Category Archives: Canadian Rockies

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 one of the […]

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 […]

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, […]

New eBook guides to National Park trails

A new series of trail guides in eBook format has been published by Summerthought. Designed for Kindle readers, tablets and iPhones, and utilizing the free Kindle app, the series works as an affordable alternative or supplement to the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide. Each guide includes trail summaries, descriptions, and km-by-km distance outlines from the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide plus two features lacking in the print edition—a colour photo and  map for each […]

A hiker’s bucket list

      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 […]

Remembering Mel Hurtig

Mel Hurtig passed away last week at age 84 after a brief illness, and a myriad of articles have been published across Canada lauding his achievements and devotion to Canada. But I also remember him as a friend and an enthusiastic walker who loved the mountains of western Canada. Mel was always an active golfer, but after he married Kay Studer in 1981, he became a very serious hiker. He frequently […]

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 […]

Best alpine wildflower hikes

It should come as no surprise that the best hikes to alpine wildflowers would be from the Icefields Parkway—Canada’s longest and highest year-round roadway. And this summer is producing one of the earliest blooms ever in the high country. First off, let’s be perfectly clear about alpine wildflowers. These are not the big, showy flowers that hikers find in lush, well-watered subalpine meadows just below the treeline. True alpine flowers only […]

Bragg Creek map updated

Among  five revised Gem Trek maps released last month is a new, much-expanded 1:50,000 sheet for Bragg Creek & Sheep Valley—a core area for outdoor recreation in Kananaskis Country. Gem Trek has long provided the best recreational maps for Kananaskis Country, and this new edition is filled with information and details that hikers, bikers and horseback riders will find invaluable. And like its other 1:50,000 scale maps, this edition is printed on waterproof material, […]

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 […]