National Parks of the Canadian Rockies Westbound

Map

Route map for National Parks of the Canadian Rockies Westbound (NCRU)

Day 1 Calgary

Arrive to our joining hotel at any time. Welcome meeting in the evening.

Day 2 Banff National Park (1L)

Begin your adventure with a short drive to Banff NP. Full day to discover the town of Banff and the surrounding area. Johnston Canyon is certainly an area that shows the power of nature and time - rushing water carves a path through the limestone canyon and potholes form over the years from plunging waterfalls. Johnston Canyon is one of the most popular hikes in Banff National Park.

On the way back to Banff, we take our time to spot some wildlife. Wildlife viewing is one of the most popular activities for visitors to Banff National Park. With a little luck you will see elk, deer, bighorn sheep, bears, coyotes, marmots, ground squirrels, ravens. They are surprisingly accessible, both within the townsite of Banff, and throughout the surrounding park. Balancing wildlife conservation and the protection of habitat against the natural curiosity of visitors who want to get close to the wildlife is a real challenge. Some of the best places to observe wildlife and birds within their native habitat, safely and unobtrusively, include: Vermilion Lakes Drive, Minnewanka Loop, Norquay Road, Bow Valley Parkway, Icefield Parkway and of course hiking anywhere in Banff National Park! In the afternoon enjoy a ride with the gondola to the famous Sulphur Mountain and take in the spectacular view from the top of the world! Afterwards feel free to explore the town on your own.

Approximate Distance: 130 km
Estimated Travel Time: 6 hrs (including Tunnel Mountain hike and gondola ride)

Day 3 Lake Louise (1B,1L,1D)

After spending the morning in Banff we continue or journey to Lake Louise, Canada's "Diamond in the Wilderness," and the "Hiking Capital of Canada". Hike to the Agnes lake Tea House. This is, without a doubt, one of the most iconic hikes in the Rockies. For its relatively short distance the terrain and views seen from this hike are amazing. Follow the shore line of Lake Louise to the trail head below the cliffs at the end of the Lake (look up for climbers). Views of Victoria Glacier, moraine fields and the lake itself are stunning. The teahouse is an extra bonus, built in 1924 this lovely rustic log building serves a great cup of tea and finger food. Continue hiking the six Glacier Trail. In the evening head to Lake Louise.

Approximate Distance: 90 km
Estimated Travel Time: 8 hrs (including stops and hike to Agnes Lake tea house)

Day 4 Yoho National Park/Lake Louise (1B,1L,1D)

Today we continue to Yoho National Park. Towering walls of rock, spectacular waterfalls and soaring peaks earn the park its name; Yoho is a Cree expression of awe and wonder. Here in the shadow of the Great Divide are the secrets of ancient ocean life, the power of ice and water, and the stories of plants and animals that continue to evolve today. Visit the famous Emerald Lake, popular for sightseeing, canoeing and hiking. Then be in awe as you witness Takakkaw Falls, one of the highest waterfalls in Canada with a free-fall of 254 meters! In the afternoon take time for optional activities. Raft on one of the most famous rivers in Canada. The Kicking Horse River is the ultimate whitewater rafting destination in the Rocky Mountains guaranteed to provide the thrill of a lifetime. Not your thing? Visit the Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, home to the world’s largest enclosed and protected grizzly bear habitat. Visitors are given the opportunity, as part of a one-of-a-kind interpretive tour, to view a grizzly bear interacting much as they do in the wild; foraging, hunting, playing, swimming, snoozing and exploring. In the evening return back to camp at Lake Louise.

Approximate Distance: 100 km
Estimated Travel Time: 8 hrs (including stops and hiking Emerald Lake and Takkakaw Falls)

Day 5 Icefield Parkway/Jasper National Park (1B,1L,1D)

To travel the icefield parkway is to experience one of Canada's national treasure and most rewarding destinations. Stretching 230 km between Lake Louise and the town of Jasper, the parkway offers easy access to one of the most spectacular mountain landscape on Earth! This is a world-class journey through the hearts of the Canadian Rockies, a vast wilderness of magnificent peaks, pristine mountain lakes, and broad sweeping valleys. Visit breathtaking Peyto Lake, a highlight of the Canadian Rockies! Stop at Columbia Icefield for an unforgettable experience! Sign up for the Ice Age adventure and take the snow coach up the Icefield. Continue your journey to Jasper. In the evening set up your camp and enjoy a nice campfire!

Approximate Distance to Columbia Icefield: 165 km ; Approximate Distance Columbia Icefield to Jasper: 110 km
Estimated Travel Time to Jasper: 10 hrs (including stops and a full day on Icefield Parkway)

Day 6 Jasper National Park (1B,1L,1D)

Today visit Maligne Canyon, one of Jasper's most spectacular landmarks. Eroded by the fast-flowing Maligne River for thousands of years, it is only one meter (three feet) across in some places, but over 60 meters (200 feet) deep. Take a self-guided interpretive trail with several bridges, which follows the canyon as it courses towards the Athabasca River. Enjoy a picnic lunch at the canyon and with a little luck Maligne Canyon can tun into a Wildlife Wonderland! In the afternoon, opt to hike in the Rocky Mountains.

Day 7 Wells Gray Provincial Park (1B,1L,1D)

On our way to Wells Gray Provincial Park we stop at Mount Robson Provincial Park, the second oldest park in British Columbia's park system, is truly one of the world's crown jewels. The mountain for which the park is named guards the park's western entrance. At 3,954 meters, Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, towers over the lesser surrounding peaks; winter or summer, this is one of the finest views in the Rocky Mountains. We take a visit to Overland Falls, then our adventure continues to Wells Gray Provincial Park.

