Day 1: We start the day and the tour off with a dining experience that features a revolving view of the city of Calgary. The Calgary Tower's famous revolving dining lounge offers a unique setting for breakfast. All tables enjoy an unrestricted panoramic view through large 2.13 m. by 1.5 m. tinted windows. You can see every angle of the City, the Rocky Mountains and the surrounding areas without leaving your chair. After a hearty breakfast at the Calgary Tower, it's off to The Canadian Wilds Exhibit at the Calgary Zoo. You will be guided on a walk through this immersion habitat featuring animals from the Aspen Woodlands to the Rocky Mountains. It is a perfect location to start your wildlife viewing - you are guaranteed to see animals here that you may not have a chance to see anywhere else during your trip. Get a close-up view of mountain goats, cougars and grizzlies, wolves and wood bison, as well as one of North America's most endangered species - the whooping crane.
Next, savour the delicious taste and aroma of a hearty lunch at Heritage Park. You will receive a tour of this real frontier town. And the people are as real as their town. From the baker to the blacksmith, they're lovers of the true West. Travel back in time and discover the treasures of Western Canada's past. All the sights and sounds of pre-1914 life are recreated at Canada's largest living historical village. You can cruise the lake aboard the S.S. Moyie steam wheeler, or tour the town by steam train, horse-drawn wagon, carriage or old-fashioned bus. Or just take a stroll down Main Street. From Heritage Park you are transported across Alberta’s rolling countryside to a western guest ranch, where you will spend the next three nights. The guest ranch is in Alberta's cattle country, located conveniently between Calgary and Banff. Bears, deer, coyotes, elk and other wildlife are frequently seen here. You will enjoy the very best of western hospitality, including our welcoming dinner, before spending a restful night in this western hideaway. Included: (B), (L), (D).
Day 2: You will enjoy a hearty breakfast before you head off to attend the rodeo and/or powwow. For those who are not familiar with the Native American culture, powwows are celebrations, social gatherings and friendly competitions of traditional dancing, drumming, singing, ceremonies and feasting, and the bringing of many nations of people together. Everyone is welcome regardless of race, creed, religion, or color. At the rodeo you will experience the adrenalin rush of the cowboys’ eternal battle to overcome the raw power of the untamed animals of the west. You will spend the day enjoying the exhilaration and excitement of bucking broncos, bull riders, steer wrestlers, calf ropers, and barrel racers. In addition, you may have the opportunity to meet some of the rodeo cowboys and/or clowns for conversation and photographs. At the conclusion of the rodeo we head back to the guest ranch for their terrific dinner and another restful night in the foothills. Included: (B), (L), (D).
Day 3: Today you will experience the incomparable beauty of the rugged and majestic Rocky Mountains as you journey the Icefields Parkway. Our first stop is the Columbia Icefields, an area of glacial ice covering some 390 sq. km with a maximum depth of 365 m (1210 ft). Bigger than the City of Vancouver, the continuous accumulation of snow feeds eight major glaciers and its melt water feeds streams and rivers that pour into the Arctic, Atlantic, and Pacific oceans. You will take a tour of the icy slopes in a specially designed Ice Explorer that goes to the middle of the glacier on a 5 kilometer round trip journey. Your driver/guide will explain how glaciers are formed and point out interesting geological features as you travel in safety and comfort. At the icefall below the glacier headwall, you will have the option of stepping out onto ice formed from snow falling as long as 400 years ago. After lunch at the Icefields, it’s a short trip to your first view of the imposing Victoria Glacier nestled behind beautiful Lake Louise. You will be left with no doubt as to why this is known as the "Jewel of the Rockies."
Not only have international royalty, Hollywood stars and heads of state come to Lake Louise to relax, but increasingly the rest of the world is discovering its simple charms as well. Lake Louise, with its blue-green water set against the stark backdrop of Victoria Glacier, is probably the most beloved and most photographed scene in the Canadian Rockies. Chateau Lake Louise presents lake-side views of the glacier, while offering old-world charm and elegance amidst the wilderness. And, you’re not done yet. Your last stop, before heading home for the day, is the town of Banff. Here you can take an eight minute ride in a glass enclosed gondola to the 2288 m (7500 ft) summit of Sulphur Mountain, where three levels of outdoor observation decks offer a panoramic 360 degree view of Banff and the surrounding area. Also, you can tour the many fine museums and natural history centers, in addition to sampling the extensive and unique shopping opportunities. Then it’s back to the guest ranch. Where, after a leisurely dinner, you can settle into your comfortable accommodations, and enjoy a good night’s rest in preparation for another full day tomorrow. Included: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4: After breakfast, you can go on a trail ride, savor the majestic scenery on the beautiful hiking trails as you watch for birds and wildlife, or just sit back and soak it all in. The morning and the choice is yours (flight arrangements permitting).Then, after lunch the next leg of your journey is a drive through Kananaskis Country. This is an unspoiled paradise of towering mountains, pristine lakes, evergreen valleys, and glacial streams. The name Kananaskis is rich with history. Captain John Palliser, an early explorer of the valley, identified the area by taking the name of a local Indian. Palliser wrote that he had heard of an Indian named Kananaskis, "giving an account of a most wonderful recovery from the blow of an axe to the head - which stunned, but failed to kill him."At the end of the day you arrive back in Calgary, where we'll be happy to deliver you to your onward location.We’re going to miss you, but you’ll carry away memories that will make you the envy of your family and friends back home. And these memories will provide a quieter and more tranquil place to retreat to during the more hectic times of your life. Included: (B), (L).
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