Welcome to Calgary, gateway to the Canadian Rockies, where you can take time before the tour begins to explore. It was historically famous for its Wild West roots but in recent years has become a dynamic, exciting city. It still oozes Western culture, a feature that earned it the nickname Cowtown. Join your tour guide and fellow travellers for a welcome meeting at 6pm in the hotel lobby. Stay: Ramada Downtown Calgary (or similar).
We go west into the heart of the Rockies, travelling to Lake Louise, our base for the next three nights.
Upon arrival, we take a warm-up trek on the Lake Agnes Trail (maximum altitude: 6,955ft/2,120m). Hike through old-growth forest before reaching spectacular views of Lake Louise from above and then continue along the trail until you reach Lake Agnes and a rustic teahouse, providing much-needed refreshment before the descent back to our campsite near Lake Louise. Stay: Lake Louise Campground (or similar) (L/D).
Take a short transfer to picturesque Moraine Lake, neighbour to Lake Louise and situated in the scenic Valley of the Ten Peaks. This is one of the most photogenic lakes in the Canadian Rockies, surrounded by ancient pine forests and snow-capped mountains. We take the Sentinel Pass trail (maximum altitude: 8,566ft/2,611m), hiking along the Larch Valley before climbing to Sentinel Pass itself for magnificent views over Banff National Park backcountry.
Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife including elk, porcupines and bears, which are often sighted on this route. From here, you can either hike back or start your descent along the Paradise Valley to end this loop trail. This is one of the premier hiking trails in Banff, so we are likely to see a few fellow hikers on our way. Stay: Lake Louise Campground (or similar) (B/L).
Our journey continues over to Jasper National Park; keep your eyes peeled for wildlife such as black bears and the abundant Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. On the way, we hike the Parker Ridge trail (maximum altitude: 7,448ft/2,270m) with the chance to see the Saskatchewan Glacier. The trail climbs quickly until it gets above the treeline. It does not actually reach the summit of Parker Ridge, but comes within about 195ft (60m) of it and the views are simply incredible.
Tonight, we set up camp underneath the watchful gaze of Jasper's rugged peaks. On our way along the Icefields Parkway, there is the opportunity for a hike on Athabasca Glacier. Optional activities: Guided glacier walk: 112 dollars (US$83) or 67 dollars (US$49) for under 17s. This activity can get booked up far in advance, so please speak to your sales representative if you wish to join. You can pay the tour leader during the trip. Stay: Whistlers Campground (or similar) (B/L/D).
Jasper is much quieter than some other national parks, making it easier to leave the crowds. We take the Cavell Meadows trail (maximum altitude: 7,507ft/2,288m) to the foot of Angel Glacier for a true wilderness feel. After climbing up, we reach the alpine terrain with a great chance to watch caribous. This is an excellent way to discover more about the ever-changing environment of this stunning national park. Stay: Whistlers Campground (or similar) (B/L).
We hike the Sulphur Skyline Trail (maximum altitude: 6,562ft/2,000m), which has some of the most breath-taking panoramas in Jasper. The 3mi (5km) trek to the mountain peak overlooks a phenomenally rugged section of the Canadian Rockies. A great way to finish the day is with a soak in Miette Hot Springs (don't forget your swimwear). Optional activities: Miette Hot Springs: 16. 50 dollars (US$12) SkyTram cable car: 60 dollars (US$44) Mountain biking: 30 dollars (US$22) per hour Stay: Whistlers Campground (or similar) (B/L/D).
We take a short helicopter flight to the Landslide Lake area, where we are placed far from other hikers for a wilderness trek like no other! We set up camp here for the next three nights in an area devoid of other travellers and distractions of everyday modern life. Please note: You are not staying in a campsite, this is the Canadian wilderness, and your guide will set up tents where it's best; there is no predetermined camping spot.
You will not have access to showers or modern toilets during your three-night stay, and each day your guide will hoist food into the trees and away from bears. After arrival, and having set up camp, your guide takes you on a hike around the Landslide Lake area. We ask that you take no more cargo than 20lb (9kg) each including carry-on for these three nights and that it is packed in a soft, small kitbag. If you wish to leave luggage behind, store it inside the trailer, which is left at the helicopter company. Landslide Lake elevation gain/loss: 985ft-2,625ft (300m-800m) per day Stay: Wilderness campground (B/L/D).
We have many options for the next two days, ranging from steady walks through alpine meadows to strenuous treks to surrounding ridges. The tour guides suggest hiking choices such as the Lake of the Fall hike or a trek along an unnamed pass. All hikes offer a truly unforgettable experience in the wilderness of the Canadian Rockies, but it is important to remember there are no designated trails – you're in complete wilderness.
We walk on public land, but this area is ungoverned by a national park. Your guides make decisions based on the group's capabilities. They carry bear spray, which will be on hand in the rare event it is required. Landslide Lake elevation gain/loss: 985ft-2,625ft (300m-800m) per day Stay: Wilderness campground (B/L/D).
We depart Landslide Lake this morning on a spectacular helicopter flight to Cline River. Our journey then continues by road towards Banff National Park. Banff is our base for the next two nights, giving us the opportunity to take more wonderful hiking trails.
This afternoon, we discover Lake Minnewanka, a glacier lake of 3mi (5km), with an easy hike by the rocky shore. Alternatively, relax by the water, visit the Banff area, relax on Banff Upper Hot Springs or rent a canoe and paddle along the Bow River. Lake Minnewanka Trail: Minimal elevation gain/loss Stay: Tunnel Mountain (or similar) (B/L/D).
Today we take the Cory Pass Trail (maximum altitude: 7,625ft/2,324m), an 8. 5mi (14km) loop. This is a strenuous workout up 3,219ft (981m) to the Cory Pass, behind Mount Edith, past Mount Louis and through the Edith Pass on the way back to the trailhead. From the Fireside Picnic area, we follow a 0. 6mi (1km) trail to the Cory Pass Junction, and then climb most of the 3,002ft (915m) over the remaining 3mi (4. 5km), eventually reaching above the tree line.
There are several points to take photos and catch your breath along the way. Once through the Cory Pass, we follow a rough trail for about 2mi (3. 5km) through scree fields and across avalanche paths until we rejoin the main hiking trail at Edith Pass. We descend along the drainage through the forest between Mount Norquay and Mount Edith until we loop past the Cory Pass Junction again and then to the trailhead. This is a really good hike and a favourite of the local climbing community. Stay: Tunnel Mountain (or similar) (B/L).
Our tour is nearly coming to an end but there is time for one last chance to hit the trails! Today depends on the weather conditions, but we more than likely hike the Cascade Amphitheatre trail (maximum altitude: 7,201ft/2,195m). This hike begins at the Mount Norquay ski area, crosses a bridge over Forty Mile Creek, then traverses through dense forest to the Cascade Amphitheatre.
As we emerge into the amphitheatre, enclosed by limestone cliffs, there are usually wildflowers (in the early season). After this, we return to Calgary where the tour ends at approximately 5pm. We can book your post-tour accommodation if required. If you are planning to fly tonight, please do not book a flight that departs before 7pm (B/L).
There are currently no departures available on this trip. Either it's the end of the season and new departures will be released shortly, or this itinerary has been changed and will no longer continue. Feel free to contact us for information about when next seasons dates will be released or click here to view the general release dates for all destinations.