Rockwall Trail, Canada

Rockwall Trail, Canada


The Rockwall Trail in Yoho and Kootenay National Parks offers tremendous variety of scenery – think breathtaking mountain takes, towering spires, deep woods – as well as tremendous elevation variation. Over the 81km of this hike, you will have to climb to 2438m, as well as climb through two other exhausting passes. The difficulty of this hike should therefore not be underestimated. On top of that, this is grizzly territory. In other words, you are not at the top of the food chain when you hike this trail. The most dangerous situation is to surprise a mother with a cub, so be sure to make a lot of noise as you hike along the Rockwall Trail.

Rockwall Trail

There are two points of entry to the Rockwall Trail: either Floe Lake Campground at the southern terminus; or Helmet Falls Campground at the north point. An interesting feature of this hike is that even though you will be spending much of your time immersed in the wilderness of the Rockies, you can also easily access extreme comforts in the world-class tourist facilities in Banff or Lake O’Hara.

To get to the Rockwall Trail, you can fly into Calgary, Alberta, and then from there travel by rental car along the Trans-Canada Highway. In Banff, accommodations and food can be expensive, so you may wish to take advantage of the private or national park campgrounds that dot the area. Make sure to reserve your permit well in advance. The best time to hike the Rockwall Trail is in August, but it may be possible to do this trail during September. Just be sure to check the weather forecasts, and consider the possibility of snowfall impeding the path.

There may be giardia in the water, so be sure to boil your water or use a water filter that is new or has been well-maintained. Besides grizzly bears, you may also see coyotes, wolves, cougars, elk, and black bears. Black bears are known as being gentler creatures compared to grizzly bears, but black bear attacks do occur and can be fatal, so don’t drop your guard too much. Make use of the bear lockers to store your food, and even items like toothbrushes and toothpaste, which bears can learn to associate with food.

Useful addresses:
Kootenay Visitor Centre , P.O. Box 220, Radium Hot Springs, B.C. V0A 1M0
Kootenay Warden Office , McKay Creek Compound, Highway 93S
Kootenay Park Lodge Visitor Centre, Vermilion Crossing

Date posted: 22nd June, 2016

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