Group Management (Hiking Guide Course)

As interpretive hiking guides, we are responsible for the safety and well-being of the people we are guiding on park trails.

Taking the IGA’s Apprentice and/or Professional Interpreter course along with the 3 or 4 season Group Management course will allow you to work toward becoming certified as a 3 or 4 season Apprentice or Professional Hiking Guide.


  • 3 Season (Spring/Summer/Fall) Group Management – $275 plus GST
  • 4 Season (Spring/Summer/Fall/Winter) Group Management  – $410 plus GST
  • 4 Season GM Supplement (for those who have a 3 season certification and want to bridge to the 4 season certification)   – $189 plus GST (Price subject to change for 2020)

The IGA GM courses cover legal liability, client care, client management throughout the seasons, pacing, understanding and managing risk, understanding the environment you are guiding in and trip preparation, to ensure the experience you provide for your guests is safe, comfortable and sets the required foundation for inspirational interpretation!

This course does not teach map and compass skills and it is important that you come to the course with a minimum understanding of how to use a compass while on the trail.

The IGA teaches separate map and compass courses. Please email us at for more information.

A GM certification (or equivalent course deemed by Parks Canada) is required if you want to work as a hiking guide, guiding hikes on trails in the Provincial and National Mountain Parks.

This course is taught in English, French, and Japanese every spring, fall and winter.


Individuals taking our GM course must:

  1. Be eighteen years of age or older.
  2. Have a standard 16-hour first aid and CPR level ‘C’ certification or higher for the 3 Season course, and a 40-hour wilderness first aid certification or higher for the 4 Season course. While the 16-hour first aid certification is sufficient as the prerequisite for the 3 Season course, we recommend all hiking guides have a 40-hour wilderness first aid certification.
  3. Have completed the IGA Apprentice or Professional Interpreter course.
  4. Have a minimum of 5 days hiking experience (3 Season Course) and 10 days of hiking experience (min 5 days in winter) for the 4 Season Course PLUS an interest in leading groups on established trails. (See below for more details on recognised hiking experience and Scoop of Practice.
  5. Be competent with the following basic navigation skills.
    • Identify different features on a topographical map (rivers, lakes, buildings etc).
    • Identify and relate contour lines from the map to the terrain you are hiking on.
    • Determine elevation loss and gain from contour lines on a map.
    • Measure the length of a trail in meters or kilometres.
    • Give a map reference using UTM grid to show your location.
    • Take a simple compass bearing, i.e., to determine the direction of a trail in poor visibility.
    • Determine the cardinal directions of the compass at any time and orientate the map to the ground.

The proficiency of participants with the above skills will be assessed at various stages in the course but these items will not be taught. Course registrants not familiar with navigation should find books or other courses to help them learn this important skill.


For the outdoor/trail portions of this course, you will be required to demonstrate that you have the skill, confidence and personal fitness to guide clients on any conditions that might be encountered in the region where you will be certified. You must be able to demonstrate that you are able to care for clients as well as yourself while out on the trail.


The IGA accepts ACMG Hiking Guide certification or higher as an equivalency to our 3 Season Group Management course and the ACMG Hiking Guide or higher with an ACMG winter certification for our 4 Season Group Management course. Any applications for other equivalencies must go directly to Parks Canada or the appropriate land manager

In Banff, Yoho and Kootenay, contact Indra Jasinsky at In Jasper, contact Kelly Deagle:


See the Scope of Practice for IGA Hiking Guides


Please read our Cancellation & Refund Policy if you are planning to sign up for this course. If you cancel three weeks before the course starting date, you will receive a full refund minus a $30 administration fee. If you cancel two weeks before the course starting date, you will receive a 50 percent refund minus a $30 administration fee. If you cancel with less than 2 weeks notice no refund will be issued.

If you are sick on one or more days of the course you must prove your sickness (i.e. a doctors note) and get in touch with the instructor immediately. We will place you in an alternate course if we have space available, otherwise, you will need to re-register and pay.

If the Interpretive Guides Association has to cancel a course due to low numbers, you will have the choice of being given a full refund or transferring your registration for another course.