Don't Waste Your Time in the Canadian Rockies: The Opinionated Hiking Guide Paperback – Jul 2006
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
The book is full of color photos, uses good quality paper. It also includes maps for each hike.
Why not 5 stars? In the introduction section, a map of each park presents each trip location. However I would have liked to see at what page each trip is detailed. Now I have to go the index every time. The extra indexing in the introduction would have made it easier to consult.
But this is a minor detail compared to the wealth of information.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The book is also organized very well to help you find your hikes. It is split up into day hikes and backpacking trips (we are day hikers). Within those groups, the hikes are grouped into "quality" rankings and are numbered. The front of the book contains maps of each covered park (Waterton Lakes, Jasper, Banff, Yoho Kootenay, Mt. Assiniboine) with the associated hike numbers so you can find the locations of the best hikes, and/or see which are grouped closer together. And index in the back helps you find hikes by name.
If you're looking for information on accommodations or other activities in the area, this is not the book for you. Also, if you care about color photos (I don't), this isn't for you-- all pictures are black and white. However, I did not find that this absence detracts at all from the book's usefulness. The descriptions are quite mouth-watering enough on their own (and are often humorous).
This is one terrific hiking guide; I only wish similar ones were available for more parks!
The book is divided into a series of chapters, each covering a hike or area of interlinked hikes. Each chapter offers basic data such as the distance of hikes, elevation change, and a rating for difficulty. The Copeland's rating system of easy, moderate and challenging presupposes at least some level of basic fitness and should be taken seriously with respect to the challenge posed by the terrain and the highly variable weather in the Canadian Rockies. Each chapter includes commentary on the special aspects of the terrain covered by the hike, typically grouped with sketch maps and photos and a recommendation for the appropriate supplemental map.
The Copelands also offer much useful information on the weather, wildlife, and other potential hazards in the Rockies, along with sound recommendations for equipment and trip planning.
The Copelands write in an entertaining style; this author found their opinions on what can be experienced on various hikes to be well-founded, based on several seasons of hiking in the Canadian Rockies. This book is highly recommended to the non-technical but enterprising hiker looking to explore the Canadian Rockies.
While the writing style is unique (interesting, humorous, whatever), make no mistake about it-- the book is "COMMON SENSE" to the core, both in content and in it's organization. And it follows the "golden rule"-- the authors provide exactly the kind of information that they (and most hikers) would want if they were to purchase a hiking book. The emphasis in rating hikes is primarily placed upon the WOW-factor of the hike (i.e. how much does this hike STIMULATE me scenically, be it through sweeping vistas, lush meadows, iridescent lakes,... whatever). Distances and elevations are specified in both English (miles/ft) and metric (km/m)... for those of you in the US who have never spent hours converting figures in a hiking book published in Canada, believe me, this is something to be VERY thankful for!
The beginning of the book includes a "Trip Locations" section-- overview maps of the various national parks, dotted with trail numbers, and on the same/opposite page they list names of the hikes and their rating (Premier, Outstanding, Worthwhile, Don't do). So the hikes are arranged visually by park location.
Shortly afterward, a "Dayhikes at a Glance" section arranges the hikes by rating (Premier's listed first, then Outstanding,...etc.), first for the dayhikes, then the backpacking trips. These tables also show distance and elevation gains. This is precisely the kind of information you need to plan a trip. An index of the very best "Wildflower Hikes" is a nice touch.
The introduction section(s) also cover all the standards you typically would expect (i.e. preparation, weather, bears, trail ethics,...etc.).
The back of the book includes a "Trip Maps" section-- these are not topo maps (which are generally useless tiny black/white photocopies in hiking books anyway), but appear to take the form of sketches, though apparently done using computer software. The maps do not illustrate 3-dimensional relief (i.e. valleys, ridges, mountains), but everything is clearly named: the path of the trail(s) shown in red, the lakes/rivers in blue, mountain peaks as black triangles, and parking/trailheads as black circles. The scale is also shown. The inclusion of distances and elevations (which is included in the individual hike overviews) would have made the maps perfect for a hiking book, but they fall short in this area (improvement project for the next edition?)
