Around Jasper, hiking is one of the most popular recreational activities. Because the nearby national parks are still wilderness, it's careful to take safety precautions when hiking around the Canadian Rockies. On trails around the Overlander, you're likely to encounter wildlife and it's necessary to be prepared for more extreme conditions. These five safety tips can help you prepare for hiking around the Jasper area.
1. Be Prepared
Preparation for your hike probably isn't the most fun you'll have, but it is absolutely essential. Before heading out on a hike in the Canadian Rockies, check:
The Weather Forecast
Before you set out on a hike, be sure to check the weather report. Rainy days often lead to muddy trails and makes it much easier to slip and fall. Even if the weather is warm, pack another layer of clothes: As you climb higher into the mountain range, temperatures will drop and it may be more likely to rain or snow.
Bring the Proper Gear
Your gear is essential to your safety while hiking. You'll need a decent sized back pack in which you can fit:
- Plenty of water
- Extra layers of clothing
- Food, like nuts, granola bars, or camping pre-packaged meals
- Flashlight or light source
- First aid kit
- Fire starter kit
The proper gear can make a big difference in case of unexpected changes in weather or injuries along the trail. Knowing how to read a map and use a compass is also an important skill in case your GPS malfunctions.
2. Stay Alert
In the Canadian Rockies, it's best to be prepared for fluctuating weather, changing trail conditions, and wildlife encounters. Pay close attention to the environment around you and keep an eye out for creatures on or around the trail. The Canadian Rockies are populated by a variety of wildlife, including:
- Mountain Goats
- Bighorn Sheep
- Mountain Lions
- Yellow Jackets
Each of these animals can react violently if disturbed or approached by hikers. Give any wildlife you encounter plenty of space and take extra care not to get close to baby animals. Keep careful watch where your feet land, because yellow jackets can build nests on the trail during warmer months.
3. Identify Hazards
Hiking safely in the Canadian Rockies means knowing how to spot potential hazards. Be on the look out for the warning signs of both environmental and human hazards:
If you're on a winter excursion into the mountains, be on guard for cracks in the snow and "whomp" sounds in the snow on steep cliffs. If you're worried that your hike may take you into avalanche territory, the best idea is to take an avalanche safety class before heading out into the mountains.
- Slippery trails
After a sudden rainstorm, be especially careful about your footing on slippery trails. - Losing the trail Some trails have spurs that hikers can easily mistake for a fork in the main trail. If you ever feel unsure about your location, pull out the pam pr the FPS. Here's where your map-reading skill will come in handy.
4. Avoid Fatigue
One of the main dangers of hiking is fatigue; it can have a variety of cases. Often, hikers' collapse is due to:
To avoid dehydration while hiking, be sure to bring a long plenty of water. If you have hiking companions, be sure that all of you carry plenty of water. It's easy to forget about drinking enough water when you're distracted by the vistas along the trail, but take out of your hike to drink water frequently.
- Insufficient calorie consumption
While it's essential that you drink plenty of water while hiking, it's also important to eat enough. Bring along plenty of snacks and even some camping food, especially if you plan to camp out for the night.
While hiking in the Canadian Rockies, take extra precautions against hypothermia. Since weather can change very quickly, it's possible that you might be drenched and then continue hiking into cooler temperatures. Be sure you can dry off and that you have layers of clothing to stay warm.
5. Relax and Stretch
After your hike, take care of yourself. Stretch out your body so that you don't cramp up the next day. Be sure to continue to drink plenty of water and eat food that are high in protein. It's also a good idea to get plenty of sleep.
Hiking in the Canadian Rockies is one of the most amazing ways to spend time in Jasper. If you're eager to spend time hiking on your visit to the Overlander, ask about nearby trails or get recommendations about the best trails from our friendly staff. Just let us know how strenuous a hike you'd like, and we'll help you identify the hike that's ideal for you.