Canadian Rockies: Unforgettably Active

Trip Overview

Join AdventureWomen in August 2017 on an unforgettably active, outdoor adventure in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, with hiking, caverns, hot springs, river rafting, horseback riding, and more! Meet Eliza Hatch, Director of Guest Services at AdventureWomen and soak in a spectacular land of snow-capped mountains, turquoise lakes, glittering glaciers, and high alpine meadows  carpeted in colorful wildflowers. 

Begin your active adventure vacation in Canada with two fun-filled days exploring the backcountry of Kananaskis Country along the eastern foothills of the Canadian Rockies. Watch for resident black and brown bears, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, moose, weasel, and wapiti (elk) as you take to the trails on foot, by horseback ride, or mountain bike. Experience the magical world of underground caverns in their completely natural state, lit only by your headlamp, and learn about mountain geology and how these caves were formed. And, during a private visit to a dog-sledding base camp, get "doggone" playful with the 90 or so Alaskan Huskies and their puppies, as you learn about what goes into maintaining and exercising these healthy, happy canine athletes.

Take a memorable day trip along the Icefields Parkway, with breathtaking views all the way to the Columbia Icefields, the largest mass of ice in the Rocky Mountains. On the Athabasca Glacier, you'll strap on special gear for a thrilling, guided Ice-walk, surrounded by the breathtaking panorama of some of North America’s highest mountain peaks.

Round out your adventure with two glorious days of exploration in Banff, Canada’s first National Park, and Yoho, both part of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks UNESCO World Heritage Site. Raft the aptly named Kicking Horse River on a river rafting stretch that is just right for both first timer rafters or more seasoned paddlers. Explore the shores of glacier-fed Lake Louise and soak in the fabled hot springs. Hike the Sentinel Pass Trail to wildflower meadows and jeweled lakes that reflect the surrounding mountain majesty.

Are you up for week of magnificent scenery and spectacular activities in Canada's Kananaskis Country? Then this adventure vacation in the Canadian Rockies is perfect for you!

 

Main Attractions

  • Spend an unforgettably active week in the heart of the Canadian Rocky Mountains!
  • Explore the spectacular scenery in Canada's enchanting Kananaskis Country, and take to the trails with hikes and optional bicycle rides.
  • Experience underground caves, visit a dog sledding base camp, and ride horseback on a western mountain trail with panoramic views.
  • Drive the world-famous Icefields Parkway to the Athabasca Glacier, and take a thrilling guided ice-walk on the glacier.
  • Whitewater raft, hike and explore in Canada's first National Park, Banff, and Yoho, both part of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE.
  • Stay in comfortable accommodations in beautiful Canadian settings.

What You'll See and Do

  • Bicycling
  • Cave Tour
  • Glacier Exploration
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hot Springs
  • National Parks
  • Photography
  • Whitewater Rafting
  • Wildlife Viewing

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Canadian Rockies: Unforgettably Active

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Sunday, August 6, 2017 - Arrive in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and Transfer to Canmore, Kananaskis Country
At 3:00pm, meet at the Calgary International Airport for the group transfer to the beautiful Kananaskis Valley and the Coast Canmore Hotel, your accommodations for the next two nights.

After settling in to your rooms, you'll enjoy a delicious Welcome Dinner, then introductions and orientation to hear from our guides about the exciting upcoming adventures for the week.
Dinner

2 Overnights at the Coast Canmore Hotel
511 Bow Valley Trail, Canmore AB, T1W 1N7
Ph: 403.678.3625
Fax: 403.678.3765
https://www.coasthotels.com/hotels/ab/canmore/coast-canmore-hotel-and-conference-centre/

The Coast Canmore hotel is set in one of the most beautiful locations in all of Alberta. The mountains are always in sight and gorgeous and serene lakes and reservoirs are never far away. With comfortable and spacious rooms, the hotel has all the amenities to make our stay wonderful, from the pool, hot tub, and fitness center to the restaurant, lounge, and free WIFI. The only thing better than the rooms, the views, and the amenities is the friendly and attentive staff

Day 2

Monday, August 7 - Choose Your Adventure: Western Horseback Ride or Bike the Rocky Mountain Legacy Trail
Rise and shine to the stunning peaks of the Canadian Rockies and a pristine wilderness begging to be explored. Covering nearly 2,500 acres, sprawling Kananaskis Country encompasses 39 Provincial Recreation Areas, six Provincial Parks, and hundreds of miles of trails used year-round. During all of your adventures, keep your eyes —and ears—open for the resident wildlife that lives in these incredibly diverse habitats, from wetlands and pine woods to flowering, sky-high alpine meadows. You are sure to see many of the local species: black and brown bear, big horn sheep, elk, mountain goat, moose, coyote and many more!

