With the bulk of the summer still in front of us, we are getting ready for another hike. We have been wanting to get up to the Great Divide Trail for several years now, and we are finally making it happen. For those unfamiliar with the Great Divide Trail in Canada, it is around 700 miles in length. It starts just over the border from Glacier National Park in Montana and continues up the Rocky Mountain Range through renowned areas such as Banff and Jasper. This trail is known for its beauty and its ruggedness. There are actually two main possibilities for where to finish the trail…either Mount Robson Visitor Center, which would make for a 590 mile hike, or Kakwa Lake, which would make for a 734 mile hike.
We expect this trail to be quite different than our spring hike on the Grand Enchantment Trail. Beyond the obvious difference of the “dry desert” versus the “wet Rockies,” there will be other differences as well. First of all, we are hiking the trail with a good hiking buddy, Mace, who we initially met on the Appalachian Trail in 2011. We hiked the John Muir Trail with him in 2014 as well, and are super excited to be able to hike with him again. In addition to Mace, we just expect to see a lot more hikers than we did on the GET. Although we enjoyed the unique experience of feeling like we had the trail to ourselves, we did miss the social experience which is normal on most other trails. Hopefully, we can get our minds to work in kilometers…we’ll see how that goes.
Here are some Great Divide Trail Facts:
*The elevation of the trail ranges from 3,461 feet to 8,497 feet.
*The GDT passes through 5 National Parks and 9 Provincial Parks.
*The southern terminus of the GDT is the same as the northern terminus of the Continental Divide Trail.
*The current guide book for the GDT is 11 years old! A new edition is coming out in next month.
*This will be our first trail in Grizzly Country!
* The GDT is not signed as the GDT, but rather made up of other trails and in some cases just a wilderness route.
We are aiming for a July 15th start date and already have our train tickets purchased. This date had to be fixed pretty early on, as we had to reserve campsites along the trail in National Parks. It is alway hard to try to plan that far in advance and to know how many miles you can expect to travel each day, but hopefully we made some good choices with the campsites. Other than the Wonderland Trail (which can be done in a week or less), this is the only trail we have hiked where we need to reserve campsites along the way. Due to the increase in popularity of the trail, the campsite reservations are getting harder to secure, which means planning daily mileages in a particular stretch can get pretty out of whack.
We are still planning to prepare most of our food for the trail (we will probably buy our food in only one trail town) and send it out before we start the trail. In order to avoid any complications with customs, we have decided to drive over the border and mail out our resupply boxes before starting our trip. Luckily, our plan had been to leave our car with friends in Seattle and take the train to Glacier. In this scenario, we will have time while in Seattle to drive up to Canada and mail our packages. If we weren’t planning to be in the northern part of the US before starting our hike, we’re not sure how we would have dealt with our resupply packages.
Learn more at the Great Divide Trail’s official site.