Explore the best of the West and the Canadian Rockies on this fully-escorted 13 day tour. Journey to Waterton Lakes National Park, explore the UNESCO world heritage site Banff National Park and ascend by gondola to the summit of Sulphur Mountain. Drive amidst stunning vistas, ride the all-terrain Ice...
DAY 1, Monday - Depart for Canada
Depart on your flight to Calgary, Alberta’s major city and gateway to the Canadian Rockies. Transfer to your hotel in this rising city that grew out of the Canadian West, balancing modern and traditional with a pioneer charm. Tonight, enjoy a welcome drink and meet your Tour Manager, who will introduce you to the exciting tour of Canada that awaits you. Your tour will begin with an orientation meeting with your Tour Manager at approximately 7PM on the day of arrival. We recommend that you select flights which arrive in your destination no later than 5PM on Day 1 of the itinerary or earlier, if possible.
DAY 2, Tuesday - Waterton Lakes National Park
Journey south this morning to Waterton Lakes National Park, where the "prairies meet the mountains". Travel through the famous ranching and farming area of southern Alberta. Later, you're surrounded by lakes as the Canadian Rockies fill the horizon. Historians believe that the park has great historical significance based on archaeological finds proving that First Nations first populated the area over 11,000 years ago. Stop to enjoy the upper lake with its gorgeous mountain ranges towering over both sides. After lunch on your own, join the optional boat cruise on the lake with its amazing views of towering cliffs, unique geological formations, waterfalls, snow-clad peaks and rich wildlife. Tonight, a Welcome Dinner with your fellow travellers celebrates your arrival in Western Canada and quaint Waterton.
Optional: Boat Cruise on Waterton Lake (PM)
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
DAY 3, Wednesday - Glacier National Park, Waterton Lakes
Today, an extraordinary excursion to Glacier National Park in northwestern Montana, where the American and Canadian Rockies meet. In 1932, the U.S. and Canada joined these two national parks as a symbol of their longtime peace and friendship. In recognition of this historic agreement, the parks were officially designated as the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. When possible, travel on the "Going-to-the-Sun" Road (road and weather permitting) into dramatic Glacier National Park along the sparkling lake's shore, continuing to the historic Many Glacier Hotel on crystal-clear Swiftcurrent Lake before returning to Waterton. An evening at leisure offers a choice of cafes and local restaurants featuring traditional English fare.
DAY 4, Thursday - Kananaskis Valley, Two Jack Lake, Lake Minnewanka, Banff National Park
Travel northwest through the lush Kananaskis Valley (road permitting), a recreational playground and gateway to the national parks. After lunch on your own, continue on a scenic drive to Lake Minnewanka ("Water of the Spirits"), a gorgeous glacial lake in the eastern area of Banff. Then, view freshwater Two Jack Lake, a mecca for anglers from around the world, en route to cascading Bow Falls in a valley eroded by glacier activity. Keep your camera ready as you look for wandering wildlife! Return to Banff for leisure time to discover the delights of this charming village with its trendy shops and local delicacies.
DAY 5, Friday - Banff National Park, Gondola to Sulphur Mountain
Enjoy the unparalleled mountain scenery as you explore wondrous Banff National Park, named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nestled in the very heart of the magnificent Canadian Rockies, the snow-capped mountains, glistening glaciers and sweeping panoramas are just one part of the allure of Banff. Here you ascend by gondola to the summit of Sulphur Mountain experiencing stunning views at every turn of six mountain ranges and the village below. Truly an exhilarating experience! Then, at your leisure, walk along the boardwalk of the Observation Deck (weather permitting), or shop for gifts. Afterward, return to Banff for lunch on your own and afternoon at leisure, or participate in the optional Float Tour on the Bow River. The gentle raft float offers great views of a variety of wildlife and a chance to learn more about the area's natural history from expert guides. Tonight, perhaps explore the dining scene in Banff with a wide choice of western saloons, English pubs, and international restaurants.
