Trek Notes - Canada

Canadian Rockies


An Extraordinary Inn-to-Inn, Backcountry Hiking Adventure in the Canadian RockiesFew areas can match the sheer spectacle of the Canadian Rockies, an alpine wonderland of towering summits laden with glistening glaciers, sapphire lakes and subalpine meadows blanketed with wildflowers.Our carefully selected routes and creative itinerary feature both this regions' most-renowned sights and the lesser-known treasures that make our trip so special.Each day highlights a unique facet of this magical paradise, blending the best of Banff and Yoho national parks.Carrying only a light daypack, you will share alpine meadows with bighorn sheep, trek to a luxurious backcountry lodge to spend two nights away from the crowds, and raft thrilling whitewater. Whether you are a light hiker, a seasoned adventurer, or a family with varied ability levels, our daily hiking options guarantee you a getaway to match your sense of adventure.


Hiking Moraine Lake and the Valley of the Ten Peaks, Deer Lodge

After assembling in Banff at noon, we head west to Lake Louise in the heart of Banff National Park. Nothing is a more fitting welcome to our alpine adventure than a hike from the crystalline waters of Moraine Lake in the Valley of the Ten Peaks to the stunning Larch Valley, a sub-alpine meadow of mosses, wildflowers, and the valley's namesake, soft-needled larch trees. 
We continue hiking to the bottom of Sentinel Pass, the highest point reached by a maintained trail in the park. Here we look across the Valley of the Ten Peaks at the Wenkchemna Range, dominated by the ice-draped summit of Mount Fay (10,675'). 
Tonight, we savour the heavenly comforts of the historic Deer Lodge, featuring gourmet dining and an idyllic setting just a short walk from the shores of Lake Louise. Do not miss the lodge's rooftop jacuzzi that affords stunning views of the surrounding peaks. 
Moraine Lake to Larch Valley [5 miles; 1,400 feet of elevation gain, then loss]

Hike to Skoki Lodge 

On day two, we hike to the secluded Skoki Lodge, a very special find.We travel through verdant valleys peppered with colourful wildflowers and lakes to our rustic and charming backcountry retreat, set among the towering peaks of the Slate Range.After hiking through two high mountain passes ­ Boulder Pass (7,730’) and Deception Pass (8,200’) ­ relax on the porch, enjoy our host’s fresh baked breads and tea, or venture out and explore the surrounding area.
Though remote, Skoki offers a main lodge and a number of small cabins, as well as truly remarkable cuisine.This peaceful retreat is without electricity and is lit by the glow of candles and kerosene lamps.Hot water basins are always available for washing and outhouses are set amid spruce and fir trees. 
Hike to Skoki Lodge [8.5 miles; 1,400 feet of elevation gain, then 900 feet of elevation loss; maximum elevation 8,200 feet]

Hike to Merlin and Red Deer Lakes from Skoki Lodge 
We pause for a day at the lodge to admire the splendours of Skoki Valley and to further explore the area’s renowned trails. Hiking from the footbridge in front of the lodge, we ascend to Merlin Lake, a little-known gem set between the exotically named Wall of Jericho and Merlin’s Castle.After lunch, we enter a forest of 250-year-old spruce and fir trees before the views open to reveal a spectacular panorama of peaks, including a bird’s eye view of Mt. Hector, one of the tallest peaks in Banff National Park. Either way, we return to Skoki Lodge for another evening of backcountry comfort. 
Merlin Lake [4 miles; 900 feet of elevation gain, then loss] 
Moderate option: Red Deer Lakes [7 miles; elevation gain variable]

Hike out from Skoki Lodge, Kicking Horse Lodge

After a hearty breakfast, we bid farewell to Skoki Lodge and hike back to civilisation.We then drive west along the famous Trans-Canada Highway, stopping for short hikes and narratives en route.
We spend the evening cradled among the western range of the Canadian Rockies in the comfort of the Kicking Horse Lodge. Bask in the glory of the beautiful Mt. Burgess as you enjoy your gourmet dinner and unwind from the day's adventure.
Hike from Skoki Lodge [8.5 miles; 900 feet of elevation loss, then 1,400 feet of elevation gain; max. elevation 8,200 feet]

Yoho Lake and the Iceline Trail, Kicking Horse Lodge

The word “Yoho” is a Cree expression of awe and wonder, sentiments that will be affirmed on our hike through Yoho’s spectacular glaciated landscape. After breakfast we drive up to see and hear Takakkaw Falls, the fourth highest waterfall in Canada, as it thunders more than 1,000 feet down into the Yoho Valley.We hike through forests of subalpine fir and Engelmann spruce to beautiful Yoho Lake, and then along the remarkable Iceline Trail.One of the Canadian Rockies classic routes, this aptly named trail takes us up into high alpine country, where we lunch at the toe of the Emerald Glacier and look across the valley at Takakkaw Falls and the Daly Glacier that feeds it.
In the late afternoon, we return to Kicking Horse Lodge.
Yoho Lake and Yoho Pass [6 miles; 1,200 feet of elevation gain, then loss] Iceline Trail and Lake Celeste [9.5 miles; 1,600 feet of elevation gain, then loss]

Whitewater Rafting on the Kicking Horse River 

After breakfast, we head out for a whitewater rafting adventure on the Kicking Horse River, which got its name for a good reason.Paddles in hand, we shoot a series of rapids with colourful names like Man-Eater Hole, The Rollercoaster and the mile-long Portage Shotgun.For those who prefer not to raft, join one of our guides and explore nearby trails.After lunch, we will return to Banff for our trip’s conclusion. 
Kicking Horse River (Rapids: class III, IV+)


Trip Type: Inn-to-Inn and Cabin-Based
Trip Length:
6 days/5 nights
Trip Level:
Moderately Easy, with 5 days of Moderate options 
Gateway City: Calgary, Canada
Meeting Time & Place:
12:00 p.m., Banff International Hotel.Please have lunch prior to our meeting, and come prepared for a hike following our orientation. We recommend that you have lunch before our meeting, and wear comfortable hiking boots with ankle support and wool socks coupled with a thin liner sock and have a jacket accessible, as the weather can be extremely variable in the Rockies.
Trip Conclusion:
4:00 p.m., Banff International Hotel.
Trip Fees Include:
Half-day whitewater raft trip, all meals (dinner Day 1-lunch Day 6), all accommodations (double occupancy), T-shirt, water bottle, support vehicle, historical information packet, and professional naturalist guides.

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