Skyline Hikers of the Canadian Rockies


In the 1920’s. John Gibbon was head of publicity for the Canadian Pacific Railway, which had several hotels and lodges in the National Parks. In order to lure tourists into the parks, Gibbon felt it necessary to offer them something other than just food and lodging. The Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies came into existence in 1923 (horse riding in the backcountry).

In the beginning…

There were a number of outdoor enthusiasts who either lived in Banff or came to the Rockies every summer, who felt the need for some organization which would do for hikers what the Trail Riders was doing so successfully for those who traveled the trail on horseback. Gibbon came up with the Sky Line Trail Hikers of the Canadian Rockies, which held its first outing in 1933.

For the first three summers, one four-day outing was offered to over 50 international hikers, who traveled between lodges in the parks. But the moving of camp materials on a daily basis was a problem, so starting in 1936, camps were set up at a single location each summer.


From 1933 to 1935, hikers traveled between lodges in the mountains. From 1936 to 1969, hikers stayed in tepees, as shown below. By 1970, prospector style tents were adopted by Skyline. For some time these were considered “six person” tents; they are now more comfortably shared by up to four hikers.

The number of interested hikers has grown throughout the years. In 1961, CPR terminated its sponsorship of the Hiking Club. However, through the hard work of interested individuals, the Skyline Hikers of the Canadian Rockies became a non-profit organization that now offers five one-week camps each summer in various locations in the Rockies.

Letterhead used in the 1970s and 1980s is shown below. Note the use of the word “Trail” in the organizations name. This was a legacy from the days when the Skyline Hikers was sponsored by the Canadian Pacific Railway, along with its sister organizations the Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies (est. 1923) and the Ski Runners of the Canadian Rockies (est. 1931), as a way to draw clients for its hotels in Banff and Lake Louise.

Past Camps

The first few years had traveling camps in the Banff and Lake Louise area. Since then the hikes have been at fixed locations in and around Banff Park, sometimes exploring new areas and other times returning to old favourites. Here is the full list of camps and locations:

1933: Lake Louise, Lake O’Hara
1961: Helmut Creek1991:Bryant Creek
1934:Emerald Lake, Yoho1962:Skoki1992: Tombstone Mountains
1935:Healy, Egypt, Shadow, Castle Mt.1963:Egypt Lake1993: Sunset Pass
1936:Lake O’Hara1964:Palliser Pass1994:Owl Lake
1937:Larch Valley1965:Yoho1995:Baker Creek
1938:Yoho1966:Tonquin Valley1996:Molar Pass
1939:Skoki1967:Egypt Lake1997:Allenby Pass
1940:Egypt Lake1968:Assiniboine1998:Sunset Pass
1941:Prolific Meadows1969:Pulsatilla Pass1999:Head Creek
1942:Sunshine1970:Lake O’Hara2000:Owl Lake
1943:Spray River1971:Skoki2001:Molar Pass
1944:Sunshine1972:Egypt Lake2002:Bryant Creek
1945:Lake O’Hara1973:Assiniboine2003:Whiteman Pass
1946:Yoho1974:South Molar Pass2004:Johnston Creek
1947:Egypt Lake1975:Palliser Pass2005:Baril Creek
1948:Quartz Lake1976:Owl Lake2006:Palliser Pass
1949:Skoki1977:Sunset Pass2007:Sunset Pass
1950:Assiniboine1978:Baker Creek2008:Tall Timbers
1951:Aylmer Pass1979:South Molar Pass2009:Whiteman Pass
1952:Healy Creek1980:Nigel Pass2010:Molar Pass
1953:Skoki1981:Owl Lake2011:Odlum Creek
1954:Spray River1982:Sunset Pass2012:Sunset Pass
1955:Lake O’Hara1983:Baker Creek2013:South Ram River
1956:Paradise Valley1984:Allenby Pass2014:Johnston Creek
1957:Snow Creek1985:Molar Pass2015:Palliser Pass
1958:Yoho1986:Nigel Pass2016:Whiteman Pass
1959:Egypt Lake1987:Owl Lake2017:Waterton Lakes
1960:Assiniboine 1988:Sunset Pass2018:Tall Timbers
1989:Baker Creek2019:Sunset Pass
1990:Molar Pass2020:Molar Pass (Cancelled)
2021:Strathcona Park
2022:Talus Lodge
2023:Campbell Icefield Chalet