Get your fill of thrilling winter activities in Canada’s incredible Rocky Mountain wilderness

Winter in the Canadian Rockies will fulfil all your snow-covered fantasies. Go on snowshoe hikes through ancient spruce forests and rugged mountains, try your hand at cross-country skiing, skate on a frozen lake in Invermere and go on unforgettable ice walks past towering frozen waterfalls (and possibly a few daredevil ice-climbers) at Grotto and Johnston Canyon. This trip takes you to must-see attractions, as well as off the beaten path in the Rockies. You’ll have the chance to travel the world-famous Icefields Parkway and hike the Athabasca Glacier, and also soak in a natural hot spring amongst stunning winter scenery in the Columbia Valley. Learn a thing or two about curling and hockey – two proudly Canadian sports – from the pros in Canmore, and dine on hearty Canadian favourites in a cosy log cabin in Lake Louise. This action-packed trip is winter in the Rockies at its best, packed with Canadiana.


Start
Canmore, Canada
Finish
Calgary, Canada
Destination
Canada
Style
Comfort
Theme
Active Adventures, Explorer
Code
SWTW
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 4, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • This action-packed itinerary is stuffed with incredible winter activities that will get your heart pumping: snowshoe, cross-country ski, skate in the great outdoors and try your hand at fat biking (bikes tailor-made for winter conditions, complete with hand warmers!).

  • Go on two unforgettable ice walks at Grotto and Johnston Canyon, past towering frozen waterfalls, staggering icy rock formations and possibly a few daredevil ice climbers.

  • Learn a thing or two about two proudly Canadian winter sports – hockey and curling. The pros will show you the ropes, then you’ll get the chance to test out your new skills in Canmore.

  • Enjoy a rare opportunity to be ferried over the snow by a pack of gorgeous husky dogs with optional dog sledding in Canmore and Lake Louise, using companies vetted for their humane and ethical treatment of working dogs.

  • Invermere on the Lake is picture-perfect any time of the year, but it’s particularly magical in the winter, when its dusted with snow and its lake (Lake Windermere) freezes over and becomes the world’s longest ice skating trail. Spend time skating in the great outdoors while soaking in the stunning mountain scenery.

  • See for yourself why the world-famous Icefields Parkway – a stretch of road that winds through soaring mountain peaks, ancient glaciers, pristine lakes, cascading waterfalls and sweeping valleys – is considered one of the most beautiful drives in the world.

  • Hike the frosty Athabasca Glacier, one of the most accessible glaciers in the world, for a surreal experience that will stay with you long after you’ve gone.

Is this trip right for you?

  • It might be stating the obvious, but winter in the Rockies is cold! You will need good gear, including boots, snow pants and a jacket. This cannot be hired so you'll need to buy or borrow it before leaving home. It can be expensive so it is best to shop around and see where you can find the best price. See the Packing section of our Essential Trip Information for a full list of suggested gear.

  • Winter weather can be unreliable. Roads in these areas are well-maintained and regularly ploughed, but in the event of unusually heavy snowfall there may still be delays and closures. The weather may also mean that some events are cancelled or scheduled activities become unsafe. We will attempt to rearrange the itinerary or schedule replacement activities if this is the case.

Itinerary

Make your own way to Canmore, a charming mountain town nestled in the Canadian Rockies. There are no airports in Canmore, though we suggest flying to Calgary as a number of companies offer frequent shuttles between the two cities (departing Calgary from either Calgary International Airport or major hotels in the downtown area). Your winter adventure officially begins at your Canmore hotel with a welcome meeting at 6pm. Following the meeting, there’s an optional group dinner at a local restaurant where you’ll have to chance to get to know your tour leader and new travel buddies. Otherwise, the evening is yours to enjoy.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
If you can't arrange transportation that will have you arrive in time for today's welcome 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). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please have these on hand.

