Discover the Canadian Rockies - Westbound
Awe-inspiring scenery and fascinating wildlife are simply everywhere in Western Canada. This 12-day adventure offers the Rocky Mountain highs of crisp Jasper and serene Lake Louise, a scenic ferry crossing to Vancouver Island, a river safari through Grizzly Bear Valley, and a drive along the jaw-dropping Icefields Parkway. Whether you’re walking atop a glacier or meandering the gorgeous streets of Whistler Village, you’re discovering some of the most iconic parts of Canada.
All park fees in Jasper and Banff National Parks. Vancouver and Calgary orientation walk. Scenic ferry to Vancouver Island. Victoria, Whistler, and Banff orientation walks. Stops at Joffre Lake and Marble Canyon. River safari through Grizzly Bear Valley. Visit Mount Robson Visitor Centre. Admission to Miette hot springs. Excursion to the Columbia Icefields and ice walk on the Athabasca Glacier. Banff historical walking tour. Interesting articles, helpful tips, and photography advice from National Geographic before you depart. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Explore Banff during a walk with an expert from the Whyte Museum, enjoy breathtaking views from a gondola headed to Sulphur Mountain, embark on a glacier walk with an expert guide, soak and unwind in natural hot springs, see Jasper from its highest peak
The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.
Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
1. TRAVEL DAYS
In order to cover the vast distance in Noth America to be able to visit several different parks and cities along our trip, we will have a couple of long driving days.
2. HIKES AND WALKS
All walks and hikes proposed by our CEO will be easy to moderate level. You may choose to participate or not, but exploring our national parks on foot is part of our way of travelling. It’s a healthy way to discover North America’s beauty and landscape.
3. LEGAL DRINKING AGE
Please note that the legal drinking age in the United States is 21 and in Canada, 19 (with Alberta and Quebec at 18). Many bars and clubs will ask for ID at the door, therefore listening to live music in certain bars or spending a night out in Las Vegas or New Orleans is not possible when you are under the legal age, even if you don’t plan on consuming alcohol. Drinking laws in both countries are strictly enforced and our CEOs are unable to help those under age obtain alcohol of any kind.
While this should not stop those under legal drinking age from booking a tour, it is important to note that if a traveller is under-age there are certain optional nighttime activities that they may not legally be able to participate in. When trying to book the right trip, we recommend that travellers under legal drinking age take this into consideration when booking a tour that visits several big cities.
Group Leader Description
This G Adventures group trip is accompanied by one of our group leaders, otherwise known as a Chief Experience Officer (CEO). The CEO will be the group manager, leader and driver – this person is experienced in the routes travelled and will organize and lead the meal preparations and has experience in cooking a variety of local and international dishes for large groups.
As the group coordinator and manager, the aim of the CEO is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. They will also offer suggestions for things to do and to see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends.
We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting – we think it’s the best of both worlds.
Group Size Notes
Max 12, Avg 10.
Some of the meals on this tour are included in the tour price. When a meal is not included, this is because there are often many options available – we would like to give you the opportunity to explore a bit and taste the local cuisine yourself. In these cases, your CEO will be able to suggest some good local restaurants or options for you to choose from.
Vegetarian meals and other dietary requirements need to be specified prior to arrival.
Air-conditioned private touring van, hiking, walking, ferry, boat.
About our Transportation
We use 15-passenger vans for up to 12 people plus the CEO/Driver for all our of our trips in North America. For groups of 8 and more travellers, we also use a trailer to carry luggage and equipment. These vans are durable vehicles that allow us to drive on most types of roads in North America.
Each van has a front passenger seat and 4 benches that will accommodate 3 people each. No standing is permitted in these vehicles, but there is air conditioning to cool things down on warm days and mandatory seat belts to us secure and safe.
This is not a physically demanding journey. However, travelling can be difficult, with long drives and limited space in the van. Please take note of the travel times and distances in the above itinerary. Despite some of the long days, most clients feel that the diversity of the North American landscape, culture and wildlife are all well worth the experience!
