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Canadian Rockies Wilderness Walks

See amazing wildlife and alpine flowers
Includes return economy airfares

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Escorted Journey
The beautiful Canadian Rockies represent a small but magnificent part of the vast chain that runs virtually the whole length of the North American continent.

Highlights

Some of the highlights included are:

  • Enjoy the pristine wilderness of the Canadian Rockies
  • Visit Icefields Parkway, Banff, Jasper and Lake Louise
  • Trek amid dramatic mountain and glacial scenery
  • See amazing wildlife and alpine flowers

Holiday Type

Active
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  • Y
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  • Y
Wildlife & Nature
  • Y
  • Y
  • Y
  • Y
  • N

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What's included
  • All meals whilst camping
  • All accommodation (Land Only bookings start on day 2 so the first night in Calgary isn't included)
  • London flights (if booking incl. flights)
  • Tour Guide throughout
Need to know
  • Minimum age 18
  • The group is usually between 6 and 12 in size.
  • British, all other EC, Swiss, Australian and New Zealand passport holders do not require visas.
  • South Africans need a visa, which must be obtained before departure. All other nationalities should enquire with their nearest Canadian High Commission.
Your route
Exodus: Canadian Rockies Wilderness Walks Map Icefields Parkway Banff Jasper Lake Louise

Itinerary

Day 1
Start Calgary; drive to Banff; short hike to Paget Lookout

Start Calgary; drive to Banff; short hike to Paget Lookout

After an early start we leave Calgary and drive west along the Trans-Canada Highway, from the prairies into the Rocky Mountains to Banff National Park (180km), which will be our base for the next four nights. We set up camp and in the late afternoon do the first short acclimatization walk up to Paget lookout. This is an old fire lookout with a crucial vantage point overlooking the Kicking Horse Pass and valley, with a view directly up the Cataract Valley to some dramatic peaks overlooking Lake O'Hara and other ranges in Banff National Park. Maybe we will see our first big animals, but certainly we will come across our first Columbian ground squirrels scavenging for their supper.

Day 2
Walking in Banff National Park and at Lake Louise

Walking in Banff National Park and at Lake Louise

Today is a spectacular hike. We drive to historic and prestigious Chateau Lake Louise and start walking along the well-marked asphalt paths beside the emerald-coloured lake, with the Victoria Glacier visible from the far end. The lake and province were named after Queen Victoria's daughter, Princess Louise Caroline Alberta. We soon leave the tourists behind as we reach the alpine lake known as Lake Agnes and the teahouse. From here the trail takes us up to Lake Agnes tea hut, on to the top of the Big Beehive and finally to the foot of the Plain of Six Glaciers. We will learn about the first Swiss Mountain Guides who pioneered guiding and mountaineering in this area and their contribution to the development of Canada's first national park, Banff. After our first full day hike, we will look forward to relaxing back at camp and our evening meal.

Day 3
Based at Lake Louise: walking in Yoho and Banff N.Ps

Based at Lake Louise: walking in Yoho and Banff N.Ps

We embark on one of the classic day hikes in the Canadian Rockies. We start our walk at Moraine Lake near Lake Louise and walk up the Larch Valley for an incredible view overlooking Moraine Lake and the Valley of the Ten Peaks and over Sentinel Pass. We walk under the watchful Mount Temple (the third highest peak in Banff N.P.), and down beautiful Paradise Valley along Paradise Creek.

Day 4
Walking in Yoho National Park

Walking in Yoho National Park

We drive west across the Continental Divide into British Columbia along the Kicking Horse River and past the spiral tunnels built for the railroad, arriving into Yoho National Park. We reach the trailhead near Takakkaw Falls, meaning 'magnificent' in the Cree Indian language. We walk up from Takakkaw Falls, ascending steeply up to the ice line trail between glaciers and tree line. The trail then maintains its elevation with spectacular views of the alpine glaciers until we descend into little Yoho Valley.

Day 5
Along the spectacular Columbia Icefields Parkway to Jasper

Along the spectacular Columbia Icefields Parkway to Jasper

After breakfast we take one of the most famous and magnificent drives in the world along the Columbia Icefields Parkway. It's a busy road, but worthwhile to stop at all of the 'must see' sights, including Bow Summit and Bow Lake, Peyto Lake, the Crowfoot Glacier/Bow Lake and the views of the many glaciers along the road. We may do a short walk at Parker Ridge, popular for its alpine wildflowers. The trail gives incredible views of Saskatchewan Glacier from above. We are almost certain to see Black bear and Rocky Mountain Bighorn sheep today. We set up camp in Jasper National Park, our base for the next three nights.

