Arrive on your own in Vancouver. In the evening you'll meet your guide and go through a short group briefing where you'll meet other participants and details of the itinerary will be discussed. Overnight Vancouver.
One of the most amazing things about Vancouver is its superb location between the Coast Mountains, Fraser River, and the Pacific Ocean. Just beyond the city limits, you can very quickly enter a stunning wilderness of old growth forest - of towering Douglas Firs, huge ferns, and hanging mosses. We'll explore part of this today as we make our way up Hollyburn Mountain for an outstanding view of the city, the Strait of Georgia, and Vancouver Island. Return to Vancouver for overnight.
Walking: 9 kms. Elev. gain: +/-350m.
We'll explore the city this morning with visits to Stanley Park and Lions Gate Bridge, Chinatown, and Gastown. From Vancouver, we drive up the Fraser Valley and into the Cascade Mountains crossing Allison Pass. Overnight Manning Provincial Park.
Walking: 2-3 kms
The Skyline loop trail in Manning Park begins at Lightning Lake with a gradual ascent to the ridge. The rewards of this climb come with a spectacular view of the Cascade Mountains whose meadows are adorned with an amazing display of wildflowers. From Despair Pass we hike down to Strawberry Flats, to the trailhead, and then return to our hotel.
Walking: 19 kms. Elev. gain: +/-700 m
We head northwards towards the northern tip of the American Great Basin Desert, which extends as far south as Mexico. On the way, we cross over the Coquihalla Summit, one of the highest points in the Cascade ranges, where we will stop for a hike to the summit of Zoa Peak. This area is very well known for its rugged granite peaks and open ridgelines. After our hike, we will continue to BC's hot and dry interior, a climate perfect for growing apple, apricots, peaches, cherries, and grapes. We'll spend the night in the historic town of Merritt, BC.
Walking: 11 kms. Elev. gain: +/-635 m.
We continue our travels across the changing landscape of British Columbia towards Revelstoke. In order to really appreciate how the landscape has changed, we will stop halfway and hike along the summit of the Enderby Cliffs, giving us expansive views south into the Okanagan and north to the Monashee Mountains. In the afternoon, we continue to the quaint mountain town of Revelstoke for overnight at a comfortable lodge.
Walking: Approx 7 kms. Elev gain: +/-450 m
Mt. Revelstoke National Park is best known for its 'Meadows in the Sky Parkway' and the mountain top trails at the end of the road. The road gains 1000m in elevation from the town of Revelstoke and passes through a variety of different forest zones until it ends at treeline. From here, we can begin our mountain top hike through beautiful flower filled meadows to Eva Lake, Miller Lake, and Jade Lake Pass. We return to Revelstoke for overnight.
Walking: 16 kms. Elev gain: +/-450 m.
As we head east we are now traveling into the heart of the Selkirk Mountains, some of the most daunting and rugged mountains in Canada (part of the Columbia Mts). We follow the route to Rogers Pass, famous for the difficulties it presented in the construction of Canada's first railway. We will stop first for a very brief visit to the Trail of the Giant Cedars to see a section of inland temperate rainforest with truly 'giant' trees. Then, once we are in Glacier National Park, we will begin a rewarding hike up to Balu Pass that quickly leaves the forest and leads to views of the park's signature mountain, Mt Sir Donald, on the opposite side of the valley. We continue to our comfortable lodge just east of the park in Golden, BC for the next two nights.
Walking: 13 kms. Elev gain: +/-780m.
After the previous days' (and next day's) big elevation, today we will take it a little bit easier and enjoy a spectacular ride to the top of the mountain at Kicking Horse Resort. From the gondola we then have a few options to walk ridge lines or to hike to the summit of Terminator Peak. To the east and across the valley we will have fantastic views of the Rocky Mountains stretching to the south and north as far as the eye can see.
Walking: 4-7 km. Elev Gain: ~300 m.
We follow the Kicking Horse River into the heart of the Rocky Mountains. Our hike today is in the Yoho Valley, starting at 302m high Takakkaw Falls. We'll hike to the top of the Iceline Trail for extreme close up views of the Emerald Glacier and views across the Yoho Valley to the Wapta Icefield. After our hike, we make our way into the province of Alberta, to our home for the next two nights in Lake Louise.
Walking: 12-17 kms. Elev gain: +/-700 m.
We have a casual day today exploring some of the easy short walks along the Icefields Parkway in Banff and Jasper National Parks. The highlight walk will be to Parker Ridge with expansive views of the Saskatchewan Glacier. The parkway also has some of the trip's best opportunities for spotting wildlife such as bears, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats.
Walking: 5 kms. Elev gain: +/-250 m.
Today, we'll hop back over the provincial border some great hiking in Kootenay National Park, BC - just west of Banff National Park. Our route today is the Stanley Glacier Trail which takes us quickly into a hanging valley and through the remnants of two forest fires, one occurring in 1968 and the other more recently in 2003. It is aptly known as the 'Fire and Ice' trail because, once we are through the burnt forest, we suddenly see looming above us Stanley Glacier. The trail continues for some time and finally ends at an alpine plateau just a few hundred metres below the hanging ice. Returning to Alberta this evening to stay overnight in Canmore (2 nights).
Walking: 12 kms. Elev gain: +/-400 m.
Our final day of hiking in the Rockies brings us to the eastern edge of the Rockies for a great view of the prairies and the city of Calgary, 60 kms to the east. We'll choose either the Heart Mountain Loop or walk up to the Yamnuska Ridge. We can now truly say that we have seen all of the mountain chains in Western Canada, from the Pacific Ocean to the Prairies. After our hike, we will enjoy a farewell dinner together in Canmore.
Walking: 11 kms. Elev gain: +/-1000 m.
Our trip concludes with a transfer to Calgary, which will depart after breakfast. Should you plan on staying longer or don't want to leave in the morning, there are scheduled airporter shuttles that leave every few hours from Canmore (approx $60 per person).