This tour offers a wide variety of highlights of Western Canada. On Vancouver Island we enjoy the wild Pacific coast, the historic city of Victoria and the world renowned Butchart Gardens. On the mainland we’ll learn about the history and geography of this region while exploring the spectacular landscapes and scenic vistas of the Rocky Mountains, which so define this area, as well as a brief trip to the Stampede city of Calgary. We get the opportunity, too, to get up close and personal with nature in the back country. In between there’s plenty of opportunity to satiate our adrenaline cravings.
Duration: 22 days/21 nights
Departure City: Vancouver. Ending City: Vancouver
Accommodations: hotels (20 nights), houseboat (1 night)
Transportation: minibus, ferry, ocean cruiser, houseboat
Leaders: Tour leader, Bus driver/ass’t leader
Included meals: 2 breakfasts, 1 dinner
Included Activities: Ferry rides, excursion to Port Renfrew, Cathedral Grove, whale-watching tour, Hot Springs Cove, Barkerville historic city day tour, excursions to Mt. Edith Cavell, Maligne Lake, Moraine Lake and Takakkaw Falls, Ice Explorer glacier tour, Skywalk tour, Sulphur Hot Springs soak, Three Valley Gap ghost town, Remote Escape houseboat adventure, all park fees.
Day 1: Meet your tour leader and fellow adventurers at the joining hotel to get your tour orientation. Then enjoy dinner at one of Vancouver’s many renowned restaurants.
Day 2: Enjoy the incredible scenery of the Gulf Islands as we cross to Vancouver Island. Visit the world-famous Butchart Gardens or a castle or a miniature world display government headquarters or roam the Victoria harbour to get a feel for this city.
Day 3: A full day to continue exploring Victoria. We also have an optional excursion to Port Renfrew’s Botanical Beach with its unique geological and botanical tidal pools and to hike portions of the Juan de Fuca coastal trail.
Day 4: We travel up the Island to Parksville, stopping at the Duncan totem poles and Chemainus artsy outlets along the way. At Parksville we can tour the Horne Lake Caves, hike to Little Qualicum Falls, explore the famous Coombs market, or relax on one of BC’s best beaches.
Day 5: We cross the Island to Tofino, stopping to admire the towering forests of Cathedral Grove. At Tofino, there are a range of options for exploring the wild Pacific coast of Canada.
Day 6: Today we take an included whale-watching excursion to Hot Springs Cove. We may see a wide variety of sea life along the way. At Hot Springs Cove, we relax in the soothing hot mineral waters as ocean waves surge up to meet us. A true bucket list experience.
Day 7: We journey back across the Island and take the ferry across Georgia Strait. Back on the mainland we turn up the incredibly scenic Sea-to-Sky Highway to Squamish for a wide range of activities in a picturesque setting, for every adrenalin level.
Day 8: We enjoy a return trip down the Sea-to-Sky Highway and a tour of world famous Stanley Park on our arrival back in Vancouver.
Day 9: Today we enjoy a scenic travel day up the raging Fraser Canyon, with plenty of photo stops. Then we transition to the rolling hills of Cariboo Country. It’s a day of landscape contrasts, ending at Quesnel, from where we’ll begin our Barkerville excursion tomorrow.
Day 10: Enjoy a trip back in time. We’ll spend a full day exploring the restored Barkerville, in its day the largest city west of Chicago and north of San Francisco, and now the largest such restored site in North America. Afterwards, we’ll travel to Prince George.
Day 11: Today we travel to Jasper, the first of the three Rocky Mountain national parks we visit. We’ll view the giant massif Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. In Jasper Park, we’ll take an included excursion to the alpine region of Mount Edith Cavell and still have time to ride the Whistlers’ Sky Tram.
Day 12: We have a full day to spend in Jasper. This is a cycling and hiking paradise, with numerous trails of all levels of challenge. Included in the package is an excursion to the picturesque Maligne Lake, with an option to take a boat trip to the much photographed Spirit Island.
Day 13: Today we travel one of the world’s great road trips, the Icefields Parkway, with many scenic peaks, waterfalls and lakes. Midway, we’ll stop for an included Ice Explorer glacier tour and the glass-floored Glacier Skywalk. Our day ends in Lake Louise
Day 14: We have a full day to enjoy the grandeur of the Lake Louise area, with options like hiking, canoeing, horseback riding, rock climbing, or simply relaxing in the tea houses or the opulent Lake Louise Lodge. And, of course, load up your camera with amazing photos.
Day 15: Today we’re in Calgary, the foothills city, also known as the Stampede City, with numerous attractions and night-life. During the Stampede, your tour will include entrance to “the greatest show on earth.”
Day 16: We’ll travel to Banff, the true heart of the Canadian Rockies. Here we’ll have nearly two full days to hike, walk, cycle, soak, paddle, ride, fly, stroll, visit museums, take photos, shop, or even dance the time away.
Day 17: Resume the activities you didn’t have time for yesterday, especially if your camera is still not full. Or enjoy the Via Ferrata or a rafting adrenaline rush.
Day 18: We cross the Great Divide through Kicking Horse Pass, stopping at such spectacular sites as Moraine Lake, The Spiral Tunnels, Takkakaw Falls, Emerald Lake, Rogers Pass, and end the day at Three Valley Gap.
Day 19: We start today by visiting the ghost town at the Gap, and have the option to take a helicopter flight over the alpine glacial highlands. Then we move on to the Shuswap, where we board the Remote Escape houseboat for our afternoon and overnight excursion.
Day 20: After returning to the marina, we re-board our minibus for our trip to Whistler, site of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, again passing through some superb scenery.
Day 21: We have a full day to participate in some of the many options available in Whistler, Canada’s adrenaline capital: Ziptrek, downhill mountain-biking, bungee jumping, Peak 2 Peak gondola, hiking, cycling, swimming, partying. This is our last night together.
Day 22: We travel the stunningly beautiful Sea-to-Sky Highway back to Vancouver, ending our experience about noon.
Tour Add-on Packages (Optional Excursion Add-ons)
How to add optional tour packages
Some of our tours have optional add-on packages which secure those activities for you in advance, and may be less expensive and less hassle than booking them individually while on your trip. You can add these packages at check out.
Add-on 1: Close to Nature package:
This package includes a helicopter flight to the high mountain back-country glaciers of the Purcell range on Day 19. On Day 16 or 17 you will be whisked up to the Sunshine meadows high alpine hiking and scenic exploration (Lake Louise equivalent will be substituted on trips prior to July 1). On Day 21, you will enjoy the Whistler Hiking and Sightseeing package for mountain vistas, surreal landscapes and fantastic hiking, plus the Peak 2 Peak gondola ride. Price: $458CAD, incl. taxes.
Add-on 2: Adrenaline Package:
This package includes a white-water paddle rafting trip on the Kicking Horse River on Day 16 or 17, where you navigate class 3 and 4 rapids without the aid of a motor. On the other of those days, you’ll get the Ridgewalker Via Ferrata on Mount Norquay in Banff. Then, in Whistler you can choose either Mammoth Ziptrek that includes 10 ziplines and 8 treetop bridges or Extreme Downhill Mountain-biking that includes bike rental and tickets to the mountain-bike park and lift passage. Price: $597CAD, incl. taxes.
Add-on 3: Single Supplement
Our trip prices are based on two people sharing rooms. Single travellers will be paired up with others of the same gender for room assignments. Subject to availability, travellers may upgrade to single rooms by adding a single supplement to their tour. The single supplement for this trip is $1769CAD.