Embrace the great outdoors on this Canadian Rockies adventure

The Rocky Mountains of Canada offer stunning landscapes of towering peaks, serene turquoise lakes, thick forests and gushing rivers. Walk the streets of Vancouver, hike the trails of Jasper and Banff, meander along the river in Yoho National Park and soak up the superb alpine scenery. Spot native moose and bears and unleash your inner daredevil with a bevy of adventure activities - mountain biking or river rafting, anyone? Jump in feet first and be completely immersed in this awesome outdoor Canadian experience.

Start
Vancouver, Canada
Finish
Vancouver, Canada
Countries
Canada
Themes
Explorer, Overland
Code
SSOR
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 13
Carbon offset
766kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • This trip is packed full of optional outdoor activities, providing the perfect opportunity to explore nature at ground level. Hike through forests, cycle in a remote part of the Rocky Mountains and canoe across a picturesque lake
  • With lakes, mountains and glaciers dotted throughout huge national parks, the Rockies features an array of striking landscapes that you won't see anywhere else in the world
  • Canoe to an overnight campsite in the remote wilderness. This is the type of experience that's synonymous with the Rocky Mountains
  • Canadians are an incredibly friendly and welcoming people. Learn more about the area by connecting with the locals

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2016 to 24 September 2016. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Welcome to Vancouver, the laid-back cosmopolitan city that sits on the edge of the Canadian wilderness. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm. Please ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you're going to be late, please inform the reception as soon as possible. Your leader will be collecting your insurance details, food kitty contribution and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details ready to provide. If you arrive early into Vancouver, take a walk around the city's historic Gastown and Chinatown areas, or wander through Stanley Park. The city's coastal setting is beautiful, bordering an ocean harbour to the north and a river to the south. The majestic Rockies, often snow capped, provide the eastern horizon, and it's a great place to explore by foot.
Today, leave Vancouver behind and drive to the ski-resort area of Whistler (approximately 3.5 hours). Once there, Whistler Village is a bustling hub of ski shops and award-winning restaurants surrounded by stunning mountain terrain – fantastic for exploring on foot. There are plenty of activities to take part in during your two days here – if your trip falls in the summer months then maybe try a spot of kayaking, find out about the local Aboriginal Nations with a visit to the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre, and then indulge in the numerous tasty food options on offer in the village. After getting to know the area on your first day here, settle down in the campgrounds for the night – or you may like to throw yourself into the lively apres-ski scene in one of the town's many bars.
Today is free to explore and take part in optional activities. Skiing and snowboarding are readily available (if there’s snow!), as the Rocky Mountains are the world's premier outdoor mountain playground. Zip lining tours are an amazing way of getting an aerial view over Fitzsimmons Creek, and hopefully you might see some bears along the way! Another way to get an unparalleled perspective of the area is to travel across British Colombia’s rooftop on the longest and highest lift in the world. The PEAK2PEAK gondola offers views of towering volcanic peaks and coastal rainforest. When you disembark at the top, check out the nearby scenic walking trails, mountaintop restaurants and indoor interpretive displays. You can also spot wildlife on summer hikes or just relax in your surroundings. There are also some great cycle networks in Whistler, so perhaps hire a bike and ride along the Valley Trail, head to one of the nearby lakes, or take a bear or wildflower tour.
Today take the long drive through British Colombia to Wells Gray Provincial Park (approximately 6-7 hours), arriving in time to set up camp for the evening at a cowboy ranch. Relax with dinner by the campfire, roast marshmallows and assemble delicious s’mores. You'll spend the next three nights here, which gives you ample amounts of time to discover and truly appreciate British Columbia's third largest provincial park. The park is also home to a spectacular natural wonder – Helmcken Falls – a 141m cascade that tumbles off a cliff edge into a vast stone bowl surrounded by alpine scenery. The options to explore the region of this vast wilderness are completely varied. Canoe on Clearwater Lake, get a different perspective on horseback (tours vary between 1 and 4 hours), or head out on the numerous hikes that are available. On one of the days you'll take a unique canoe trip to an overnight campsite deep in the heart of this remote wilderness, giving you the ultimate experience of the Canadian Rockies, surrounded by nothing but incredible nature. There are plenty of optional activities to keep you entertained in this stunning pine forested wilderness.
Drive to Jasper, the largest of Canada's Rocky Mountain parks, today and witness its palette of snow-white or summer-grey mountains and brilliant turquoise lakes, laced by dense pine forests and colossal glaciers (approximately 5.5 hours). You'll arrive in the early/late afternoon, and as the park’s famous for its wildlife, maybe get an introduction to the area with a walk to spot moose, elk, deer, bears and wolf – known as the Canadian Rockies’ ‘Big Five’. If you have time in the afternoon, take the Jasper SkyTram that rises 2,300 metres to a great vantage point in the Rocky Mountains, with stunning views over the township and surrounding mountains. On a clear day it's possible to catch a glimpse of Mount Robson, Canada's highest mountain. In the evening head out for dinner at one of the number of great restaurants on offer.
