Trail Conditions Update – July 27, 2015
TRAILS: Conditions are good on most of the GDT. Trails are mainly dry with some wet and muddy sections and possible snow patches at higher elevations. The wildflower bloom is early this year!
WILDFIRE UPDATE: Rain and cooler temperatures have decreased fire danger in much of the Canadian Rockies so the fire ban has been lifted in Banff and Jasper National Parks as well as in Mount Robson and Kakwa Provincial Parks. Campfires are permitted in designated fire pits on the GDT in Alberta and in Mount Robson and Kakwa Provincial Parks in BC. Campfires are still prohibited on all other sections of the GDT in south-eastern BC.
- The Excelsior Creek Wildfire burning in Jasper National Park is now considered under control and all sections of the GDT have re-opened.
- The Kakwa Park wildfire burning in the Jarvis Creek Valley has not resulted in the closure of the GDT in the area.
- Elk Lakes Provincial Park: Extensive repairs and construction on the trail between Lower and Upper Elk Lakes to be carried out throughout 2015 hiking season. Detour to West Elk Pass by taking the Elkan Creek trail from the parking lot trailhead. Lower Elk Lake campground is still accessible but hikers are asked to exercise caution in this area during construction.
- Jasper National Park: The Brazeau Loop, Nigel Pass and Poboktan Creek trails have re-opened but a bear warning is in effect. Two grizzly bears have broken into cabins along the South Boundary trail to access horse feed. While they are no longer appearing at cabins and have not shown aggression to people, they may return to the area. Recommendations to minimize the potential of a bear encounter: Travel in tight groups of 4 or more; make noise to alert bears of your presence; carry bear spray; and keep a clean campsite, secure all food and garbage on designated bear cables or in bear storage lockers. Please report all bear sightings, incidents and animal carcasses to 780-852-6155.
- The trail from Sage Pass (a17) to Scarpe Pass (a24) was cleared and blazed last year and is in good shape. From Scarpe Pass, the trail disappears up to La Coulotte Ridge and the hiking becomes significantly more difficult until you reach the ATV track (a27) heading down to the West Castle Road.
- The Aldridge Creek Trail between Fording River Pass (b31) and the Kananaskis Power Line Road (b32) was cleared and restored in July 2015.
- The Wonder Pass trail (alternate route) has several large mudslides on the Marvel Lake section. It is recommended to go in and out via Assiniboine Pass to access Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park.
- Cairnes Creek (d9): The bridge is washed out making this a potentially dangerous ford. It is recommended to cross early in the morning when glacial melt is lowest.
- The Lambe Creek bridge (d10) is badly damaged so it is recommended to ford the creek further downstream and avoid using the broken bridge.
- The Howse Pass Trail from Conway Creek (d12) to the Glacier Lake trail junction (d14, 15 km) is in very poor condition. The trail is overgrown, with hundreds of wind-fallen trees across the trail. Hiking in the Howse River floodplain is a viable alternative if the Howse River is low enough to ford.
- The Owen Creek Trail was cleared in July 2015 up to km 5. Beyond that point, the trail is in poor shape with several washed out sections. Expect challenging hiking for 3 or 4 km including skirting along steep creek-side cliffs and rock-hopping in the creek itself. At km 6, do not take the trail heading up away from the creek (it is a deadend). Look for orange blazes marking the correct route.
- The Maligne Pass trail in Jasper National Park has been decommissioned and is in poor shape. The trail from Pobokton Creek (e20) to Maligne Lake (e25, approx 42 km) is no longer being maintained by Parks Canada so expect deteriorating and overgrown trail conditions; long pants are recommended. The Maligne River bridge has been removed but the river can be easily forded (knee deep in mid-summer). Most other bridges are still in place.
ACCESS TRAIL CLOSURES:
- Kootenay National Park – UPDATE: Tumbling Creek Trail is now open. Due to washed out bridges, access to Numa Creek Falls and Trail remains closed.
Access Roads Update:
- Construction work on Highway 40 continues from south of the winter gate to Junction Highway 541; expect delays.
- Access to the northern terminus of the GDT in Kakwa Provincial Park is via the Walker Creek Forest Service Road which has been repaired from Highway 16 to 33.5km on the Walker Creek FSR. The remaining 50 kilometres vary in condition from OK to very rough. The last 10km from Bastille Creek to Buchanan Creek are particularly rough and can be muddy so a 4×4 is recommended.