Hiking in the Canadian Rockies Trip Notes

Hiking in the Canadian Rockies

Last Modified: 22 Jul 2012
Hiking in the Canadian Rockies
Trip code: SZXA
Validity: 01 Jan 2012 to 31 Dec 2012
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. Many of the scenic areas have been designated national parks and this trip visits the most famous and spectacular of these. The extensive network of trails through these parks allows quick, if sometimes strenuous, access into some superb high mountain and glacial scenery, with the added bonus of a multitude of alpine flowers as well as wildlife such as eagles, deer, moose and bear.
The operator for this trip is our experienced sister company Exodus. Your group will therefore be a mixture of Intrepid booked passengers and other international like-minded travellers.
Table of Contents
StyleImportant notesEmergency funds
ThemesGroup sizeVisas
MapYour fellow travellersIssues on your trip
ItinerarySingle travellersWhat to take
Itinerary disclaimerAccommodationHealth
Culture shock rating Meals introductionSafety
Physical ratingMealsTravel insurance
Included activitiesTransportResponsible Travel
Optional activitiesGroup leaderA couple of rules
Money ExchangeJoining point The Intrepid Foundation
Spending moneyArrival complicationsFeedback
TippingFinish point
Departure taxEmergency contact
  • The best value journeys on the planet! On a Basix trip you can expect amazing experiences, but none of the inclusions that you may not want. Which means budget (1-2 star) accommodation, plenty of free time, activities that are optional and the freedom to choose meals to suit your budget. On some trips you may be camping and required to set up your own tent. You'll also have access to a group leader to offer advice and help you uncover the region's hidden gems. On a Basix journey, the way you travel is all a part of the adventure. Depending on the destination and the itinerary, you could find yourself travelling on anything from a donkey to a bus or a private safari vehicle. These trips are ideal for first-time travellers seeking fun and independence with the support of a group leader. They're also ideal for independent travellers looking to make the most of their travel time with minimum hassle and maximum experiences.
Hiking in the Canadian Rockies
Day 1 Calgary
Welcome to North America!
The trip starts at our hotel in Calgary in the afternoon.
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 2-4 Lake Louise
We leave Calgary and drive west along the Trans-Canada Highway, from the prairies into the Rocky Mountains to Banff National Park (180 km), which will be our base for the next four nights.
We set up camp and in the late afternoon do the first short acclimatisation 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 the Banff Park. Maybe we will see our first big animals, but certainly we will come across our first Columbian ground squirrels scavenging for their supper.
The following day 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 (2118m) and the teahouse. From here the trail takes us up to Lake Agnes tea hut, on to the top of the Big Beehive (2270m) 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. Our walking distance is 20 km and the altitude gain is 740m (540m to the Big Beehive and after a descent another 200m to the end of the Plain of six Glacier Trail). After our first full day hike, we will look forward to relaxing back at camp and our evening meal.
On our next day 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 (at 3543m, the third highest peak in Banff N.P.), and down beautiful Paradise Valley along Paradise Creek. The total walking distance is 18 km with an altitude gain of 700m - a 'loop' walk with great scenery.
Optional Activities
  • Rafting on Kicking Horse River - CAD200
Camping (with basic facilities) (3 nts)
Day 5 Yoho National Park/Banff 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, and into Yoho National Park. We reach the trailhead near Takakkaw Falls (380m high!), 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. Our walking distance today is 22 km with a total elevation gain of 700m.
Camping (with basic facilities) (1 nt)
Days 6-8 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 very worthwhile, stopping 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 2½ km trail (altitude gain 250 m.) gives incredible views of Saskatchewan Glacier from above. We are almost certain to see a black bear and Rocky Mountain Bighorn sheep today. We set up camp in Jasper National Park, our base for the next three nights.
The next day'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 photo shots), and we get amazing views of Cavell and Angel Glaciers. We then follow an alpine ridge and scramble over the rocks to the summit. The walk is 12 km, with an altitude gain of 770m.
