Hiking Banff’s Sulphur Mountain in Winter

Climbing Sulphur Mountain from Banff, Alberta is popular year round. But during the winter you can ride the Gondola back down for FREE. 😇

It’s easy to get to the very top of a Rocky Mountain peak.

Magical.

Click PLAY or watch a short video on YouTube.

655 metres elevation gain on switchback trails — easy in the summer, but potential slippery and dangerous with snow and ice.

Once you reach the Sulphur Mountain Gondola top station, the best is yet to come. A network of trails along the ridge, and viewing decks at the gondola station, provide stunning views of Banff, the Bow Valley, and 360-degree views in every direction.

The highest point is the historic Cosmic Ray Station.

On return to the bottom, consider the short walk over to Banff Upper Hot Springs. Let’s call it recovery.

Click PLAY or see the Gondola and the Above Banff interpretive centre on YouTube.

related – Banff Blog – How to Hike Sulphur Mountain (Alternative to Banff Gondola)

BestHike #1 – West Coast Trail, British Columbia

West Coast Trail is our top hike in the world.

Click PLAY or watch a 1-minute preview on YouTube.

West Coast Trail

Challenging in many ways.

So much VARIETY in pristine Canadian coastal wilderness.

Mystic dawns and mind-blowing sunsets. Hidden pocket coves and weird coastal geology.

You’ll never forget the West Coast Trail.

WCT ladders

AT A GLANCE

  • 75 km (47 mi), 5-7 days Pachena Bay <> Gordon River
  • 3-5 day routes possible via Nitinaht Village trailhead
  • southwestern edge of Vancouver Island
  • Pacific Rim National Park
  • Permits required 
  • May 1 – September 30
  • extremely rugged, requires a high level of fitness
  • 6,000+ backpackers / year

Read more on our WCT information page.

I have a 2021 PCT Permit

BestHike editor Rick McCharles

I applied online during the first few minutes applications opened for sections 500 miles or longer.

BUT I reckon there’s less than a 50% chance I’ll actually get on the Pacific Crest Trail in 2021:

  • could be cancelled due to COVID, as in 2020
  • travel could be impossible due to COVID
  • forest fires are often an issue
  • might decide travel is unethical in 2021

BUT hope for the best, plan for the worst.

I’m hoping for at least 500 miles.

Starting mile 702 – Kennedy Meadows – starting July 10th heading north towards the Oregon border.

That’s good timing for the John Muir Trail, the best section of the PCT.

http://musashe.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Overview-Map-CA.png

I watched Tim Seymour‘s excellent John Muir Trail northbound video for tips on how to get started on my way up to Whitney.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

BestHike #8 – Everest Base Camp / 3 Passes

The Everest Base Camp via 3 Passes is one of our top 10 hikes in the world.

Click PLAY or watch a 1 minute introduction on YouTube.

Base Camp / 3 Passes

Everyone wants to hike to Everest Base Camp (5,320m / 17,450ft). The 3 Passes route is the most epic.

Based on weather and fitness, you can do one or more passes as well as peaks like Kala Pattar (5,545m) that don’t require a permit.

base camp sign

AT A GLANCE

Nepal
  • majority of hikers in the Everest region hire a guide, porter(s) and/or pack animal(s) but it’s fairly easy to do independently
  • guided trekkers stay in lodges, or sprawling tent encampments
  • October to November best months
  • beginning of March to mid-May next best
  • 16-18 days minimum for 3 Passes. 21 days would allow for rest / illness / sidetrip / and other unanticipated delays.
  • if you don’t have time, it’s recommended 14 days just to get to Base Camp and back safely.
  • generally easy hiking on good trails with a light pack. Some very challenging, potentially dangerous sections, if you cross any of the 3 Passes
  • on the main trails buy food as you go and stay in simple “lodges”
  • Everest trails are not expensive, but many spend more than they anticipate on luxuries
  • be clear — you might have to QUIT if by bad luck or rushed ascent you suffer altitude sickness (Acute Mountain Sickness or AMS).
  • many suffer respiratory problems. And fatigue.

Read more on our Everest Base Camp / 3 Passes information page.

The Salt Path by Raynor Winn

Winn and her husband Moth, who was diagnosed with a terminal illness, became homeless after a bad investment and decided to walk the 630-mile (1,010 km) South West Coast Path. …

In September 2019 it was the number one bestselling book in UK independent bookstores.

An excellent read.

The couple had not hiked for decades. Pretty much everything that could go wrong, did go wrong.

And they survived on an income of about £40 a week.

Amazon

related – Couple walked 630 miles and lived in a tent after bad investment left them homeless

HOW to trek Paine in Chile

UPDATE – National Parks in Chile have been closed. 

If you’ve ever researched the Paine Circuit in Chile, you know that it’s complicated.

Difficult to make reservations from overseas

Happily, Kraig Adams arrived March 2020 with no reservation and yet had a terrific hike.  The last half of the video is TIPS on how you could do the same.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

AT A GLANCE

  • close to the southern tip of South America
  • 100km (62mi) Paine Circuit is unique & gorgeous
  • recommended 9 days, 8 nights
  • shorter, easier 5-day alternative calledthe W

Paine

Read more on our Paine Circuit information page.

(via Adventure Blog)

Bhutan’s Snowman Trek

Ramblin’ Boy posted a detailed trip report on the famed Snowman / Lunana Trek.

He was guided by Yangphela Thimphu adventure travel agency though he had booked through the trip through World Expeditions.

Snowman is one of the best treks in the world. However, the cost to trek in Bhutan was $300 / day.

If money is no object, go for it.

…  Covering over three hundred kilometres in twenty-three days at high altitude means there is lots of time for something to go wrong –

There were 16 in our trekking party, most with a tent of their own. As well, perhaps ten locals – guides, cook team, tent team, horse handlers.  The horses made up the single largest group – there were 43 of them.  We were a village on the move! …

Narethang camp

vista on the Narethang-Tarina section

vista en route to Rerethang after crossing Tempe La, the last pass

Start on this page. Follow the links.

Bhutan’s Snowman Trek Preview:

Part 1 – Paro To Shana To Laya

Tasmania’s Three Capes Track

Has the Overland Track, Australia’s most famous long-distance walk, just been usurped? Edging along the tops of cliffs that soar more than 300m above the unruly Southern Ocean, the Three Capes Track (threecapestrack.com.au) has quickly assumed the mantle of Australia’s most intriguing bushwalk.

The four-day, 46km track opened to huge expectations at the end of 2015 …
… criticisms that have hounded the track are the cost (at AU$495 per person, it’s more than double the price of the Overland Track) and initially there were no camping facilities for traditional bushwalkers. …

To regulate walker numbers, which have been capped at 48 setting out each day, Tasmania’s Parks and Wildlife Service has established a permit system. Bookings should be made at threecapestrack.com.au/booking.

The walk officially begins at the Port Arthur Historic Site, about a 90-minute drive from the Tasmanian capital of Hobart.

Lonely Planet

People love it.

Cape Pillar Peninsula from the Blade
(Photo courtesy of Stuart Gibson)

3CT Map

West Coast Trail reservations open Jan 7th

It’s difficult to get a reservation for our #1 hike in the world.

Be on the phone at 8am Pacific Standard Time to book for summer 2019.