Today you can choose your activity. A classic horseback trail ride from the legendary Boundary Ranch is the perfect way to discover the adventure and serenity of a Canadian tradition on a guided horseback trip. Pristine views, flowered alpine meadows, and abundant wildlife are just a few of the scenic wonders you’ll experience. Ride the ancient trails of the Nakoda people, through pine scented montane forests with beautiful mountain views. Abundant wildflowers and diverse wildlife call these mountains home, so don’t forget your camera!

Or, ride a mountain bike on an easy 25K gorgeous loop trail. Completed in celebration of the 125th anniversary of Banff National Park, the Rocky Mountain Legacy Trail is a paved bike trail connecting the mountain towns of Canmore and Banff. This ribbon of adventure follows the scenic Bow River Valley, with stunning mountain views of the Three Sisters peaks, Mount Rundle and the sparkling Vermilion Lakes.

After your morning activities, get together this afternoon for a magical hike to a beautiful waterfall rimmed with cliffs and ferns. Head back into Kananaskis Village to explore or take a relaxing soak in an indoor or outdoor hot tub.
Breakfast, Lunch on the Trail, Dinner

Overnight Coast Canmore Hotel

Day 3

Tuesday, August 8 - Visit a Dog Sledding Base Camp and a Explore an Underground Cave
Set out this morning for a close encounter of the canine kind... huskies, that is! Visit a local dog sledding base camp, where these work-loving dogs are raised and cared for. During these summer months, meet the trainers and scope out the camp, as you learn about the incredible operation of the kennels and what it takes to raise and train sled dogs. Then, take a hike around the local nature trails to hear the history of dog sledding in the area. The best part, though, is getting to play with some of the 90-or-so dogs and puppies (yes, puppies!) that live in this wonderful camp!

Afterwards, take a spelunking expedition to Rat’s Nest Caves to explore an amazing network of underground caverns. With no lights, no handrails, and no walkways here, you’ll get to experience it like the explorers who first discovered it—by lantern light! Thousands of years in the making, a spectacular subterranean world is waiting for your discovery. Your expert guide will introduce us to the fascinating world of caves as we explore the ancient cave formations. You'll learn about local mountain geology, how the caves were formed, examine fossils up close, and learn the story of prehistoric bones found in the first chamber. Your explorations will take us through ‘the Box’, then on to the Five Way Chamber, the Grand Gallery and finally the Grotto – a chamber full of stalactites and stalagmites with a crystal clear pool at the bottom of the cave.

Your day ends at a cozy chalet, where you can relax in the sauna, or take a short hike to a nearby waterfall.
Breakfast, Trail Lunch at the Cave, Dinner

2 Overnights at Baker Creek Mountain Resort
Baker Creek Chalets
P.O. Box 66, Lake Louise AB T0L 1E0
Ph: 403.522.3761
Fax: 403.522.2270
http://www.bakercreek.com/

With the cozy charm of a mountain log home and the spectacular setting of Banff National Park, the Baker Creek Mountain Resort is a delightful base for exploration. The individual chalets, furnished with hand-made wooden chairs and tables, each feature a fireplace/wood-burning stove and front porch—perfect for watching the local wildlife amble by. The casual Bistro offers up delicious meals for hearty appetites in a pioneer-times atmosphere. Baker Creek is the winner of the “Banff Heritage Tourism Award” for its authentic mountain lodging experience.