We drive the following 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, which involves a 680m elevation gain in a distance of 14km. The trail begins on an old fire road, but branches off to zig-zag 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 the tree line, 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.
Optional Activities
  • Athabasca Glacier Snowcoach tour - CAD30
  • Miette Hot Springs - CAD6
Camping (with basic facilities) (3 nts)
Days 9-10 Kananaskis
After breakfast we return to the Icefields Parkway, stopping briefly at the Columbia Icefields. We stop at the resort town of Banff. Banff is best explored on foot; visit the famous Banff Springs Hotel and Bow Falls and do some shopping. Another option in Banff is 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.
The following day 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 to Matterhorn-like horn of Mount Assiniboine (3,618m).
Camping (with basic facilities) (2 nts)
Days 11-13 Waterton Lakes National Park
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 can hike the 12km return, 450m elevation gain trail to Bertha Lake.
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 the next day in the park is from Cameron Lake, climbing a forested hillside with switchbacks to Summit Lake (1930m) and then on to Carthew Pass (2360m). 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 town of Waterton below; the walk ends in the town. The walk is 19 km. and altitude gain is 700m.
Our final walk on our last day here is to Lineham Ridge. We follow Rowe Creek upstream, crossing it a couple of times over short log bridges. We reach Rowe Meadows after an hour and start the climb towards the ridge on rust-red argillite rock. Every metre is rewarded with a better view of the surrounding barren peaks, ice-clad mountains, lakes, ridges and the forested valleys far below. Finally we crest the ridge highpoint for a wonderful 360 panorama. Look beyond the headwall of Rowe Meadow into Akamina-Kishinena Provincial Park. Gaze south to Rowe Lakes and Glacier National Park in Montana. Lineham Ridge is 17.5km, with 950m elevation gain. For those that choose, we will enjoy a group farewell evening meal at a local restaurant.
Camping (with basic facilities) (3 nts)
Day 14 Calgary
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.
Included Activities
  • Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump
      Itinerary disclaimer
      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. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
      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.
      Culture shock rating

      This is the least confronting of Intrepid's product range. English is the native language and the food, customs and access to services will be similar to home.
      Physical rating

      Be prepared for some serious physical activity. The majority of activities included on this trip will be challenging. The fitter you are, the more you'll enjoy your holiday.
      All full-day hikes will be between 6 and 8 hours. The half-day walks are 4 hours or less. The walks are at an average of 2000m with a maximum of 2600m. Details of the length of each walk and altitude gain are specified in the itinerary. Almost all of the walking is on well-marked trails. None of the walks are technically difficult, but some are on steep trails, over large stones and/or scree slopes.
      Included activities
      Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
      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 for entrance only and don't include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Optional activities aren't necessarily endorsed or recommended by Intrepid nor included in price of this trip. If you do any optional activities, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your participation is your own decision and doesn't form part of your contract with Intrepid. You may be required to sign/complete a waiver form or a receipt for some optional activities.
      Money Exchange
      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
      Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
      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 15% to 20% 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$3 per day for local guides.
      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$3-5 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.
      Important notes
      Please note that both the weather conditions and presence of wild animals can be unpredictable in the Rockies. Either of these may force the leader to change a planned hike for the day. It is important to use common sense when walking in the wilderness and to follow the advice of the guide at all times concerning wildlife and weather conditions.
      This trip is operated by our trusted local partners, Exodus.
      Age restrictions apply to this trip: minimum age 18.
      Group size
      Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
      Your fellow travellers
      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. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit:
      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 room (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.
      A single supplement is available on this trip, please refer to your booking agent for further information.
      Camping (with basic facilities) (12 nts), Hotel (1 nt)
      This is a camping trek, with the first night in hotel accommodation in Calgary. The hotel is of very good standard and located downtown. Rooms are on a twin share basis and all have private facilities. All other nights are in twin shared 4 person tents, with all communal camping equipment, including self-inflating sleeping mats, provided. You will need to bring a sleeping bag. You are expected to erect and dismantle your own tent and help out with breaking/setting up camp (we move campsites only 4 times). The forested campsites differ in facilities offered: the planned campsites have flush toilets, tap water and hot showers, the latter often for a small fee (this is common in North America).
