If you're making plans to head into Canada to explore Banff, Jasper, Kootenay, or Yoho national parks, you can plan to add maps from National Geographic's Trails Illustrated series to your packing list.
Trails Illustrated maps long have been favorites for many folks looking for hiking and camping opportunities in the national parks. While there are a growing number of electronic maps and GPS programs that can guide you, sometime there's nothing quite like being able to unfold a map and look at your objective without having to squint at a 2-inch deep screen or worry about the batteries dying.
The newly revised maps (MSRP $11.95 each) are Banff North (No. 901), which covers Banff and Yoho national parks, Banff South (No. 900), which covers Banff and Kootenay national parks, Jasper North (No. 903) and Jasper South (No. 902.)
With these maps in your car, you can head north on Alberta 93 from Radium Hot Springs, British Columbia, south of Kootenay National Park, all the way north to Alpine Village in Jasper National Park, and then tie into either Trans-Canada/Yellowhead 16 to go west to Moose Lake or north to Brule Lake and locate all the trailheads and campgrounds along the way.
As usual, the maps are waterproof and tear-resistant and at a scale of 1:100,000 (1 inch on the map equals 100,000 on the ground) with 30-meter contours (hard-core backcountry travelers who might go cross-country no doubt will opt for a finer scale, such as 1:24,000, with 40-foot contours).
You'll find primary roads, some paved roads, and some improved roads as well as administrative roads called out on these Trails Illustrated maps, as well as hiking trails, equestrian trails, and mountain bike trails. Visitor centers and patrol stations are noted, as are restrooms, picnic areas, service stations, RV camping and dump stations, lodgings, backcountry cabins, canoe campsites, river access, cross-country ski trrails, and more.
The maps also list the requisite contact information for Parks Canada, weather forecasts, trail information, avalanche information, public safety, park friends groups, provincial parks in the areas covered, and more.
As a bonus, some of your purchase goes towards supporting the National Geographic Society and its endeavors.
Traveler footnote: These maps could come in handy when you plan a trip on the Rocky Mountaineer with intentions of jumping off into one of the parks.