Explore the stunning scenery of the Canadian Rockies

Canada’s Rocky Mountains provides a stunning landscape of craggy, towering rock-faces, snow-capped mountains, thick forests and iridescent lakes. Wander the streets of Vancouver, ferry through Haro Straight to Victoria and roam the colourful Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island. Hike or bike the well-worn trails of Whistler, Jasper and Banff, canoe across the turquoise calm of Lake Louise, or wrap your hands around a mug of hot chocolate while admiring the superb alpine scenery of the Rockies. Ready for a grand adventure? Jump aboard and witness the sheer beauty of this exceptional part of the world.


Start
Vancouver, Canada
Finish
Calgary, Canada
Country
Canada
Style
Comfort
Theme
Explorer
Code
SSKK
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 13

Why we love this trip

  • Discover one of the most awe-inspiring mountain ranges in the world: the great Canadian Rockies. The Icefields Parkway between Jasper and Banff is one of the most scenic drives on Earth. Sit back and enjoy the ride, without the hassle of driving

  • Explore the stunning floral displays at Victoria's Butchart Gardens. Whether it's roses of summer or tulips in spring, the gardens are lovely at any time of year

  • Climb aboard the epic PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola and be transported from Whistler to the Blackcomb Mountains, keeping an eye out for black bears in the forest below. There are some fantastic hikes at the top of both mountains

  • Calgary's ambitious, creative dining scene is rapidly developing an international reputation. Indulge in an included dinner with your guide and new travel friends at one of the city's best restaurants

  • See the turquoise waters of Lake Louise for yourself and cross off one of those must-see bucket list experiences

  • This part of the world is home to extraordinary wildlife. Keep an eye out for elk, black bears, grizzly bears, eagles, Rocky Mountain goats, and if you're lucky, beavers, wolves and moose. It isn't unusual to see these beautiful animals grazing by the side of the road

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. The drive between Whistler and Wells Gray, for example, takes around six hours.

  • You'll be spending a lot of time in a van with other travellers. Free space is limited, especially if the group is full. 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.

  • In summer, especially in July and August, be prepared for insects. This is mosquito and black fly season so it's important to bring insect repellent, as this should help prevent you from being bitten.

  • Canada is becoming increasingly popular, and this increase in visitors is putting a lot of pressure on accommodation. As a result, it can be difficult to strike a balance between price, location and quality and we sometimes have to sacrifice one for the others. There may be times when your hotel is a little bit out from the centre of town. At other times it may be a little bit more simple than what you are expecting on a Comfort trip. Your accommodation should still be clean and comfortable however, and if you are located slightly out of town, your leader will assist in shuttling you back and forth.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2017 to 31 December 2017. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2018 - 31 December 2018

Welcome to Canada! Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm today. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. We'll be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so ensure you bring these details to provide to your leader. If you're going to be late, please inform hotel reception.

If you arrive early into Vancouver, visit its historic Gastown, Chinatown or the popular 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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time for the group meeting, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
This morning drive to the ferry terminal, where you'll board a ferry to Victoria on Vancouver Island. The total journey should take around three-and-a-half hours.

