Ready to take a hike? Of course you are after all, Canadas home to some of the best hiking trails, nature and mountain scenery around. Check out inland rainforests, a park full of massive glaciers and the majestic snow-covered peaks of the Canadian Rockies. Along with awesome Canadian wildlife, maple-flavoured everything (cookies, donuts, bacon you name it) and a few Celine Dion sing-alongs thrown in for good measure, this 12-day adventure is the perfect introduction to Canadas beautiful west coast.
Day 1 Vancouver
Welcome to Canada, home of ice hockey, Drake and maple-flavoured everything. Perhaps pick up a donut and ‘double-double’ from Tim Hortons, then head to the hotel for an important welcome meeting at 6 pm, where you’ll meet your tour guide and fellow travellers. Look for a sign in the lobby or ask reception where this meeting will take place.
Day 2 Kelowna
You’ve got a long drive ahead today (approximately seven hours) but its a scenic one. Head through some pretty incredible landscapes of forests, parks and vineyard-covered hills of the Okanagan Valley. You’ll want to make sure your camera’s charged for this drive. Arrive in Kelowna in time for dinner. Situated on Okanagan Lake, Kelowna is equal parts relaxed country and bustling urban city.
Day 3 Golden
Visit Mt Revelstoke National Park, which contains one of the worlds only inland temperate rainforests. The park is home to a small herd of woodland caribou, grizzly bears and moose, along with a population of banana slugs. Then travel over Rogers Pass to Glacier National Park. Stop at the visitor centre and panoramic lookouts along the way for incredible views of the parks many glaciers, valleys and lakes. Continue on to Golden, where well spend the night. Todays drive covers about 360 kilometres (225 miles), and takes about 5.5 hours.
Day 4 Yoho National Park / Banff National Park
Drive through the stunning mountainous terrain of Yoho National Park, where we have the option to raft on some of the best waters in Canada. The combination of wild water, amazing scenery and abundant wildlife makes rafting the Kicking Horse River an unforgettable, adrenaline-packed adventure. Your guide will point you in the direction of some great hiking trails if youd prefer to stay on dry land. Theres also the option of kicking back on the river bank and watching the world float by. Afterwards, stop at Takkakaw Falls, then continue on to Banff. Established in 1885, its the oldest national park in the country, and contains over 1600 kilometres (995 miles) of hiking trails. The drive today covers 130 kilometres (80 miles); spend the night near Banff.
Day 5 Banff National Park
Today’s your chance to to explore Banff in your own time. Maybe go shopping on Banff Avenue or Bear Street, unwind in Banff Hot Springs steamy waters or feel the rush on a dog-sledding expedition. Theres tonnes of stuff to do so if it all feels overwhelming, just ask your local leader for some handy pointers.Your guide can also show you where some great walking trails are, along with scenic viewpoints and the best places to spot wildlife.
Day 6 Lake Louise / Banff National Park
Nestled between two blue mountains sits lovely Lake Louise, a pristine pool of water that you can literally skate across once it freezes over in winter. If you’re crazy for the outdoors, this place will be the love of your life. Spend today exploring the lake and the surrounding area.
Day 7 Jasper National Park
Ready for some spectacular scenery? Todays drive (just under 300 kilometres/186 miles) takes us on the famous Icefields Parkway past the Rocky Mountains – and the views are breathtaking. Well stop at a few lookouts, lakes and waterfalls along the way, so there will be plenty of opportunities to take the perfect photo. Stop at Athabasca Glacier for a chilly stroll before continuing on to Jasper National Park.
Day 8 Jasper National Park
Enjoy a free day to explore one of the most photographed places in Canada. Jasper National Park is famous for its wildlife (such as elk, moose, deer, bears and mountain lions), Rocky Mountain scenery, turquoise-coloured lakes and glaciers. Perhaps join the group on a visit to Maligne Lake for some hiking or take a cruise on the lakes vibrant blue waters to Spirit Island and enjoy the spectacular scenery.
Day 9 Wells Gray Provincial Park
Travel by Mt Robson Provincial Park (around two hours, depending on how many stops we make, covering 125 kilometres/77 miles). At 3954 metres (12,970 feet), Mt Robson is the tallest peak in the Canadian Rockies. Continue through the beautiful Cariboo Mountains to Wells Gray Provincial Park (around four hours). In the afternoon, theres time for a hike or optional canoe ride in the park.
Day 10 Whistler
Get ready for another long day of driving today – it’s about a nine hour drive to Whistler. Named after the unusual call of the equally unusual hoary marmot, which live in the area, Whistler is a mecca for lovers of all things outdoors.
Day 11 Whistler
Enjoy a free day checking out the best Whistler has to offer. Hike along lush forest trails, hire a bike and take a ride to one of the nearby lakes, zip-line through the trees, take a scenic gondola ride or just relax in your surroundings. Your tour leader can help you find a hiking trail or cosy cafe to chill out in.
Day 12 Vancouver
Famous for its scenic coast-meets-mountains setting, Vancouver is the largest city in western Canada. After a short drive (around two hours), arrive in the city, which is bordered by a harbour, a wide river, and snow-capped mountain peaks. Your leader will take you on an orientation tour when we arrive into town, before your trip comes to an end.