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Canadian Rockies Trail Guide

Trail Updates

Canadian Rockies Hiking Trail Updates

Every new edition of our Canadian Rockies hiking books is thoroughly researched, but oftentimes changes occur between editions. This page is dedicated to trail changes that have occurred since publication of the 10th edition of the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide in May, 2022. Two types of updates are addressed on this page. The first are short term, such as bridge washouts and their replacement. Other updates are policy changes that will alter the way that people can use a trail longterm, including decommissioning of trails and changes to trail access. This page does not address day-to-day conditions, such as muddy trails or wildlife closures. We leave that to Parks Canada, which posts regular Trail Condition Reports for each national park (see links with park titles below).

 

Introduction

National Parks-Backcountry Camping—The annual Wilderness Pass for overnight travel in the Mountain National Parks was discontinued in 2018. Backcountry camping now requires a fee of $10.50 per night per person and a mandatory, non-refundable registration fee of $12.50 per permit.

 

Banff National Park

Current trail conditions

 

Tunnel Mountain—The main trailhead for Tunnel Mountain is closed during 2022 due to Town of Banff reconstruction on St. Julien Road. Hikers can hike from the Tunnel Mountain Drive trailhead (0.4 km) by drop-off or walking to the upper trailhead from town. See St. Julien Road Reconstruction for updates.

Goat Creek—The first kilometre of the trail from the Spray Lakes Road to the Banff Park boundary is closed through the 2022 season while Alberta reconstructs the trailhead parking lot and a trail bridge.

Sunshine Meadows—The Sunshine Summer Gondola returns to full operation from June 24 until September 11, 2022 (8am to 6pm). A gondola ticket includes access to the Standish Chairlift, which carries visitors from the lodge complex to the 2385m summit of Standish Peak and the nearby viewing deck. Sunshine Mountain Lodge will also provide accommodation during the 2022 summer season.

Lake Louise-Moraine Lake—Traffic flaggers monitor parking at both Lake Louise and Moraine Lake and turn back vehicles when lots are full. The best chance of getting a spot in the parking lots is prior to sunrise. In addition, parking at the Lake Louise lot will cost $12.25 per vehicle per day from mid-May to mid-October (7am to 7pm). Parks Canada will operate shuttle buses to Lake Louise and Moraine Lake by reservation only for the 2022 season. Shuttles depart from the Park & Ride at the Lake Louise Ski Area parking lot, located at the end of the Whitehorn Road 2.6 km (1.6 mi) northeast of the Trans Canada Highway interchange. Shuttles run to both Lake Louise and Moraine Lake and also provide travel between the lakes, so both can be visited in a day. However, hikers should focus on only one destination per day. Reservations for the shuttle service began May 4, 2022.

ROAM transit buses run from Banff to Lake Louise throughout the summer (7:30am to 7:00pm). ROAM also provides direct service from Banff to Moraine Lake seven days a week from mid-September to mid-October. Starting in 2022, ROAM Super Pass tickets allow visitors free access to Parks Canada’s shuttle service between Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. More detailed information is available on Parks Canada’s Getting around the Lake Louise area web page.

Castleguard Meadows. The “Hiker’s Blog” contains descriptions of recent trips to the meadows on this 35-km trail, which should be useful for anyone planning a trip there. See Castleguard Meadows: The Gilroy Report,  Castleguard Meadows revisited and Finding the trail to Castleguard Meadows.

 

Jasper National Park

Current trail conditions

Beginning in 2012, a number of remote trails in Jasper were decommissioned; for detailed information visit our blog post Jasper National Park’s Decommissioned Trails.

Tonquin Valley. Both lodges on Amethyst Lakes in the valley have been closed by Parks Canada order. This policy was instituted in hopes of preserving the remnants of the valley’s mountain caribou herd. Travel into the valley in winter is prohibited.

Athabasca Pass. An ice jam destroyed the Simon Creek bridge (15.0 km) in December 2016. This is a serious crossing for most of the summer. With no immediate plans to replace the bridge, you should not attempt a ford until late season, if even then.

