Great Divide Trail | Canada, 2011

Mount Assiniboine at sunrise

Distance :  606 miles (975 km) approx.

Avg. Time :  35 days

Start / Finish :

  • Jasper, British Columbia (northern terminus). An alternative to finishing at Jasper is Kakwa Lake, situated in the Provincial Park of the same name. This will add on approximately 140 miles (225 km) to the journey.

Transport:

  • Jasper is reached via either regular bus or train services.
  • Kakwa Provincial Park is the transportation wildcard. There are no public options available. Unless you have organized something privately, you will need to try your luck hitching south on Highway 16 to either McBride or all the way to Jasper.

Season :

  • Mid-July to mid-September.

Maps / Info :

Route / Conditions :

  • Geographically speaking, the Great Divide Trail picks up where the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) leaves off at the US/Canadian border. It winds its way northwest along the Canadian Rockies, passing through two provinces (Alberta and British Columbia), 5 National Parks (Waterton, Yoho, Kootenay, Banff and Jasper), 7 Provincial Parks and 4 designated wilderness areas.
  • The route is a combination of pre-existing trails, cross country travel and the occasional dirt road; although the latter can often be avoided by taking alternate routes.

Overview :

  • One of the questions I am most commonly asked in regards to the GDT is, “how does it compare to it’s more famous southern sister, the Continental Divide Trail (CDT)?”. In brief, it is shorter, tougher, more scenic, has more wildlife viewing opportunities, less resupply opportunities and, with the exception of the National Park sections, is far less travelled.

  • With breathtaking scenery and abundant wildlife viewing opportunities throughout, the GDT rates alongside the Sierra High Route as my favourite long distance hike in North America.

 

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