Hiking in the Canadian Rocky Mountains is extremely rewarding and a great way to experience nature. The Canadian Rocky Mountains are a vast mountain range extending 1,200 km from the American border over the east of British Columbia and the west of Alberta. When venturing out to explore and hike in the Canadian Rockies there are a few things to know.
Research the distance, estimated times and the elevation gain/loss for hikes.
Even a short hike can be rigorous if it climbs steeply! Also, do not always trust your friends’ opinions on hikes. Do the research yourself as well.
When exploring, do not go off-trail.
The trails in the Rockies are maintained and well defined. Going off trail can be potentially unsafe and lead to following the wrong trail or getting lost and bushwhacking. Not following the trail can also cause damage to the ecosystem leading to future erosion.
The wildlife thrives in the Rocky Mountains!
With a great variety of animals, such as elk, moose, cougars, grizzly bears, black bears, and many others. Make sure to always be aware of your surroundings and to look for signs of recent animal activity.
Do not feed any of the wildlife anywhere in the Canadian Rockies.
Don’t feed the chipmunks, don’t feed the birds, and definitely don’t feed a bear! Feeding animals human food can make them sick. It can also cause the animals to become dependent on humans feeding them and lose their ability to survive on their own.
Make sure to not leave your pack unattended with food in it.
Animals are smart and will do what they need to access your backpack! When park visitors feed animals, intentionally or not, it brings them closer to populated spots and can cause human-wildlife interactions.
Always practice the Leave No Trace principles.
Leave the wild the same or better than you found it. Clean up after yourself, pick up your garbage and pick up other garbage along the way. Ensure you place your garbage securely in your backpack. Wrappers stuffed into water bottle holders or in pockets have a tendency to fly away. Don’t disturb the wildlife, and don’t pick the flowers, shrubs or trees.
Always respect other hikers when on the trail.
Give other hikers their space, say hello to other individuals, let faster hikers pass you, and don’t play loud music on the trail.
If you’re hiking with a dog, keep it leashed.
This is for the pets safety and the wildlife. Also, it’s against bylaw to have your dogs off-leash while in the Bow Valley.
You shouldn’t go on any hike in the Canadian Rockies without bear spray.
The chance of coming across a bear on the trail is relatively small, it does happen and you need to be prepared. Make sure to keep bear spray easily accessible and be familiar with how to use it.
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