Day 4

Wednesday, August 9 - The Icefields Parkway and an Ice-walk on the Athabasca Glacier
Opened in 1940 and considered one of the world’s most spectacular road trips, the Icefields Parkway links Banff and Jasper National Parks with 144 miles of ooh and ahh inspiring vistas. Every bend in the road reveals one magnificent sight after another, from turquoise blue lakes rimmed in pines to giant glaciers hanging from the mountain- sides and some of the highest mountain peaks in North America. Keep a lookout for big horn sheep clambering around the cliffsides, a stately moose taking a drink from a reflection lake, or a family of bears enjoying the roadside bounty of local berry bushes— stop for pictures along the way!

Travel to the dazzling Columbia Icefields, which drapes across the North American Continental Divide and covers 125 square miles. An exciting ice-walking adventure with an expert guide on the Athabasca Glacier offers the chance to peer into mini ice canyons and crevasses while learning the secrets of eons-old glacial formation. Welcome to a world where snow and ice, rock and sky, dominate the land. The Columbia Icefield is the largest mass of ice in the Rocky Mountains – stretching more than 25 kilometers across the Continental Divide. From its melting snows and many glaciers, waters flow across North America to the Atlantic, the Arctic, and the Pacific oceans. Your Ice-walk adventure is on the Athabasca Glacier, a 3.5 mile tongue of ice that flows from the icefield, giving you access to this stark alpine world. It is a world few people ever see, let alone experience firsthand.

On the drive back, take in the awesome views of glacier-formed Peyto Lake and the reflections of mountains in beautiful Bow Lake.
Breakfast, Trail Lunch at the Glacier, Dinner

Overnight Baker Creek Mountain Resort

Day 5

Thursday, August 10 - Yoho & Banff National Parks and Whitewater Rafting the Kicking Horse River
Today’s expedition begins with a ride into beautiful Yoho National Park, whose name is the Cree expression for awe and wonder. The park spreads out along the western slopes of the Canadian Rockies, encompassing 507 square miles of forests, waterfalls, valley and foothill trails, and rushing rivers. Within its soaring rock cliffs lie remarkable feats of engineering—spiral tunnels—completed in 1909 for the Canadian Pacific Railroad.

Head for Kicking Horse River for whitewater rafting! The Kicking Horse River is renowned as the best of Canadian Rockies whitewater rafting and the Middle Canyon offers an exceptional stretch of whitewater that is just right for first time adventurers and more seasoned paddlers too. Once everyone is fitted with government approved life jacket, helmet, wetsuit, booties, gloves, and spray jacket (all CLEAN and DRY!) your guide will go over safety procedures and paddling techniques you will use on the river. There are over 14 sets of named rapids – such as, ‘Roller Coaster’, ‘Hopi Hole’, ‘Goat’, ‘Twin Peaks’, ‘Portage’ and ‘Shotgun’ that are sure to leave you with big smiles. You will not soon forget this excellent river adventure. Go AdventureWomen!

After a picnic lunch, explore the shores of Yoho’s Emerald Lake, and follow a wooded trail to spectacular Takakkaw Falls that tumble nearly 1,200 feet down a vertical rock face.

On the way to Banff, stop at Lake Louise, whose legendary milky blue color is created by finely sifted glacial rock. Then enjoy time to explore the picturesque and historic resort town of Banff, your home base for the next two nights. If you wish, take an optional soak in the world-famous hot springs pools (at your own expense).

Dinner is on your own tonight in one of Banff's many restaurants.
Breakfast, Picnic Lunch at Raft Basecamp

2 Overnights at the Delta Banff Royal Canadian Lodge
459 Banff Avenue Banff Alberta T1L 1B4 Canada
Ph: 403.762.3307
Fax: 403.762.4094
http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/ybacl-delta-banff-royal-canadian-lodge/

Nestled in the center of the resort town of Banff, the Delta Banff is the perfect base of exploration for the region’s fabled mountains, lakes, and trails. The airy guest rooms are stylishly furnished with sanctuary beds and table and chairs; amenities include a mini fridge, flat-screen TV, coffee/tea-making facilities, bathrobes, and an ensuite bathroom with tub. The Evergreen Restaurant serves inviting meals made from locally sourced ingredients, and The Grotto Spa offers relaxing massages and wraps.

