Category Archives: Yoho 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Lake O’Hara bus schedule changes for 2015

Getting a seat on the bus to Lake O’Hara has always been a challenge, with keen hikers marking their calendars three months in advance to ensure they call on the correct day and ensure themselves access to this very special place. As of 2015, the process has changed in two ways: 1) Reservations can now be made online through Parks Canada 2) Tomorrow (April 20), phone lines open for the entire […]

Autumn Road Closures in the Mountain Parks

As happens every year following the Thanksgiving weekend, Parks Canada has closed all the side roads in Banff, Jasper and Yoho National Parks for the season. The week or two following these closures is always bittersweet—sad to see the end of summer but a great time to bike dry, traffic-free roads to some of the best hiking areas in the Mountain Parks. There is a great weather forecast for the coming […]

Hiking to Lake O’Hara and the Canadian Rockies’ best alpine larch trails

Ask me about the best alpine larch hiking in North America and I won’t hesitate to tell you Lake O’Hara. And the best time to be there is the third weekend in September. But if you don’t have a booking for the Lake O’Hara Lodge, Elizabeth Parker Hut, campground or one of the rare day-use seats on the shuttle bus, you are likely out of luck for this weekend. Well, […]

Favourite waterfall hikes in the Canadian Rockies

The first hot weather of summer has descended on the Rockies, and as snow and icefields start to melt, most of the waterfalls start to roar. Athabasca, Sunwapta, Takakkaw and Bow are all impressive cascades that are visited by roadside visitors every summer. But for me, the real gems are those that I reach by trail. Some of these waterfall hikes are short, others are longer. And some are far enough […]

Popular trails thawing in the Mountain Parks

The endless winter has finally loosened its grip in the Canadian Rockies, and high country trails are slowly opening up in all the Mountain Parks. Following are latest conditions from some of the most popular hiking destinations: Sunshine Meadows. The shuttle bus to the meadows has been running for over a week, and the trail to Rock Isle Lake, Grizzly and Larix Lakes (25) is in good shape (some snow […]

Classic hiking guidebooks by Don Beers

Don Beers began his hiking career in the early 1950s under the tutelage of Leonard Leacock, the well-known music composer and instructor at Mount Royal College, who may well lay claim to being the earliest recreational hiker in the Canadian Rockies. Many of Don’s later trips were with wife Keitha (who often served as a colourful foreground for his photos) and long-time friend Lance Camp. When Bart Robinson and I […]