Monthly Archives: June 2015

Banff’s high trails open early

Brian and I have been monitoring the arrival of an early 2015 hiking season.   Neither of us, though, were prepared for just how quickly the snow at altitude would vanish, and neither of us can remember a season quite like it in the 40-some years we’ve been watching spring make its annual ascent to the alpine. Based on recent hiker and trail crew accounts, the snow on the high trails […]

South Boundary Trail update

Ever since the Syncline Ridge Fire scorched the Breccia Creek section of Jasper’s South Boundary Trail in 2003, travel there has been iffy at best. Parks Canada didn’t have the resources to rehabilitate the trail, so nature was left to take its course. Last week, Rogier Gruys, a Jasper Park Visitor Experience Specialist, decided to spend a long weekend investigating the trail’s condition. “It may be better than expected,” wrote […]

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 […]

New government, new parks department

As is often the case, a change in government has led to a realignment of portfolios in Alberta. Formerly part of the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, as of 10 June 2015 Alberta Parks falls under the auspices of Alberta Environment and Parks. The URL for the new department is, although information on Peter Lougheed Provincial Park and other Alberta provincial parks can still be found at For the official […]

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 […]