Canadian Rockies Hiking Blog

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...

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...

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,...

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...

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...

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...

Springtime hiking in Jasper

It may seem counterintuitive to head north for the earliest hiking in the Rockies, but Jasper’s Athabasca Valley is always the first to provide dry, snowfree trails and mild weather in May. Aside from being over 300 m (1,000 ft) lower in elevation than Banff, this...

Lake O’Hara bus schedule changes for 2015

Getting a seat on the bus to Lake O'Hara has always been a challenge, with keen hikers marking their calendars three months in advance to ensure they call on the correct day and ensure themselves access to this very special place. As of 2015, the process has changed...

Low snowpack south of Jasper

Normally during the first week of spring, I would be talking about another long winter coming to an end and looking towards the first hike of the season. This year is different, particularly in the southern half of the Canadian Rockies. A month ago I was hiking up a...