Category Archives: Kananaskis Country

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 […]

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 […]

Grizzly closure at Chester Lake

A grizzly bear moved into the Chester Lake cirque in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park on Sunday (July 19), resulting in the indefinite closure of that trail. It was a prime example of what happens when too many people wander into a grizzly’s dining room, and we were there to witness it. I have a few hard and fast rules when it comes to hiking, and one of them is: “Never […]

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, […]

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 […]

Balmy days and dry trails in the Mountain Parks

  Back in the early days, people had a choice for cooling off during the heat of summer—go to a movie theatre (the first air-conditioned venues) or travel to the mountains. Air conditioning may be universal today, but the alpine trails of the Canadian Rockies are still superior to the shopping mall. I can only remember a couple summers when we could scamper about at 2400m in shorts and t-shirts. But […]

Hollywood hiking in the Canadian Rockies

Oscars time again and it always amazes me how Hollywood hoopla captivates the media, even here in Canada. And everyone seems to be looking for a connection, no matter how tenuous, to the glamour of the film industry. Of course, the Canadian Rockies aren’t exempt. More than 60 Hollywood-based films have been filmed at least partially in the region, and some scene locations can only be reached by hiking trail. […]

Best Larch Hikes in the Canadian Rockies

Every September, alpine larch (Larix lyalli) needles turn a brilliant gold at higher elevations throughout the Canadian Rockies, and hikers are inspired by some of the best weather of the season to go in search of autumn splendour in the high, subalpine forest of the Rockies. Expect the final 10 days of September to display the best and the brightest foliage. Here are a few favourites, complete with personal biases: Opabin […]

Highway 40 reopens over Highwood Pass

Highway 40 running over Highwood Pass in Kananaskis Country reopened on September 4, 2013, for the first time this year following June flooding that damaged several sections of the road. It is the highest public road in Canada and provides access to several popular hiking trails and routes in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, including Elbow Lake (205) and Ptarmigan Cirque (206). The highway reopening extends south from its junction with […]

Hiking the Canadian Rockies highest trails

By mid-summer, all of the snow has disappeared from the highest hiking trails in the Canadian Rockies parks and most hikers are in a bit better shape than they were in the spring. If you’d like to hike to the highest trail-accessible points in the parks, this is the time to do it. (But make sure you watch the weather.) There’s always a bit of debate about the highest “official” […]