We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Newbie- Should I bring my kayak to Waterton/Banff/Jasper?

Olympia, Washington
5 posts
Save Topic
Newbie- Should I bring my kayak to Waterton/Banff/Jasper?

I just moved to Washington state from Nome, Alaska and am driving to meet up with a few friends in Glacier N.P. (U.S.) mid September. I'm fortunate enough to have the time to ramble up to see some of you fine folks' cities and parks for as long as the weather will allow. I don't have much time to plan/make reservations, so any help is very appreciated. Planning on going to Waterton, Kootenay, Banff, Glacier, Yoho and Jasper and I would love to do some paddling/back country camping/hiking. I will get back country camping permits, but am worried about times when I would have to leave my yak on the roof of my car. Are there many break ins? I have a kayak cable lock that pretty much just makes opportunistic thieves think twice. I was thinking maybe I could sweet talk or pay businesses to let me lock it up in the back for a few days? Should I just leave my beloved boat home? Also, will there be many people in the parks after mid September? Thanks a ton for your time! Cheers

Jasper, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
Level Contributor
18,178 posts
107 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Newbie- Should I bring my kayak to Waterton/Banff/Jasper?

Hi Andrew, and welcome to the TripAdvisor forums!

Here in Jasper (and the rest of the national parks, too), the number of visitors does start to really drop off from mid-September. It's also getting close to the end of the hiking season up in the subalpine and alpine areas... usually by the end of September, those elevations have had freezing temperatures (according to Environment Canada, it was -1C here last night (!!!) but my garden plants show no sign of frost) and usually at least a dusting of snow, which leads to icy conditions ... it gets warm enough for part of the day to melt, but it's not warm enough to dry up, and then it fre-freezes overnight. Sometimes this doesn't happen until a week or two later... I have hiked at higher elevations as late as the end of the first week of October - but then there can be years like 2009, when we had a cold, rainy autumn and a major storm dumped a lot of snow on the 7th or 8th of October, enough that the Icefields Parkway was closed for 18 hours. Or sometimes, after a snowfall, it doesn't get warm enough for it to melt... I did one backcountry trip a few years ago around Sept. 23rd where we descended a pass in six inches of snow (the ascent had been scoured clear by the wind!)

I don't think there is a huge problem here with trailhead theft, although I do hear of it occasionally. Coming later in the season as you are, there will be few cars at the trailheads. I don't know how likely it is that there will be a problem with your kayak - an opportunistic thief would also have to have an appropriate vehicle to be able to transport your kayak if they wanted to steal it - but I do agree, it's probably not a wise thing to just leave it there as a target. If you were wanting to try and find someone local who might store it for you briefly, there is a very active Facebook page called the "Jasper AB Buy Sell and Trade" page, and I'm sure if you posted there, some of the local paddlers might help you out, especially if you are willing to reward them with a bottle of their favourite libation. ;-) Or, as you mention, you could try your luck with some of the local businesses.

One trip you may want to do, which combines both kayaking and hiking, is Coronet Creek on Maligne Lake here in Jasper National Park. This is a water-accessible backcountry campsite at the far end of Maligne Lake; there is another campsite partway down the lake, at Fisherman's Bay. Aside from enjoying the immense beauty of the lake as you paddle it, you can stop at Spirit Island (where the tour boats dock .... enjoy it in solitude, between boats) and there are a number of hiking trails. As far as I know, the only official one is from near the CC campsite, toward Mt. Henry McLeod (dang! can't remember if that is the official name of the trail), but there are other places where hiking routes from the lakeshore are obvious, for instance, quite a few years ago, we hiked in to the foot of the Llysyfran (sp?) Glacier. Next time I get to Coronet Creek, I want to hike in "Pixie Valley", which is the valley at the very head of the lake, that you view from the dock at Coronet.... I know a number of people who have wandered in there.

In Banff National Park, the only similarly large lake I can think of where you might do a similar trip would be Lake Minnewanka, but you will have to check on whether there are any restrictions ... right now, beyond the front-country area where the lake cruise operation is, hikers have to be in "tight groups of four" and equipped with bear spray, and I believe at least one backcountry campsite on the lake is closed. I am not sure if this is in place until freeze-up or not.

Penticton, Canada
Level Contributor
12,535 posts
26 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Newbie- Should I bring my kayak to Waterton/Banff/Jasper?

Hi

this is a link to a Calgary club which will give you an idea of the section of the rivers that have been tested and rated www.bowwaters.org/joomla/index.php… Most of the good sections for navigable white water are outside the parks

Olympia, Washington
5 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: Newbie- Should I bring my kayak to Waterton/Banff/Jasper?

@ krp329, thanks so much for the great response. I've already read a lot of your very informative earlier posts too. Kudos! For the record, I am definitely bringing snowshoes and tire chains. Being from Nome, I'm used to living/hiking/hunting/fishing in big bear country as well as extreme winter weather. Anyway, thanks for helping to put my mind at ease about my kayak. I have had enough stuff stolen and car windows busted for two lifetimes. I don't know which feeling would be worse...Having my boat stolen, or being at a gorgeous lake and not be able to paddle because I didn't bring it. Either way, really looking forward to checking out your recommended trips. I will be cruising the forum looking for more places to go, so I'm sure I'll be taking even more of your advice. Thanks again

Olympia, Washington
5 posts
Save Reply
4. Re: Newbie- Should I bring my kayak to Waterton/Banff/Jasper?

@ cbaarch, sure appreciate you taking the time to share that link. I would love to do a river trip anywhere in the Rockies, only problem (as it is would be anywhere) is that I'll be doing this trip solo and wouldn't have a ride back to my vehicle. Maybe I'll see about going to a Canoe Club meeting with hopes of tagging along on a trip or finding myself a ride. Thanks again

Jasper, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
Level Contributor
18,178 posts
107 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Newbie- Should I bring my kayak to Waterton/Banff/Jasper?

Ummm, not sure if you are joking, but I'd leave the snowshoes and tire chains at home... still too early in the season for either. :)

By the way, there are also some road-accessible lakes on Pyramid Bench that are big enough for a paddle (although I am not sure what size is "big enough")... Patricia Lake and Pyramid Lake. I'm sure the staff at the Parks Canada desk at the information centre could give you lots of helpful info about where to paddle. Hmmm... maybe Talbot Lake (on highway 16, near the east gate to JNP) ... there is some nice hiking through the burned area on the ridges across the lake.

6. Re: Newbie- Should I bring my kayak to Waterton/Banff/Jasper?

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 24 August 2014, 06:21