Banff – backcountry permits & seasonal travel restrictions?
Jul 14, 2023 at 5:07 pm #3785232Maria BBPL Member
Hi there, I’m traveling with some older family members to Banff and hoping to do a solo long dayhike or very quick overnight trip in the Paradise Valley area. In my research I’ve noticed that the backcountry permits in that area are 24-hours in advance only (which is helpful for my last-minute planning) due to the potential for bear populations to rise seasonally. Additionally, there are apparently often restrictions on travel in this area when bear activity is high, which could coincide with my trip. The restriction, if enacted, requires traveling in groups of 4+ people at all times, the fine is $25,000 for violating this. Bears and cliffs and solo hiking are not a good combination, so I’m not tempted to ignore the restriction if it is put in place. My fellow travelers have no interest in this adventure and it wouldn’t be advisable to tempt them.
Does anyone have experience getting a 24-hour backcountry permit in Banff? Better to call or show up at the ranger station when it opens? And, does anyone know if there’s any reasonable method to try to join a group to comply with the possible travel restrictions? The odds feel low that I could find a group on the shuttle to the trailhead that just happens to have the same goal I do and would like a fifth wheel, and I doubt the rangers are so accommodating as to matchmake groups of travelers, but it would be nice.
Alternatively, suggestions for other longish dayhikes in Banff (or Jasper) are also very welcome!
Fingers crossed the bears stay somewhere else and this trip contingency planning isn’t necessary.Jul 14, 2023 at 7:22 pm #3785234Luke SchmidtBPL Member
I got a permit easily enough for my packrafting trip on the Clearwater and Pipestone Rivers. But that was in 2016 so things could have changed.
My suggestion is get a good map of the whole area and have several backup plans. Its spectacular country so I can’t imagine NOT finding a good hike that is available. I saw relatively little bear sign. I think large areas of Banff and Jasper have low bear densities compared to Glacier or Yellowstone.Jul 14, 2023 at 9:12 pm #3785236DWR DBPL Member
Another possible problem: Smoke… Canada is on fire !!!
Good to have options to divert somewhere else…
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