Day 6
Hike at Cavell Meadows

Hike at Cavell Meadows

Jasper is much quieter and less developed than Banff and from here it is easier to get away from the crowds. Today's hike is to Cavell Pond at the foot of Angel Glacier, and ascends into Cavell Meadows, in the shadow of Mount Edith Cavell. Cavell Meadows are famous for millions of alpine wildflowers in the morning light (great for photos), and we get amazing views of Cavell and Angel Glaciers. We then follow an alpine ridge and scramble over the rocks to the summit.

Day 7
Walking at Maligne Lake and Bald Hills

Walking at Maligne Lake and Bald Hills

We drive this morning up the Maligne Lake Road and start the day with an interpretive walk along the limestone Maligne Canyon, a deep gorge which is fascinating all year round. We then continue driving up the Maligne River to Maligne Lake. Our hike today will be to the Bald Hills. The trail begins on an old fire road, but branches off to zigzag up through an old regenerating burn that gives many views down the length of the greenish-blue waters of Maligne Lake. The views to the north are no less interesting, to the sharp saw-toothed peaks of the Queen Elizabeth Range. Once above treeline, we work our way across open wildflower meadows to the crest of the ridge, which we follow to the small peak on the south end.

Day 8
Return along the Icefield Parkway, sightseeing in Banff and to Kananaskis

Return along the Icefield Parkway, sightseeing in Banff and to Kananaskis

After breakfast we return to the Icefields Parkway, stopping briefly at the Columbia Icefields. Our next destination is the resort town of Banff, which we explore on foot - visit the famous Banff Springs Hotel or take the steep hike up to Sulphur Mountain and a gondola ride down. Leaving this tourist hot spot behind, we drive deep into Kananaskis Provincial Park and set up camp at Kananaskis Lakes, where we camp for two nights.

Day 9
Hike through thick forest to the Burstall Pass

Hike through thick forest to the Burstall Pass

Today we hike to the beautiful Burstall Pass. At first we follow an old logging trail below the Robertson Glacier before the going becomes steeper. We ascend through thick forest and then arrive in a beautiful hanging valley. A final little push over the last bluff will bring us to the pass itself and if the weather permits, incredible views in all directions, including the Matterhorn-like horn of Mount Assiniboine.

Day 10
Drive to Waterton, half-day walk to Bertha Lake

Drive to Waterton, half-day walk to Bertha Lake

We drive over the summit of 2206m Highwood Pass, the highest paved road in Canada, into cowboy country. We stop at Longview, where Clint Eastwood filmed his movie 'Unforgiven', to buy some Longview Beef Jerky. We continue driving south to Waterton National Park, known locally as 'the land where the prairie meets the mountains'. We set up camp here (our camp for the next 3 days). If time permits we'll hike up to Bertha Lake.

Day 11
Waterton National Park

Waterton National Park

Waterton Lakes has its own special scenery: red canyons, hundreds of deep blue lakes, bear grass (vegetation found nowhere else in the Rockies), caves and coves formerly used by whisky smugglers. There is plenty of wildlife: mountain goats, Bighorn sheep, Black and Grizzly bears and cougars. Our first hike in the park is from Cameron Lake, climbing a forested hillside with switchbacks to Summit Lake and then on to Carthew Pass. The trail then descends to Carthew Lakes, where it winds along the lakeshore and on to Alderson Lake. The final 7 km is a descent through the forested valley with views of Waterton Lake and the town of Waterton where the walk ends.

Day 12
Visit Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump and return to Calgary; end

Visit Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump and return to Calgary; end

We pack up camp for the last time. On our way back to Calgary we stop at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump, a museum dedicated to the First Nations People. The site preserves North America's oldest and largest Buffalo Jump, used for thousands of years by Blackfoot Indians to run bison. Then it's a continuation of our prairie drive, back to Calgary, where the tour ends. Flight inclusive bookings will make their way to the airport for the overnight return flight to London.

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