Grand Canadian Rockies
10 days with Intrepid Travel Rating:
Day 1 Vancouver
Welcome to Canada! Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. If you do arrive early, perhaps explore the happening neighbourhood of Yaletown, or head to Granville Island to visit the colourful markets full of fresh produce and handcrafts. Vancouver’s coastal setting is beautiful, bordered by an ocean harbour to the north and a river to the south. The majestic Coastal Mountains, often snow-capped, provide the eastern horizon, making it a picturesque place to spend a few days before the tour begins. After your welcome meeting, perhaps wander around downtown Vancouver, seek out a cheap dumpling joint in Chinatown or a craft beer in the Gastown neighbourhood.
Day 2 Whistler
On your way out of Vancouver today, check out Stanley Park’s carved totem poles, representing the historical crests of First Nations families and their clans. During the drive to Whistler you’ll stop at the beautiful Shannon Falls, then learn more about First Nations art, history and culture at Squamish Lil'Wat Cultural Centre. If you choose, you can refuel with a late lunch at the onsite cafe, serving a modern take on traditional First Nations food. In Whistler Village, enjoy free time to wander the bustling hub of shops and award-winning restaurants, all surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery. Later, you may like to join in on the Whistler nightlife by sampling one of the town’s lively bars.
Day 3 Whistler
Stunning Whistler is ready to be explored, up the mountain or back down in the village. Perhaps buy yourself a ticket to ride the PEAK 2 PEAK gondola to enjoy unparalleled views of towering volcanic peaks and surrounding forest on the world’s longest and highest lift. Once at the top, check out the nearby scenic walking trails, mountaintop restaurants and indoor interpretive displays. Otherwise, you could hire a bike and ride along the Valley Trail to Lost Lake, or go wildlife or wildflower spotting. If you're after something a little more cultured, perhaps hit the Audain Art Museum to see a selection of First Nations and British Columbian artwork.
Day 4 Sun Peaks
Drive through the mountains to Sun Peaks (approximately 4–5 hours). Sun Peaks township is set on one of many peaks along the mountain range and the views from the top are incredible. On arrival you may have time to explore the area by bike or on foot prior to your evening adventure, where you’ll head out by canoe to an outpost for a four-course feast consisting of salad, bannock, soup, salmon, ribs and cookies. This is a taste of how the old fur traders used to travel and what they ate along the way.
Day 5 Jasper
Head to Jasper, one of the most photographed places in Canada. Jasper is the largest of Canada's Rocky Mountain parks, famous for wildlife such as elk, moose, deer, coyotes, grizzly bears and mountain lions, as well as smaller mammals and birds. During your free time in Jasper you’ll have options to explore including hiking Whistler Mountain, mountain biking in the Valley of Five Lakes and riding the Jasper SkyTram – the highest and longest aerial tramway in Canada. Climbing to 2300 metres, the SkyTram provides spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains.
Day 6 Jasper
Today is a free day in Jasper. Join the group on a visit to Maligne Lake for some hiking, and perhaps book yourself a cruise on the lake’s shimmering blue waters past the much-photographed Spirit Island. Alternatively, a ride on the Jasper SkyTram is highly recommended if you didn’t do it yesterday, as it provides stunning views over the township and surrounding mountains. For adventure seekers, Jasper is an excellent destination to hire a mountain bike and explore the surrounding trails which weave through dense forest and pass stunning lookouts.
Day 7 Banff National Park
Buckle up for Banff. 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. Banff is considered the oldest national park in Canada, showcasing the Rockies’ valleys and mountain chains which began forming up to 75 million years ago. The group will stop by the cliffs of the Weeping Wall and the Crowfoot Glacier on the way to the evening's accommodation.
Day 8 Lake Louise / Banff National Park
Today pay a visit to Lake Louise with the group. Take a walk around the turquoise lake (season depending) 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 of 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.
Day 9 Calgary
Complete your crossing of the Rockies today on a drive to Calgary. 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 makes up for it with 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 perhaps head for dinner at one of the city's great restaurants.
Day 10 Calgary
There are no activities planned for today and you can depart the accommodation at any time, though please be sure to comply with any hotel check-out times.
All This Included
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 breathtaking trails of Whistler, Sun Peaks, 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.
Hotel (7 nights)
Lodge (2 nights)
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