The Guidebook - "Hiking Canada's Great Divide Trail":
The guidebook is a necessity, and generally good, but it can sometimes drive you crazy with its errors and lack of detail. Just like every other guidebook ever written. The book is available at Rocky Mountain Books and also at Amazon.com.
We consider good maps to be a necessity, especially for this trail. Unfortunately, good maps are not easily found for the GDT. We used three types of maps to hike the GDT:
- Gemtrek Maps which cover the National Parks These maps are both topographic and fairly current.
- Topographic maps for the sections of trail not included in the Gemtrek maps.
- The guidebook maps which are NOT topographic.
We purchased both the Gemtrek Maps and the Topo maps from a Canadian company called Maptown. They take telephone orders at 1-877-921-6277. There are other sources - this is just the one we used.
The topo maps are generally very old, usually predating both the trail and most of the logging/ATV roads the trail follows. This makes navigation quite interesting since there is a maze of logging roads in the section between Coleman and Kananaskis.
The topographic maps for the entire trail are listed in the guidebook, but since Gemtrek maps are more current than the topographic maps, they are preferable for those areas that they cover. We didn't carry the topo maps when we had a Gemtrek Map for the area. A list of the maps we used is attached.
Some people may remember our attitude about use of GPS on the CDT (Continental Divide Trail). Some of them might be shocked to learn that for the GDT we recommend hauling along a GPS. It's not a necessity for those who are comfortable with map and compass navigation but there are times when it could be at least a reassurance factor on this trail.
The guidebook lists GPS coordinates for most of the junctions and points of interest. Given the number of typos in the text, we would be a bit careful trusting entirely to the list, but a GPS might be helpful to pinpoint where you are in relation to various junctions.
Metric vs English:
The guidebook distances are entirely metric. Some of the older maps use English measurements, but the newer ones use metric. Converting between the two is relatively simple, but not quite automatic until one practices for a while. To aid in the calculations, the Canadian Parks provide tourists with a "Traveller's Toolbox."
The following is a compilation of the maps that we used for the GDT. The source for this list was the guidebook -
Section Maps for the GDT Gemtrek maps Area covered 1 82 h/4 Waterton, 82 G/1 Sage Creek Waterton #15 Glacier NP, Waterton Lakes NP 2 82 G/1 Sage Creek #15 Waterton Lakes NP 3 82 G/1 Sage Creek, 82 G/8 Beaver Mines Waterton, Castle FD (AB), Cranbrook FD (BC) 4 82 G/8 Beaver Mines Castle Forest District 5 Beaver Mines 82 G/9 Blairmore Castle Forest District 6 Blairmore & 82 G/10 Crowsnest Castle Forest District 7 82 G/10 Crowsnest Crow FD (AB) 8 82 G/10 Crowsnest & G/15 Tornado Mtn Cranbrook FD 9 G/15 Tornado Mtn Cranbrook, Bow/Crow FD 10 G/15 Tornado Mtn & J/2 Fording River Bow/Crow FD 11 J/2 Fording River & J/7 Mt Head Bow/Crow FD and Kananaskis Country 12 J/7 Mt Head Kananaskis Country 13 J/7 Mt Head & J/11 Kananaskis Lakes Cranbrook FD, Kananaskis Country 14 J/11 Kananaskis Lakes #7 Kananaskis Country, Height of the Rockies PP 15 J/11 Kananaskis Lakes & J/14 Spray Lakes Reservoir #7 & #5 Height of Rockies PP, Banff NP 16 J/14 Spray Lakes Reservoir & J/13 Mt. Assiniboine #5 Banff NP, Mt. Assiniboine PP 17 J/13 Mt. Assiniboine & 82 O/4 Banff #5 Banff NP, Mt. Assiniboine PP 18 82 O/4 Banff & N/1 Mount Goodsir #5 & #9 Mt. Assiniboine PP, Banff NP, Kootenay NP 19 N/1 Mount Goodsir #9 Kootenay NP 20 N/1 Mount Goodsir, N/8 Lake Louise, 82 N/7 Golden #9 Kootenay NP & Yoho NP 21 N/7 Golden & N/10 Blaeberry River #4 Yoho NP 22 N/10 Blaeberry River #3 Golden Forest District 23 N/10 Blaeberry River & N/15 Mistaya Lake #3 Golden FD, Banff NP 24 N/15 Mistaya Lake & 83 C/2 Cline River #3 Banff NP 25 83 C/2 Cline River & 83 C/3 Columbia Icefield White Goat WA & Jasper NP 26 & 83 C/3 Columbia Icefield & 83 C/6 Sunwapta Peak #2 Jasper NP 27 C/6 Sunwapta, 83 C/11 Southesk Lake, 83 C/12 Athabasca Falls #2 Jasper NP 28 C/12 Athabasca Falls, 83 C/13 Medicine Lake, 83 D/16 Jasper #2 Jasper NP 29 C/12 Athabasca Falls, 83 C/13 Medicine Lake, 83 D/16 Jasper #2 JasperNP , Mt. Robson PP 30 83 E//2 Resplendent Creek, 83 E/3 Mt. Robson Mt. Robson PP, Jasper NP 31 E/3 Mt. Robson, 83 E/6 Twintree Lake Jasper NP 32 Twintree Lake, E/5 Halco Mountain, E/12 Pauline Creek Robson Valley FD, Wilmore Wilderness Area 33 E/12 Pauline Creek, 83 E/13 Dry Canyon Wilmore WA 34 83 E/13 Dry Canyon, 93 H/16 Mount Sir Alexander, 93 I/1 Jarvis Lakes Wilmore WA, Kakwa Lake PP *** Parks Canada Jasper National Park 1:200,000 map
(Includes section north of Jasper Township)
List does not include North Boundary Trail alternate route
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Created: Thurs, 1 Nov 2007
Revised: 13 Nov 2009
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