Skyline Hikers of the Canadian Rockies

Skyline Hikers

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Frequently Asked Questions

What's Different!

The trip to Waterton Lakes National Park is different than our normal backcountry experience. For returning hikers, the key differences are summarized in this table.

  What we normally have/do at a back-country location Waterton Lakes National Park
Hotel before and after the trip Book your own hotel of choice in either Banff or Canmore Preferred hotel room rates at the Acclaim hotel in Calgary (however, you may stay at any hotel that you choose) with free shuttle service to the airport
Parking Jay Street parking lot in Banff (nominal fee charged) Acclaim Hotel in Calgary (nominal fee charged)
Bus pick-up locations Various pick-up points in Banff and Canmore Acclaim Hotel in Calgary (free shuttle from the airport)
Bus departure date and time Monday morning early Sunday morning at 11 am sharp
Camp location A back-country campsite carved out of the wilderness Waterton Springs Campground (a corner of a commercial campground)
Camp access Hike in and out of camp (bus drops off at the trailhead) Bus will drive directly up to the campground
Check-In Sunday in the morning before bus departure in Banff None
Orientation Sunday in the evening before bus departure in Banff Sunday in the evening while in camp
Tours None Tours of Bar U Ranch on bus trip to camp and tours of Fort MacLeod and Head-Smashed-In-Buffalo-Jump on the bus trip back to Calgary.
Wash-Up Wash tents with morning/evening hot water Wash tents in camp with morning/evening hot water plus hot showers in the campground
Toilets Biffies (a tent enclosure with a pit toilet) and urinals Port-a-potties in the camp plus flush toilets in the campground
Meals 2-course hot breakfast, packed bag lunch, 3-course hot dinner, snacks at tea time and in the evening Same
Tents Canvas prospector tents with a stove Same, although the ground should be more level
Cell Phone Service Not available Available from camp
Daily Hikes Depart directly from camp Shuttle bus between camp and various trailheads

What happened to Sunset Pass?  Typically, the process takes 24 months to plan and deliver successful, safe, and environmentally sustainable camps, working closely with our longstanding outfitter, Brewster Mountain Pack Train Ltd. Unfortunately, we have been unable to finalize our outfitter contract for Sunset Pass 2017, and so we had to cancel and have re-scheduled returning to this marquee location until 2019.

Hiking and Camping

What does Skyline Hikers provide?

  • Transportation to camp and return to Calgary.
  • Tent accommodation suitable for 3 to 4 persons.
  • A small, wood-burning stove in each tent.
  • 3-inch foam mattress.
  • Hot water, wash basins and portable privies.
  • For 2017 only, flush toilets and hot showers.
  • Three course breakfast and supper, plus nourishing trail lunch. Dining shelter in camp.
  • Camp staff - including Host, Chief Leader, Musician and Health-Care Personnel.
  • Day leaders for hikes.
  • Evening campfire program and snack..

Photo courtesy of Robert VanderzweerdeWhat do I bring?

  • Warm sleeping bag, liner and ground sheet (nights can drop to below freezing).
  • Sturdy hiking boots - waterproofed and well broken in, plus several pairs of light and heavy socks.
  • Rubber boots and casual shoes for around camp.
  • Hiking pack for the day's necessities - including water bottle and extra clothing.
  • Clothing - layering is recommended for comfort in extremes of mountain weather (e.g. everything from shorts to a sweater and winter jacket).
  • Personal toiletries - including insect repellent, biodegradable soap, towels and sun protection.

Click here to see a recommended list of items to bring.

How should my gear be packed?

  • There no restrictions for 2017 on what you can bring or how to pack. As long as you can get it on the bus and carry it into camp, you can bring it.

How are tent assignments made?

  • Skyline Hikers utilizes prospector-type canvas tents that can accommodate up to four adults.
  • To minimize the foot-print of the camp and its impact on the environment, tent utliization is optimized.
  • Participants have the option to select their tent mates. The is to be done at time of submitting registration by filling in the appropriate section on the form.
  • For those participants who have not self-selected tent mates, the camp host/hostess will make the tent assignment. You will be informed at time of check-in.
  • Skyline Hikers cannot accommodate requests for single-person occupancy of a tent.
  • No personal tents are permitted.

