Canadian Rockies Trip Notes

Canadian Rockies

Last Modified: 29 Aug 2016
Canadian Rockies
Trip code: SSOR
Validity: 01 Jan 2017 to 31 Dec 2017
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.
Table of Contents
StyleAccommodationFinish point description
ThemesAccommodation NotesFinishing point instructions
Is this trip right for you?Meals introductionEmergency contact
Why we love itMealsVisas
MapTransportWhat to take
ItineraryMoney mattersCommunications
Itinerary disclaimerGroup leaderHealth
Physical ratingSafetyTravel insurance
Included activitiesJoining pointA couple of rules
Important notesJoining point descriptionResponsible Travel
Group sizeJoining point instructionsThe Intrepid Foundation
Your fellow travellersFinish pointFeedback
Style
Basix
Themes
Explorer, Overland
Is this trip right for you?
- This trip covers a lot of ground, as Canada is a huge country. Please be prepared for some long days of driving. You'll be spending a lot of time in a van with other travellers. Free space can be is limited, especially if the group is full, so conditions can feel a little cramped. This is all part of the adventure though, and you might even make some long-term friends.
- As we're travelling through the mountains, the weather can be unpredictable. We advise wearing layers at all times of the year in case conditions change during the day. At night the temperature can really drop, so make sure you have warm clothing with you. Camping can be especially cold at the start and end of the season. Even in the warmer months the temperature can be low in the mountains.
- As this trip involves participatory camping, you'll be expected to help with shopping, cooking and cleaning, as well as setting up and packing down your tent. All of this adds to the authenticity and adventure of the trip.
- While this trip doesn't require a high level of fitness, for your to partake in all of the activities we recommend you are at least moderately fit. If you're not able to participate in all of the hikes, you'll miss out on some fantastic scenery, as well as the chance to see native flora and fauna.
Why we love it
- 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
Map

Itinerary
Day 1 Vancouver
Welcome to Vancouver, Canada. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Please ask the hostel 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 site or wander through Stanley Park. As Vancouver borders an ocean harbour and has the Rockies on the horizon, it's a great place to explore by foot.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 2 Whistler
Today, leave Vancouver behind and drive for around three and a half hours to the ski-resort area of Whistler. Once there, Whistler is a fantastic place to explore on foot with stunning mountain terrain. There are plenty of activities to take part in during your two days here, so if your trip falls in the summer months then try a spot of kayaking. After getting to know the area on your first day here, settle down in the campgrounds for the night.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Day 3 Whistler
Today is free to explore and take part in optional activities. Skiing and snowboarding are always readily available, as the Rocky Mountains are the world's premier mountain playground. Zip lining tours are an amazing way of getting an aerial view over Fitzsimmons Creek - hopefully seeing some bears along the way. 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, ride around area and head to one of the nearby lakes.
Optional Activities
  • PEAK2PEAK Gondola - CAD50
  • Mountain bike rental - CAD99
  • Zip Trek Tour - USD119
    Accommodation
    Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
    Day 4-6 Wells Gray Provincial Park
    Today take the long drive 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 discover British Columbia's third largest provincial park. 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 1-4 hours) or head out on the numerous hikes that are available. There will be plenty of optional activities to keep you entertained.
    Included Activities
    • Wells Gray Provincial Park
    • Overnight Canoe Trip
      Optional Activities
      • Horseback ride (1.5 hrs) - CAD50
      • Horseback ride (2.5 hrs) - CAD73
      • Horseback ride (3.5 hrs) - CAD95
        Accommodation
        Camping (with facilities) (3 nt)
        Day 7 Jasper National Park
        Drive to Jasper National Park today, which should take around five and a half hours in total. As you'll arrive in the early/late afternoon, maybe go for a walk to spot the area's wildlife such as moose, elk, deer, bears and coyotes. If you have time in the afternoon, take the Jasper SkyTram that elevates 2,300 metres to a great vantage point in the Rocky Mountains. In the evening head out for dinner, as there are a variety of restaurants to choose from.
        Included Activities
        • Jasper National Park
          Optional Activities
          • Bike rental - CAD30
            Accommodation
            Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
            Day 8 Jasper National Park
            Today is free to do as you wish. This area provides you with the option of hiking up Whistlers Mountain, biking in the Valley of Five Lakes or taking a cruise on Maligne Lake. 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.
            Optional Activities
            • Jasper Tramway - CAD40
              Accommodation
              Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
              Day 9-11 Banff National Park
              This morning, take a scenic drive through mountain scenery on the famous Icefields Parkway, which connects Jasper and Banff National Parks (approximately four 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 emerald waters of Lake Louise. On arrival to your campgrounds in Banff, get your bearings with a brief walk as you'll be spending the next three nights here.

