You will travel the Plain of Six Glaciers to the dazzling waters of Lake Louise, an emerald nestled in a valley between gorgeous peaks. Quartzite cliffs and melt water streams give way to a splendid view of all six glaciers. You will see extraordinary mountain vistas, stunning lakes and abundant waterfalls, and maybe walls of ice, enroute to Jasper National Park.
At Stutfield Glacier, the interlacing channels of a braided river flow along the valley floor and evolve into the majestic Sunwapta Falls. The Sunshine Meadow Trail is a sub-alpine paradise. At Maligne Lake, an open forest of lodgepole pine and spruce are a haven for wildlife; and the Brewers sparrow sings in the willows. Come, connect with nature and feed your soul’s most lustful hunger. Dinner is served!
Highlights: Mount Assiniboine, Sunshine Meadows, Kootenay National Park, Lake Lousie, Victoria Glacier, Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Columbia Icefields, Sunwapta Falls, Bald Hills, Maligne Canyon.
Day 1: Easy 10km (6 miles) hike; drive up to 2 hours
Meet in Banff at 10:00 for a short transfer to begin your walk along the trails at Sunshine Meadows, near the famous Sunshine Ski Resort. Mount Assiniboine provides the backdrop for rolling floral hills. This signature landmark rises an impressive 3600 meters (almost 12,000 feet). Its snowy crown is a magnet for the eyes and the first of many peaks to liven your view over the next six days. Hand-hewn logs and a massive fieldstone fireplace set the ambience at your night’s lodging, and you can indulge yourself at the spa if you want a real treat! LD
Caribou Lodge, Banff
Day 2: Moderate 9km (5.5 miles) hike; drive up to 1 hour
Cross into British Columbia where Kootenay National Park, with its hanging glaciers and breathtaking summits awaits. This was once a meeting place for Plains and Mountain First Nations as well as fur traders and explorers. Pictographs and ancient paint pots found here were used by the Kootenai Indians to decorate themselves and their teepees years ago. Today’s hike takes you on a well-traveled trail through the Rockies to Stanley Glacier, named after Sir Frederick Arthur Stanley (his name is often passed around in hockey circles). Return to Banff for an evening of independent dining and exploration. BL
Day 3: Moderate 11km (7 miles) hike; drive up to 1½ hours
Today, your adventure takes you to the “Hiking Capital of the Rocky Mountains,” Lake Louise. The Stoney Indian people knew the lake as Ho-run-num-nay, the "Lake of the Little Fishes," which lies in a valley close to some of the higher peaks in the Canadian Rockies. Lake Louise has been a famous attraction since the late 1800’s when the Canadian Pacific Railway and lodges near the lake were completed. In 1902, Lake Louise, Moraine Lake and the surrounding area became protected as Banff National Park. Quartzite cliffs and rushing glacial melt water streams will guide your way to a high altitude teahouse. The view here reveals the complement of six glaciers that gave rise to the name: hanging glaciers. You’ll spend the day immersed in the stunning mountain scenery surrounding Lake Louise and have this evening to experience the village. BL
Deer Lake Lodge, Lake Louise
Day 4: Easy 8km (5 miles) hike; drive up to 4 hours
Today you will travel north on the Icefield Parkway, through the Columbia Icefields on your way to Jasper National Park. Dramatic mountain vistas, huge walls of ice, beautiful lakes, and spectacular waterfalls make this one of the world’s classic mountain drives. Watch for bighorn sheep and goats at Tangle Falls, Stutfield Glacier Viewpoint and Goat Lookout. The view of the Sunwapta River provides an excellent example of a braided river - the valley bottom is filled with sand and gravel, spreading the river across the valley floor in interlacing channels. You will enjoy the majestic beauty and power of Sunwapta Falls and Canyon and will see where the river plummets into a deep canyon, producing a spectacular waterfall. Today you’ll hike to Wilcox Pass, where the view across the Icefields is spectacular. BLD
Becker's Chalets Near Jasper
Day 5: Challenging 12km (7.5 miles) hike; drive up to 2 hours
The Bald Hills Trail takes you to the most photographed area in the Rocky Mountains. Maligne Lake is not only the oldest attraction in Jasper National Park but also the largest lake in the Canadian Rockies. The trail to the Bald Hills overlooking Maligne Lake, takes you along an open forest of lodge pole pine and spruce, home to moose, caribou, harlequin ducks, and many other types of wildlife. Listen for the trilling of the Brewers Sparrows that nest in the willows here. BLD
Day 6: Sightseeing with short walks, drive up to 6 hours
Spend the early morning exploring Maligne Canyon before heading back to Banff. To punctuate the drive there will be stops and short walks along the way. Arrive in Banff by about 16:00 or Calgary at around 17:30. B
Start: Banff, 10:00 day one, at the Caribou Lodge. Earlier pick-ups from other nearby locations can be arranged on request.
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