We believe single travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and single travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
Hotel/lodges (11 nts).
My Own Room
This trip uses comfortable 3 star hotels, lodges and inns, well located in cities or near park entrances. Our chosen hotels vary in size, character, and amenities, but are of a very good standard, and the rooms are double occupancy with a private bathroom.
An arrival transfer is not included on this tour.
Please head to the Arrivals/Baggage Claim Level at both International and Domestic Terminals. From here you have two transport options; Taxi or Public Transit. All transportation is located on the Arrivals/Baggage Claim Level at both International and Domestic Terminals.
The airport is located 20 kilometers from downtown Calgary. On the Arrivals/Baggage Claim Level continue to the designated taxi zones located right outside the Arrivals Hall. The approximate fare to downtown Calgary is between $40 CAD and $45 CAD (depending on traffic) plus gratuity.
Door-to-Door Shuttle also knows as “Shared-ride Vans”
This is probably the most convenient way to get to your hotel and definitely cheaper than a taxi ride from the Airport. Airport departures are every 30 minutes at Bus Bay #8. To purchase tickets, please visit the Allied Shuttle counter on the arrivals level near Gate C between 8 am and midnight. Alternatively, you can reserve and buy tickets online. The fare to your hotel is $15 plus gratuity. (Shuttle phone is 403-299-9555).
Please note that day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned, though a brief departure meeting will be held in the hotel on the evening of day 1. When you arrive at our joining hotel you will find the time and place of the meeting on a welcome note hung in the hotel lobby. If you are unable to find the note, please just ask the front desk staff.
At the meeting you will meet other tour participants and receive information about the trip. If you arrive late and miss the meeting, your CEO will leave you a message detailing what time and where you should meet the next morning.
Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Representative or our G Adventures Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Local Representative (Canada based)
24hr emergency number
From outside Canada: +1 514-948-4145
From within Canada: +1 514-948-4145
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
What to Take
You will be on the move a lot, so our advice is to pack as lightly as possible.
For days in the outdoors, we recommend the use of lightweight, breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics made of wool or synthetic fibers. Cotton is not recommended for days to spend hiking as it does not allow for heat or moisture to enter or escape, and it will not dry easily once wet.
We recommend the use of a well-labeled duffel bag, rolling soft bag or backpack (whichever you find easiest to carry). Suitcases or heavy luggage are not recommended for the health of the CEO! A good size day-pack is also essential as you will have the chance to walk and hike in different national parks during these trips This daypack will be used to carry your personal gear for the day, lunch and water bottle.
It is important to pack clothes for warm days and cool evenings, as well as a light jacket. A set of smart casual clothes is also advisable.
NOTE: Mountains in the Canadian Rockies can have unpredictable weather with snow and heavy rain even in Summer time. Spring time could be snowy (until end of June) and fall season could start as soon as mid-August. Make sure you have equipment and clothing for all conditions!
- Credit and/or debit card (see spending money)
- G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and trip details
- Passport (with photocopies)
- Travel insurance (with photocopies)
- Airline tickets (with photocopies)
- Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
- Insect repellent
- Flashlight or Head lamp with batteries
- Hand sanitizers/ antibacterial wipes
- Rain Cover or plastic bags for daypacks
- Small towel (pack towels are good) and swim wear
- Sun hat
- Toiletries (biodegradable)
- Reusable water bottle
- Watch or alarm clock
- First-aid kit
- Weather-appropriate clothing
- 3 or 4 lightweight shirts or T-shirts
- Windproof/waterproof jacket (rain gear)
- 2 pair of shorts
- 1 pairs of long trousers
- 2 pair hiking pants/track pants
- Quick-dry socks
- Under garments
-Thermal base layer
- Warm gloves
- Warm hat
- Good hiking shoes or boots
- Sport sandals (suitable for water if you are planning on rafting)
- Extra comfortable slip-on sandal or shoes for the campsites
-Camera with extra memory cards and batteries
-Waterproof backpack cover
-Walking poles (Optional)
Laundry can be done at least once a week while on tour. Some private campgrounds and most cities have laundromats where you can buy soap and wash your laundry in coin-operated machines. Your CEO will advise you along the trip where you will be able to do your laundry.