              Banff is Canada's oldest national park, with its valleys and mountain chains being formed 75 million years ago. Today its 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.
              Included Activities
              • Banff National Park
                Optional Activities
                • Athabasca Glacier tour - CAD52
                • Cable Car up Sulphur Mountain - CAD30
                • Banff hot springs - USD8
                • Canoe Hire - USD50
                  Accommodation
                  Camping (with facilities) (3 nt)
                  Day 12 Yoho National Park/Golden
                  Today take a drive for around two and a half hours through unspoiled mountainous terrain, to the town of Golden and finally to Yoho National Park. On arrival into the park, take a walk down the Kicking Horse River and maybe visit Takakkaw Falls (the second highest falls in Canada at 384 metres high). Yoho National Park and the Kicking Horse River are a lesser-known paradise in the Canadian Rockies, so use your time wisely and really get to know the area. You'll spend two nights here, which is a good amount of time to explore and take part in optional activities.

                  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. There's also an option to relax by the shore of this beautiful river setting.
                  Included Activities
                  • Yoho National Park
                    Accommodation
                    Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
                    Day 13 Yoho National Park/Golden
                    Today, perhaps 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 thrilling for its adventure and views. 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 the option of relaxing by the river with the ideal viewpoint. Maybe spend your last night in Yoho National Park by having dinner with the group.
                    Optional Activities
                    • Kicking Horse rafting (half day) - CAD84
                    • Kicking Horse rafting (full day) - CAD129
                      Accommodation
                      Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
                      Day 14 Glacier National Park/Kamloops
                      This morning, travel through the high mountain clearing of Rogers Pass to reach Glacier National Park. Stop at Rogers Pass Discovery Centre for a look around and possibly take a short hike through a 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. Drive onto Mount Revelstoke National, 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. 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. Today's total driving time will take around 6-7 hours.
                      Included Activities
                      • Glacier National Park
                        Accommodation
                        Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
                        Day 15 Vancouver
                        This morning, you'll make the journey back to Vancouver (approximately four to five hours). The arrival time depends on each group, but you should expect a 3 pm arrival. Your Canadian Rockies adventure comes, as there are no more activities planned for today. If you decide to fly out this day please don't book a flight before 8 pm, which will give you enough time to catch a shuttle from the hotel to the airport and be there two hours before departure.
                        Included Activities
                        • Mt. Revelstoke National Park
                          Itinerary disclaimer
                          ITINERARY CHANGES Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff. We are here to help you! Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.

                          OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
                          Physical rating

                          Many of the North American national parks that we visit have hiking opportunities where walks up to 4 hours can be an option for you. There are often easier options too.
                          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
                          Important notes
                          1. This trip finishes on arrival into Vancouver in the afternoon on day 15.

                          Group size
                          Maximum of 13 travellers per group.
                          Your fellow travellers
                          GROUP TRAVEL
                          As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.

                          SINGLE TRAVELLERS:
                          Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
                          Accommodation
                          Camping (with basic facilities) (1nt), Camping (with facilities) (12nt), Hotel (1nt)
                          The campsites that we use are selected for either their scenic beauty, their convenient location to places of interest and/or the facilities available. We aim to offer you a selection of different types of campsites.

                          If you've never camped before - no problem! We provide a complete set of camping and cooking equipment. This includes roomy easy-to-pitch tents, which are shared by only two people and are equipped with thin foam rubber mattresses and vinyl floors. Your leader will show you how to pitch a tent on the first day. On many trips we also spend a few nights in reasonably priced hotels / motels / hostels (as per the itinerary).

                          For the group, we also provide two burner stoves, efficient camp kitchen equipment, dishes, coolers, food storage boxes, a water container, lamps and a sun and rain roof. Please take good care of all the equipment. You'll be assigned a specific tent so please look after it well. The equipment has to be returned clean, complete and in the same condition as you received it. Please keep in mind that sleeping bags are not provided and you'll need to bring your own. Please read the 'What to Take' section of these notes for more information on choosing a sleeping bag.