Wells Gray Country is a spectacular, pure wilderness area. Known as a world-class destination for wild Flowers, kayaking, fly-fishing, hiking, camping and horseback riding, it is a must stop on any tour of British Columbia. Within Wells Gray Park, experience the stunning vistas of high mountains, deep canyons, volcanic cones, brooding old-growth forests and raging white-water rivers.

Take in the landscapes, forests, wildlife and human heritage of Wells Gray, often known as ‘The Waterfall Park’. In the afternoon hike Trophy Mountain, check out Spahats Creek Falls. The trail passes several small streams before breaking out into the open expanses of the sub-alpine meadow. In July and August, the endless saves of vibrant-colored wildflowers make this one of them most popular hikes in the area. End the day with the famous BBQ at the Wells Gray Guest Ranch campsite, our home for the next 2 nights.

Approximate Distance: 380 km
Estimated Travel Time: 10 hrs (including stops)

Day 8 Wells Gray Provincial Park (1B,1L,1D)

Enjoy the sounds, sights and serenity of countless impressive cascades, torrents and rapids; including world-famous Helmcken Falls, a waterfall three times the height of Niagara as you take a full day canoeing in the Canadian Wilderness! View more spectacular waterfalls such as Dawson Falls on your way back to the Ranch. Enjoy a nice dinner around the campfire before you crawl in your sleeping back, dreaming of the next fascinating destination!

Day 9 Green Lake Provincial Park/Whistler (1B,1L,1D)

Today you can relax at one of the best lakes in Caribou Country. Green Lake in Green Lake Provincial Park is wide and shallow, fed by two small creeks, lake-bottom springs, and upland runoff. Since its outlet only functions in high-water periods, there's lots of time for algae and other micro-organisms to form: hence the lake's greenish hue and its name. The area around Green Lake is fairly abundant with moose and deer, and black bear, coyote, squirrels and marmots are also present. Enjoy swimming in the lake before lunch. In the afternoon we continue our drive to Whistler for two nights!

Approximate Distance to Green Lake PP: 165 km ; Approximate Distance Green Lake PP to Whistler: 285 km
Estimated Travel Time to Whistler: 10 hrs (including a lunch stop at Green Lake PP)

Day 10 Whistler (1B,1L)

In the morning hike one of the most beautiful trails in the Whistler area. This single-track trail leads through fields crowded with blueberry bushes and graced by a grove of old-growth cedars near the summit of Cougar Mountain. Along the way, spot lichen, skunk cabbage, devil's club and towering 900-year-old Douglas-fir trees. In the afternoon explore fascinating Whistler on your own.

Day 11 Tofino (1B,1D)

In the morning we drive a short distance to Vancouver. Taking a ferry to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island is an exciting part of the adventure of getting here. B.C. Ferries offers an outstanding service that travels through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world! Then enjoy a lunch at the famous Old Country Market in Coombs! For over thirty years, the Old Country Market in Coombs has been home to a famous group of grass grazing animals - the Goats on the Roof! Come by this beloved Vancouver Island attraction near Parksville, British Columbia to grab a meal, explore the market, and watch the Goats on the Roof! Continue a short drive to MacMillan Provincial Park. Cathedral Grove, located in the Provincial Park, is one of the most accessible stands of giant Douglas fir trees on Vancouver Island. Here you can stroll through a network of trails under the shadow of towering ancient Douglas-fir trees, majestic pillars untouched by the modern world – some more than 800 years old. In the afternoon continue to drive to Tofino: just in time for sunset!

Approximate Distance to MacMillan PP: 200 km ; Approximate Distance MacMillan PP to Tofino: 150 km
Estimated Travel Time to Tofino: 10 hrs (including the ferry to Nanaimo and stops)

Day 12 Tofino (1B,1L,1D)

Half day Zodiac tour. Your excursions take you through the pristine waters of Clayoquot Sound, revealing sensational scenery, and wildlife such as Gray whales, sea lions, seals, porpoise and Killer whales. The area is also known for its variety of sea birds, including tufted puffins, and the numbers of resident bald eagles. Take the afternoon to explore Pacific Rim National Park.

Day 13 Victoria (1B,1L)

Travel to the most famous city on the west coast of Canada. Victoria is the Capital City of British Columbia and has a well-earned reputation for its myriad of beautiful flower gardens, lush green shrubbery and wide variety of fantastic trees of every kind, size and shape. Canada’s ‘Garden City’ is surrounded by sparkling ocean and splendid mountain views and from May to September the downtown streets are brightened by the over-flowing baskets of flowers hanging from classic antique lampposts. Enjoy an orientation walk with your CEO to get familiar with your surroundings so you can relax and enjoy the evening on your own.

Approximate Distance: 325 km
Estimated Travel Time to Victoria: 10 hr (including stops)

Day 14 Vancouver (1B)

In the morning take the ferry back to Vancouver. It is the city that has it all: natural beauty and cosmopolitan flair. Set between the Pacific Ocean and the coastal mountains, it has a harmonious blend of nature and urban living. Gardens, parks, and beaches are as common here as heritage buildings, restaurants, and theaters. While maintaining the laid-back attitude of North America's West Coast, Vancouver has managed to build an international spirit. As the third largest city in Canada, it shares an ethnic diversity and multicultural flavor with the rest of the country. It's young, lively, and the jumping-off point for many spectacular outdoor activities. Enjoy a brief orientation to the city with your CEO before you can discover Vancouver on your own.

For our final night in Vancouver, we stay close to the action in a hotel in the city center.

Approximate Distance: 65 km
Estimated Travel Time: 6 hrs (including stops and a brief Vancouver orientation)

Day 15 Vancouver

Depart at any time.