All posts by Brian Patton

About Brian Patton

Brian Patton is co-author of the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide.

Backpacking to Maligne with Mary

    Five intrepid backpackers celebrate the end of a hot, smoky summer with a soggy ten-day trek from the North Saskatchewan River to Maligne Lake on the Great Divide Trail. Fog, drizzle, rain, sleet, snow! Jim Shipley and his buddies did something this summer that I never managed. Backpacking 10 days in the wilderness without seeing more than a few flashes of blue sky and sunshine. And this following […]

Finding the trail to Castleguard Meadows

The old trail to Castleguard Meadows via the Alexandra and Castleguard Rivers is a tough slog. But those who make it there, either by the fading trail or over the Saskatchewan Glacier, will never forget this remarkable region. Finding the way on this remote route, unmaintained track in Banff Park’s northern reaches is not a walk in the park. Any signage on the route dates to the dark ages, and […]

Canada’s Great Divide Trail revisited

It has been 18 years since Dustin Lynx released the first edition of  Hiking Canada’s Great Divide Trail. This summer he published a totally revised third edition of the guidebook, which remains the best source for intrepid backpackers who want to tackle this daunting journey. And I’m sure that Dustin found this revision daunting as well. Today’s Great Divide Trail is an unofficial route made up of very popular trails with […]

Testing Mark’s permethrin-treated clothing

When Mark’s suddenly released a line of permethrin-treated clothing under its WindRiver label this past spring, it came as a huge, personal surprise. For several years, I had been questioning why Canada was reluctant to approve insect-repellent clothing while it was available everywhere else in the world. I even posted  blogs about this frustrating issue—Ticks, Permethrin and Canadian hypocrisy (April 17, 2017) and Permethrin-treated clothing arrives in Canada (June 14, […]

Banff’s Sawback Trail: The Fitch Variation

Every once in awhile, one of our contributors comes up with a better itinerary than what we feature in the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide. That happened this month when Gavin Fitch sent us a report on his seven-day trip this August along Banff’s Sawback Range. We write-up the Sawback Trail as a fairly direct 73-km trip from Mount Norquay to Lake Louise via Mystic, Pulsatilla and Boulder Passes. But Gavin’s […]

Wildfires close trails in Kootenay, Banff

Parks Canada has closed a number of trails in Kootenay and Banff National Parks due to wildfires that have been burning and expanding since late July. The Mount Wardle Fire in Kootenay Park has had the biggest impact, resulting in partial closure of Highway 93S, and the closing of Kootenay Park Lodge and all trails in the core area of the park, including the popular Floe Lake and Rockwall Trail […]

Canada Day—Take a hike, eh!

Last July 1st, blog correspondent Jim Shipley and his buddy Frank hiked to the top of The Nub in Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park to celebrate Canada 150. As Jim’s photo attests, it was a little bit snowy backpacking into the park via Bryant Creek and Wonder Pass at that time of year. But what a great way to celebrate the country’s birthday! If you went somewhere special this Canada Day, […]

Permethrin-treated clothing arrives in Canada

After years of frustration, Canadians are now able to purchase clothing that is commercially treated to protect against mosquitoes and ticks and the diseases they can carry. Using “No Fly Zone by Burlington” technology, Marks (aka Marks Work Wearhouse) released a line of men’s and women’s clothing under its Wind River label in May. Shirts, pants, jackets and hats produced with permethrin-treated cloth are now available in major Marks outlets […]

Visiting Waterton Park in 2018

Update July 1, 2018—Parks Canada trail crews have been hard at work in Waterton, and several trails have reopened west of the townsite in the wake of the Kenow Fire. These trails include Bertha Lake, the Waterton Lakeshore to the U.S. boundary, Crandell Lake from Red Rock Parkway, and the Crandell Loop from the townsite.  (The Red Rock Parkway is only open to pedestrians and bicycles, and the Akamina Parkway remains […]

Lake O’Hara: A quota for paradise

“Welcoming visitors since 1925 to what is certainly one of the singularly most stunning alpine locations on earth.” This description on the Lake O’Hara Lodge website is certainly no exaggeration.  Lake O’Hara’s scenic reputation and outstanding trail system has been drawing hikers for decades. In the 1970s, a quota system was introduced for bus access to the lake, one based on accommodation at the lodge, the Alpine Club of Canada’s […]