Our wonderous adventures starts on Day 1 in Calgary, and from there we take a van ride straight into the Canadian Rockies, passing Banff and Lake Louise on Canada Route 1, continuing north on the famous Icefields Parkway. The Parkway is dotted with more than 100 ancient glaciers, cascading waterfalls, dramatic rock spires, and emerald lakes set in sweeping valleys of thick pine and larch forests. We’ll want to explore them all! Severl short hikes are planned to see some of the more spectacular waterfalls and lakes, and to stretch our legs on the all day drive. We stay in the center of Jasper for our first 3 nights for an extraordinary start to our tour.
On Day 2 we have an all day hike in Jasper National Park. Our favorite is on the flanks of Mt. Edith Cavell – lakes, glaciers and fabulous views.
Day 3 is a shorter hike to the famous Malign Canyon – a slot canyon that contains waterfalls, underground stream outlets, birds and plant life. It’s a glorious hike that will still leave us time to enjoy a bit of Jasper, with its parks, train station, and heritage sites.
Day 4 is another travel day as we head back down the Icefields Parkway to Lake Louise. Our hike today is along the beautiful Bow Lake, up to Bow Falls. Before checking into our hotel, we take the trip up to spectacular Lake Louise itself for some time to stroll along the lake.
On Day 5, we’ll shuttle the short distance to Moraine Lake and trek through the flowering meadows of beautiful Larch Valley, surrounded by the spectacular spires of the Ten Peaks that hover above the valley, to the awesome switchbacks leading to majestic Sentinel Pass. The views from Sentinel’s summit are incredible; the expanse of the awesome Paradise Valley unfolds before us to the north while the snowclad summits of the Ten Peaks fills the southern horizon. We’ll return to Larch Valley for a visit to nearby Eiffel Lake along a trail that perhaps offers the most spectacular views of Moraine Lake and the Valley of the Ten Peaks.
On Day 6 we leave Lake Louise behind and head west through Yoho National Park and Glacier National Park. We’ll break up the drive with two short hikes – to Sherbrooke Lake in Yoho, and to Bear Creek in Glacier. Both offer great rewards for a small effort. After the hikes we continue west into the town of Revelstoke. This small town is tucked between the Monashee and Selkirk Mountain Ranges and grew as a crossroads of rail and steamboat transportation. It abounds with natural beauty and adventure potential.
Day 7 is our well deserved rest day – a day to explore the town on the Columbia River, at the edge of the world’s only inland temperate rainforest. For those with energy to spare, there are wonderful town hikes to several waterfalls, boating opportunities on the river, or you can even book a wild rafting tour.
It is up early on Day 8 to travel the Meadows in the Sky Parkway up the side of Mt. Revelstoke. Upon reaching Balsam Lake we will leave the tourists behind (most of whom will still be in bed) and travel into the Mt. Revelstoke Wilderness for a high altitude hike towards Lakes Eva and Jade. Options are available to extend this hike to Miller Lake where the landscape of glaciers, snowy peaks and blue-green alpine lakes will spread out before us. After our return to the van, we continue east over Rogers Pass to the beautiful and secluded Heather Mountain Lodge for the night.
Day 9 is dedicated to the premier hike in Glacier National Park – the Asulkan Valley. This trail has it all – breathtaking mountain scenery, waterfalls, meadows and a spectacular view of the Asulkan Glacier. We’ll hike to the toe of the glacier along a high ridge that offers an incredible 360-degree panorama, including the dramatic Hermit Range to the south. The name “Asulkan” was first used by William Spotswood Green, who climbed in the area in 1888. It reportedly means “wild goat” in the dialect of one of the First Nations of the region, and recognizes the abundance of mountain goats he saw at the end of this valley in Asulkan Pass. After the hike we are headed back to Kootenay National Park for a stay at the historic Storm Mountain Lodge. Although the cabins are just off the Banff-Windemere Highway, the resort was built before the road and is completely off the grid and self sufficient.
Day 10 is a more moderate, but no less stunning, hike to Stanley Glacier in Kootenay National Park.
We’ll depart the lodge early morning of Day 11 to begin a 3-day backcountry adventure you won’t soon forget. We’ll van shuttle to the Vista Lake Trailhead at the summit of Vermillion Pass near the Continental Divide and descend immediately to Vista Lake. As you may have guessed, we’ll then climb to beautiful Arnica Lake, whose shores are ablaze with the abundant blooms for which the Lake is named. Our trail leads to the picturesque Twin Lakes and then climbs to the tundra at timberline astride Gibbons Pass. A rapid descent and we’re at magnificent Shadow Lake, a backcountry jewel in the heart of Banff National Park, and our home for the next two nights. **Understand this is a back country lodge, inassessable from our van and civilization. Individual log cabins add to the charm, solar power lights, propane heatining and a wash basin are provided in each cabin, the hot showers and toilets are close by but not in your cabin.
An incredible reward awaits those hardy souls willing to leave the delicious warmth of down-quilted beds at sunrise on Day 12 and hike the 1/2-mile to Shadow Lake. As the sun rises and illuminates the crown of rugged Ball Mountain, its reflection in the glassy, still waters of Shadow Lake is a photographer’s fantasy.We’ll return to the lodge for the usual hearty breakfast, pack lunches from a sumptuous spread, and then hike from the Lodge beyond Shadow Lake to beautiful Haiduk Lake, nestled at the base of Whistling Pass.
On Day 13, following another incredible Shadow Lake breakfast, we’ll hike leisurely along Redearth Creek in a long descent into the Bow River Valley. We’ll pause at Johnston Canyon and hike along the falls that tumble through this narrow chasm. After reuniting with our van, we head into the town of Banff for our final night.
We do not have a scheduled hike on Day 14. Instead we have left time to wander the streets of Banff and take in its majesty of the railway town, flanked on all sides by towering mountains. Many small walks and strolls can be found in the area, as well as many museums and shops. In the early afternoon we return you to Calgary for your departure from this wonderous Canadian adventure.