Vancouver Island is the largest island off North America's west coast, and has the mildest climate in Canada. It offers a multitude of outdoor activities including hikes, whale-watching tours, bear-spotting tours and short coastal cruises. There's even the option to go salmon fishing (seasonal) and enjoy barbecues on the beach. Victoria is the capital of British Columbia. With its landscaped gardens and preserved historical buildings, it is one of the most British-influenced cities in North America, but with a recent injection of hip bars, shops, restaurants and young residents, the city is evolving into something more cosmopolitan.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today the group will explore the world famous Butchart Gardens. Wander through this wonderland of themed gardens, exotic plants, streams and ponds. Ross Fountain, the Sunken Garden, the Rose Garden and the Japanese Garden are sure to create a lasting impression. The rest of the afternoon is free for you to explore Victoria. Perhaps rent a kayak at the harbour, indulge in a spot of whale watching or check out the excellent Royal BC Museum to learn about the natural and human history of the area. In the evening, kick back with the young locals in a funky bar or restaurant in town.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Victoria - Butchart Gardens
Optional Activities
  • Royal BC Museum - CAD16
  • Victoria - Kayak rental (two hours) - CAD40
  • Victoria - Whale Watching - CAD115
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today take the three-and-a-half hour ferry back to Vancouver, before driving the short distance to Whistler. Perhaps stop in for a late lunch of traditional First Nations food at the Squamish Lil'Wat Cultural Centre. Whistler Village is a bustling hub of ski shops and award-winning restaurants, surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery. Enjoy free time to wander the streets. In the evening, you may like to sample one of the town's lively bars.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today your guide will give you an included ticket to ride the PEAK 2 PEAK gondola. As you ride the longest and highest lift in the world, enjoy unparalleled views of towering volcanic peaks and surrounding forest. When you disembark at the top, check out the nearby scenic walking trails, mountaintop restaurants and indoor interpretive displays. Your day is free to spend up the mountain or back down in the Village. Perhaps hire a bike and ride along the Valley Trail to Lost Lake, or go bear or wildflower spotting.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Whistler - PEAK2PEAK Gondola
Optional Activities
  • Whistler - Zip Trek Tour - USD119
  • Whistler - Mountain Bike Rental - CAD99
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today, drive to Wells Gray Provincial Park. Time permitting, go on a short hike through alpine forest to some waterfalls with the group. In the evening, perhaps head to Wells Gray Ranch and enjoy a steak dinner.
Accommodation
  • Cabin (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Wells Gray Provincial Park
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Drive to Jasper today. The largest of Canada's Rocky Mountain parks, Jasper is famous for its wildlife, such as elk, moose, deer, coyotes, grizzly bears and mountain lions, as well as smaller mammals and birds. Here you have the option of hiking up Whistler Mountain, mountain biking in the Valley of Five Lakes or taking a cruise on Maligne Lake. If you are looking to take it easier, you can ride the Jasper Tramway.
Accommodation
  • Cabin (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Jasper National Park
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today is a free day in Jasper. If you didn't do it yesterday, a ride on the Jasper SkyTram is highly recommended, as it provides 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. Alternatively, hire a bike and ride out to Medicine Lake or Maligne Canyon, or take a boat cruise on the beautiful Maligne Lake to Spirit Island.
Accommodation
  • Cabin (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Jasper - Jasper Tramway - CAD40
  • Jasper - Mountain Bike Hire - USD75
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today is a long day, with many scenic stops and visits along the way (in total, up to 12 hours). In the morning, travel towards Banff, stopping off at the Columbia Icefields Centre, Athabasca Falls and Sunwapta Falls. Head into Banff National Park in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. Its valleys and mountain chains were formed 75 million years ago, making it the oldest national park in Canada. The group will stop by the cliffs of the Weeping Wall and the Crowfoot Glacier on the way to the evening's accommodation.
Accommodation
  • Motel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Visit to Lake Louise
Optional Activities
  • Icefields Parkway - Athabasca Glacier tour - CAD52
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today pay a visit to Lake Louise with the group. Take a walk around the turquoise lake or check out the interior of the luxury mountain resort, Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. Later, don an old-fashioned swimsuit and soak in the hot mineral waters of the local hot springs. If there is extra time today, you may like to take part in one the many adventure activities available within the park. With its coniferous forests, alpine meadows, icefields and glaciers, the park is an outdoor enthusiast's paradise. There are opportunities for canoeing, mountain biking, hiking or riding the gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain.
Accommodation
  • Motel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Banff Upper Hotsprings
Optional Activities
  • Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum - CAD10
  • Kicking Horse White Water Raft from Banff - CAD160
  • Banff - Canoe Hire - USD50
  • Banff - Sulphur Mountain gondola - USD40
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today drive to Calgary, completing your crossing of the Rockies. Home to the famous Calgary Stampede, the city is growing at a rapid rate, largely thanks to oil and mining. While it may not be the most picturesque of cities, Calgary boasts a budding dining and nightlife scene. Enjoy free time to chill out in Prince's Island Park, head up the Calgary Tower for great views or learn a new sport at Canada Olympic Park. In the evening head for dinner at one of the city's great restaurants.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Calgary - Olympic Park Entrance - Free
  • Calgary - Calgary Tower - CAD18
  • Calgary - Studio Bell (home of the National Music Centre) - CAD18
Meals Included
  • Dinner
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

1 breakfast, 1 dinner

Transport

Ferry, Private vehicle

Accommodation

Cabin (3 nights), Hotel (6 nights), Motel (2 nights)

Included activities

  • Victoria - Butchart Gardens
  • Whistler - PEAK2PEAK Gondola
  • Wells Gray Provincial Park
  • Jasper National Park
  • Visit to Lake Louise
  • Banff Upper Hotsprings

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. A single supplement is available on this trip.

Essential trip information

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Reviews

Our Grand Canadian Rockies trips score an average of 4.67 out of 5 based on 12 reviews in the last year.

Grand Canadian Rockies, September 2017

Rod Blayden

Grand Canadian Rockies, September 2017

Trudi Gallagher