Category Archives: Jasper National Park

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 […]

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 […]

High country snow lingers on park trails

An above average snowpack in the Mountain Parks will likely plague many high trails until late July this year. Trails above 2200m (7,200ft) on north and east facing slopes will be particularly vulnerable to lingering snow banks. While snowpack tracked close to normal through the first half of the winter, there was a big surge in accumulations at all recording stations in March and near-record peaks by the beginning of May. Warm weather […]

Travel restrictions on Jasper’s Cavell Road

Motorists who want to drive the Cavell access road to the base of Jasper’s Mount Edith Cavell this summer will require a special permit, and only 180 are being issued for each day. The restrictions are due to ongoing construction at the road’s southern terminus and the Mount Edith Cavell parking area, which will continue throughout the summer. The access road opened to the public on Monday, June 19,  and will remain so until September […]

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 […]

Jasper’s backcountry trail crisis

      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 […]

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 […]

Reserving Jasper’s backcountry

Backpackers planning trips for Jasper National Park’s backcountry this summer can go online as of today (January 28) to reserve campsites. The new website provides a quick way of insuring the campsites you need for overnight excursions. The new website,,  is the first of its kind in the mountain parks. So I would be ready for efficient booking for this summer, I went online last night at and […]

Jasper’s South Boundary Trail revisited

We originally hiked and measured Jasper Park’s South Boundary Trail many years ago, but a lot has changed since then. Wildfires, floods, rampaging grizzly bears (well, we did have a rampaging grizzly bear). The only way we can keep the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide up-to-date for long, remote backpacks, like the South Boundary, is through updates from our readers. Jim Shipley is one of those contributors. Every summer, Jim and […]

First snow, first frost

It started looking like the end of summer on Friday, August 21st as snow blanketed much of the high country above 2200 m. Heavy precipitation and falling temperatures brought several cms of fresh snow to the high country throughout the Mountain Parks. Meanwhile, temperatures fell to -2 degrees in Jasper, Kicking Horse Pass and Bow Valley Provincial Park in the early-morning hours on Saturday. When we were working together in […]