Tag Archives: backpacking

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 […]

Howse Pass: The disappearing trail

Of a number of trails that have disappeared since the first edition of the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide, Howse Pass may be the most famous. The trail up the Howse River to Howse Pass and the Columbia Valley beyond was first travelled by North West Company fur trader David Thompson in June 1807. Over the next three years, the trail was used as the first transcontinental trade route to the Columbia […]

Springtime hiking in Jasper

It may seem counterintuitive to head north for the earliest hiking in the Rockies, but Jasper’s Athabasca Valley is always the first to provide dry, snowfree trails and mild weather in May. Aside from being over 300 m (1,000 ft) lower in elevation than Banff, this section of the Rockies is less prone to those late-season, upslope snowfalls that always seem to plague the southern Front Ranges. As of this […]

Banff National Park: 9 days in the backcountry

  One of the pleasures of writing this blog is receiving queries from backpackers seeking advice on trips into remote reaches of the Mountain Parks. I received a couple of these this spring, including one from a Jim Shipley of Calgary, who was planning a two-week trip through the eastern Front Ranges of Banff National Park. After checking out his proposed route, and conferring with Parks Canada’s Don Gorrie, I […]

A new approach to Jasper’s South Boundary

It isn’t news to active hikers and backpackers in Jasper, but the South Boundary Trail as it appears in the 9th edition of the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide doesn’t really work anymore. In the last edition of our guidebook, we alluded to problems between Breccia Canyon and Grizzly Campground created by the 2003 Rocky River fire. The fire created such a problem over this stretch that Parks Canada decommissioned the […]