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Hikers beware: Avalanche hazards persist in mountain national parks

Due to an above average snowpack and a cold spring, be safe and aware when heading to the mountains
Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park. Due to cold temperatures and persistent snowpack, avalanche hazards persist throughout the mountain national parks, such as in Banff, Yoho and Kootenay, with access roads and camp grounds having delayed openings to start the season. (Claire Palmer file photo)

Hikers looking to explore the mountain national parks are going to have to take caution this spring, as an above-average snowpack and persistent cold weather have caused persistent avalanche hazards and caused delays to opening the season.

According to Parks Canada, snowy spring and winter conditions remain in much of Banff National Park. These extended winter conditions mean that avalanche hazard persists in much of the park, including many popular hiking trails.

The opening of the Moraine Lake Road will also be delayed, with no date for opening in mind.

However, the first eight kilometres are open for biking. Cyclists are asked to be aware and remain alert for passing snowplows if they plan on utilizing the road.

Hikers are advised to check the trail report and avoid all trails with avalanche hazards including the teahouse trails to Lake Agnes and Plain of Six Glaciers, Mount Fairview Trail, Saddleback Pass, C-Level Cirque near the town of Banff, and Stanley Glacier in Kootenay National Park among others.

Yoho National Park has already had to push back the start of its camping season, with Kicking Horse Campground cancelling reservations over the long weekend, due to lingering snowpack and forecasted below freezing overnight temperatures.

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Claire Palmer

About the Author: Claire Palmer

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