Trail Conditions Update – June 17, 2015
WILDFIRE UPDATE: Currently there are no fire bans for the GDT but there is a wildfire burning near the southern boundary of the Willmore Wilderness Area about 15 km northeast of the GDT.
TRAILS: Conditions are continuing to improve. Hiking trails at lower elevations vary from bare and dry to wet and muddy, but many trails are still snowbound above 2,000 metres. Trails can be icy in the morning but warm daytime temperatures means the snow is melting quickly and creating muddy and slippery conditions. Traction cleats or poles are recommended for hikers at higher elevations.
- Jasper National Park: The GDT is closed from Cataract Pass to Poboktan Creek trailhead due to a grizzly bear becoming food conditioned and causing property damage at several sites throughout the closure area. Currently the only available detour is Highway 93.
- 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. Please exercise caution in this area during construction.
- Restoration of the Aldridge Creek Trail between Fording River Pass and the Kananaskis Power Line Road will take place July 15-18. Please exercise caution in this area during construction.
- Cairnes Creek: 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 is badly damaged so it is recommended to ford the creek further downstream and avoid using the broken bridge.
- The Maligne Pass trail in Jasper National Park has been decommissioned and is in poor shape. The trail from Pobokton Creek to Maligne Lake (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.
- The Howse Pass Trail from Conway Creek to the Glacier Lake trail junction (15km) 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.
ACCESS TRAIL CLOSURES:
- Kootenay National Park: Due to washed out bridges, Tumbling Creek Trail is closed and access to Numa Creek Trail is closed.
- Jasper National Park: Nigel Pass Trail and Poboktan Creek Trail are both closed due to a grizzly bear becoming food conditioned and causing property damage at several sites throughout the closure area.
BEAR WARNING – Bears are frequenting valleys at lower elevations in search of food so caution is recommended when travelling on trails in those areas. Pay attention, make noise and carry bear spray.
ELK: Calving season is May 15 to June 30. Protective mother elk can be aggressive during this time so exercise caution. Keep at least 30 metres away and avoid lone female elk or calves.
TICKS: It’s tick season so be extra careful when in areas with a lot of underbrush and check yourself and your clothing after your hike.
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.