      Note: few campsites in Canada allow advance reservations; although not normally a problem, there is no guarantee that the group will stay at all of the planned campsites; some of the alternate campsites may not have a shower on site but we will drive to the nearest shower facilities.
      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.
      13 Breakfasts, 12 Lunches, 10 Dinners
      Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
      CAD 250.00
      The food whilst camping is wholesome and North American style: breakfast usually consists of pancakes, toasts, muesli and fruits. Lunch is picnic or buffet style, with sandwiches, pitta bread, sliced meat, cheeses, fruit. For snacks there are cookies, health-bars and other nibbles, and dinners are soup, salad, barbecued meat, rice and pasta dishes, vegetables and dessert.
      All transport is by air-conditioned 15-seater passenger vans. The roads are mostly paved and in good condition. Our longest travelling day is from Jasper to Kananaskis (420 km.), a journey of about 6 hours. The other journeys are approx 3 hours. We make much shorter journeys to take us (and return from) some of the walks; these vary between 4 and 60 kms.
      Group leader
      There will be a local leader and drivers and local guides where needed.
      The trek is led by an experienced local leader/driver. Groups of 10 and more will have two guides. The group will need to assist the guide with preparing the meals, washing up and breaking/setting up of camp.
      Joining point
      Arrival complications
      We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
      If you have pre-booked an airport transfer (where available) and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the starting point hotel, following the Joining Instructions in these Trip Notes. Should this occur, please apply to your travel agent for a refund of the transfer cost on your return.
      No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.
      Finish point
      Emergency contact
      In the case of genuine crisis or emergency please call our partner EXODUS on their 24 HOUR EMERGENCY NUMBER Tel: +44 (0) 1582 644 100.
      For all other enquiries please contact our Reservations department which is open 24 hours, 6 days per week. For further contact details please use the following page:
      Emergency funds
      Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
      Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
      We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
      Australia: Not required
      Belgium: Not required
      Germany: Not required
      Ireland: Not required
      Netherlands: Not required
      New Zealand: Not required
      South Africa: Yes - in advance
      Switzerland: Not required
      United Kingdom: Not required
      Issues on your trip
      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 ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
      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.
      What to take
      What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
      Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
      You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
      Summers in the Rockies are generally warm and sunny. Average daytime temperatures are 18ºC in June and the first half of September, 22ºC in July/August. Max temperatures can often be 5 degrees higher. Night temperatures will be cool in July and August; cold in June and from early September, and can go down to near freezing point. Temperatures will vary depending on altitude. June gives long hours of daylight. The weather in the Rockies can be unpredictable, and you should be prepared for sudden thunderstorms, strong winds or even snow. Although summers are fairly dry, the odd rainy day can be expected. September can bring early snow on the peaks. Residual snow at higher elevations may linger until mid July. Walking on hard packed snow is sometimes required.
      Please ensure you pack appropriately, essential equipment and clothing include:
      - warm jacket for cold mornings and evenings (5-10ºC)
      - leather or synthetic walking boots (ideally waterproof as it can rain anytime and on June departures you will most likely be walking in snow)
      - waterproof jacket and trousers
      - walking poles (highly recommended)
      - gaiters (especially recommended for June departure)
      - warm hat
      - warm gloves
      - good sun protection lotion or cream, for skin and lips
      - sunhat
      - sunglasses
      - mosquito repellent
      - shorts
      - swimming suit
      - towel
      Please bring a 3-4 seasons sleeping bag (min temp in Jun or Sept should not go below 0ºC; usually 5-10ºC)
      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
      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 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.
      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. 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 group 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 group 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:
      Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
      Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!
      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 and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
      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 group 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.
      Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
      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:
      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.
      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$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
      After your travels, we want to hear from you! This is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next trip if your feedback is completed online within 4 weeks of finishing your trip.