The Rocky Mountain Parks Hike & Canoe Tour
This jam-packed trip lets you stay active and close to nature in the midst of the awe-inspiring landscapes of Canada’s most famous National Parks. A week of exploring hiking trails is followed by a glorious 5-day wilderness canoe adventure – this trip is the ideal combination of sightseeing, physical challenges and a nature experience. Your Adventure includes easy to moderate hikes with a light day pack, and no experience is necessary for the canoeing.
Transfer from Calgary airport to your hotel. You meet your guide and fellow travellers during dinner in the evening. Overnight in Calgary.
Today you will travel through the ranch country until you reach Banff National Park. In the forested campground (with showers), you will pitch your tent for the next two nights. This afternoon, hike along one of the many mountain trails. End your day with dinner on the campground by the fire. Walking time 2 – 3 hours.
Today you will have a full day hike into the mountains. Hike 7.5 km with 725m gain to a hidden lake and another 2 km into the pass at 2470m. Afterwards, you might want to relax in Banff’s famous Hot Springs or browse through the stores and boutiques. Walking time 5 – 7 hours.
Take the Trans-Canada Highway up the valley of the Bow River to the world-famous Lake Louise. Your guide suggests 3.5 km (2 mi) path with 400 m (1325 ft) gain to the historic tea house by an alpine lake. Here a network of easy to demanding trails will be tempting you to go further and higher. For example, the 15km (9.3mi) circuit into the Plain of Six Glaciers or a 2.5 km (1.6 mi) climb with 515 m (1705 ft) gains to a summit with exceptional views of nearby peaks and distant landscapes. Camp for today and tomorrow (with showers) is near the alpine village of Lake Louise. Hiking time 3 - 5 hours.
The Kicking Horse River, rushing west out of the mountains, is perfect for white-water rafting. Take the opportunity and enjoy 5 hours of thrills and lots of adrenaline-fuelled action in 8-person rubber rafts. Yoho Park is also famous for its outstanding network of trails to snow fields, waterfalls, fossil beds and other wonders in the high alpine. Let your guide take you on an 18km loop with 880m gain through two passes alpine meadows and birds-eye views of the turquoise coloured Emerald Lake. The Natural Bridge, Takakkaw Falls, and Spiral Tunnel are other attractions within Yoho Park. Walking time 6 hrs.
There are countless photo opportunities along the Icefields Parkway, with famous names like Peyto Lake and Bow Summit. You may even see wapiti, bighorn sheep and bears right by the side of the road. You get the best view of Saskatchewan Glacier after a steep, 2.5 km ascent of a windswept ridge. Spend the next three nights at a campground near Jasper. Walking time 2 hours.
Today enjoy a side trip to the iconic Maligne Lake: follow your guide on an 8 km circuit through flower-covered alpine meadows to an elevation of 2160 m or climb up to the peak at 2789m. Trail rides or a boat cruise can be also be arranged as options. How about renting a mountain bike to explore the surroundings? Walking time 2 to 6 hours.
The Athabasca Falls and a walk into its canyon count among the attractions of this park. Trails at the Columbia Icefields start near tree line which makes hiking in this area most rewarding. Your guide will recommend the 8 km hike with 335 m gain through a pass at 2375 m. Walking time 2-3 hours.
Walk along Maligne Canyon, the river roaring through the narrow gorge up to 50m below, followed by a short drive to a lake in the foothills where you will prepare for your river tour. Learn basic paddle strokes and safety precautions for your 2-person canoes and receive tips regarding personal equipment, work sharing of the crews and wilderness conduct. No experience is necessary for this excursion. The selected river stretches are not dangerous, but the current, numerous rapids and gravel bars demand constant vigilance so that even experienced canoeists find their challenges in this wilderness setting. Your safety and comfort are your guide’s main concern.
Store the luggage you do not require for your canoe trip and begin your river adventure today. For the next 3 nights, you pitch your tent on sandy islands or comfortable spots along the shore. Your progress will depend on the water level. The Athabasca River, fed by glaciers and clear forest streams, runs high and fast in the early season, then clear, blue and slow later in the summer. In the densely forested, uninhabited valleys you have excellent opportunities to spot wild geese, beavers, eagles, elk, bear, and moose. Five or six hours daily are spent on the river, sometimes leisurely drifting downstream. There is also time for swimming, fishing, exploring and campfires under the phenomenal Northern Lights.
Today you will travel from Jasper National Park to Edmonton. One more day on the Athabasca and after 160 km you reach the end of the canoe trip. The bus is loaded for the return to Edmonton. Your tour ends when you reach the hotel for the final night of your trip.
Today transportation from Edmonton to Calgary is available. Arrival in Calgary at 3.30pm.