Day 6

Friday, August 11 - Hiking in Banff National Park
In 1883, while investigating Alberta’s terrain on the eastern slopes of the Rockies for the Canadian Pacific Railway, three railroad workers discovered a large cave sheltering a series of hot springs. Two years later Canada’s National Park System was born with Banff leading the way. Discover the diverse beauty of this iconic 2,564 square mile wonderland today as we set out for an unforgettable hiking adventure.

Choose from two hiking options: the 6 mile, 1,700 foot elevation gain Larch Valley hike, or the Sentinel Pass hike, which traverses 7 miles with a 2,375 foot elevation gain. Both hikes start in the dreamy Valley of the Ten Peaks at Moraine Lake and lead through a peaceful larch forest and up to a high alpine meadow where carpets of alpine wildflowers fill the meadows. Continue to the sparkling waters of Minnestimma Lakes, which reflect the sapphire skies and towering peaks of the ten attendant mountains, an awe-inspiring panorama. After a picnic lunch, those who are up for it, can continue to the summit of majestic Sentinel Pass, where 360-degree panoramas make for impressive “we were here” posts! The views are spectacular. Paradise Valley and the breathtaking peaks of the Continental Divide unfold to the north, while the glaciated spires of the Ten Peaks fill the horizon to the south. This is one of those mountain destinations that almost defies description.

Returning to the lodge, gather for a delicious Farewell Dinner to celebrate the end of this fantastic and fun week in the Canadian Rockies!
Breakfast, Trail Lunch, Dinner

Overnight Delta Banff Royal Canadian Lodge

Day 7

Saturday, August 12 - Depart Calgary
All adventures must come to an end, but it’s just the beginning of great memories! Transfer to Calgary today for flights home.
Breakfast

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Canadian Rockies: Unforgettably Active

Traveling to Canadian Rockies


Passports

A passport is required for travel into Canada. Your US passport must be valid for a minimum of 6 months from the date you plan to depart Canada.

If you do not have a passport, APPLY NOW! Please do not wait until the last minute. You should always carry 2 extra passport photographs with you, in case of emergency (if your passport/visa is lost or stolen), and always carry 2 sets of photocopies of your airline tickets and the first two pages of your passport.

Health Requirements and Health Insurance

You MUST have your own health insurance, and have no physical problems or conditions that would be adversely affected by hiking, horseback riding, rafting and other physical activities that are included on this trip. You must be in very good physical condition to participate in this trip.

Traveling to Calgary: Arrival and Departure

On August 6, 2017, we will meet at 3:00pm at the Calgary International Airport (YYC) for our group transfer to Canmore and the hotel.

For our departure on August 12, we will leave the Delta Banff Hotel after breakfast at 8:30am, and arrive at  Calgary International Airport by 10:30am.

Making Travel Arrangements to Calgary, Canada

We are happy to help you make your flight and travel arrangements. Please contact us for more information.

NOTE: The recent trend in travel is for travelers to finalize their plans much closer to departure time than was customary in the past. While we try to be as flexible as possible booking last minute registrants, we must often relinquish hotel space and air reservations up to 6 – 12 weeks prior to departure!

Please keep this in mind when making your travel plans.

Final Payment

Final payment is due to AdventureWomen, LLC in a cash form (check, money order or wire transfer) on or before May 8, 2017.

Money and Currency Exchange

The currency of Canada is the Canadian Dollar. As of July 2016 the exchange rate is 1 USD = 1.305 Canadian Dollars (or, 1 Canadian Dollar = 0.766 US Dollars).

Many Canadian merchants will take US dollars -- the rate is set by the individual merchant and will vary from very good to very poor. In all cases you'll get any change in Canadian currency.

But aside from the deal you get, spending US cash at stores and restaurants in Canada can be perceived as disrespectful by some people. Unlike developing countries where US dollars are sometimes preferred to local currency, in Canada getting and receiving US cash is a burden for merchants: they have to track US currency separately and ultimately pay the costs of exchanging it. It is encouraged that, if paying in cash, to use only Canadian dollars as a gesture of respect when visiting a foreign country with its own currency.

There are several different ways to convert your money. The simple rule on exchanging money is that it's never free, but some ways are better than others.