                          Our high quality camping equipment (including tents) can be affected by bad weather conditions. This can result in some wet and cold conditions inside the tent. Your spirit of adventure and flexibility will help make your adventure trip an exciting and unforgettable experience. On nights where the group is camping and weather conditions are extreme (such as snow or heavy rain) there may be an opportunity for the group (if everyone agrees) to stay at an alternative location such as a nearby hostel or hotel. When this is the case the upgrade is at your own expense.

                          You'll find the necessary facilities - toilets and in most cases showers, washing machines and driers - at many of our campsites. The showers at some campsites only have cold water available and some may require a payment (usually no more than US$1-$3 for a quick shower). This is payable locally and is generally a contribution to paying for a limited water supply. Please be aware that some campsites won't have any facilities, however it will rarely be for more than one night at a time. This is true of many campsites within Yosemite National Park, so if your trip is visiting this park, please prepare to go without a shower on this night, although it can often be arranged to stop and utilise facilities on our way out of the park.

                          In all the campsites there are strict quiet hours, when absolutely no loud noise is allowed. This means that all music, singing and group gatherings have to stop. We request that all our travellers respect these campsite rules.

                          For trips where there are lodges/cabins used, couples travelling together may be separated as our rooming arrangements are based on single gender.

                          CAMPING OUTSIDE THE SUMMER MONTHS:
                          Our trips extend beyond the traditional vacation months (June - September). This is because over the years we've recognised there's a demand from our travellers for trips outside this period. Many enjoy the experience of North America in the snow, or in the crisp and clear atmosphere of spring. We've operated successful trips throughout the year however some consideration must be taken when choosing a trip that travels in the colder months such as:
                          - Have you got a suitable sleeping bag?
                          - Do you have suitable warm clothing - fleece, waterproofs, thermals?
                          - Are your walking and hiking boots waterproof and warm?

                          You may also like to think about bringing your own camping mat for this period as the double layer provides extra warmth.

                          In some locations it may be possible to upgrade from camping to cabins if it is cold. You will need to pay for, and arrange this locally and it is of course subject to availability. In some locations it may only be possible to upgrade if the whole group is willing to.

                          If you come prepared and are willing to experience North America at this very special time of year, then you will be set for a great time.
                          Meals introduction
                          While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.

                          On our trips in North America, we operate an optional kitty, where travellers are encouraged to contribute to a central fund which is used to buy groceries which then supply meals to the entire group. In our experience all travellers generally participate, however some with special dietary requirements may prefer to opt out. The kitty is administered by the group and is payable per week of the trip. The cost is:

                          USA - US$70 per week
                          Alaska - US$90 per week
                          Canada - CA$90 per week

                          While camping, some breakfasts, lunches and dinners are paid from the food kitty. Sometimes we'll go out for dinner and eat at restaurants at everybody's own expense.

                          Your leader will participate in the food kitty as well. On hotel nights (if included) the food kitty doesn't operate and everybody eats at their own expense.

                          Chores such as buying and cooking the food, washing up, etc. will be shared by everyone on the trip. Teams of two people will carry out the camp duties on a rotating basis. On camping nights, we usually cook our evening meals together on our own stove, or barbecue food over the camp fire. We usually prepare salads, grill meats and cook pasta, rice and vegetables. For breakfast we usually buy milk, coffee, tea, cereals, bread, jam, butter etc. Not all personal eating preferences can be catered for, however we endeavour to provide tasty, basic meals.

                          We keep our food costs as low as possible by sharing the expenses. The kitty is based on the average cost from our past experiences and from passenger feedback about what they are prepared to pay for shared meals. Personal beverages, lunches and snacks are not included in the food kitty. If there's any cash left over it will either be redistributed to the group or put towards paying for a group activity.
                          Meals
                          No meals included
                          Transport
                          Private vehicle

                          FLEET
                          Our large fleet of vans are fully equipped with dual air-conditioning system, V8 engines and any camping or cooking equipment needed for your trip. Most have cloth-upholstered seats and carpeted interior with radio/tape or CD players. Your baggage is transported in a trailer which is towed behind the van.

