A couple of months ago I received an email from Summerthought Publishing asking if I would be interested in reviewing the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide. The book arrived before my pilgrimage to Jasper so I took it along on several hikes in this national park and I have used it around Calgary. When I sat down to do a review I realized that it is comical that I am doing a book review. The truth is I hate reading. If I make it through a single book a year it is an accomplishment. I really have no idea what makes a good book. While I do not read (except when forced through work), I do hike a fair bit. In 2007 I hiked about 50 different trails (some on more than one occasion) of varying length and difficulty in Alberta. As a result I have a fairly decent stack of hiking guides and trail maps. When Summerthought offered to send me the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide I looked forward to adding another to my collection.
Published in April 2007 the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide by Brian Patton and Bart Robinson is the 8th edition. The first edition was published in 1971 and to date in excess of 230,000 copies of the various editions have been sold. That means the authors have over 35 years of experience hiking and publishing hiking guides. These guys even pre-date Gortex (patented in 1976). As indicated on the Summerthought website the 8th edition retails for $24.95 and covers more than 3,400 km (2100 miles) of trails in Banff, Jasper, Yoho, Kootenay and Waterton Lakes National Parks, plus the provincial parks of Mt. Assinboine, Mt. Robson, Akamina-Kishinena, Peter Lougheed, and Elk Lakes and includes:
- Descriptions of 231 hikes and routes plus dozens of side trips
- More than 150 photographs
- 40 maps
- Trail logs measured by "trail wheel"
- Sources for information, maps, backcountry lodging, and transportation
The Canadian Rockies Trail Guide provides fantastic detailed trail descriptions. This is the real reason for buying a hiking guide. No point wasting your day questioning whether you are on the right path when you would prefer to enjoy the scenery. Especially in K-country I find that the trail maps posted along the trails are sometimes not very accurate and difficult to interpret. The trail to Mount Indefatigable is one such example. The Guide provides very detailed almost kilometer by kilometer logs of the trail which help you determine if you are on the correct route as well as the distance, duration, maximum elevation, total distance and in most instances the Guide details some of the history of the area.
For the areas that are covered in this book, I could not think of any trails that should have been included that were not included. This will not be the last hiking guide that you will buy but it should be one of the first.