Planning Your Trip
Visiting the Canadian Rockies requires advance planning, especially during July and August, when advance reservations are needed for accommodations and campgrounds. The information on this section of the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide website is designed to make your travel planning as informed as possible.
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Here is a checklist of tips to help you enjoy a safe and memorable Canadian Rockies hiking trip:
- Plan ahead. Choose hikes you are in shape to handle. Allow time for unexpected weather and other events that might alter your schedule.
- Stay on the trail, even if it means muddy boots. Leaving the trail creates parallel tracks and widens existing trails. Shortcutting switchbacks causes erosion.
- Leave rocks, flowers, antlers and other natural objects undisturbed. Never pick wildflowers or other plants.
- Never feed, disturb or harass wildlife. It is illegal, harmful to the animal’s health, and alters their natural behavior.
- Pack out all garbage. Carry plastic bags and, whenever possible, pack out litter that other, less considerate hikers have left behind. Do not throw garbage into privies.
- Where facilities are not provided, your toilet duties should be carried out well away from trails, campsites, and at least 50 metres (160 feet) from lakes and streams. Dig a small pit (15 centimetres/6 inches maximum) and restore the ground as closely as possible to its original state. Pack out toilet paper or burn it if fire danger is low.
- All dogs on parks trails must be kept on a leash. If your dog is not well trained or is difficult to control, be considerate of other hikers and leave it at home. Also, be aware that dogs have incited grizzly attacks.
- Even where campfires are permitted in the backcountry, it is preferable to use lightweight gas stoves for cooking. If you do have a campfire at a site where fires are permitted, it should only be set in metal fireboxes utilizing firewood provided at the site or, where permitted, dead wood lying on the ground. Keep all fires small and make sure they are totally extinguished before you depart.
- Keep food, soap, toothpaste, and detergent out of lakes and streams. Dispose of wash water on well-drained soil well away from the nearest surface water. Even biodegradable soaps are pollutants.
- Be considerate of fellow hikers when sharing a campsite or backcountry shelter. Be considerate as well of horseback riders: move well off the trail (preferably downslope), remain still and be prepared to comply with the guide’s requests
- Cyclists should avoid surprising hikers, horses and wildlife. Be particularly careful on blind corners and rises. Be prepared to dismount if you encounter hikers or horseback parties on narrow, rough trails.