Shuttles between Calgary and Canmore run fairly frequently throughout the day, though they can vary in price. It’s a good idea to book your transfer in advance. banffjaspercollection.com and brewster-express and banffairporter.com are two good choices.
Tick the first item off your winter activity bucket list today as you head to Kananaskis Country for a day of snowshoeing. It’s about a 1.5 hour drive to Fortress Mountain, the filming site of several Hollywood blockbusters (such as The Revenant and The Bourne Legacy), and the location of your guided treeline snowshoe adventure. Spend about 4-5 hours taking in outstanding mountain views as you trek through quintessential winter landscapes. Remember to dress accordingly and wear warm (preferably waterproof) boots, a proper winter jacket, hat and gloves. Then return to Canmore for a free evening. A warming cup of hot chocolate from one of the many cafes is a great place to start.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Fortress Mountain - Guided snowshoe hike
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning, you’ll have the opportunity to experience a different kind of winter landscape as you embark on an ice-walk through Grotto Canyon. See daredevil ice climbers scaling frozen waterfalls, ancient native pictographs and unusual icy rock formations as you explore the frozen creek bed floor – wearing special hiking crampons strapped onto your boots for grip – with a local guide. Return to Canmore for lunch (not included), then trade in your ice cleats for ice skates for a lesson at the Canmore Hockey Club. Experts will show you the ropes and explain what you need to know to be a professional hockey player. You’ll have the chance don proper hockey gear and practice your new skills on the ice.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Canmore - Grotto Canyon Guided Icewalk
  • Canmore - Learn to Be a Canadian Hockey Player
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
In the morning, head to the Canmore Curling Club for an introduction to another adventure on ice – curling. Discover a thing or two about curling rocks and sweeping techniques, then enjoy a free afternoon. There are plenty of winter activities to keep you occupied. Today is one of two opportunities you'll have on this trip to go dog sledding, cutting through the snow like an explorer of old. Intrepid's commitment to animal welfare means we have chosen companies that adhere to strict ethical guidelines and can prove the humane treatment of the working dogs. Those who like to cycle might want to hire a fat bike; outfitted with extra-wide tires (for traction on snow-covered trails), hand warmers and modified frames, fat bikes are bicycles tailored for winter conditions. There are plenty of scenic trails of varying difficulty, like the Bow River Loop or Horseshoe Loop, worth exploring. Alternatively, Canmore’s snow-covered trees, majestic mountains and occasional animal tracks provide the perfect backdrop for cross-country skiing.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Canmore - Introduction to Curling
Optional Activities
  • Canmore - Dog-sledding - CAD200
  • Canmore - Fat Biking - CAD65
  • Canmore - Cross-Country Skiing - CAD50
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After breakfast, take a short 30-minute drive to Banff, where you’ll have free time to stroll the main avenue and its artisan shops, boutiques and art galleries. You might want to use this opportunity to shop for souvenirs. Though this main drag is undeniably touristy, the ever-present sight of the mountains looming overhead more than make up for it. After lunch, continue west to Canada’s main continental divide (a natural boundary of elevated terrain that separates the drainage basins of the country). This geological phenomenon also happens to separate two provinces (Alberta and British Columbia) and two national parks (Banff and Kootenay). Explore the pristine wilderness of this area on a guided snowshoe hike through ancient forests and lakes. Then continue on to Invermere on the Lake, a pretty lakeside town in the beautiful Columbia Valley.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Columbia Valley - Guided snowshoe hike at Continental Divide
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today is a leisurely day in the Columbia Valley. Start the day skating in the great outdoors along frozen Lake Windermere. Measuring nearly 30 kilometres/18 miles long, Lake Windermere has the distinction of being the world’s long’s ice skating trail. Later on, warm up at the Radium Hot Springs. Located in Kootenay National Park, spend time soaking in mineral-rich hot springs surrounded by snow-covered forest for the ultimate in Canadian winter relaxation.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Columbia Valley - Ice skating on Windermere Lake
  • Columbia Valley - Radium Hot Springs
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After yesterday’s afternoon of rest and relaxation, head to the Selkirk Mountains for another active day. Let your leader show you around on a guided snowshoe hike at the Panorama Resort, hire a fat bike and explore the region at your own pace, strap on some skis for some cross-country skiing, or if you’re after a bit more speed, why not hire a snowmobile. There are no shortage of ways to get active and explore the winter wilderness. After your day in the mountains, head back to Invermere and find a comfy pub for some apres ski festivities.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Panorama Resort - Guided snowshoeing
Optional Activities
  • Columbia Valley - Snowmobiling - CAD125
  • Columbia Valley - Cross-country skiing - CAD40
  • Columbia Valley - Fat tire biking - CAD65
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Journey back to Banff National Park (about 2 hours), arriving just in time for an all-Canadian lunch at the Storm Mountain Lodge. Dine on meats from Alberta, cheese from Quebec and fish from B.C. in a rustic log cabin while an entirely Canadian playlist croons in the background. There’s even a fireplace and books from Canadian authors if you’d like to brush up on your literature. After lunch, visit Johnston Canyon for an afternoon ice walk. A network of steel catwalks are built into the canyon wall, allowing you to walk right along this cathedral of ice. You’ll see staggering pillars of blue ice and frozen waterfalls towering 30 metres/98 feet above your head. The sheer magnitude of the ice – both above and below you – will leave you in awe.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Banff - All Canadian Lunch at Storm Mountain Lodge
  • Banff National Park - Johnston Canyon Guided Icewalk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Today marks your last day in the glorious Canadian Rockies. You have the choice of joining your tour leader on a drive along the world-famous Icefields Parkway to see for yourself why this stretch of road connecting Lake Louise to Jasper is considered one of the most beautiful drives in the world. After travelling through soaring mountain peaks, ancient glaciers, cascading waterfalls and sweeping valleys filled with pine and larch, you’ll stop for what is bound to be a trip highlight – a hike to the toe of the Athabasca Glacier. Alternatively, you can choose to have a free day in Lake Louise for one last fix of winter activities. Ask your tour leader about where you can go for some dog sledding, skating, cross-country skiing or a sleigh ride. Regardless of what you choose, meet up with your tour leader and fellow travellers again in evening for an included farewell dinner at the Station Restaurant. Located in a heritage railway station, serving hearty Canadian favourites, it’s bound to be a memorable final meal.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Icefields Parkway - Hike to toe of Athabasca Glacier
Optional Activities
  • Lake Louise - Sleigh Ride - CAD35
  • Lake Louise - Dogsledding - CAD200
  • Lake Louise - Ice Skating - CAD20
  • Lake Louise - Cross-country skiing - CAD25
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Journey to Calgary where your Canadian winter adventure comes to an end.  Travelers can be transported to Calgary Airport or Downtown depending on their plans.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

8 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Transport

Private vehicle

Accommodation

Hotel (9 nights)

Included activities

  • Fortress Mountain - Guided snowshoe hike
  • Canmore - Grotto Canyon Guided Icewalk
  • Canmore - Learn to Be a Canadian Hockey Player
  • Canmore - Introduction to Curling
  • Columbia Valley - Guided snowshoe hike at Continental Divide
  • Columbia Valley - Ice skating on Windermere Lake
  • Columbia Valley - Radium Hot Springs
  • Panorama Resort - Guided snowshoeing
  • Banff - All Canadian Lunch at Storm Mountain Lodge
  • Banff National Park - Johnston Canyon Guided Icewalk
  • Icefields Parkway - Hike to toe of Athabasca Glacier

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. A single supplement is available on this trip.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

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