The individual hikes are very logically arranged. First, all of the day-hikes are listed in one section, followed by another section listing the backpacking (extended) hikes. VERY helpful if you mostly day-hike (as e do), or mostly backpacks. Within each of these sections, the authors list the Premier hikes first (ordered geographically as you move northwest through the Canadian Rockies), followed by all the Outstanding hikes,....etc. VERY helpful in identifying what hikes should be at the top of the itinerary. The description of each hike first includes the authors "Opinion", followed by all of the "Facts". Again, VERY helpful, because when facts/opinions are combined (as with most hiking books), you have to wade through all the factual info to get the opinions (i.e. determine if the hike is worth doing). Likewise, when you want to get the facts, you sometimes have to wade through opinions. Keeping them separate was a smart decision.
Each hike begins with a table which lists: Location, Round Trip Distance(s), Elevation Gain(s), Key Elevations, Hiking Time, Difficulty, and Maps (pg on which map is found, and specific topo map which can be purchased).
Nearly all hikes include a sizable color picture(s) of the most scenic portion(s) of the hike-- exactly what you would want to see. The opinionated descriptions describe exactly what makes this hike appealing, the degree to which it has appeal, and if unappealing, then suggested alternatives in the vicinity. VERY well done.
Suggested improvements? I think the authors place a heavy emphasis upon solitude, but for a significant number of people, this is not nearly as important as the scenic splendor. Yet, some hikes may have slipped a notch in the rating scale because of their heavy use. It would be helpful if hikes of this nature were denoted with a special symbol of some sort, both in the overview tables and in the table which introduces the individual hikes. To their credit, the authors frequently mention (in the Opinion section) which hikes see heavy usage, but a prominent visual cue indicating that the hike was demoted a rating level (for lack of solitude) would make an excellently arranged book even better.
I also own Grame Pole's book "Classic Hikes in the Canadian Rockies" (1999 edition). While this is one of my better hiking books (I own about a dozen), the Copeland's book is better in a variety of ways. If you want multiple opinions, buy both. If you want just one, then "Don't waste your..." money on anything other than Copeland's book: "Don't waste your time in the Canadian Rockies".
I don't need to repeat every point made in the other five-star reviews on here; but I would like to point out the one feature that made the Copelands' book so useful to me - and this is their ratings system:
The Copelands don't just list dozens of hikes without telling you which one is better or worse than others. Instead they rate them and tell you how worthwile each hike actually is, and why -- and just having hiked for three weeks with "Don't Waste Your Time" in hand I can say, they are pretty much spot-on.
If you would have YEARS to hike in the Canadian Rockies, you could do without these ratings, of course. But if you have only a few days or, at most, two or three weeks, you will be very grateful for the Copelands pointing you towards the very best in hiking the Canadian Rockies have to offer.
One reviewer on here writes that the "Canadian Rockies Trail Guide" by Brian Patton is the "bible" with which "the locals" hike -- which supposedly means that "the locals" do not hike using "Don't Waste Your Time in the Canadian Rockies".
If that is really the case, or not, I don't know. However, I think this argument is a bit of a no-brainer: People visiting the Canadian Rockies have different needs than the locals. The locals don't need to get the most out of a few days of hiking - visitors coming in for a few days do.
And that's where "Don't Waste Your Time" is superior. It may not list as many hikes as the "Canadian Rockies Trail Guide", but it is so much more helpful in deciding where to hike every day.
If you want to buy only one hiking guide for the Canadian Rockies, buy "Don't Waste Your Time". If you want to buy two guide books, also buy the "Canadian Rockies Trail Guide". To a certain degree, these two complement each other.
Look for similar items by category
- Books > Science & Math > Nature & Ecology > Ecology > Mountains
- Books > Science & Math > Nature & Ecology > Mountains
- Books > Sports & Outdoors > Hiking & Camping > Excursion Guides
- Books > Sports & Outdoors > Outdoor Recreation > Hiking & Camping > Excursion Guides
- Books > Travel > Canada
- Books > Travel > Specialty Travel > Adventure > Hiking