Nestled in the Canadian Rockies, Canmore and Kananaskis offer a wide range of outdoor activities and adventures, from hiking and camping to skiing and snowboarding. As with any outdoor excursion, it’s important to be prepared for the unexpected. Whether you’re a seasoned outdoors enthusiast or a first-time visitor, here are some tips on how to be prepared for your next adventure in the Rocky Mountains.
Check trail conditions
Before you head out on your hike, it’s important to check trail information for closures, advisories, and conditions. Be prepared to change your plans if something is closed unexpectedly or if conditions are not ideal. Don’t sweat it if your plans fall through – there are countless other ways you can have an epic day in Canmore and Kananaskis.
Keep an eye on the weather report
Weather in the Rockies can take you through all four seasons in a day. Check the weather forecasts and learn how to dress for the time of year before venturing out into the great outdoors.
Bring the right gear and supplies
Let’s keep it simple. Here is a basic list of absolutely essential gear for a hike:
- Water (1L minimum)
- Proper footwear – boots or shoes with good support and traction
- Bear spray for protection during potential wildlife encounters
- Snacks and/or lunch
- Windproof jacket and warm layers – year round!
Depending on the season, the terrain difficulty, and your skill level, you may also need micro-spikes, poles, sunscreen, and other gear to help your adventures run smoothly. If you’re visiting from out of town or just looking to pick up some new gear, check out Kananaskis Outfitters, Sports Experts, Sports Garage, or GearUp for all your outdoor adventure needs.
Save and download important information
Cell service can be spotty in the backcountry, so make sure you download trail maps and other essential information to be used offline. Alternatively, you can drop by the Canmore Visitor Information Centre to pick up a trail map and get some pointers from local experts to help navigate you through the mountain ranges.
Know your limits and communicate
When preparing for your outdoor adventure, a key piece of advice is to be aware of your physical and mental limits. Be mindful of your own limitations and know when it’s best to turn around before risking injury, exhaustion, or panic. Communicate with members of your group if you’re feeling uncomfortable and make sure others in your group feel safe before venturing out. Always advise someone outside of the group of your route, destination, and projected return time.
Share the space
On the trails, you may encounter other hikers, runners, cyclists, or even some people on horseback. Be considerate of other trail users and give way to others when necessary. Avoid excessive noise like loud music to let others enjoy the natural sounds of the unfiltered wilderness.
Stay on the trail
Minimize your footprint by staying on the designated trails at all times. Going off trail causes significant damage to our treasured landscapes.
Keep your dog on a leash
If you bring your canine pal on the trails, keep them on a leash at all times. This protects your pet as well as the local vegetation and wildlife.
Leave no trace
It should go without saying, but we’ll say it anyways – don’t leave litter on the trails! Please pack out your waste and dispose of it properly when you return from your hike. Likewise, preserve the heritage of the natural landscapes by only taking souvenirs from our shops – leave the plants and natural objects alone!
Wildlife is abundant in the Bow Valley, and it is important to know how to prepare for a wildlife encounter and what to do in case of one. Visit our wildlife safety tips page for more information on how to keep yourself and wildlife safe.
All vehicles stopping in the parks and public lands of Kananaskis Country and the Bow Valley corridor are required to purchase a Kananaskis Conservation Pass. Passes can be purchased online and can cover up to two vehicles.
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