Optional: Float Tour on Bow River (PM)
DAY 6, Saturday - Lake Louise, Icefields Parkway, Jasper National Park
A day filled with unmatched beauty! You begin at magnificent Lake Louise, a symbol of the quintessential Canadian mountain scene. Known for its sparkling blue waters, and nestled at the base of impressive Victoria glacier, this area is one of the most picturesque of Banff National Park. Listen to the history and fascinating geology of this area during the specially designed Ice Explorer tour that takes you to the surface of the massive Athabasca Glacier (weather permitting). On the journey, hear about the formation of glaciers, the interesting geological features of the area and step out onto the surface of the powerful ancient ice. Afterward, journey north along the iconic Icefields Parkway to Jasper, amidst stunning vistas of deep green forests, snow covered mountains and towering peaks. Tonight, after dinner with the group, stroll the main street of Jasper.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
DAY 7, Sunday - Jasper National Park, Spirit Island
You explore Jasper today, the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies. The beauty of this area will leave you breathless! You begin at a section of the park known for its abundant flora and fauna. Drive up the valley to see Medicine Lake, which exists only during the summer months when melting glaciers bring water into the valley. Enjoy a morning cruise around world-famous Spirit Island on Maligne Lake, the heart of Jasper National Park. See the tranquil blue color of this glacier formed and fed lake during this calming wilderness experience. Then, on to majestic Maligne Canyon to learn about the unique features of this underground system. Time to walk along the canyon's trails with breathtaking views of waterfalls and unusual rock formations. Return to Jasper, the turn-of-the-century railroad town, for the remainder of the day at leisure.
DAY 8, Monday - Sun Peaks
Today, enjoy a day of scenery as you depart Jasper for Sun Peaks. Head west of Jasper towards Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies at 12,972 ft, then continue on the Yellowhead Highway (named after a fur trader who had yellow streaks in his hair). Enter the beautiful province of British Columbia by following the Fraser river then the North Thompson river towards Kamloops. Pass through the communities of Clearwater and Blue River, home to heli-logging in the summer and heli-skiing in the winter, before arriving in Sun Peaks, the famous Swiss-style alpine village of British Columbia. Arrive at this European-style village nestled in the centre of three mountains.
Overnight: Sun Peaks
DAY 9, Tuesday - Whistler
On the route to Whistler, travel along roads that twist and weave through beautiful mountain ranges, fir tree lined valley and dramatic shorelines. Stop in Lillooet, a community on the Fraser River, for lunch on your own. Afterwards continue to Whistler, the charming alpine village that co-hosted the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. An orientation tour acquaints you with the village and surrounding areas. The many art galleries, eclectic boutiques and fine restaurants all add to the village's sophisticated atmosphere. Tonight, treat yourself to an evening of fine food.
DAY 10, Wednesday - Sea-to-Sky Highway to Victoria
Travel this morning on the Sea-to-Sky Highway, heading south through spectacular coastal landscapes. At Horseshoe Bay, hop aboard a ferry that takes you across the Strait of Georgia to Vancouver Island and onwards by coach to Victoria, capital city of British Colombia. Upon arrival, a brief orientation tour introduces you to this charming city, apparent in the horse-drawn carriages, formal gardens and tearooms. Time on your own to independently enjoy the Victorian charm of the city's centre.
DAY 11, Thursday - Butchart Gardens, City Tour of Victoria
This morning, go to the world famous Butchart Gardens. Here, you'll see one of the world's greatest floral displays in the amazing 55 magnificent acres of flowers and show gardens, including the Japanese, Italian, and Rose gardens. Enjoy lunch at leisure before you visit the Legislative Building overlooking the majestic Inner Harbor; this guided tour reveals the city's fascinating history. Continue on a City Tour of Victoria, starting at Beacon Hill Park. Proceed to the carved totem poles at Thunderbird Park adjacent to the Royal BC Museum, and Canada's oldest Chinatown. Spend the remainder of the afternoon at leisure.
DAY 12, Friday - Depart Victoria for Vancouver
The last stop on the Western Canada adventure is the coastal seaport city of Vancouver with its spectacular vistas. Travel by ferry to Vancouver, known for its temperate climate, it is one of the few places in the world where you can ski in the morning and sail in the afternoon. The city tour is highlighted by English Bay, a favourite recreational area, and Gastown, the city's oldest neighbourhood, designated a National Historical Site in 2009. On Granville Island, enjoy the buzzing artists' quarter, waterside restaurants, top galleries, and a huge fresh food market. A perfect place for leisure time and lunch on your own! Later, on to Stanley Park, home of the famous aquarium and Canada Place with its iconic five white sails. Time to relax before tonight's festive Farewell Dinner. Share memories together of the astonishing journey through magnificent Western Canada.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
DAY 13, Saturday - Depart Canada
Transfer to the airport for your departure flight.
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