You should plan to use your credit card as much as possible, since it will give you access to an extremely good exchange rate. Similarly, the best way to get Canadian cash is to withdraw directly from your US account using your bank card in an ATM at any major Canadian bank.

Getting Canadian cash before you leave home sounds like a good idea, but most US banks offer poor exchange rates to their customers with a 5%-8% markup being typical.

Electric Current and Adapters

Canada uses the North American non-grounded outlet. The # 700 style accepts two prong plugs. This adapter is also known as type A. It also uses the North American grounded outlet. The # 7G style accepts two or three prong plugs. This adapter is also known as type B.

 Climate

August in the Canadian Rockies is great weather, generally dry, warm and sunny. The average temperatures are normally in the 70's F in the daytime, and 40's F at night. Temperatures do vary, however, depending on altitude, and you should always be prepared for strong winds, rain, or even snow.

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Canadian Rockies: Unforgettably Active

What's Included:

  • All activities and entrance fees for sites included in the itinerary
  • Accommodations at comfortable and distinctive western hotels
  • Meals as per itinerary (6 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners)
  • Services of a professional naturalist guide throughout the trip
  • One AdventureWomen Associate
  • Land transportation and airport transfers
  • All excursions as listed in the itinerary
  • Bottled water

What's Not Included:

  • Passports fees
  • Laundry, phone/fax/email, and other items of a personal nature
  • Additional activities not listed on this itinerary
  • Departure taxes
  • Soda, beer, wine and spirits with meals (you will need to pay the bar tab)
  • Gratuities for guide and driver. Suggested gratuities are:

- $15/person/day for your guide
- $8-$10/person/day for your driver

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Canadian Rockies: Unforgettably Active

What to Bring:

Since weather is always unpredictable in a mountain environment, you must dress accordingly, and bring the proper clothing and outdoor gear to be safe and comfortable. Most days you will be comfortable in a T-shirt and shorts. However, even in August at high elevations, you must be prepared for rain storms that just might turn into snow! Warm clothes are essential, even if it is 80 degrees when you begin your day.

  • Medium-weight hiking boots. It is best not to wear shoes, even if they are walking shoes, because ANKLE support is absolutely essential in mountain terrain. Please do not buy heavy leather boots as there are numerous medium-weight quality hiking boots on the market. Asolo, Garmont, Merrell, Vasque, and other makes are widely available and designed especially for women. Since they are waterproof, Gore-tex boots, although a bit more expensive, are our first choice. Other boots should be waterproofed with one of the excellent waterproofing products available such as Nikwax. Make sure your boots fit properly and are well broken-in. Wear them around town to thoroughly break them in. Please do not come on this trip with a pair of boots you have never worn before!
  • Rain gear. Weather in the mountains can be extremely variable, and you should be well prepared for whatever conditions occur. Therefore, it is very important that you bring a good rain suit (jacket and pants). A rain jacket or poncho does not keep your legs and feet dry, and it is important that your entire body stays dry in a downpour. Your rain jacket can also act as a lightweight wind jacket.
  • One wool or fleece sweater, one wool cap, and gloves. The wool sweater or fleece jacket can be layered under your rain parka to act as a warmer jacket.
  • An extra pair of comfortable shoes such as tennis shoes or sport sandals to wear in the evenings...ahhh!
  • Water sandals for whitewater rafting.
  • Day pack. Your pack must be large and comfortable enough to carry a packed lunch, cameras, rain gear, drinks and 2 water bottles on all hikes. Please note that fanny packs are not suitable.
  • Two water bottles that are suitable for both warm and cold beverages. We recommend plastic or metal options such as Nalgene, Klean Kanteen, or Hydro Flask bottles. Note: Drinking large quantities of water ensures that your body acclimatizes to high altitudes more easily.
  • Long pants and hiking shorts, several pairs.
  • Long-sleeved shirts and T-shirts, underwear, sleepwear.
  • Bathing suit for a dip in hot springs or being in the sauna.
  • It is best to wear 2 pairs of socks inside your hiking boots, a pair of wool socks, and a very thin pair of liner socks underneath the wool socks. We like Thorlo or Smart Wool hiking socks and polypropylene liner socks which wick away moisture to reduce blistering. Bring plenty of socks!
  • Sun hat and sunglasses, as sun protection is crucial at high elevations.
  • Bring 2 or 3 (100% cotton) for instant sweat bands and other uses too numerous to mention, some of which you have never even dreamed! Besides, it’s an AdventureWomen tradition.
  • Sunscreen, lip balm with SPF, insect repellent, lotion, all with no fragrance.
  • Toiletries, including toilet paper. However, remember that absolutely all used paper must be carried out of the backcountry in small Ziploc bags.
  • 6 quart-size Ziploc bags to carry in your day pack, for waste paper and left over food.
  • Lightweight flashlight.
  • Small travel alarm clock.
  • Swiss Army knife or equivalent with scissors (be sure to pack this in your checked luggage, not your carry-on). To be used for picnic lunches, cutting moleskin or duct tape for your feet, etc..
  • Hand sanitizer.
  • We recommend Mack's Pillow Soft White Moldable Silicone Snore Proof Earplugs, which you can buy at most drug stores, or at www.earplugstore.com. Good to 22 decibels!
  • Camera, plenty of extra memory cards and camera batteries, and battery charger. You might also want to bring a disposable panoramic camera for the raft trip.
  • Extra clothes for evenings. Nice, casual clothes for relaxed dinners out.
  • Regarding foot care: To prevent blisters, many hikers use moleskin. However, we recommend bringing a small roll of ordinary duct tape as an alternative. Applied when you feel a “hot spot”, before a blister forms, it reduces friction much better than moleskin. If you develop a blister, Spenco “2nd Skin” is a very comforting necessity. Your foot care kit should also include: cloth Band Aids (not plastic), individually wrapped alcohol pads, a small tube of Neosporin or other antibiotic cream, and foot powder.
  • Optional: lightweight long underwear or tights, lightweight binoculars, journal, a relaxing book, and field guides to Canadian Rockies western wildflowers, mammals, and birds.