                          The vans are regularly serviced in our own maintenance facility and continuously checked and serviced by a well established network of maintenance and service facilities throughout the continent. However, unforeseen maintenance problems can still occur while on the road and we appreciate the patience of our travellers as we make necessary repairs as quickly as possible.

                          WI-FI
                          Beginning 01 January 2013, all private vehicle trips through the United States, including Alaska, will feature mobile Wi-Fi hotspots. Please note that trips in Canada will NOT have Wi-Fi hotspots in your van. Whilst travelling in the van, use Wi-Fi to check-in back home and share your background and cultural interests with your fellow travellers. Some usage restrictions may apply depending on demand and use. Hotspot devices provide wireless connections for up to five devices (up to two for optimal service and speed). Many camp grounds and hotels supply Wi-Fi for additional use outside the van.

                          DRIVING TIMES
                          All driving times mentioned in our itinerary are intended as a guide only and represent an estimated driving time - not including lunch stops, fuel stops, photo stops, traffic congestion, adverse weather conditions or any last minute alterations to the itinerary for any unforeseen circumstances. Please note that there are some long driving days on this tour - we'll have some starts as early as 7am and late arrivals at our final destination, sometimes after dark). As always, your group leader will make stops for viewpoints, short walks and lunch/rest breaks to help break up the journey.

                          We recommend you are fully prepared for these long travel days by reviewing our notes and indicated drive times. Some travellers prefer to bring pillows on board for added comfort, others prefer reading material or games and puzzles. The reality is that to get from one fabulous location to another, the distances are great and we like to think at least some of the adventure is in the journey - not just the destination. You'll be on board with up to 12 other passengers plus your group leader so patience and cooperation goes a long way in making this journey a comfortable one.

                          SEAT BELT POLICY
                          Safety is our priority and therefore our travellers are asked to sign a document on Day 1 of the itinerary indicating your understanding of our seat belt policy.
                          Money matters
                          It can be difficult to exchange money while on the road so we suggest that you bring some cash in US dollars/Canadian dollars, or exchange/withdraw money at the airport when you arrive, or at least before you start the trip.

                          Your individual budget will depend on your personal plans. Think about how much you want to spend on souvenirs, shopping, entertainment, food, drinks, excursions and attractions that aren't included in your trip (eg. helicopter flights etc). Please bear in mind that North America has endless things to do and see. Not all possible optional activities are listed in our Trip Notes.

                          The cheapest and most convenient way to acquire money is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) which are plentiful throughout all cities and towns, and even at roadside stops. This allows you to draw funds from your personal account at a superior exchange rate. Bank fees for these withdrawals can be either a flat rate or a percentage of the amount withdrawn. Check with your bank for information on their international fees.

                          Don't forget your PIN and make sure you know the telephone number for cancelling your card if it's stolen. Keep this in a safe place. When using your debit card, check your receipts and keep them to compare against your statement when you get home.

                          Occasionally banks will also allow cash advances on your credit card, but it's not recommended to rely on this method only. We recommend that you carry some cash for situations when ATMs can't be accessed.

                          SPENDING MONEY
                          When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).

                          TIPPING
                          If you're happy with the service you receive, providing a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. Please note we recommend that any tips are given directly to the intended recipient by a member of your group as our group leaders are prohibited from collecting cash for tips.

                          The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:

                          Restaurants: We suggest 18% to 22% of your bill.

                          Bars: Recommended US$1 for each drink ordered to ensure you are served again.

                          Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest US$5-20 per day for local guides. Ask your leader for suggestions as to what is appropriate for a given activity.

                          Your Group Leader: You should also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. Your leader works long and hard for you. He or she may well become your friend during the trip but they do need to pay their bills. If the leader's performance meets or exceeds your expectation they will gladly accept a tip from you. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however you should plan to tip your leader US$5-7 per person per day.

                          Another charge not normally listed in North American costs is the state and federal taxes, keep this in mind when your bill comes out slightly higher than the original price listed.

                          DEPARTURE TAX
                          All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.

