Welcome to Calgary, gateway to the Canadian Rockies, where you can take time before the tour begins to explore this cosmopolitan city with its skyscrapers and booming oil industry. Calgary has historically been famous for its `Wild West' roots but in recent years has become a dynamic and exciting city.
It oozes Western culture, a feature that earned it the nickname 'Cowtown' - evident in the Calgary Stampede. Join your tour guide and fellow travellers for a welcome meeting at 18:00 hrs in the hotel lobby. Stay: Ramada Downtown Calgary (or similar).
Today we go west in the heart of the Rockies, onto Lake Louise, our base for the next three nights. Upon arrival, take in the epic panorama of the Chateau Lake Louise and warm up those hiking boots with a walk on the Lake Agnes Trail beside the emerald-coloured lake for views of Victoria Glacier.
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 down to our campsite near Lake Louise. Trail name: Lake Agnes TrailMaximum altitude: 2120 metresLake Agnes Trail: 435m elevation gain/lossWalk Profile: approx. 14. 6km / 5hrs walking Stay: Lake Louise Campground (or similar) (L/D).
Take a short transfer to Moraine Lake, neighbour to Lake Louise and situated in the scenic Valley of the Ten Peaks. Hike along the Larch Valley before climbing to Sentinel Pass for magnificent views of Banff National Park backcountry. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife including elk, porcupine and bears, which are often sighted on the trail. From here you can either hike back or start your descent along the Paradise Valley to end this loop trail.
This is one of Banff's premier hiking trails, so we are likely to see a few fellow hikers on the trail too. Trail name: Sentinel PassMaximum altitude: 2611 metresSentinel Pass Trail: 792m elevation gain/lossWalk Profile: approx. 16km / 5-6hrs walking Stay: Lake Louise Campground (or similar) (B/L).
Cross the Continental Divide north along the Kicking Horse River towards Yoho National Park. Yoho means 'wonder' in the Cree Indian language, and is home to some beautiful alpine scenery, which is best explored on foot. The trail today delivers striking views of Takakkaw Falls, Daly Glacier and Yoho River. Overshadowed by the neighbouring parks of Banff and Jasper, Yoho National Park is the hidden treasure of the Canadian National Parks System.
If you don't fancy seeing the trail through the entire 21kms, you can hike a section of the trail and join an optional rafting excursion in the afternoon, on the glacier fed Kicking Horse River. Optional activities: Whitewater rafting CA$120-$173Trail name: Iceline TrailMaximum altitude: 2073 metresIceline Trail: 1053 elevation gain/lossWalk Profile: approx. 15km / 7hrs walking Stay: Lake Louise Campground (or similar) (B/L/D).
Our journey continues over to Jasper National Park - keep your eyes peeled for wildlife such as Black bears and Rocky Mountain Bighorn sheep which are in abundance. On the way we stop to hike the Parker Ridge trail with the chance to see the Saskatchewan Glacier. The trail climbs quickly until it gets above the treeline. The trail does not actually reach the summit of Parker Ridge, but it comes within about 60 vertical meters of it and the views are simply incredible.
Tonight, we set up camp underneath the watchful gaze of Jasper's rugged peaks, our home for the next three nights. On our way along Icefield's Parkway there is the opportunity for a hike on Athabasca Glacier (please let your guide know on day one if you're interested as this activity is prone to selling out). Optional Activities: Guided glacier walk CA$100 (CA$60 for under 17s) Trail name: Parker RidgeMaximum altitude: 2270 metresParker ridge Trail: 269m elevation gain/lossWalk Profile: approx. 5. 2km / 2-3hrs walking Stay: Whistler Campground (or similar) (B/L/D).
Today we hike the Sulphur Skyline trail which has some of the most breath-taking panoramas that Jasper has to offer. The five mile trek to the mountain peak overlooks a phenomenally rugged section of the Canadian Rockies. Of course, a great way to finish the day is with a soak in Miette Hot Springs to ease those aching muscles, which is why we've included this for you (don't forget your swimwear).
Optional Activities: Mountain biking CA$20 per hourSkyTram cable car CA$50Trail name: Sulphur Skyline TrailMaximum altitude: 2000 metresSulphure Skyline Trail: 650m elevation gain/lossWalk Profile: approx. 8km / 4hrs walking Stay: Whistler Campground (or similar) (B/L/D).
We take a short helicopter flight today to the area of Landslide Lake where we'll be dropped in the alpine, far away from other hikers, for a wilderness trek like no other! We set up our camp here for the next three nights in an area of wilderness devoid of other travellers, facilities, picnic tables or the modernities of everyday life. It is important to be aware that you will not be staying in a campsite, this is the Canadian wilderness, and your guide will set up tents where it's best; there is no pre-determined 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 your camp, your guide will take you on a hike around the Landslide Lake area.
Please note: We ask that customers take no more cargo than 20 pounds each (including carry-on) for these 3 nights and that it is packed in a soft small gym bag. If you wish to leave luggage behind, this can be stored inside the trailer, which is left parked at the helicopter company. Land slide lake: elevation gain/loss from 300 to 800m / 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 will suggest hiking choices such as the 'Lake of the Fall' hike or hike along an unnamed pass. All hikes offer a truly unforgettable experience in the wilderness of the Canadian Rockies, but it is important to remember that there are no designated trails - you're in the complete wilderness here where there aren't any 'official trails'.
We will be walking on public land, but this area is ungoverned by a national park. Your guides will make decisions based on the capabilities of the group. They carry bear spray which will be on hand in the rare event that it is required. Land slide lake: elevation gain/loss from 300 to 800m / day Stay: Wilderness Campground (B/L/D).
We depart the Landslide Lake area this morning on a spectacular helicopter flight out of the wilderness, to Cline River. Our journey continues by road towards Banff National Park. Banff is our base for the next two nights, giving us the opportunity to discover even more wonderful hiking trails.
This afternoon we'll discover Minnewanka Lake, a large glacier lake of 5 kilometres, for an easy hike by the rocky shore. Alternatively you can simply relax by the water, visit the Banff area, relax on Banff Upper Hot Springs or rent a canoe and paddle along the Bow River for a little watery adventure. Lake Minnewanka Trail: NA minimal elevation gain/loss. Stay: Tunnel Mountain (or similar) (B/L/D).
Today's walk is a 14-km loop trail. This is a strenuous workout up 981m to the Cory Pass, behind Mt. Edith, past Mt. Louis and through the Edith Pass on the way back to the trailhead. From the Fireside Picnic area, we follow the trail 1km to the Cory pass junction, and then climb most of the 915m over the remaining 4. 5 km, 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 you will follow a rough trail for about 3. 5 km through scree fields and across avalanche paths until you rejoin the main hiking trail at Edith Pass. Descend along the drainage through the forest between Mt. Norquay and Mt. Edith until you 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. Trail name: Cory PassMaximum altitude: 2324 metresCory Pass Trail: 1168m elevation gain/lossWalk Profile: approx. 14km / 6hrs walking 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 will more than likely hike the Cascade Amphitheatre trail. This hike begins at the Mt. Norquay ski area, crosses a bridge over Forty Mile Creek, then traverses through dense forest to the Cascade Amphitheatre. As you emerge into the amphitheatre, enclosed by limestone cliffs, there are usually wildflowers (in the early season).
After this we'll return to Calgary where the tour ends at approximately 17:00 hrs. 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 21:00 hrs. Name of Hike: Cascade AmphitheatreWalk Profile: approx. 13km / 5hrs walkingMax Altitude: 2195 metres (B/L).