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Ultimate Canadian Rockies Drive & Hike

13 Days & 12 Nights 5 Read 1 reviews
  • Drive the scenic Bow Valley & Icefields Parkways and the Powder Highway
  • Marvel at glacial landscapes from icefield views to braided, turquoise rivers
  • Hike 6 national parks: Banff, Kootenay, Yoho, Jasper, Glacier & Mt. Revelstoke
  • Watch for wildlife: big horn sheep, wolves, bears, elk, caribou & mountain goats
  • Experience warm and authentic Canadian mountain town culture & hospitality
Combine a two-week road trip with the best hiking in Western Canada, for the ultimate self-guided adventure. At your own pace, explore six Canadian National Parks, including the UNESCO Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site. From the streets and hot springs of Banff to the turquoise waters and teahouses of Lake Louise, drive westward over the Continental Divide to the Powder Highway, and the railroad towns of Golden and Revelstoke, British Columbia. By day, hike the highlights of this region for views of glaciers, icefields, and the Matterhorn-like peak of Mt. Sir Donald. At night, retire to cozy B&Bs and lodges, hand-picked by the Macs Adventure team. Finish your trip on the Icefields Parkway, one of the top scenic drives of the world and the town of Jasper with its myriad delights and options for continuing your north country adventure.

What To Expect

A rugged and immersive two-week Canadian Rockies experience, this moderate hiking tour averages 6 miles and 1500 ft of ascent each day, so you’re bound to tire out your legs just in time for the drive to the next vibrant mountain town. This tour is a great fit for an experienced hiker seeking wild places, and those who want to hit the top hikes without sacrificing comfort. The self-guided ‘drive & hike’ model is a great match for the independent, self-sufficient, and adventurous traveler looking for flexibility and convenience.

Trip Style:

Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent active holiday.

Activity:

Drive & Hike | Enjoy the best of a large region by car and on foot. Day hikes in the best places. Itinerary usually inn to inn, with mapping provided. No bag transfer. Car hire offered as an option or included.

This trip is suitable for:

Families, Multi-Generational, Mixed Abilities, First Timers, Avid Adventurers

Ideal if you have an interest in:

  • National Parks & Trails
  • Alpine & Mountains
  • Special Occasions

Featured in our collections:

  • Classic

Grade & Terrain

The hiking trails are paths on dirt, gravel, and rock – although they are maintained by Parks Canada there is always the possibility of washed out, snow-covered, or overgrown conditions.

Navigation

Navigating is easy using the Macs Adventure Navigation App. Your daily hikes will be mapped in the app with GPX tracks, route notes, and turn-by-turn directions. You can download all of the routes for use offline, which means you won’t need cell service or Wi-Fi (which are often unreliable outside of your accommodations). Written turn-by-turn driving directions are included in the app; although the drives are straightforward, you may still consider using a GPS device while in the car. You will also have 24/7 Macs Adventure telephone support.

Experience & Fitness

The hiking on this trip is moderate and will typically take 4-6 hours on average and involve between 6 and 7 miles of walking with 1,500 feet of ascent and descent. To get the most from your trip, you should be a regular hiker or do some training prior to departure to get accustomed to walking every day. In some places you will have the option to extend your hike for more challenging and longer days on the trail.

The hiking trails are paths on dirt, gravel, and rock – although they are maintained by Parks Canada there is always the possibility of washed out, snow-covered, or overgrown conditions.

Note: You will be hiking and traveling in bear country. Your pre-departure information pack will outline the best practices for responsible travel in bear country and other wildlife-specific

Accommodation Information

Stay 12 nights in hand-picked accommodations, chosen for their character, comfort, and Rocky Mountain charm. While each accommodation differs in style - from B&Bs to cabins, lodges, and boutique hotels -  they all offer outstanding service, excellent food and warm hospitality.

As a popular summer destination with a short hiking season, lodging in this region fills early; therefore early booking is recommended. The properties shown here are the ones we use most frequently. If we are unable to secure you a room in the following properties at the time of your booking, we will do our best to accommodate you in an alternate property which we have selected for their standard of comfort (we will let you know this before we confirm your booking).  For some nights it is also possible to upgrade your lodging.

Single Rooms

This trip is based on two people sharing a room. If you’d like separate rooms, a single supplement is required. If you would like to request a twin room (same room with two separate beds), please  notify us during booking so we can request this option where it is available. This trip is not available to solo hikers.