                          EMERGENCY FUNDS
                          Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$500, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (e.g. a natural disaster, civil unrest, strike action or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
                          Group leader
                          Your Intrepid group leader’s role involves organising the overall operation and smooth-running of the trip, managing trip logistics and camp responsibilities. They will work to make the trip as safe and enjoyable as possible for all travellers. Intrepid's North American trips are built around the co-operation and participation of all the group members under the supervision of the group leader. On our camping trips, your leader will show the group how to set up and use the camp equipment, and form work groups to take turns cooking, cleaning and shopping. Everyone is expected participate and carry their share of the workload, making camp chores easier. If the whole group participates it will be quicker, easier and more fun.

                          Your leader will provide basic information about the sights and cities you'll be visiting but please note that our leaders are not 'tour guides' in the traditional sense. They are adventure travel specialists and are there to organise your trip, arrange activities and help with questions or problems you may have while on your tour. Your leader will provide you with all the important information you need to embark on your own explorations.

                          They are also responsible for driving the van and navigating across the country. The allowable driving times for drivers is strictly controlled in North America. This ensures our drivers are well rested and are not over-tired from too many hours on the roads.

                          While your group will have a minivan for all included activities on the trip, please note that the services of the van and the driver may not be available for your use during free time, or after you have arrived for the day. If you need a special trip into town you may need to arrange transport or a taxi.

                          We endeavour to provide the services of an experienced leader however, situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.

                          It's strictly forbidden for non-qualified rangers to present any information about some National Parks in North America, therefore we adopt a system (as requested by the park rangers) where our leader will encourage travellers to visit the information centres in the National Parks for details about the site.
                          Safety
                          Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.

                          We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

                          Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

                          For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:

                          http://www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us/safety

                          PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
                          While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

                          UNFENCED CAMP SITES:
                          On some trips you will at times stay in unfenced camp sites within national parks. While this is a fantastic experience, there are a few safety rules to follow. While staying in national parks it's important that you listen to any advice given by your tour leader and the park rangers regarding responsible and safe behaviour.

                          BEARS:
                          Whilst travelling throughout North America it's not uncommon to encounter bears within campsites and national parks. Your group leader has been specifically trained for these situations and, if camping, will inform the group on how to 'bear proof' the camp in the evenings or when the site is unattended. There's absolutely no reason to be alarmed by this possibility as it is extremely rare for bears to attack humans.
                          Joining point
                          Hampton Inn Vancouver Airport
                          8811 Bridgeport Road
                          Richmond
                          Vancouver
                          British Columbia
                          V6X 1R9
                          CANADA
                          Phone: 713 557 1270
                          Joining point description
                          This Vancouver airport hotel is situated in the tourist and commercial area of Richmond, BC with business communities, tourist destinations, shopping centers, and entertainment venues steps from the hotel door.
                          This Vancouver airport hotel in Richmond offers 109 guestrooms equipped to make all guests feel comfortable and right at home.
                          Hotel amenities include complimentary shuttle service to the Vancouver airport, in-house fitness facilities, as well as a business and conference center.
                          Joining point instructions
                          Vancouver International Airport - International: The pick-up area for the International arrivals is located between the arrivals gate and parking entrance. Simply follow the “Ground Transportation” sign, and look for a yellow “Hotel Courtesy Shuttle” sign on your right-hand side.

                          Vancouver International Airport - Domestic: The pick up area for the Domestic arrivals is located on the ground floor next to the Gateway Valet & Concierge. After passing by 7-11 and the liquor store on your left, keep on going straight until you see the “Ground Transportation “ and “Hotel Courtesy Shuttle” signs.

                          Shuttle Schedule from the Airport to the Hotel: The airport shuttle picks up every 15 and 45 of the hour. Starting from 4:15 am until 12:45 am.
                          Finish point
                          Hampton Inn Vancouver Airport
                          8811 Bridgeport Road
                          Richmond
                          Vancouver
                          British Columbia
                          V6X 1R9
                          CANADA
                          Phone: 713 557 1270
                          Finish point description
                          This Vancouver airport hotel is situated in the tourist and commercial area of Richmond, BC with business communities, tourist destinations, shopping centers, and entertainment venues steps from the hotel door.
                          This Vancouver airport hotel in Richmond offers 109 guestrooms equipped to make all guests feel comfortable and right at home.
                          Hotel amenities include complimentary shuttle service to the Vancouver airport, in-house fitness facilities, as well as a business and conference center.
                          Finishing point instructions
                          The best way to get to the airport is by taxi or shuttle bus. Hotel reception will be able to help you book this.
                          Emergency contact
                          While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

                          We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please contact our operations base on 1-800-786-8735 (toll free in the USA and Canada) or +1 707 523 1800 (office hours).