Maligne Pass. Parks Canada has recommissioned the 48-km Maligne Pass trail running from Poboktan Creek junction to Maligne Lake. The Maligne River bridge 20 km north of the Maligne Pass is gone and will not be replaced, but all campgrounds between the pass and Maligne Lake are to be reinstated. The southern approach to Maligne Pass via Poligne Creek is still in good shape and should remain passable for strong day hikers, though no maintenance or bridge replacement are planned.

Jonas Pass-Brazeau Lake Loop. The bridge near the mouth of Brazeau Lake (km 48.2) was washed out for the entire 2022 hiking season. This reduced travel on this popular circuit trip substantially. As there are no plans to replace the bridge at this time, it is best to travel this section late in the season (mid-August or later). Many backpackers have successfully forded the Northwest Brazeau River at the mouth of the lake, where late-season water levels are reasonable and the current is negligible,

North Boundary Trail. The Twintree Creek bridge (2 km downstream from Twintree Campground) was damaged by flooding during the spring of 2021. Fording the creek is not permitted at the bridge site. (See also Berg Lake, Mount Robson Provincial Park.)

 

Yoho National Park

Current trail conditions

Amiskwi River. According to reports, renewed logging activity in the Blaeberry Valley has restored the Blaeberry Forest Service Road and access roads on Ensign Creek. So the original description of access to Amiskwi Pass from the north that appears in the 9th edition of the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide may be valid. Anyone planning to use this approach should contact the Golden Forest District first and be wary of industrial (logging) traffic. Meanwhile, access to Amiskwi Lodge is primarily via helicopter (see Amiskwi Lodge).

 

Kootenay National Park

Current trail conditions

Simpson River-Ferro Pass. The trail climbing along Surprise Creek from Simpson River soon enters the 2017 Verdant Creek burn and follows through scorched forest nearly all the way to Ferro Pass. Though BC Parks has cleared the trail and restored the Rock Lake campground, hikers should still be aware of post-wildfire hazards (falling trees, ash pits, etc.).

Waterton Lakes National Park

Current trail conditions

The Crandell Campground on the Red Rock Parkway is being reconstructed and is not likely to reopen until 2023. The Waterton Park Visitor Centre, which was destroyed by the Kenow fire, has been relocated to a new Visitor Centre in the townsite at 404 Cameron Falls Drive (403-859-5133).

Waterton Lakeshore. The trail is closed at the U.S. border. No travel south of the Canada-U.S. border is permitted at this time.

 

Akamina-Kishinena Provincial Park

Current trail conditions (Know Before You Go)

 

 

Peter Lougheed Provincial Park

 

Current trail conditions

Vehicle access to Peter Lougheed Provincial Park and the surrounding Kananaskis Country recreation area has always been free. That changed on June 1, 2021, when a daily fee of $15 per vehicle was instituted. An annual pass is available for $90. Visitors need to register their vehicles by licence plate online ahead of their visit or by using new wifi hotspots or at visitors centres and the Canmore Nordic Centre.

Chester Lake. The trail is closed annually through May and June to allow “the area to dry and to prevent damage to the trail and surrounding area.” The trail is frequently closed for short periods when grizzly bears are feeding near the lake.

 

Elk Lakes Provincial Park

Current trail conditions (Know Before You Go)

 

Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park

 

Mount Robson Provincial Park

Current trail conditions (Know Before You Go)

Kinney Lake. A flash flood seriously damaged the Berg Lake trail and bridges on July 2, 2021. As a result, the entire trail is closed indefinitely while repairs are underway. The trail will be open for winter use from Nov 25, 2022 to Mar 31, 2023. BC Parks plans on Kinney Lake Campground being open during the 2023 hiking season. For more information concerning the flood event, check out CBC’s Trailblazing.

Berg Lake. A flash flood seriously damaged the Berg Lake trail and bridges on July 2, 2021. As a result, the trail is closed to backpackers indefinitely. The trail will be open for winter use from Nov 25, 2022 to Mar 31, 2023. BC Parks plans on Kinney Lake Campground being open during the 2023 hiking season. For more information concerning the flood event, check out CBC’s Trailblazing.