Canadian Rockies Hiking Blog

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...

Jasper National Park – decommissioned trails

For anyone who purchased Gem Trek’s “Jasper & Maligne Lake” or National Geographic’s “Jasper South” and “Jasper North” maps recently, some old, well-worn trails are conspicuously absent. No, these omissions aren’t typos but rather a reflection of trails that will...

Banff National Park: 9 days in the backcountry

  One of the pleasures of writing this blog is receiving queries from backpackers seeking advice on trips into remote reaches of the Mountain Parks. I received a couple of these this spring, including one from a Jim Shipley of Calgary, who was planning a two-week...

New hiking bridges in Kootenay National Park

Kootenay National Park's Paint Pots and Stanley Glacier trails are fully operational again thanks to the installation of two bridges. Spring washouts in recent years have been hard on bridges throughout the Mountain Parks. One of the most popular of these was the span...