Canadian Rockies Hiking Blog
The thoughts and opinions of local authors and hiking enthusiasts, including hiking reports, seasonal news, Parks Canada policy updates, backcountry history, gear recommendations, and favourite hiking shops.

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 […]

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Once again, tick season is upon us. For most in the Rockies wood ticks are an annual nuisance that we suffer for a couple of months. The only defence is to tuck our pants into our socks and check ourselves carefully for the beasties following every hike. But in many parts of Canada, including British Columbia, Lyme disease has long been a serious threat, and the deer ticks that transmit the grim […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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      Despite what many people believe, Bart and I haven’t hiked all the trails in the Canadian Rockies. There are still trails we’ve missed and would dearly like to hike before we get too creaky to manage them. When I was making up a “bucket list” for myself, I suddenly realized there aren’t many day hikes in the mountain parks that I haven’t done at least once. Most of my […]

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      Washed out bridges that aren’t replaced. Deteriorating backcountry campsites with grotty outhouses. Landslides and fires wiping out sections of trails, some permanently. Tracks over alpine passes awash and churned into muddy soup. Numerous trails decommissioned (read abandoned). Is this the current state of affairs in Jasper National Park, a place we always called the backpacking capital of North America? Since the town of Jasper boasts a very […]

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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.  

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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, […]

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