First Aid Kit

  • Prescription drugs (with the labels on.)
  • Systemic antibiotic (prescription).
  • Acidophilus enzyme (available in capsules in health-food stores). This often helps your digestive system get in shape for "new" flora.
  • Immodium, Lomotil, or similar anti-diarrhea medicine.
  • Pepto-Bismol tablets and/or liquid (in leak-proof bottle.)
  • Laxative tablets.
  • Visine or similar eye drops.
  • Tweezers
  • Ace bandage.
  • Benadryl cream for itchy bites.
  • Aspirin/ibuprofen, etc.
  • Cold-symptom relief tablets, antihistamine, cough drops.
  • Insect repellent with Deet.

Last Minute Reminders

  • Make photocopies of your airline tickets and the first two pages of your passport, and put them in different locations (suitcase, carry-on bag, etc.).
  • Bring 2-3 extra passport size photos to use in emergencies.
  • Your valuables should be insured for the duration of the trip, but better yet, leave them at home.
  • Remove extra credit cards, driver’s license, and personal items from wallet or purse.
  • Make sure passport and airline tickets are valid and in the correct name.
  • Check with airline to reconfirm reservations and departure time (most airlines want to hear directly from the client for confirmations).
  • Please leave all valuable jewelry at home!!!

Some Extra Items to Add to your "What to Pack" List 

We think these items help make your long airline flights much more comfortable and even more bearable:

  • Neck pillow - Inflatable neck pillow for blissful support and deep sleep. For packing, it folds into itself. Self-sealing valve means nothing to close. Soft microfleece cover removes for washing.
  • Sleep mask /Comfort eye shade - Ultra lightweight and comfortable, the Comfort Eye Shade screens out light and distractions for a cozier flight. Ultra-soft micro fleece for comfort. Adjustable elastic strap for a perfect fit. Made of Molded Polyester Micro Fleece.
  • Travel compression socks - Reduce ankle and leg swelling and reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis. These doctor-designed socks stimulate circulation through gradual compression that stops swelling and guards against (DVT).
  • Noise canceling headphones - Block out unwanted sounds of children crying and airplane engine drone, and/or enjoy great audio sound. Reduce distortion and increase perceived loudness so you can enjoy sound at a lower volume. Get the around the ear design, which is very comfortable.

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.