What about drinking water?

  • Tap water will be available at or near the portable kitchen..
  • NOTE that the water in the streams in the mountains is usually unsafe to drink because of the presence of Giardia bacteria (resulting in Giardiasis or "Beaver Fever" which is a serious medical condition).

Do you handle special dietary requirements?

  • Some special dietary needs may be accommodated. The camp is located at a remote site with limited food storage and handling facilities. Remember that this is a backcountry kitchen.
  • If you are on a gluten-free, lactose-free or other diet, have allergies, diabetes, etc., please indicate that on your registration form so we can help you make an informed decision about whether the available food will meet your needs.

How cold does it get?

  • It may go below freezing at night, and mornings and evenings in camp are cool, so a warm sleeping bag, layered clothing, gloves and hats are essential. Daytime temperatures are usually pleasant, but it can be cool and windy at high altitudes.

Can I be dropped at another trailhead and hike myself?

  • No
  • For safety and other reasons, only group hikes are offered

Where can I go in the evenings?

  • While in camp in the evenings, you may use any of the campground areas and facilities
  • There will be activities in the donut starting at 8 pm every evening
  • After “lights out”, we ask you to remain within the camp (i.e. within the electric fence)
  • There will be port-a-potties in the camp so that you do not have to walk into the campground after “lights out”

Is there cell phone service in camp?

  • Yes
  • However, please use your electronic devices in a respectful manor as our members are here to enjoy the quiet outdoors, camp comraderie, and hiking
  • There is likely no cell phone service on the trails

Is there electricity to charge my devices?

  • No
  • The electric service is for the kitchen.

Participation

Is membership required to attend camp?

  • You are not required to be a Skyline Hikers member prior to registering to attend any one of the five camps held annually.
  • When you register to attend a camp, membership is included as part of the package.

What are the age limits?

  • Anyone 8 years and older are invited to participate in a camp. Skyline Hikers encourages the participation of youth in wilderness camping and recreational hiking.
  • Persons 8 - 17 years of age must be accompanied by an adult (i.e., parent, grandparent, relative, etc.) The "Release of Responsibility" section on the camp registration form for these persons must be signed by their legal guardian.
  • All persons participating in a Skyline Hikers camp must be in good health, have no mobility or mental impairments, and be capable of participating in program of daily hikes offered.

Am I fit enough?

  • The easiest hikes are between five and ten kilometers on mountain trails with some steep hills. If you are able to comfortably hike a similar distance on your local trails you should be okay.

Logistics

Where and when do we meet?

  • The meet-up location is at the Acclaim Hotel in Calgary (check the Getting There page for directions).
  • The bus leaves at 11 am sharp on Sunday. There is a free shuttle from the Calgary international airport to the hotel.
  • There is a camp orientation briefing at 7:30 pm on the Sunday after arrival in camp. The Chief Leader, Host/Hostess, Musician and Medic will provide guidance on the do's and do not's while in camp and on the trail.

Do I need hotel reservations?

  • Yes.
  • Hotel reservations in Calgary must be made in advance.
  • See more detail in about booking the hotel and obtaining our group discount rates on the Getting There page.
  • For local residents or people with a car, parking is available at the hotel at a nominal cost.
  • These costs are not included in hike fees.

Can I drive to camp?

  • Please do not dive to the camp as there is no parking at the campground
  • There are two options if you drive to camp:
    • drive to the town of Pincher Creek and arrange for a place to park, and then take a taxi to the camp to join the group (we can drop you in Pincher Creek when we depart from the campground at the end of the ride)
    • reserve a campground spot to park your car (approximately $35/day)
  • However:
    • you must arrive no later than 7:30 pm on Sunday for the mandatory orientation
    • you should arrive by 6 pm on Sunday if you want to have dinner with the group
    • you will miss the historical tours

Can I go into the town of Waterton?

  • Yes
  • You may use the shuttle bus which departs camp every morning (the last drop off will be in town) and returns every afternoon (the first pick-up will be in town)

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