Jan 23, 2012 at 11:20 am #1284558
Just curious who has done the Canadian leg of the Great Divide Trail and how long it took you to do?
Contemplating doing the trail this summer or next and any info would be appreciated.
MikeJan 23, 2012 at 11:37 am #1828512
Not many have. I've poked around a bit for info and there isn't a lot out there. If you havn't got it already there's a guidebook by a guy named Dustin lynx, I think it's just about 10 years old though. The best resources I've come across so far are a guy named Ben Mayberry who walked from the Mexican border to kakwa lakes this last summer. I've emailed him a few times. Friendly guy totally willing to help out. The other is Justin Lichter, if you shoot him an email he can send you all of his maps and resupply info from '05 I believe. If you google search either name you should find their contact info pretty easily. Unfortunately I have no personal experience to offer…one day…Jan 23, 2012 at 11:58 am #1828521
@gregfLocale: Canadian Rockies
I have only done a small section of the GDT from Mount Assinaboine though to the end of the Rockwall and also the end of the trail around Mount Robson
I would say the sections within National / Provincial Parks you can consistantly do 20 mile days quite regularly. The biggest issue you will face there is being required to have permits and camp in designated campgounds outside of the few random camping areas. Unlike the PCT you can't just get a permit for the whole hike you need to deal with each park separately.
Outside of the parks your biggest issue will be lack of trails and route finding as the trail never really was completed and is more of a combination of logging roads, game trails, and Siesmic Rig roads.
A few years ago I was considering spending a summer doing it but after reading about it most of the trail is boring so instead I spent more time exploring the best areas instead of trudging below the trees and on round topped hills.
Here is a good webiste with pretty good information considering how re-supplies would work.
Re-supplies are a lot different as we don't have as extensive of post office system as the PCT does and the towns you do go through are tiny.Jan 23, 2012 at 12:00 pm #1828525
Paul MagnantiBPL Member
@paulmagsLocale: People's Republic of BoulderJan 23, 2012 at 1:18 pm #1828559
Steven ParisBPL Member
@saparisorLocale: Pacific Northwest
Ben Mayberry did part of the GDT on his epic hike this past year. His site is:Jan 23, 2012 at 1:45 pm #1828570
Thanks for all the info so far, keep it coming :)
I lucked out this afternoon and found a copy of Hiking Canada's Great Divide Trail" at the local Chapter store. It seems to be a hard trail to find info on but that what makes its fun…lol
I live just a short drive away from the start of the trail but until recently had not hiked much of the area and my wife came up with the idea of speed packing the entire trail to see how fast we could do it…not sure if I am up to running that much but the idea of fast packing it intrigues me.
MikeJan 23, 2012 at 2:38 pm #1828592
@porkpie73Locale: High Sierra
My buddy Nacho and I hiked it in 2010. I put together a map set for the hike that I could send you. Chris's site is by far the best for planning. I have some additional info on my site. We were out from July 17th to August 13th, started in Kakwa and took maybe 2-3 zero days. Once we got to Waterton we continued west on the PNT.
One of the best trails out there mile for mile. Hope you enjoy it!
PepperJan 24, 2012 at 10:45 am #1828988
Great info and links, thanks guys
MikeFeb 1, 2012 at 7:13 pm #1833090
@benmayberryLocale: Wetside Cascades
As mentioned, I hiked it last year from Waterton to Kakwa Lake. It took me a little less than a month; August 12th to September 9th, I think. Pretty much all the resources I used in planning my hike have been mentioned: Chris Willet, the Owens, Justin Lichter. Since finishing, I've been working on typing up all the supplemental-to-the-guidebook information that I have and creating a mapset for future hikers. If you're interested in getting a copy of either, just shoot me an email at benmayberry at gmail dot com.
Like Shawn said, it's really one of the best trails out there mile for mile.
