- Get off-the-beaten-path and experience the wild Western Rockies
- Explore 4 National Parks on foot: Banff, Yoho, Glacier, and Mt. Revelstoke
- Keep an eye out for wolves, moose, bears, and big horn sheep
- Visit true Canadian mountain towns Canmore, Golden, and Revelstoke
- Travel the Bow Valley Parkway and Powder Highway—two classic drives
If you are looking for mountain solitude, rejuvenating wilderness, and hikes through rugged, glaciated landscapes, this is the tour or you. On an off-the-beaten path adventure, you’ll explore parts of the Canadian West that few tourists ever see.
Starting in Canmore, a laidback basecamp for Banff National Park, where you’ll get oriented to the vast Rocky Mountain landscape. Travel west through the Purcell, Selkirk, and Monashee Ranges, all a hiker’s paradise. You’ll put in plenty of effort on daily hikes, but you’ll be rewarded with alpine scenery, from the contrast of high peaks and lush valleys of the Iceline Trail to the wildflowers of Mt. Revelstoke National Park. And each night you’ll find yourself tucked into hand-picked accommodations and wake up to hearty breakfasts cooked by locals – it doesn’t get more Canadian than this.
Day 1: Arrive Canmore
Fly into Calgary, Alberta, and rent a car (we can arrange this as an add-on) for the easy drive west on the Trans-Canada Highway to Canmore (1 hour 20 minutes).
Canmore is the laidback sister town to Banff, and you’ll find it less crowded and curated, more eclectic and unassuming. As a jumping off point for adventure, Canmore can’t be beat – the dozens of eateries, cafes, shops, and adventure operators are proof that this is the place to return to after a long day on the trail. Tonight, check into your accommodations and go out for a stroll around town to catch the evening alpenglow on the surrounding peaks.
Day 2: Hike Bourgeau Lake
Your first hike will open your eyes to the raw beauty of the UNESCO-protected Mountain Parks. Complete with wildflower meadows, ‘locals’ from mountain goats to pikas, and the lake itself, rimmed by an impressive amphitheater of rock and snow, there’s so much to explore you’ll be hard-pressed to get back in time for an après.
But if you make it down with hours to spare, indulge yourself by dining in Banff (15 minutes from Canmore), visiting the Banff Upper Hot Springs for a soak, or enjoying the comforts of your boutique B&B perfectly located in charming downtown Canmore.
Hike: 9 mi +/-2379 ft, 5 hrs
Day 3: Hike the Iceline Trail & Drive to Golden
Your full drive from Canmore to Golden is only 2 hours but get an early start because you’ll stop halfway to experience one of Yoho National Park’s most famous hikes, the Iceline Trail. You’ll have the option to head straight for the summit on an out-and-back tour through this geologically young landscape, where the glaciers only recently retreated. Or opt for a longer loop hike for a full day adventure, descending through the Little Yoho Valley.
The town of Golden is home to Kicking Horse Mountain Resort and you’ll find this authentic railway-turned-ski-town nestled in the valley between two mountain ranges and at the confluence of two mighty rivers. You may be ready to go straight to your night’s lodging just outside town, where warm hospitality will distract you from your tired legs and sore feet, so kick back and explore the “Heart of the Parks” region tomorrow.
Hike: 7.7 mi +2263 ft, 5 hrs
Extended circuit hike: 11.6 mi +2329, 8 hrs
Day 4: Hike Balu Pass & Wildlife Afternoon in Golden
The drive into Glacier National Park will deposit you at the Rogers Pass Discovery Center, the starting point for your hike up to Balu Pass. A creekside approach through spruce and hemlock forests brings you to the alpine zone for the final push, worthwhile for the icefield views you’ll get from the top.
In the afternoon, drive back to Golden and experience Canada’s unique wildlife. Choose from the Kicking Horse Grizzly Centre, the Northern Lights Wolf Centre, or the Rocky Mountain Buffalo Ranch (all entrance fees payable locally). You’ll have an even deeper appreciation for this place once you learn about the natural history of its four-legged inhabitants.
Hike: 8 mi, +/-2585 ft, 4 hrs
Day 5: Asulkan Valley Hike & Drive to Revelstoke
Hop back on the Powder Highway, a route made famous by the unparalleled snow conditions it receives in the winter; you’ll see evidence of this by the avalanche bridges that funnel snow over the highway. Further west than your trip yesterday, the Asulkan Valley hike follows the valley carved out by the Asulkan Glacier. Beginning in lush forests and shade, you’ll soon find yourself amid the rocky moraines, reluctant snow patches, and milky glacial runoff hundreds of feet above the highway. Go as far as you’d like, and if you have the energy top out at the simple mountain hut at the head of the valley before returning the way you came.
The last hour of driving to Revelstoke may be a blur of mountain bliss and tired muscles but try to keep your eyes open as you descend into the western Columbia Range. Revelstoke with its vibrant, walkable downtown streets welcomes you for the next two nights, where you’ll be sure to end the tour on a high note.
