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Banff National Park

Safety

Grazing Areas & Campsites | Where to RideMaps
Permits & Reservations | Guided horse trips

Seasonal and emergency trail closures, restrictions and warnings may be implemented within Banff National Park for management of resources and public safety. Please inquire at the Park Visitor Centres prior to your trip or

Safety Considerations

  • High mountain passes and river crossings may be impassable in late spring or early summer. The following rivers may be very high in the spring: Clearwater River, Pipestone River, Mistaya River, Howse River, Red Deer River. Current stream flow conditions.
  • Riders should be aware that trail maintenance is focused on the most heavily used trails, beginning in the valley and shifting to the high country as the snow melts. Riders on lesser used trails or riding early in the season should travel with a saddle axe or saw and expect some downed timber.
  • If your horse or mule dies in the backcountry, you must contact the Banff Warden Office as soon as possible. Animals that die along or near trails and campsites must be removed as soon as possible to prevent conflicts with wildlife. Removal may involve the use of helicopters. Costs incurred for the removal of dead stock will be the responsibility of the permittee.
  • Bear Safety 

Trip Checklist

  • Before your trip, contact the Park Visitor Centres or check the website for current trail information, closures and restrictions. This is your responsibility. links to closure, warning and restrictions web page
  • Ensure that your horses are prepared for encounters with backpackers, cyclists, river crossings and are trained for hobbles.
  • Obtain a 1:50,000 Topographic map of the area. If you are travelling with a GPS, Zone 11 NADS 83 GPS points are listed in the grazing description. Eastings are listed first, followed by the northings
  • Ensure you have obtained and are carrying the required permits

Emergencies

For all emergencies (24 hours), call 911 immediately. If you are in the backcountry, let the 911 dispatcher know that you require Banff National Park assistance. Please note that cell phones do not work from many locations in the backcountry.

Satellite phones are the most reliable means of communication. If you are using a satellite phone, 911 may not be reliable in the backcountry. Instead, call 1-403-762-4506 which will connect you directly to the Banff Park Dispatch.