Get ready for some of the most spectacular winter scenery in the world. Winter in the Rocky Mountains is a true bucketlist experience. It lacks the crowds of summer and snow cover allows access to places unreachable any other season. At the heart of this adventure is a 3-night stay in historic Shadow Lake Lodge, which we access by snowshoe. The cozy, solar-powered lodge is fully-serviced and provides delicious meals each day, meaning we need only carry in our personal belongings for our stay. Stunning Lake Louise and Kananaskis Country (where much of the movie 'The Revenant' was filmed) offer consistent snow cover in idyllic settings, making them perfect options for snowshoeing and winter hiking. We explore the world-famous Icefields Parkway without the mass of summer drivers - a very special experience - and strap on crampons to enjoy 'ice walking' within beautiful Johnston Canyon. At night, return to comfortable lodges and warm up by the fire or soak in the hot tub. There is no better way to enjoy the quiet calm of winter in the mountains.
Snowshoeing is winter's equivalent to hiking - Anyone who is in good physical condition can do it, but the adjusted way of walking to accommodate a bigger footprint can take a little getting used to and will leave you a little more tired at the end of the day. Most of our walks are relatively flat (excluding the optional challenge to Gibbon Pass) with distances ranging from 5 to 14km, but you will be outside in winter conditions for 4-5 hours per day with two days being up to 6 or 7 hours which accounts for the 'moderate' aspect. On some days there will be opportunities to opt out of the walk, however there is no option to opt out of the walk in and out of Shadow Lake Lodge. No previous snowhoeing or hiking experience required.
We will provide transportation from Calgary airport to the group hotel in Canmore (on Day 1 only). We meet at the hotel this evening to 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 for breakfast and from there, we make our way to Kananaskis country - an area made famous as the backdrop of the Oscar-winning film, "The Revenant". Our likely destination is Chester Lake - one of the most serene and beautiful snowshoe routes in Canada's Rockies with great views of the Kananaskis Range Mountains. From the lake, it is possible to wander along and over to the 'Elephant Rocks' and to visit another small side valley. The dramatic landscape and reliable annual snow-cover make this a great introduction to snowshoeing in the region. We return to our comfortable inn in Canmore for the night.
We head towards world-famous Lake Louise today. Enroute, we will explore Johnston Canyon. The canyon is a very popular winter hike with an incredible display of frozen waterfalls and ice pillars that is not to be missed. Once we arrive at Lake Louise, we will put on our snowshoes to cross the Lake and admire the Victoria Glacier or hike up towards the Plain of Six Glaciers. Overnight Lake Louise
A short drive north along the famous Icefields Parkway takes us towards the Bow River and Bow Glacier. We stop and snowshoe across scenic Bow Lake with a breathtaking landscape of glaciers and peaks and the iconic red roofed Num-ti-jah Lodge in the background. It just doesn't get more classically Canadian than this! Overnight Lake Louise
Today is the big day! We shoulder our packs, strap on our snowshoes, and take the quiet, snow-packed, wind-shielded, forest trail 14km to our rustic back country lodge at Shadow Lake. We are rewarded for our efforts upon arrival where we'll discover 12 back country cabins nestled in the forest looking out on the massive rock face of Mt. Ball. An early afternoon 'tea' spread of hot drinks and baked goods will be waiting for us, followed by a well-deserved dinner. Settle into our cozy cabins and enjoy the calm and beauty of our remote surroundings - Our home for the next 3 nights.
At daybreak you'll be awakened by a knock on the cabin door and a container of hot water for washing up. Breakfast is whole and hearty and followed by a selection of lunch fixings to make your own lunch with. The snowshoeing today is casual and we'll likely head out to Shadow Lake and to the base of impressive Mt. Ball. An early return to the lodge greets us with tea, coffee, and snacks again and the comfortable couches of the original CPR cabin.
The more than ample meals at the lodge mean that we'll need to do some work to keep from putting on the pounds! After breakfast, we'll challenge ourselves to a snowshoe to Gibbon Pass and the fantastic views over the Rockies that it offers (weather dependent). The route is steep and steady through the forest but what a reward at the top! Return to the lodge in the afternoon for another incredible meal.
One more delicious breakfast and then it's time to pack up and say goodbye to our back country wonderland with our final snowshoe out to our vehicle. This afternoon, we arrive in the popular town of Banff where we have the option of free time in town or to take the gondola up Sulphur Mountain for views out over Banff and surrounding peaks. A visit to Banff Upper Hot Springs for a soak in thermal waters before our final farewell dinner is almost mandatory. Overnight Banff.
*Optional Sulphur Mtn descent - 5.5km/655m elevation loss
After breakfast, the group is transferred to Calgary where services end.
Per Person, Twin Share