Banff is the oldest National Park in Canada and receives four million visitors and hikers each year. Hiking here is one spotlight of visiting Canada and can go away vacationers with reminiscences (and epic photos) to last a lifetime. Dense coniferous forests, towering mountains, and milky blue glacial lakes are what guests can anticipate to see whereas making their means around the huge park.
Hiking in Banff is exciting and rewarding, but doing so safely requires adequate preparation. These 10 tips will help set hikers up for fulfillment, to permit them to maximize their time exploring Banff National Park.
11 Wear Appropriate Hiking Boots
Invest in a reliable hiking boot or shoe with treads that provide traction for going up steep inclines. The boot or shoe should offer assist, be breathable, and be snug. For hikers visiting the park in the later fall or winter when there’s snow on the trails, contemplate bringing a pair of crampons that connect to the underside of the hiking boot for further grip in icy or slippery conditions.
9 Invest In Trekking Poles
The terrain in Banff is various with some trails which are easy to navigate on flat, even ground, and others that require hikers to traverse steep, rocky pathways. Regardless of a traveler’s expertise and health level, trekking poles will make their expertise in Banff extra comfortable. Trekking poles are used in tandem and provide additional stability, which is very necessary when balancing on rocky terrain. They additionally scale back the impact in your knees by as a lot as 20%.
Keep in thoughts that purchasing any sort of climbing gear inside the park boundaries (such as at retailers in Lake Louise) means paying top dollar. To keep away from overpaying for trekking poles, buy them before arriving in Banff.
8 Stay On Trail
A rookie mistake that new hikers typically make is venturing off of the marked trails within the park. Whether it’s to take a closer look at wildlife, find a viewpoint, or shortcut throughout some switchbacks, this isn’t applicable mountaineering etiquette. Straying from the path can be harmful, especially on a cliff edge or rocky ridge. However, it additionally endangers the ecosystem in the space. If every hiker sticks to the trail, the encircling nature stays untouched and intact. But if every one who passes through takes a different detour, there is an extra of vegetation being downtrodden daily. Staying on the path always is crucial for hiker’s security and being respectful of the wildlife.
7 Bring Bear Spray (and Know How To Use It)
Alberta, Canada, is house to loads of wildlife, but some of the notable predators within the region is the Grizzly Bear. Parks Canada estimates there are about 65 grizzlies inside the 6641 sq. kilometer space that Banff National Park covers. 96% of the park is wilderness, so there’s plenty of house for the creatures to roam undetected by hikers. Although bear encounters are uncommon, they’re attainable whereas climbing in Banff, particularly during the spring, summer, and fall seasons when bears aren’t in hibernation.
It’s important to make noise while on the path to alert bears to your presence, so you don’t startle them. In case you come throughout one, carrying bear spray to discourage the bear is a essential safety measure. Ensure you’ve quick access to the spray (carry it on the exterior of your backpack) and know the method to use it in case you encounter an emergency.
6 Research Your Route
Hikers should put together for a climbing journey in Banff by researching route choices and deciding on trails which are suitable for his or her experience stage. There are various grades of trails in Banff National Park with these rated as reasonable to some that are thought-about exhausting. It’s important for hikers to choose on trails which might be realistic for their fitness stage and contemplate the gap and elevation achieve when deciding how much time is needed to complete the path. It’s all the time a good suggestion to start mountaineering early in the day to avoid being caught within the forest after darkish.
5 Hike With A Buddy
When climbing in grizzly bear territory, it’s best to avoid heading out on the trail solo. In truth, many of the trailheads in Banff National Park feature signs encouraging hikers not to proceed on the route until they’re mountaineering in a bunch of two or sometimes 4 people. This is as a result of being in a bunch decreases the likelihood that a grizzly bear will attack.
For solo vacationers, there are nonetheless options for having fun with Banff’s trails safely. Consider becoming a member of a guided mountaineering tour group or connecting with other solo backpackers at your lodge or hostel and making plans to hike together.
four Wear Layers And Dress For The Season
The weather can change rapidly in the mountains, so it’s smart to be ready for all sorts of situations when heading out on the trail. Check the forecast for the day earlier than departing and wear layers which might be easy to take away or add, depending on if the temperature will increase, decreases, or if there may be unexpected precipitation.
Hikers should put on a base layer, a mid-layer, and an outer layer. The base layer goes against the skin and should be an artificial material, silk, wool, or bamboo fibers – ideally one thing that dries rapidly. This is a moisture-wicking layer, so cotton is not a good option for the base layer. The mid-layer is an insulating layer, like a fleece jacket or puffer vest. Finally, hikers can even carry a light rain shell or windbreaker in their backpacks as a protecting outer layer.
three Pack Essentials
Even for hikers who’re just doing a circuit that may take a few hours, hiking in Banff can be strenuous, and it’s important to hold some essentials in a backpack for the journey. A small day pack is a superb alternative for bringing a water bottle, some nutritious snacks, and a small first-aid kit. Ensure the pack fits correctly to avoid rubbing or discomfort on the shoulders while climbing. While it’s important to pack the necessities for even a brief hike, vacationers ought to be cautious of overpacking, which might weigh them down and make the trek tougher than it must be.
2 Be Diligent About Sun Protection
Hiking via the mountains supplies loads of opportunities for solar publicity, particularly at higher elevations. When exploring Banff National Park, it’s necessary to take precautions to guard the eyes and pores and skin from UV rays. The CDC recommends wearing sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher for adequate safety from UV rays. Hikers ought to reapply as essential all through the journey, especially if they are sweating.
Even when climbing within the winter, sun exposure is a concern. While sporting long sleeves and pants protects the body from UV rays, it’s at all times a good idea to use sunscreen to the face before getting outdoors. Sunglasses are a must-pack item for climbing in Banff in all seasons. They shield the eyes from UV rays and within the winter, make it simpler to see when the solar is reflecting off the snow.
1 Leave No Trace
Most persons are familiar with the adage, “take nothing but photos, leave nothing however footprints” and this holds true for mountaineering in Banff National Park. To be a considerate visitor in the park, hikers should take nothing from the trail corresponding to sticks, rocks, or different foliage, as a souvenir. It’s also important that hikers take any rubbish they produce from their snacks with them to dispose of correctly at rubbish bins close to the trailhead or car parking zone. Visitors to Banff ought to leave the park in the same situation they found it, so everybody can get pleasure from this gem of Western Canada.