The Canadian Rockies surrounding Canmore, Banff and Lake Louise contain a lifetime of walking and hiking opportunities. Eight National and Provincial Mountain Parks are within easy driving distance. The scenery is classically magnificent - steely grey limestone peaks are clothed in forests, waterfalls, craggy cliffs and, not far west of Canmore, glaciers! The forest cover of the valley floors is broken by frequent lakes and beaver ponds. Towards treeline the forest thins, alpine larches appear as forests give way to alpine meadows. From late May to mid August the forest and especially the meadows are lit in glorious wildflower shades of red, blue, yellow and white. By late August wildflower color is replaced by the reds and golds of Fall. September is in some ways the most spectacular month as the alpine larches turn the treeline into a blazing line of gold and incandescent aspens that speckle the valley floors.
Although graded 'introductory level hiking', this trip is designed for fit walkers. We will stay as a group while hiking each day - Expect a slow and steady pace. This trip involves hiking for up to 5 hours per day where daily distances can range from 8km to up to 16km. Elevation gains of up to 600m for some hikes.
No previous mountain hiking experience required, but any training you can do before you arrive will enhance your experience.
Make your own way to the group hotel in Canmore. A welcome meeting will take place this evening at the hotel. Exact time and location to be advised with your final documents. We'll go over plans and options for the following days, look at maps of the area and check to see that you are properly outfitted.
Your guide will meet you at the hotel after breakfast and you'll head out on your first hike which will be in one of the many parks covering Kananaskis country. We like to keep plans flexible and choose a hike that's not too hard and appropriate for the current weather in order to allow everyone to acclimatize to our higher elevation and dry air.
Please note: All breakfasts are included as are hiking lunches and trail snacks. Dinners are not included so you can explore the many dining options. There are many easily accessible restaurants nearby or in your hotel.
Example hike: Mt. Yamnuska (12km, +/-800m)
After breakfast we drive north towards Lake Louise stopping to hike in Kootenay National Park (50 km from Canmore) on the way. Stanley Glacier is an excellent choice, or possibly Paget Lookout in Yoho National Park. After hiking we complete our drive north another 25km to Lake Louise with its gem of a lake surrounded by enormous peaks and their hanging glaciers.
Stanley Glacier (8km, +/- 365m)
Paget Lookout (7.2km, +/-520m)
There is a bit of driving today (up to 2 hours each way) but it is one of the most scenic drives in the world - The 'Icefields Parkway'! We follow it up valleys overhung by glaciers, past lakes and Icefields then over alpine passes and meadows to reach the world-famous Columbia Icefields. Options include a hike up Wilcox Meadows (11.2km, +/-355m) just inside the border of Jasper National Park or a stunning hike just south of the border at Helen Lake in Banff NP (12km, +/-420m). Return to Lake Louise for the night while we take in the stunning mountain scenery.
Head a little west over the "Kicking Horse Pass' into Yoho National Park (10 km). Hike either to Yoho Lake or, if feeling fit, we will hike the Iceline Trail. Return to Banff (80 km) for the last two nights.
Yoho Lake: 10.5km, +/-300m
Iceline Trail: 21.5km, +/-700m
A final day of hiking in Banff National Park, perhaps to Healy Meadows, Sunshine or Larch Valley. Enjoy a final night on the town in Banff to celebrate our adventures walking in the Canadian Rockies.
Healy Meadows: 9km, +/-655m
Larch Valley/Sentinel Pass: 14km, +/-720m
Cory Pass Loop: 13km, +/-915m
Once we finish with coffee and breakfast the tour concludes; everyone heads off on their further adventures.
Trip was well planned and implemented and flexible according to group needs. Location was stunning and hiking was cathartic and breathtaking. Very easy and stress free way to travel on an activevacation even if you are unfamiliar with all the nuances of the area.
T. French, California, USA
The walk in the Canadian Rockis was inspiring, refreshing and challenging. Would I do it again? You bet!
Joanne Wilkinson, Sun Valley, NSW
Most memorable: the hiking
Kirsten Kirkman, North Ringwood, VIC
Lisa was a first-class guide in every respect.
M. Ferraro, Amersham, UK, 13 Aug 2017
Per Person, Twin Share