What Are the Dangers of Hiking the Canadian Rockies?

What Are the Dangers of Hiking the Canadian Rockies?
The Canadian Rockies include major Canadian national parks such as Banff, Jasper, Waterton Lakes, Kootenay and Yoho. The Rocky Mountains' vast territory of land and water is filled with spectacular scenery, diverse wildlife and many natural structures like rockfalls and waterfalls. Hiking the range's mountainous trails can provide you an opportunity to explore the sights closely. However, there are certain dangers when hiking the Canadian Rockies. Take precautions against them to have a safe hike.

Wildlife

The Rocky Mountains of Canada are home to numerous predatory animals like bears, coyotes, wolves and cougars. You may encounter some of these animals while hiking through the mountains. The best course of action is to avoid such encounters from happening at all. Wildlife viewing is one of the lures of hiking the Rockies, most hikers enjoy viewing animals from afar and practicing avoidance to prevent attacks. Though animal attacks are uncommon in the Canadian Rockies, be prepared by knowing what to do in case of an incident. To avoid bear encounters, keep away from dead animals on trails, leave the area immediately if you notice bear tracks and droppings, and always store food where bears and other animals cannot reach it.

Weather

The weather in the Canadian Rockies can be unforgiving. Temperatures can vary frequently throughout the day and even from hour to hour. Always be prepared for harsh weather conditions when hiking, as inadequate clothing can pose a serious threat to your health. Dress in layers so you can shed some clothing when it gets too warm. This also lets you cover up easily when the temperature drops. Temperatures often drop significantly at high elevations in the mountains. Blizzards are common in the Canadian Rockies as early as late September, so practice extreme caution.

Avalanches

The Canadian Rockies abound in spectacular frozen waterfalls and sheets of ice and snow during cold weather. The continuous freezing, thawing and melting of ice causes avalanche hazards in the Rocky Mountains. Many routes are exposed to this hazard, which can pose the gravest threat to visitors. Before you set out on a trail, check the avalanche bulletin and reports. Be aware of weather conditions, and never hike alone. Steer clear of trails marked with avalanche signs.

Article Written By Rona Aquino

Rona Aquino began writing professionally in 2008. As an avid marathon runner and outdoor enthusiast, she writes on topics of running, fitness and outdoor recreation for various publications. Aquino holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications and English from the University of Maryland College Park.