Today is free to do as you wish. Covering an area of 18,878 square kilometres (4,200 square miles), Jasper is much less developed than other areas of western Canada and offers a true wilderness feel. The area provides you with the option of hiking up Whistlers Mountain, seeking out the park’s smaller mammals and birds, biking in the Valley of Five Lakes to Spirit Island, or taking a cruise on Maligne Lake – one of the most picturesque spots in the Canadian Rockies. If you're looking to take it a bit easier, head down to relax in the Miette Hot Springs and soak in the views of Fiddle River Valley. This will be your last night in Jasper National Park. Don’t forget to look up and enjoy the stars tonight – Jasper is a designated dark sky preserve, meaning no artificial lighting is visible and it's a place where the majesty of the night sky can be truly appreciated.
This morning, take a stunning drive through mountain scenery on the famous Icefields Parkway, which connects Jasper and Banff National Parks (approximately 4 hours). As the journey is so picturesque, there will numerous opportunities to stop at viewpoints and waterfalls along the way. This includes visits to the ice fields of Athabasca Glacier and the picture-perfect emerald waters of Lake Louise. You can take a tour of the glacier in all-terrain Ice Explorer, drink fresh glacier water, and then stroll along the cliff-edged walkway of the Glacier Skywalk, where giant glaciers rest above and the spectacular glacier-formed Sunwapta Valley teems with wildlife below. On arrival to your campgrounds in Banff, get your bearings with a brief walk, as you'll be spending the next three nights here. There’s a plethora of stunning sights and activities to occupy your time, while the town of Banff itself offers quaint shops, bars, cafes, and a lively nightlife. The free Cascade Gardens depict the evolution of life and it's only a short hike up Tunnel Mountain for beautiful views of the town and its surrounds. Located in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, Banff National Park is Canada's oldest national park. Its valleys and mountain chains were formed 75 million years ago and its terrain consists of coniferous forests, alpine meadows, icefields and glaciers. Today it’s a veritable playground for outdoor enthusiasts. Take a gondola ride up Sulphur Mountain for a dip in its natural hot springs, or explore the hoodoos and falls of Bow River valley by foot. There are many trails of different lengths, allowing you to hike for as long as you wish, and opportunities for canoeing and mountain biking as well.
Uncover one of the lesser-known spots in the Canadian Rockies today. Drive through unspoiled mountainous terrain to the town of Golden and on to Yoho National Park (approximately 2.5 hours). The name ‘Yoho’ means ‘awe and wonder’ in the local Cree language, and you’ll soon realise that the park really lives up to its title. On arrival in the park, take a walk down the Kicking Horse River and maybe visit Takakkaw Falls (the second highest falls in Canada at 384 metres). Yoho National Park and the Kicking Horse River fly under most Canadian Rockies visitors’ radar, so use your time to really get to know the area like a local. You'll spend two nights here, which is a good amount of time to explore and take part in optional activities.
Just one of the ways to explore this wonderful area is to take to the river for some of the best whitewater rafting in Canada. The combination of wild whitewater, spectacular scenery and abundant wildlife makes rafting the Kicking Horse River a thrilling adventure. There's a range of rafting activities on offer including a full day, half day and a full river challenge. If rafting isn't your thing, there's also an option to relax by the shore of this beautiful river setting. The area is also a paradise for day hikers, with lots of trails where you can spot a wealth of unique plant and animal species, and geological formations that tell the history of the Earth in their layers. Maybe spend your last night in Yoho National Park by having dinner with the group.
This morning, travel through the high mountain clearing of Rogers Pass to reach Glacier National Park, which features more than 400 glaciers. Stop at Rogers Pass Discovery Centre, a replica of a historical railway snowshed with educational displays, and possibly take a short hike through an old-growth area of cedar and hemlock. As one of the world's most active avalanche areas, most of the rugged, mountainous area of Glacier National Park is inaccessible for day hikes. Continue on to Mount Revelstoke National Park, which contains part of the world's only temperate inland rainforest. You'll drive straight through the rainforest and, if time allows, you'll also go for a short hike, strolling among giants on the boardwalks or through the meadows and glades of this peaceful landscape. The final destination of this drive is the town of Kamloops. Meaning 'meeting of the waters', the town is situated at the junction of the two branches of the Thompson River and features a walkable tree-lined historic centre. This is your final night as a group, so maybe gather together for a last celebratory meal and toast to your Canadian Rockies adventure.

Notes: Total driving time today is approximately 6-7 hours.
This morning, you'll make the journey back to Vancouver (approximately 4-5 hours). The arrival time depends on each group, but you should expect a 3pm arrival. Your Canadian Rockies adventure comes to an end then, as there are no more activities planned for today. If you decide to fly out on this day, please don't book a flight before 8pm. This will give you enough time to catch a shuttle from the hotel to the airport and be there two hours before departure. Perhaps choose to stay a little longer in Vancouver and discover why the harbourside city consistently rates as one of world's most liveable cities.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
n/a
Transport
Private vehicle
Accommodation
Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night), Camping (with facilities) (12 nights), Hotel (1 night)
Included activities
  • Wells Gray Provincial Park
  • Overnight Canoe Trip
  • Jasper National Park
  • Banff National Park
  • Yoho National Park
  • Glacier National Park
  • Mt. Revelstoke National Park

Dates

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Important notes

1. This trip finishes on arrival into Vancouver in the afternoon on day 15.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

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Reviews

Our Canadian Rockies trips score an average of 4.7 out of 5 based on 70 reviews in the last year.

Canadian Rockies , August 2016

Canadian Rockies , August 2016