This is one of a group of Canadian Rocky Mountain parks that are collectively on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park covers 39,013 hectares - a bit bigger than the Isle of Wight. It is a place of lakes, glaciers, mountain peaks, and alpine meadows. Mount Assiniboine, at an elevation of 3,618 meters, is on the continental divide near the southeast corner of the park.
No roads penetrate this unspoiled wilderness, with trails providing the only land access. Camping, hiking, mountain climbing and viewing spectacular mountain scenery are the main activities here, as well as fishing, horseback riding, and ski touring in winter.
The park is roughly triangular. The apex of this triangle is at the junction of the boundaries of Banff National Park, which forms the eastern boundary, and Kootenay National Park, which marks the boundary to the west. The southern boundary follows the height of land above Daer Creek and Extension Creek from Kootenay National Park to the Mitchell River, then easterly to Banff National Park and the Continental Divide.
Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park lies within the traditional territory of the Ktunaxa or Kootenai First Nations people.
This area was well known to the indigenous peoples of the foothill and mountain country. Occasionally interrupted by wars, there was much trading between the tribes from the different sides of the Rockies. The Peigans, the Assiniboines, the Blackfoot and the Kootenai traveled the routes over many mountains passes through the Rockies.
G.M. Dawson, of the Geological Survey of Canada, named Mt. Assiniboine in honor of the Assiniboine people when he visited the area during the summer of 1899. Assiniboine means “stone boiler” a name that comes from the Aboriginal practice of putting hot rocks into animal paunches or holes filled with water to cook food.
Upon the urging of the Alpine Club of Canada, British Columbia set aside 5,120 hectares of the area on February 6, 1922, as Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park, the seventh in a fledgling park system. In 1973, the parking area was increased sevenfold to its present size of 39,050 hectares
Mt. Assiniboine is the seventh tallest mountain in the Canadian Rockies and its massive covers 80 km².
Flora and faunaEdit
The park aims to protect a large variety of species. Eighty-four species of birds inhabit the park environs, based on sightings. Columbian ground squirrels are very common in the core area of the park. Ten species of carnivore including wolves, black bears, grizzly bears, weasel, cougar, lynx inhabit the park. Six species of ungulates: elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, moose, mountain goat, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep roam within park boundaries.
Boreal forests of spruce, intermixed with stands of alpine fir and lodgepole pine, cover the lower elevations. In more open areas, scattered patches of false azalea, buffalo berries, twin berries, white rhododendrons and, occasionally, a red elder may be found. Between the elevations of 2,100 and 2,400 meters, open stands of alpine larch occur alongside alpine fir and Engelmann spruce, with a ground cover of red and white heather and grouse berries. Dense thickets of various species of low-growing willows associated with bog birch can be found along mountain streams and in boggy areas.
Large areas of rocky slopes and ridges are covered by stonecrop, white flowering avens, moss campion, cinquefoil, arctic willows and several species of saxifrage. Alpine meadows blaze with color thanks to an abundance of western anemones, alpine arnica, columbine, Indian paintbrush, spring beauty, alpine fleabane, mountain daisies, and hundreds of other species of wildflowers during the midsummer blossoming period.
Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park is west of the British Columbia-Alberta border 48 km southwest of Banff.
Fees and permitsEdit
There are no fees for day use. Anyone fishing or angling in British Columbia must have an appropriate license.
The following recreational activities are available: backcountry camping and hiking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing and ski touring, fishing, and hunting. There are also climbing opportunities.
- Hiking: The most popular hiking trails to the core area of the park start from Kootenay National Park to the west, and from Spray Lakes via Bryant Creek (Banff National Park) south of Canmore, from Sunshine Meadows west of the Banff townsite, in Banff National Park, Alberta.
- Fishing: Angling in the glacial lakes and waterways of Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park is unpredictable. Rock Isle, Larix, and Grizzly Lakes are closed to angling. Anyone fishing or angling in British Columbia must have an appropriate license.
- Climbing: Mount Assiniboine is a world-class mountaineering destination, and several neighboring peaks, faces, and ridges are worthwhile challenges as well. In 2015, the rappel stations on the Classic Mount Assiniboine North Ridge Route were upgraded to permanent fixed (2 bolt + chain) anchors.
- Horseback riding: Riders are required to obtain and carry with them a letter of permission from BC Parks. An online should be generated and printed at least 7 days before entering the park. Horse access is not permitted to Assiniboine Lodge, the Naiset Cabins, Wonder Pass, or Citadel Pass.
Buy, eat, and drinkEdit
Existing facilities include: 10 camping areas (75 campsites), including the main camp at Magog; 6 roofed accommodation sites (60 beds), including Mt. Assiniboine Lodge; day-use facilities at Rock Isle basin, including interpretive facilities and sanitation; 160 km of horse and hiking access trails: Assiniboine Pass, Wonder Pass, Mitchell River, Simpson River, Citadel Pass, Surprise Creek; and guide-outfitters cabins: Mitchell River and Police Meadows.
Visitors can make reservations for the Naiset Huts and the Hind Hut through the Assiniboine Lodge +1 403 678-2883 or fax +1 403 678-4877. Reservations for the Naiset Cabins are recommended in the summer and are mandatory in the winter. The Naiset Cabins are $20 per night per person. There is a non-refundable reservation fee of $50 per night to a maximum of $15 for three nights or more per reservation (May 2018). For campers who wish to stay at these huts on a first-come, first-served basis, bring a tent in case they are full.
Camping year-round at Magog Lake and Og Lake, where campsites can be reserved from late June through September.
For other sites, backcountry fees are collected year-round at Lake Magog and Og Lake campgrounds. There are no registration or camping fees for camping in any other campground in the park (including Porcupine).
Weather conditions can change suddenly in this area and lightning storms with hail and snow are common in summer. For overnight trips a sleeping bag, ground pad, waterproof tent or bivouac bag, and lightweight stove are essential.
Only experienced climbers practiced in crevasse rescue and properly roped should venture onto snowfields and glaciers. Winter visitors to the park should always ski with a partner. Winter visitors be familiar with standards of avalanche safety.