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I will sleep when I’m 70! Such an Oh My God week! The Canadian Rockies truly exceeded my expectations of beauty. You always provide the much needed laughter and fun that is the heart of your adventures and you give the women who travel with you the gift of your spirit of adventure. Thank you. — Suzy C, MA
|Canadian Rockies||July 24-31, 2015; same dates for 2016!||$2,695|
The grandeur of the Canadian Rockies stuns even the well traveled. Against this majestic backdrop of soaring snowcapped peaks, we engage in a wonderful variety of fun-filled activities including hiking, canoeing, walking a glacier, white water rafting and soaking in hot pools. Scattered like gems among these glorious mountains are soft turquoise lakes which have spilled down from the hundreds of glaciers, looking almost surreal. Bears, eagles, elk, mountain goats and big horn sheep call this patch of heaven home. It is our good fortune to be able to share it with them for this one glorious week. Enjoy the friendly Canadians and discover why their Rockies truly are a World Heritage Site.
Your Canyon Calling Tour Guide will meet you at Calgary International Airport at 3pm, and we’ll drive west for a little over an hour to the beautiful mountain town of Banff. Check into our hotel, selected on the edge of town to escape the noise of the Canadian Pacific Railroad. We’ll drive on a short tour of Banff visiting beautiful Bow Falls. We’ll eat dinner at a local saloon and get into the spirit of the west. After dinner there’s time to wander the town and shop, or relax and turn in early.
After breakfast we’ll drive up to Sulphur Mountain and ride the gondola to the top. Brace yourself for incredible views! Your guide will describe the different mountain formations carved by glaciers while we enjoy a walk with beautiful scenery. Gondola back down to Banff for canoeing Bow River up to the Vermillion Lakes. This is a relaxing paddle and we usually see bald eagles along the way. We’ll lunch at a favorite local restaurant in town and you’ll have time after lunch to shop in Banff. Drive up Bow Valley Parkway where wildlife sightings are common. At Johnston Canyon we’ll hike a scenic riverside walk up to the waterfalls, then we’ll head north up the Icefields Parkway and stop at famous Peyto Lake. This is our first view of the gorgeous turquoise lakes that the Canadian Rockies are so famous for. It’s another short drive to cozy lodging and a buffet dinner near the Saskatchewan River.
On this my third Canyon Calling adventure, I finally realized what I love best. Your trips give me the opportunity to play like a little girl. Swimming in Emerald Lake, lying on the glacier, laughing till my sides hurt – these are the things that I will remember always. — Sherryann, PA
We’ll enjoy a hot breakfast today to sustain us for our glacier hike. It’s a stunning drive up a glacier-carved valley to Athabasca Glacier. Our glacier guide will provide crampons to go over our hiking boots so we’ll tread safely on the ice. We hike up the moraine field to the ice, usually crossing a couple of streams and it’s a wonderful experience crunching across the glacier. The views are amazing. Our guide teaches us about glaciers and leads us safely to avoid crevasses. After some terrific photos, we’ll depart for lunch at Sunwapta Falls. The scenery on this day is the most spectacular of any drive in North America. The miles of glaciers and snow-covered mountains are truly majestic. A few miles later we stop at Athabasca Falls and our walk across the bridges delivers an appreciation of the power of this glacial water. Then we wind our way up to the trailhead of Mt Edith Cavell. We’ll hike a short but dramatic trail to a glacial pool and see icebergs that have calved off the face. Beautiful Angel Glacier dominates the views on this two mile round-trip hike and photo opportunities abound. Drive back down the mountain, through the charming town of Jasper and onto our rustic lodging up in the mountains. Before dinner we’ll soak in hot pools and relax after our activity-filled day.
After breakfast at a nearby resort, we drive back towards Jasper watching for elk, mountain sheep and goats along the way. Driving up to Maligne Lake we’ll stop for a short walk at Maligne Canyon where waterfalls have carved room for themselves out of solid granite. We’ll join a boat trip on this huge glacial lake taking us to beautiful Spirit Island for some great photo opportunities. We’ll lunch back at the restaurant near the dock and later return to Jasper for shopping or relaxing in the park. Drive along the magnificent Icefields Parkway and check into the lodge. Tonight we barbecue our dinner at the resort pub, and maybe choose a glass of wine that compliments.
Each day held wonders more magnificent than the last. I thought Spirit Island was the most amazing view ever and then came Moraine Lake! We hiked halfway to heaven from Lake O’Hara to Lake Oesa. Could there be any more amazing way to spend a vacation. — Alyssa Z, MD
After breakfast we drive south and stop for a magnificent photo on the edge of Bow Lake. It’s especially serene in the morning light and the reflection of the mountains is wonderful to capture. Visit heralded Lake Louise and its Chateau. You’ll have an hour to wander here then we drive up to Moraine Lake, perhaps the most beautiful place on earth! There is no end to the photos we all take here and we spend at least an hour just relaxing on the rocks and taking in the wonder. We’ll lunch in Lake Louise Village. In the afternoon we’ll drive into British Columbia and through Yoho National Park. It’s a windy road up to Takakaw Falls, the second highest falls in Canada, and wow, it’s worth it! A few miles on we arrive at well-named Emerald Lake to enjoy a leisurely canoe ride with views of the glacier and the surrounding splendor. Then we’ll drive down a huge gorge road into Golden for a two-night stay at a favorite lodge. Dinner is at a beautiful restaurant in Golden.
This is a great morning to sleep in and have a lazy breakfast as our raft trip leaves right from our lodge. Our white-water rafting trip on the Kicking Horse River is a tour highlight! We float for an hour through a shallow braided section of the river to our lunch stop riverside while enjoying the view. Then we’re off rafting the upper gorge in the early afternoon. The rapids are rated 3’s and are consistent for almost two hours. This is super fun and our wetsuits and spray jackets keep us warm despite the glacial water splashing us. Later you’ll have an option to raft the lower gorge, which includes some rapids rated 4’s, and involves a walk down a steep road to the river put-in – this is approximately $50 add-on cost paid to the rafting company. Tonight we’ll dine riverside at a pub in Golden.
Today we’re up early to catch our bus to the trailhead of our six-mile hike at Lake O’Hara. These much sought after bus seats allow us access to the hiking jewel of the Canadian National Parks. The park service limits daily access to maintain the pristine nature of Lake O’Hara. Initially we’ll hike a gentle trail around the lake past a waterfall. The trail up to Lake Oesa becomes more challenging but we take our time on the one steep section so that everyone feels comfortable. We pass three small tarns (mountain lakes) on the way to Oesa and feast on scenery that you’ll barely believe. Lake Oesa is a perfect place to relax for an hour and enjoy our picnic lunch. Picas and marmots will scurry around the rocks nearby. We return to Lake O’Hara on the same trail and the scenery is so spectacular that you have to make a conscious effort to watch where you’re going! Our two-hour drive back to Calgary is a perfect time for reflecting on all we’ve done and seen this magical week in the Canadian Rockies. We check into our hotel near the Calgary airport, and then enjoy our farewell dinner at a restaurant nearby.
Enjoy breakfast and the hotel’s amenities before the hotel’s complimentary shuttle service transfers you to the Calgary airport for your return flight home.