Meals

Breakfast is included each morning. Typical breakfasts include juice, tea, coffee, yogurt, granola, breads, jams, eggs or a choice of hot dish. Please notify us of any dietary restrictions at the time of booking.

Lunches and dinners are not included. There are places to purchase picnic provisions in each of your overnight destinations and we recommend taking a lunch with you on the trail. For dinner, choose from the nearby restaurants; just ask your host if reservations are needed.

Extra Nights

You may opt to add extras nights during this itinerary as there is plenty more to see, do, and hike in all three destinations. For further details and pricing, please ask us at the time of booking. 

Included
  • 12 nights in characterful accommodations (B&Bs, lodges & cabins)
  • 12 Breakfasts
  • National Parks Passes
  • Detailed pre-departure information pack
  • Turn-by-turn route notes
  • Macs Adventure Navigation App
  • 24/7 telephone support
Excluded
  • Travel to/from Banff and Jasper
  • Car rental (Can be added)
  • Lunches, dinners, snacks, and drinks
  • Personal equipment
  • Travel Insurance
Extras
  • Car rental
  • Additional nights before, during or after the trip
  • Accommodations upgrades (if applicable)

When To Go

The hiking season in the Canadian Rockies is relatively short as snow can remain in the mountains until early summer and autumn arrive early with cool temperatures and higher chances of snow falling (although it can snow during the summer months here too). The opening of trails in the early season is dependent on the previous winter’s snowpack and can change dramatically from year to year.

June and July bring the longest days, with July and August being the warmest months. However, weather is variable in the Rockies, and you should be prepared for a range of conditions. The optimal months for wildflowers are mid-July to mid-August, which also brings higher numbers of tourists. September and early October are characterized by typically drier weather and fewer crowds, making this a great time to visit. Depending on your adventure goals, any time between June and October offers a memorable Canadian Rockies experience!

Availability

This trip is available mid-June through early-October (ending Canadian Thanksgiving, the second Monday of the month). As this region is a highly popular tourist destination, we suggest booking as far in advance as possible for a better chance at securing your desired dates. This tour is available to start any day of the week.

Getting to the Start

Fly into Calgary International Airport (YYC) and rent a car from there. Driving to Banff takes 1.5 hours.

Getting from the End

You may choose to return your car and fly from the Calgary International Airport (YYC) (5 hour drive). You may also drive to return your car and fly from the Edmonton International Airport (EIA) (4 hour drive).

Alternatively, you may return your rental car in Jasper and take the train to onward Canadian destinations.

General Information

You will need a car for this itinerary. Either plan to drive to the trip start or fly to Calgary and rent a car (1.5 hours to Banff). If you wish, we can arrange a rental car for you for an additional charge.

Equipment

Our pre-departure information pack includes a detailed equipment list on what to take with you. This includes warm and cold weather gear, hiking boots, rain gear, and lots of other specifics. If you have any questions about what to take, we'd be happy to share our own top tips and advice.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance helps protect your travel investment, your belongings and most importantly you, from unforeseen circumstances that may arise before or during your trip. For more information, please visit our travel insurance page by clicking this link.

How far in advance do I need to book?
What is responsible travel in bear country?

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Banff Day 2: Hike Tunnel Mountain & Explore Banff 3 miles / 6 km Day 3: Hike Stanley Glacier & Drive to Lake Louise 6 miles / 10.8 km Day 4: Hike to Lake Agnes Teahouse & Optional Canoe on Lake Louise 11.1 miles / 17.9 km Day 5: Hike Iceline Trail & Drive to Golden 8.2 miles / 13.2 km Day 6: Explore Golden & Wildlife Afternoon Day 7: Asulkan Valley Hike & Drive to Revelstoke 10.5 miles / 6.9 km Day 8: Hike to Eva Lake & Explore town of Revelstoke 4.5 miles / 7.3 km Day 9: Hike Balu Pass & Drive to Field 8.3 miles / 13.3 km Day 10: Hike Emerald Basin & Optional Canoe on Emerald Lake 5.5 miles / 8.9 km Day 11: Drive the Icefields Parkway & Hike Wilcox Pass 5.8 miles / 9.3 km Day 12: Hike Sulphur Skyline, Soak at Miette Hot Springs & Explore Jasper 5 miles / 8 km Day 13: Onward Travel

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