with 30m-contour intervals and relief shading. In addition to Banff and Jasper, they cover Kootenay, Yoho, Mt Assiniboine and the core area of Mount Robson parks. Thanks to careful input from Parks Canada and BC Provincial Parks, the placement of trails, backcountry […]

Hiking starts early in the Mountain Parks

June has always been the start of our hiking season in the Mountain Parks—the time when trails start opening up above the valley bottoms. But this year is well advanced as we enter the month. Thanks to dry, warm conditions and low snowpack in the southern sections of the range, we’re already hiking dry, snowfree trails that are usually just emerging from winter’s grasp. Here are some samples of longer day […]

New hiking bridges in Kootenay National Park

Kootenay National Park’s Paint Pots and Stanley Glacier trails are fully operational again thanks to the installation of two bridges. Spring washouts in recent years have been hard on bridges throughout the Mountain Parks. One of the most popular of these was the span over the Vermilion River to the Paint Pots in Kootenay National Park. (See Paint Pots and Rockwall Trail detour, July 24, 2013 blog posting.) A new bridge […]

Balmy days and dry trails in the Mountain Parks

  Back in the early days, people had a choice for cooling off during the heat of summer—go to a movie theatre (the first air-conditioned venues) or travel to the mountains. Air conditioning may be universal today, but the alpine trails of the Canadian Rockies are still superior to the shopping mall. I can only remember a couple summers when we could scamper about at 2400m in shorts and t-shirts. But […]