Canadian Rockies

July 21 - 27, 2014


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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.

Suzy C, MA “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.”

Sherryann, PA  “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.”

Sue W, OK  “ These trips allow me to grow as a woman.  I can put life in perspective as I’m hiking, seeing the most incredible scenery ever.  I appreciate and value these opportunities to see the world.”

Alyssa Z, MD  “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.”

Carol S, WI  “I haven’t had an overnight with the girls in 40 years so this was absolutely fantastic!  Thanks for all your wonderful planning and taking care of us.  The scenery was gorgeous.”

Cathy C, CA  “ You are the consummate guide, an exceptional conversationalist and a magical group alchemist.  We all trusted you completely and clearly will follow you anywhere!”


Airfares are NOT INCLUDED in Canyon Calling trips. It is your responsibility to get yourself to the assembly point of a trip and home afterwards. There are many reasons for this policy including customers wanting to use their air miles, people wanting to go early or stay on after the trip, some wanting to drive etc. Jane at Jane’s Travel in Phoenix has helped our customers with booking their flights for the last 17 years. You can phone her at (480) 755-1388 or send an email to  Internal flights are included in trip prices when they fall inside a tour like on our Costa Rican, Peruvian Andes, Australian and Hawaiian Islands trips. .

Day 1
We’ll assemble at Calgary International Airport at 3pm, load the van and drive west for a little over an hour out to the beautiful mountain town of Banff. Check into our hotel, especially 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 and the grand Banff Springs Hotel (sadly outside our budget!!)   We’ll eat an early 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 alternatively to turn in early for those who rose in a different time zone.

Day 2
After a quick breakfast in town we’ll drive up to Sulphur Mountain and ride the gondola to the top and beat the crowds.  Brace yourself for incredible views!  Your guide will describe the different mountain formations carved by glaciers (castellated, horns, dog-tooth and saw-tooth).  Gondola back down to Banff to gear-up 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 an hour free 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 waterfalls.  Heading north up the Icefields Parkway we’ll stop at famous Peyto Lake.  This is our first view of the gorgeous turquoise lakes that the Rockies are so famous for.  It’s another short drive to cozy lodging and a buffet dinner near the Saskatchewan River.

Day 3
You’ll want a cooked breakfast today to sustain you for our glacier hike.  It’s a stunning drive up a glacier-carved valley to Athabasca Glacier.  Our glacier guide will issue crampons so we’ll tread safely on the ice.  We hike up the moraine field to the ice, usually crossing a couple of streams.  We tie the crampons to our hiking boots and it’s a wonderful experience crunching across the glacier.  The views are amazing.  Our guide teaches all we need to know about glaciers and leads us safely to avoid crevasses. We’ll 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 hike so photo opportunities abound. This is a two mile round trip hike. 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.

Day 4
Breakfast at a nearby resort and drive back towards Jasper watching for elk and 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 two hours free for shopping or relaxing in the park.   Drive back along the magnificent Icefields Parkway and spend the evening at the same lodging as Sunday night.  Tonight we barbecue our choice in meats for dinner at the resort pub.  This is a fun alternative to always being served!

Day 5
After breakfast 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 before a breeze comes up.  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, but wow, they’re worth it!  A few miles on we arrive a well-named Emerald Lake.  Enjoy a leisurely canoe ride up to views of the glacier.  Back in the van we 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.

Day 6
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!  Before lunch we float for an hour through a shallow braided section of the river to our lunch stop riverside.  It’s wonderful to eat the hot barbecue selections 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 falling over us.   Later you’ll have an option to raft the lower gorge which includes some rapids rated 4’s.  This is a $50 add-on and involves a walk down a steep road to the river put-in.  Tonight we’ll dine riverside at a pub in Golden.

Day 7
Today we’re up early to catch our bus to the trailhead of our six-mile hike at Lake O’Hara.  These much sort-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 a little 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 your 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 Rockies.  We overnight at a hotel near the airport which has a 24 hour shuttle. Our farewell dinner will be at a restaurant nearby. Book your return flight for Monday July 28.

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