BenFeb 2, 2012 at 2:35 pm #1833484
You could also check out the book "Smoke Over Sikanaska" by J.S. Gowland. It's an account of his life as a forest ranger in the Kananaskis (Sikanaska rearranged to hide true location) area of Alberta which the G.D.T. goes through. It's a great book many of my family love.Feb 3, 2012 at 1:08 pm #1833978
@benmayberryLocale: Wetside Cascades
On the subject of related books, I recommend anything by Sid Marty: Men for the Mountains, Switchbacks, Leaning on the Wind, etc. He's a sort of 'Ed Abbey of the Canadian Rockies' and has written a lot about his time as a park ranger in the areas the GDT travels through.Feb 10, 2012 at 9:41 am #1837364
david hockeyBPL Member
@coffeeguyLocale: Canadian Rockies
Hello Mike, this is my first post ever so hopefully it goes where it should.
I volunteer with the "Friends of the Great Divide Trail" , we are a group of people who go out and maintain the trail. We concentrate on a 100 km section of the trail which is the original section. Our website has some current info and updates on trail sections as well as some maps to help you out. the address is http://www.greatdividetrail.ca/ so check it out, but it is still a work in progress.
As in other posts you will see Dustins book which is still the best info, way points etc. You also got directed to my friends movie and site http://www.bradlandproductions.com/, he hiked the whole section in 2006 and it took him about two months.
Most of us agree that hiking from the south to north makes the most sense as it is "warmer" in the south and give the high mountain passes more time to clear of snow and ice further north.
I hope this helps you out a little bit more and if you have more questions please feel free to shoot me a email and i will do my best to get the info for you.
This is an amazing hike and i am sure it would be rated with some of the top hikes in the world if more people actually knew about it!
DaveAug 8, 2012 at 2:59 pm #1901254
@shisheynuLocale: French alps
I'm also very interested in hiking this trail and thanks already for the information you've put together here, helps me a lot.
Still a lot of questions remain unanswered to me. The only chance I have to be in Canada for visiting the Rockies is October 2012… so pretty later than the usual hiking season.
Now I want to know if someone has already been on the trails of the GDT at that time? If it is doable or pure madness because of the weather?
Some precisions about this project. I'm used to hike all the year long, so I'm not afraid encountering snow or sleeping with 5°F outside, but of course I'd prefer avoiding it. In any case, I will carry an ice axe and mini-crampons. The plan is to solo hike from north to south, starting on the 1st October in Jasper or more certainly in Lake Louise if there is really too much snow already, going down as far as I can (Peter Lougheed or Coleman) in about 20-25 days. Thus I'll go to warmer temperatures and lower moutains.
My major uncertainties are regarding the weather conditions I can meet:
– will the passes at 8000ft have 2 feet or 10 feet of snow?
– will the valleys at 5000ft be already covered with snow?
– will any parts of the trail be closed?
– do I need to take my snowshoes instead of mini crampons?
Nothing is set now, just the flight! So any advice will be gratefully appreciated.
ShisheyAug 15, 2012 at 7:56 pm #1903084
@gregfLocale: Canadian Rockies
Lake Louise ski hill opens the first week of november, Sunshine ski hill opens mid november, Banff gets (5000 ft) about 8 inches of snow in october. The first snow falls are usually in the first week of october, sometimes mid september. So i think you will be closer to two feet at the start of october but at the end of November Sunshine has a 10ft base. Temperatures in banff town site have an average lw of -2C with a record low of -22c. Sunshine is 2300m so usually 5 to 10 C colder than banff. So I think you need to be able to survive down to -30.
I think to have any chance you need to be in sunshine before october 15th, even the I think by the time you get out of Peter Lougheed you might be facing deep snow in the passes. If you can get here even 2 weeks earlier i think you would have a much better tripAug 15, 2012 at 9:12 pm #1903107
@rcowmanLocale: Canadian Rockies
last year in july and september that was up to 2ft of snow in the passes still. i did waterton to coleman last year and there wasnt much snow in august but the trail angel had a person going th other way say there was alot of snow in kananaskis in July.
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