All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). Contact your local embassy, or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent. It is your own responsibility to have the correct travel documentation.
As of March 15, 2016, all travellers to Canada will have to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) from the Government of Canada. The ETA must be requested prior to departure for Canada through the following link:
The authorization has a fee of $7 CAD per person and it is your responsibility to apply for the ETA prior to departure.
This policy does not apply to US citizens or nationalities that require a visa for Canada.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
The Canadian currency is the Canadian Dollar (CAD).
Credit cards are accepted almost everywhere in Canada and can be used to purchase most items. When purchasing products or services with a foreign credit card in Canada, you may be charged additional fees by your credit card company for foreign purchases.
Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances but you must remember to bring your PIN number (be aware that many ATM machines only accept 4-digit PINs). Both Cirrus and Plus system cards are the most widely accepted debit cards. Both Visa and Master Cards are the most widely accepted credit cards. While ATMs are commonly available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work check with your bank before you travel. A visit to an ATM can be arranged on Day 1 and other days of the trip.
Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of Canadian Dollars as cash (preferably smaller bills, 5’s, 10’s and 20’s) and credit cards is best.
Always take more rather than less, as you don’t want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.
As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com
It is customary in North America to tip service providers such as waiters, bartenders and taxi drivers, at approximately 15-18%, depending on the service. Tipping is an expected – though not compulsory – component of your tour program and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip any local guides used. Recommendations for tipping local guides would range from $2-8 CAD per activity depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture.
Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures Chief Experience Officer did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline $5-10 CAD per person, per day can be used as a guide. If your CEO met and exceeded your expectations, feel free to tip more.
Optional activity prices are subject to change and can fluctuate in relation to the high/low season and the number of people on a specific excursion. Not all excursions listed here may be available, due to season or weather conditions. As generally not a lot of time is spent in start/end cities, you may want to arrange to arrive early, or stay longer after the trip in order to allow sufficient time to participate in optional activities there.
All prices are per person, are in Canadian dollar amounts.
Royal BC Museum $25
Miniature World Museum $13.50
Butchard Garden $33.15
Zipline (Ziptrek Bear Tour) $123
Rafting Cheakamus River (4,5h) $107
Peak to Peak Gondola $52
Maligne Lake Cruise (90 min) $55
Rafting on Athabasca River (2h) $64
Sulphur Mountain Gondola $36.70
Rafting on Kicking Horse River $90.40
(transportation from Banff included)
Canoe rental $36/first hour, $20 add hour per boat
Banff Hot Spring $7.30
Safety and Security
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government’s advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your CEO has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your CEO will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.
Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.
We take all prudent measures in relation to your safety. For ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling, please visit:
Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, as a minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility’ is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our CEOs work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day’s activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.
The medical questionnaire can be found online at:
A Couple of Rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your CEO, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all clients must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation
Through our commitment to responsible tourism we have developed the Planeterra Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of people and communities around the world through support of international charities, local organizations and community projects in the places that we visit on our tours. G Adventures matches all individual donations and pays all administration costs, which means that 100% of each donation is doubled and goes directly to support our projects. For more information about Planeterra and the projects we support, or to make a donation, please visit www.planeterra.org
Planeterra Dollar-A-Day Program
Our Dollar-A-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to help us give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar per day for the duration of their tour. 100% of these proceeds will go directly to support our G Adventures for Good projects.
To participate in this program please indicate at the time of booking that you would like to participate in G Adventures’ Dollar-A-Day program, either by clicking the check box online, or by advising your G Adventures specialist or travel agent. (Note: Donation will be charged in the currency of your booking)
Travel Forum - The Watering Hole
Be sure to stop by The Watering Hole, our adventure travel forum. If you’re interested in meeting others booked on your upcoming trip, check out the Departure Lounge section of our forum and introduce yourself. Otherwise, just drop in at anytime to share some travel tips, ask questions, meet other travellers and quench your thirst for travel. Our forum is located at wateringhole.gadventures.com.
Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides.
Allow USD470-615 for meals not included.
11 breakfasts, 0 lunches, 1 dinner
PRODUCT_LINE: NCCNG, ID: 24391
Terms, conditions and restrictions apply; pricing, availability, and other details subject to change and/ or apply to US or Canadian residents. Please confirm details and booking information with your travel advisor.
Day 1 Calgary
Famed for its entrepreneurial spirit and youthful population, Calgary prides itself on being the heart of the new west while honouring its cowboy heritage.
Please make your own way to the joining hotel. If you are interested in exploring the city and its nearby attractions, it is recommended you book additional pre-trip accommodation nights.
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2 Calgary/Banff (1B)
Drive to Banff where we take a walk back in time with an expert from the Whyte Museum, exploring the historical town.
Banff Historical Walking Tour
Private Vehicle (2.00-3.00 hours, 130km)
Day 3 Banff/Lake Louise (1B)
Enjoy the morning in Banff before continuing to Lake Louise. View the emerald blue waters of this alpine lake, and opt to hike to the Tea House.
Lake Louise Visit
Private Vehicle (1.00-1.50 hours)
Day 4 Lake Louise/Jasper National Park of Canada (1B)
Along the 300km (186.4 mi) ride, a spectacle unfolds before our eyes: lush coniferous forests, immense mountains, turquoise lakes, high-falling cascades, and humbling glaciers. Numerous stops will be planned along the way for photos, observation, and wildlife encounters.
Columbia Icefields Center Visit
Athabasca Glacier Ice Walk
Private Vehicle (10.00 hour(s), 290km)
Day 5 Jasper National Park of Canada (1B)
Jasper’s friendly mountain hospitality, peaceful atmosphere, and the promise of real adventure make any visit unforgettable.
Miette Hot Springs Visit
Day 6 Jasper National Park of Canada/Blue River (1B, 1D)
View the highest peak in Jasper, Mount Robson, with a stop at the visitor centre before crossing the Rockies to reach Blue River. Enjoy a river safari tour through Grizzly Bear Valley and the world’s only inland temperate rainforest. Search out wildlife, which can include grizzly bears, moose, and eagles.
Mount Robson Visit
River Safari Tour in Grizzly Bear Valley
Private Vehicle (7.00 hour(s), 230km)
Day 7 Blue River/Whistler (1B)
Following this extraordinary route, once marked by the gold prospectors, we leave the arid and dry land of the Thompson Okanagan region into the Coastal Mountain Range. We drive through the region where aboriginal peoples led a semi-nomadic life moving between hunting and fishing grounds in the summer and settling into pit houses for the winter. Europeans came at first for fur trading and later on to establish cattle ranches, farms, and mining operations. The scenery changes dramatically and could even make you feel as if you were in a western movie.
Joffre Lakes Visit
Marble Canyon Visit
Private Vehicle (9.00 hour(s))
Day 8 Whistler (1B)
Whistler and its surrounding provincial parks are places you must discover. It is also a great place to try one of the many optional mountain activities.
Day 9 Whistler/Victoria (1B)
Drive the scenic Sea-to-Sky Highway and catch the ferry to Vancouver Island to reach Victoria, where we take an orientation walk with our CEO.
Private Vehicle (1.50-2.00 hours)
Ferry (1.75-2.00 hours)
Private Vehicle (1.50-1.75 hours)
Day 10 Victoria (1B)
Today is free for optional activities, including a zodiac whale watching cruise, visit to museums and Butchart gardens, or enjoying high tea at an historic hotel.
Day 11 Victoria/Vancouver (1B)
Board the scenic ferry to Vancouver, and discover highlights like Stanley Park and Gastown.
Stanley Park Visit
Private Vehicle (0.50-0.75 hours)
Ferry (1.50-1.75 hours)
Private Vehicle (0.50-0.75 hours)
Day 12 Vancouver (1B)
If you are interested in exploring the city and its nearby attractions, it is recommended you book additional pre-trip accommodation nights.