Hike: 8.6 mi +/2851 ft, 6 hrs
Day 6: Hike to Eva Lake & Explore town of Revelstoke
Access to today’s hike is via the winding Meadows in the Sky Parkway, a road that switchbacks up Mt. Revelstoke, offering plentiful vistas along the way. You’ll be grateful for the road as today’s hike skips the climbing of the last several days, and you’ll have more time to enjoy the wildflowers and glittering alpine lake.
Depending on your pace, your afternoon may include a visit to the Monashee Distillery for their house-made liquors and craft cocktails, or perhaps you’d prefer a trip to the Railway Museum and train simulator. There’s lots to see and do in town, including free outdoor live music every night of the summer (late June through August).
Hike: 8.7 mi +/-590 ft, 4 hrs
Day 7: Onward Travel
Depending on your plans, hop in the car for the trip east to Calgary (4.5 hours) or your alternative onward travel plans. Perhaps you’re interested in exploring for another week on our Banff to Jasper Drive & Hike tour. We’re happy to help you decide what fits best for your Canadian adventure.
Stay six 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.
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.
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.
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.
Owned by renowned skiiers and mountain lovers, the Paintbox Lodge has everything you need to start your trip off on the right foot. From the airy and welcoming lounge area, Canadian boutique-rustic furnishings and a locally sourced breakfast, the Paintbox Lodge is a true Rocky Mountain retreat.
A unique and unforgettable experience, staying at Lynn and Sigi’s mountain-style boutique lodge provides seclusion and tranquillity only a few minutes from the town of Golden. Stylish but comfortable rooms, an outdoor hot tub, and gourmet homemade breakfasts are only part of the package – the 40-acre setting, Scottish Highland cattle, and enthusiastic hospitality are the real Home Lodge signature.
With mountain views on both sides, hand-hewn log architecture, and elegantly decorated guest rooms, the Moberly Lodge is sure to exceed your idea of what a mountain lodge can be. Top it off with Lucille’s bubbling generosity and homecooked breakfasts, and you’ll wonder why you have to leave Golden.
Back to the Land B&B
A truly Canadian experience, stay with Sandy and Patrick in their iconic log home – self-described as “rustic yet elegant” and “the perfect organic getaway”, this won’t be your average overnight stay, but who would want that? Make it memorable, personal, and go back-to-the-land.
Holten Heritage House
This 1897 Victorian mansion, the social epicenter for Revelstoke elite during the mining boom, retains much of its historic charm while offering a comfortable and characterful base camp in this bustling mountain town. In addition to the antique furnishings and fireplace lounge, the fresh, healthy breakfasts are a highlight.
Optional Upgrade – Explorers Society Hotel
In a renovated historic downtown building, this boutique hotel is designed with nature in mind; the décor combines a simple Scandinavian aesthetic with remnants of brick, concrete, and wood beams from the original construction. In addition to the property’s cozy charm, including modern indulgences like an in-room French press, you’ll be spoiled by the top floor lounge with fireplace, rooftop patio, and outdoor hot tub.
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.
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 arrives 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
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!
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 & Grade
The hiking on this trip is moderate to challenging. Hikes will typically take 5-8 hours, averaging 8-9 miles and several thousand feet of ascent and descent. To get the most from your trip, you should be a regular hiker and do some training prior to departure to get accustomed to hiking every day.
Due to the nature of the itinerary, you will return to your car after each hike; therefore, you can always shorten a hike by turning back early. In addition, there are sometimes options for hikes of differing lengths (eg, the Iceline 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 practices.
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
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 hour 20 minutes from Canmore). if
you wish, we can arrange a rental car for you for an additional charge.
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.
Getting to Canmore
Fly into Calgary International Airport (YYC) and rent a car from there. Driving to Canmore takes 1 hours 20 minutes.
Getting from Revelstoke
You may choose to return your car and fly from the Calgary International Airport (YYC) (4.5 hour drive). You may also choose drive to return your car and fly from the Kelowna International Airport (YLW) (2.5 hour drive).
For US citizens traveling in Canada for less than 180 days, no visa is required. You are required to have a valid passport with a blank passport page.
For non-US citizens travelling to Canada, an electronic travel authorisation (eTA) is required to enter. For more information about the eTA system, and to apply online, visit the official Canadian government website. See Entry requirements.
- 6 nights in characterful accommodations (B&Bs & lodges)
- 6 Breakfasts
- National Parks Passes
- Detailed pre-departure information pack
- Turn-by-turn route notes
- Macs Adventure Navigation App
- 24/7 telephone support
- Travel to/from Canmore & Revelstoke
- Car rental (Can be added)
- Lunches, dinners, snacks, and drinks
- Personal equipment
- Travel Insurance
- Car rental
- Additional nights before, during or after the trip
- Single Room Supplement (if applicable)
- Accommodations upgrades (if applicable)
How far in advance do I need to book?
We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalized as this destination is extremely popular in the summer months. Please note you can start this tour on any day of the week.
What is responsible travel in bear country?
When traveling in bear country, it’s important to act responsibly for the safety of bears as well as human visitors to the ecosystem. The Parks Canada information regarding bear country is a helpful place to start learning about best practices. We advise that you always carry bear spray and know how to use it. Since you cannot fly with bear spray, you’ll need to purchase it in Banff when you first arrive. You will also receive further bear country tips in your information pack.