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Canada: A Family Adventure

March 31, 2016

 

It's the second largest country on Earth, so any tour of Canada will keep you very busy and provide memories that will endure.

 

We've been working with Explore, specialists in small group adventures, to shape the perfect tour. 

 

From hot springs, emerald-green lakes and rushing waterfalls to the amazing cities of Vancouver and Calgary, explore many of Canada's natural highlights. We discover the vast Athabasca Glacier and Falls, the Island of Victoria and Lake Louise. 

 

Along the way, spot whales and visit a bear sanctuary, hike through the numerous national parks, travel on an Ice Explorer vehicle and canoe along a stunning lake.

 

  • Tour Highlights:

  • Stay in a yurt, a cowboy ranch and various campsites

  • Discover Banff and Maligne Canyon 

  • Jasper National Park - drive along the Icefield Parkway 

  • Lake Louise - one of Canada's most photographed settings

  • Whistler - try a tree top adventure 

  • Wells Gray Park - an overnight canoe trip 

  • Wildlife - watch grizzly bears, whales and more

 

Itinerary

 

Day 1: The trip begins in Vancouver where you transfer to the hotel and meet your Explore Leader.

 

Day 2: Explore the city on foot including visiting Granville Island and its public market, plus Chinatown, Gastown and Stanley Park. Enjoy a park picnic before heading to Vancouver Island where we camp on the outskirts of the city, where it is easy to escape into the wilderness.

 

Day 3: Vancouver Island is one of the best places in the world to spot marine wildlife, and board a catamaran for a whale-watching excursion.

 

Upon returning, we tour Victoria on foot including the Inner Harbour, Bastion Square, the impressive Empress Hotel on the harbour front and Thunderbird Park. The park is home to numerous Totem Poles that were carved by the island's Inuit native people. 

 

Day 4: Take the morning ferry back to the mainland and stop off at Capilano Suspension Bridge for a treetop adventure 70 metres above the river. Shift from one Douglas fir tree to another on a series of elevated suspension bridges as high as 30m above the forest floor.

 

Continue on to Whistler for a meal cooked by your Explore leader.

 

Day 5: Visit the Squamish Lil'Wat Cultural Centre and learn about the region's indigenous people as well as trying your hand at making your own traditional mini drum during a craft workshop. In the afternoon, go to Garibaldi Provincial Park for a walk to the beautiful Cheakamus Lake (roughly 8 km and 3 hours).

 

There is the option of renting a bicycle for a ride along the Valley Trail, or to rent a canoe on the River of Golden Dreams, or simply explore Whistler Village.

 

Day 6: Today we travel to Clearwater, stopping at a historic ranch originally built during the Gold Rush. After lunch, continue towards Clearwater, pausing to soak up the wonderful views, notably Spahats Creek Falls.

 

Stop for the night in a ranch with rustic cabins and a cowboy BBQ.

 

Day 7: Head out to the nearby Wells Gray Provincial Park, home to Helmcken Falls, which is double the height of Niagara Falls. There are spectacular views and great opportunities for wildlife spotting. In the afternoon, travel to Clearwater Lake and some canoeing (no previous experience required).

 

Spend the night in a lakeside tent.

 

Day 8: Move northeast towards Mount Robson Provincial Park, home to the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies (3954m). It is tall enough to create its own weather patterns! From here, walk 1km along Fraser Canyon to Overlander Falls and then drive to Jasper, the largest of the Rocky Mountain Parks, to camp for two nights.

 

Day 9: Witness the Canadian Rockies most spectacular vistas: the Maligne Canyon and its sheer limestone walls.

 

See the springs, waterfalls, bridges and beautiful forests on foot before driving to Maligne Lake for a picnic lunch.

Afterwards, hike the Bald Hill Trail (approximately 13km and 4-5 hours of walking). There are a number of routes that can be taken and the Explore Leader will choose which trail is best depending upon the fitness of the group - there are three Bald Hills summits providing great viewpoints overlooking Evelyn Creek.

 

Cruise ship and canoe trips are an optional extra before driving back to Jasper.

 

Day 10: Start the day travelling the celebrated Icefield Parkway to Golden. The road negotiates its way through a landscape of coniferous forests, towering mountain peaks, turquoise lakes and impressive glaciers. Photo opportunities include Bow Lake, Peyto Lake and Athabasca Falls.

 

Board the Ice Explorer, a vehicle designed for glacial travel, for an excursion on the surface of the Falls Glacier. Then join the afternoon drive to Golden, with wildlife spotting - be on the lookout for black bears, elks and eagles.

 

Spend the night at the Golden Eco-Adventure Ranch in the heart of the Columbia Valley, in a Yurt or a tent. 

 

Day 11: First stop: the remarkable Kicking Horse Grizzly Bear Refuge, the world's largest enclosed grizzly bear habitat. It offers a unique opportunity to watch these majestic beasts behave exactly as they would in the wild.

 

After a short hike to the reserve you'll have a chance to meet Boo, the refuge's very own orphan grizzly, and learn more about them from a naturalist. Next, head for Yoho National Park, to take a short walk up to Takkakaw Falls - the second highest waterfall in Canada. 

 

Day 12: The ultimate destination will be Banff National Park, but on the way, walk around the picture postcard Lake Louise and Moraine Lake - the walk will be based upon the groups' abilities with routes from 6km and 2 ½ hours to 14km and 5 hours (all are easy to moderate walks).

 

Optional excursions of a lake cruise or gondola mountain ride are possible. On arrival at Banff, visit the Cave and Basin Historic Site, a natural thermal mineral springs which the town is famous for - their discovery in 1883 led to Canada's National Park system. Relax in the wonderful geothermal waters.

 

Day 13: Tour Banff National Park, rich in wildlife with over 60 species of mammals and some 280 species of birds recorded here, including golden eagles, cougars and black bears. Then drive to Calgary and spend the afternoon exploring on foot.

 

There is the option to climb Calgary Tower for a 360-degree panoramic view over the city - all set against a backdrop of the Rockies.

 

Day 14: Wrap up the trip with some time in Calgary before heading to the airport for your flight home.

Prices for this amazing 14-night trip start at £2,925 for adults and £2,725 for children, for departures in Summer 2017.

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