                          You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.

                          POLICE AND AMBULANCE
                          In case of an emergency, local authorities can be contacted by calling 911 – this is the toll free phone number for the police, fire department and the ambulance in the USA. In case of doubt, call the operator on 0.

                          BOOKING ENQUIRIES/ISSUES
                          For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

                          CRISES AND EMERGENCIES
                          In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency please contact our local ground representative on the number below (remember to drop the +xx country code if you are calling from within the country):

                          +1 707 483 9460
                          Visas
                          Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

                          CANADA
                          Most nationalities except South Africans do not need a visa for Canada, but will need to apply online for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). See http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/eta.asp for details and to apply. There is a fee of CA$7 for this service. Travellers will need an eTA before they can board a flight to Canada. If you are crossing the border by road, then you do not need to apply for an eTA.

                          Please note, if you hold dual Canadian citizenship, then from 30 September 2016 you won't be able to apply for an eTA and will instead need to enter Canada using your Canadian passport. If you do not have a Canadian passport, you'll need to apply for one in advance of travel.

                          As always, please check your individual requirements with your local embassy/consulate or a visa service.
                          What to take
                          LUGGAGE RESTRICTIONS:
                          All luggage is carried in trailers or inside the vehicle so please don't bring more than one medium sized bag, backpack or suitcase (20kg maximum) per person, plus a sleeping bag. Your suitcase/rucksack may get some rough handling, so make sure it's a tough one. A small daypack and camera may also be carried inside the vehicle.

                          SLEEPING BAGS AND WARM CLOTHING:
                          As we offer trips throughout the year and travel in diverse climate zones, we recommend you carefully consider the weather and choose an appropriate sleeping bag and clothing. Please bear in mind that nights can be very cold even in the warmer months. We can experience temperatures as low as -5C and even snow.

                          Your own sleeping bag is required for some nights on this trip. Please bring one from home or purchase one before your trip starts - you may not have time once we're on the road. Sleeping bags can easily be bought in the US and Canada at big stores like Walmart, Kmart, Target or at sports and camping supply stores. Renting sleeping bags isn't possible on our trips. A pillow can also be useful both for sleeping at night and for extra comfort in the van.

                          WATER BOTTLE
                          Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micropur and use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day.
                          Communications
                          WIFI
                          Some campgrounds have WiFi access, as do most of our hotels, although you may occasionally need to pay extra for it.

                          CHARGING BATTERIES
                          North American electrical outlets operate at a lower voltage than much of the rest of the world. This means that your devices may take longer to charge than you are used to, or may say that they are not charging, even though they are. You may also notice that some hotels have powerboards or multiple appliances plugged into one socket. Because of the lower voltage, this is not the safety issue that it may be in other parts of the world. Some campgrounds have access to power for recharging batteries, but it may not be in an area that's safe to leave your device unattended. You can also recharge batteries on the van, although obviously this will need to be shared between everyone. You will need to bring a 12 volt/cigarette lighter adapter to plug your USB charger into.
                          Health
                          All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

                          You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.

                          PERSONAL MEDICATIONS:
                          Medical prescriptions written outside of the US and Canada aren't accepted at pharmacies. Therefore, we recommend you bring along your personal medications in the necessary quantities for your trip.

                          DEHYDRATION & SUN PROTECTION:
                          The most likely medical incidents to occur on our trips are dehydration, over exposure to the sun, and twisted ankles from walking on uneven ground. While hiking please ensure you drink enough water to remain hydrated as some hikes don't have refill stations for your water bottles. The sun (especially in desert areas in the West) can be harsh, particularly in the warmer months. Ensure you apply adequate sun protection cream and wear a hat. Travelling with sunburn can be uncomfortable.
                          Travel insurance
                          Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

                          When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.

                          If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.

                          http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php
                          A couple of rules
                          Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

                          Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.
                          Responsible Travel
                          We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller.

                          http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller

                          The Intrepid Foundation
                          Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.

                          The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$1,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:

                          http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

                          Feedback
                          After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.

                          http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback