Self-Guided Walking Tours & Biking Tours


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Ultimate Canadian Rockies Self-Guided Drive & Hike Tour
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Highlights

  • 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.

Day 1: Arrive Banff

Fly into Calgary, Alberta, and rent a car (we can arrange this as an add-on) for the drive west on the Trans-Canada Highway to Banff (1.5 hours).


Canada’s first national park, with over 1600 km of trails, Banff is a hiker’s paradise. In addition to being a recreational mecca, the town of Banff is a cultural epicenter for art, dining, and shopping.


Overnight: Banff


Day 2: Hike Tunnel Mountain & Explore Banff

Departing on foot from downtown, you’ll start with a warm-up hike up 5,545-foot Tunnel Mountain, a steady ascent with rewarding views of Bow Valley and Banff (the highest town in Canada!). Follow your morning walk with an afternoon in town or decide to treat yourself to a soak in Banff Upper Hot Springs (entrance payable locally).


Hike: 3.2 mi +/- 850 ft, 2 hrs


Overnight: Banff


Day 3: Hike Stanley Glacier & Drive to Lake Louise

Turn the hiking up a notch with a half-day adventure to Stanley Glacier. Watch for wildflowers, waterfalls, and wildlife before crossing the moraine to a land of rock and ice.


Arriving in Lake Louise (45 min drive), choose to rent a canoe for an hour or two. The perspective as you slice the surface of the blue green waters, below the face of Victoria Glacier, will be entirely different from the trail. For a quieter experience, take to the water in the early morning or late evening when the buzz of tourists has dissipated; you may even have this natural amphitheater to yourself if you time it right.


Hike: 5.2 mi +/- 1200 ft, 3 hrs


Overnight: Lake Louise


Day 4: Hike to Lake Agnes Teahouse & Optional Canoe on Lake Louise

One of the best hikes in Banff National Park, the Lake Agnes teahouse hike is popular for good reason. Pass alpine lakes, babbling creeks, and beneath imposing cliffs en route, and then treat yourself with a break at the historic mountain refuge before descending. For those with energy, continue on along the Highline Trail to the Plain of Six Glaciers teahouse, making a full circuit. The choice is yours! 


If you didn’t fit it in yesterday, taking a canoe out on Lake Louise is a unique activity, and well worth it for the freedom of paddling the far stretches of this 1.5-mile lake. Imagine the basin, 295 feet below the surface, as it was carved by glaciers.


Hike: 4.4 mi, +/-1280 ft, 3.5 hrs


Extended circuit: 10.7 mi +/- 2272 ft, 5 hrs


Overnight: Lake Louise


Day 5: Hike Iceline Trail & Drive to Golden

Get an early start for the Iceline Trail, the top hike in the Yoho Valley, located halfway through your drive to Golden, British Columbia (1.5 hours total). The Iceline Summit provides an out-and-back option to an exposed ridge with expansive views of an otherworldly moonscape. If you’re up for it, make a circuit and hike out via Little Yoho Valley on a longer, more gradual descent.


The small 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 get ready to 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


Overnight: Golden


Day 6: Explore Golden & Wildlife Afternoon

At this point you may need a day to recover, so check out characterful Golden and choose from a variety of activities. If you call yourself a birder, consider visiting the nearby Columbia Wetlands, the longest intact wetlands in North America. Alternatively, the Kicking Horse Gondola will provide effort-free valley views. Once at the resort, pay a visit to Boo the bear at the Kicking Horse Grizzly Centre. Or learn about other local inhabitants at the Northern Lights Wolf Centre and the Rocky Mountain Buffalo Ranch (all entrance fees payable locally). Whoever you choose to visit, you’ll have an even deeper appreciation for the diverse Rocky Mountains ecosystem once you get to know its four-legged inhabitants. 


Hike: None


Overnight: Golden


Day 7: Asulkan Valley Hike & Drive to Revelstoke

Heading west, follow the Powder Highway, a route made famous by its winter conditions. You’ll see evidence of this by avalanche bridges that funnel snow over the highway. The Asulkan Valley, a name meaning Wild Goat, is a classic example of the Columbia Mountains – steep and narrow walls rise from the basin, carpeted at lower elevations by spruce and hemlock forests. Ascending, you’ll find yourself amid rocky moraines, reluctant snow patches, and milky glacial runoff hundreds of feet above the highway. The Canadian Alpine Club’s Asulkan Valley Hut looks small and out of place in the world of pikas and mountain goats.


Descend west to Revelstoke (2 hours total from Golden), where you’ll spend the next couple of nights between the Selkirk and Monashee mountains.


Hike: 8.6 mi +/2851 ft, 6 hrs


Overnight: Revelstoke


Day 8: Hike to Eva Lake & Explore town of Revelstoke

Access today’s hike is via the winding Meadows in the Sky Parkway, a road that switchbacks up through Mt. Revelstoke National Park. Walk through wildflower-strewn meadows to the glittering waters of Eva Lake, the perfect place for a snack.


Depending on your interests, your afternoon may include a visit to the Monashee Distillery for their house-made liquors and craft cocktails, or perhaps a trip to the Railway Museum and train simulator. There’s a lot to see and do in the quaint walkable town, including free outdoor live music every night (late June - August).



Hike: 8.7 mi +/-590 ft, 4 hrs


Overnight: Revelstoke


Day 9: Hike Balu Pass & Drive to Field

Heading back on the Powder highway, start today’s hike at the Rogers Pass Discovery Center. Ascend gradually through cool forests before reaching the open alpine zone, crisscrossed by avalanche paths from chutes on either side. The last pitch is steep but worthwhile with views of the wilderness to the west and north, where Glacier National Park stretches for miles.


Arrive in Field (2.5 hours total drive from Revelstoke), a tiny Canada Pacific Railway outpost that also serves as a great jumping off point for hikers in Yoho National Park.


Hike: 8 mi, +/-2585 ft, 4 hrs


Overnight: Field


Day 10: Hike Emerald Basin & Optional Canoe on Emerald Lake

From Emerald Lake, follow a lakeshore path to a short but stiff climb. You’ll emerge into a bowl-shaped by retreating glaciers and powerful avalanches. The peaks of the President and Vice President make up part of the basin walls, and you’ll feel like you’ve stumbled into a faraway realm of wildflowers and marmots.


Post-hike, see Emerald Lake by canoe for a taste of this Canadian pastime. Consider enjoying an afternoon refreshment and then heading out in the evening to catch the golden hour as the setting sun plays on the surrounding peaks.


Hike: 5.6 mi +740 ft 2-3 hrs


Overnight: Field


Day 11: Drive the Icefields Parkway & Hike Wilcox Pass

Considered one of the world’s top road trips, the Icefields Parkway is the ultimate scenic drive. But don’t remain confined to the highway; with a morning’s rest (2 hour drive), your legs will be ready to tackle Wilcox Pass, one of the top hikes in Jasper National Park. Starting close to treeline, the steady ascent quickly delivers dramatic views of Athabasca Glacier. Once you’ve gained the broad pass, wildflowers and big horn sheep steal the show. Halfway done with today’s drive, your last hour on the road will take you to the lively town of Jasper, a perfect destination for your tour.


Hike: 5 mi +/-1100 ft, 3 hrs


Overnight: Jasper


Day 12: Hike Sulphur Skyline, Soak at Miette Hot Springs & Explore Jasper

The Sulphur Skyline Trail is a half-day trek known for a short-but-sweet climb and a 360-degree panorama into several remote valleys. Take in the wild expanse of western Canada’s classic sawtooth summits before descending. Miette Hot Springs, at the base of the hike, beckons with natural minerals and the title of the hottest hot springs in the Canadian Rockies. Then head back into Jasper for an evening to celebrate. A long list of restaurants, bars, and shops make this a fitting climax to your adventure.


Hike: 5 mi +/-2300 ft, 3 hrs


Overnight: Jasper


Day 13: Onward Travel

Depending on your plans, hop in the car for the trip south to Calgary, head east to Edmonton, or maybe you’ve planned to take the train to Vancouver from here. We’re happy to help you decide what fits best for your Canadian Rockies adventure.

Accommodation

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. 



 



Le Beaujolais B&B at Thea's House



Le Beaujolais B&B at Thea's House

Described as Elegant Alpine - think spacious, king rooms with gas fireplaces, jacuzzi tubs, and mountain view balconies - let the Moser family treat you. Wake up to an indulgent spread including daily signature dishes from the kitchen. Swap hiking stories with the Mosers and walk just two blocks to downtown Banff.



 

 

 



Buffaloberry B&B



Buffaloberry B&B

Hosted by Theresa and James, this boutique B&B boasts 4 cozy bedrooms, a great room with wood-burning fireplace, expansive outdoor patio, spectacular views, and western country design. Fuel up on a hearty, healthy two-course breakfast before you head out for the day.



 

 

 



Deer Lodge

A quintessential rustic mountain lodge, Deer Lodge was originally constructed in 1923 as a teahouse, Now it welcomes guests to sleep, eat, drink, and relax in the rooftop hot tub with views of Victoria Glacier.



 

 

 



Home Lodge



Home Lodge

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.



 

 

 



Moberly Lodge

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



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.



 

 

 



Mustang B&B



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.



 

 

 



Explorers Society Hotel



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.



 

 

 



Emerald Lake Lodge

This historic lodge on the shores of Emerald Lake will take you back in time; replace in-room wifi and TVs with a wood-burning fireplace and a balcony where you can relax with a drink after a day on the trail. The on-site restaurant will keep you well-fed and the solitude and tranquillity of the location will make you reluctant to ever leave the wilderness.



 

 

 



Truffle Pigs Inn



Truffle Pigs Lodge

This conveniently located lodge offers much more than a good night’s sleep – the highlight is actually the attached Truffle Pigs bistro, an authentic, delicious, and regionally inspired dining experience with a laidback atmosphere. Come to sleep and to eat!



 

 

 



Tekarra Lodge



Tekarra Lodge

Tucked in the pines just outside Jasper, the Tekarra Lodge offers tranquillity without sacrificing comfort – lodge rooms and cabins are both adorned with rustic Canadian décor. Grab breakfast (or more) at the lodge restaurant, comfort food with a focus on local ingredients.



 

 

 



Jasper Park Lodge



Optional Upgrade - Jasper Park Lodge

This luxury resort encompasses a historic lodge, signature cabins, and a lakeside location. Truly get away from it all and celebrate your trip’s end in style!

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.


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!


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 & Grade


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 practices. 


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.


Getting Around

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.


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.


Getting to Banff

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


Getting from Jasper

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.


Visas

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.

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
  • 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.

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Macs Adventure - US Office: 3200 Carbon Place Suite 102, Boulder, CO 80301

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