Grand American Adventures
The Canadian Rockies are incredible: rugged peaks, untouched fir forests and radiant glaciers interspersed with valleys rich with wildlife; Black and Grizzly Bear, deer, moose and coyote. This tour visits those unmissable sights, such as Lake Louise, but also delves deeper, venturing off the beaten track. Tweedsmuir and Bella Coola are rarely visited by tourists and offer a true wilderness experience, along with two dedicated boat trips to spot bears and whales in their natural habitat. This trip is a rare blend of the highlights and lesser visited areas of Canada's spectacular wilderness and the wildlife which lives there.
• International flights with Air Transat departing from London Gatwick in economy class
• Includes seat selection
• 14 nights standard accommodation
• Tour Leader throughout
• Transportation by private mini-coach
• Ferries along the Inside Passage from Bella Coola to Vancouver Island
• Bear viewing cruise in Tofino
• Visit to Miette Hot Springs in Jasper National Park
• Visit the historic gold rush city of Williams Lake
Why not upgrade your flights to Club Class
Add on an Alaskan Cruise at the end of your tour
Day 1 - Fly from London to Calgary
Welcome to Calgary, a cosmopolitan Alberta city with skyscrapers and a booming oil business industry. Calgary has historically been famous for its Wild West roots but in recent years it has become a dynamic and vibrant city. It's oozing with the Western culture that earned it the nickname 'Cowtown', evident in the Calgary Stampede. Introduce yourself to the city by wandering around ahead of your welcome meeting at 18:00 hrs in the hotel lobby, where you'll meet you tour leader and fellow travelling companions.
Day 2 – Calgary to Banff National Park
Leave the big city behind and transfer to the Canadian Rockies town of Banff; Canada's first national park and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Banff town can easily be explored on foot and with plenty of optional activities there's more than enough to fill your time. Visit the iconic Banff Springs Hotel where tourism in the Rockies first began, take a short trail to the tumbling Bow Falls or visit some of the many souvenir shops in town. You can take the gondola up to Sulphur Mountain for rewarding panoramic views of the Rockies or simply relax in the heated, natural pools of the Banff Hot Springs. You could also walk along Tunnel Mountain trail for a view of Banff and the Bow Valley. Tonight you'll stay in nearby Canmore.
Day 3 – Banff National Park
With another glorious day exploring Banff National Park ahead of you, it's time to see more of the magnificent mountains, lakes and forests that Banff is so famous for. Drive to Moraine Lake located in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, the highest of which is Deltaform Mountain (3,424m). Next take a walk on one of the many trails at nearby Lake Louise, a favourite with many tourists is the hike up to the Plain of Six Glaciers, offering incredible views of the valley. Both of these lakes are famous for their striking blue glacial colour, caused by rock flour carried into the lakes by melt-water from the surrounding glaciers, this is picture perfect scenery at it's very best!
Day 4 – Icefields Parkway to Jasper National Park
Brace yourself, as this morning you hit one of the most famous and beautiful drives in the world, the Icefields Parkway. This spectacular road traverses the Rockies, running parallel to the Continental Divide. Mountain passes, glaciers and high peaks are some of the many scenic highlights and there are opportunities to see elk, caribou, bears, Bighorn Sheep and goats, which often graze on the vegetation found in the roadside verges. You'll stop at all of the `must see' sights, including Bow Summit and Bow Lake, Peyto Lake, Crowfoot Glacier and famous Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. There's also the option to enjoy a guided glacier ice-walk along the way. Your overnight location will be in Jasper National Park, around forty minutes out of town.
Day 5 – Jasper National Park
Jasper is much quieter and less developed than Banff, which means it is much easier to escape the crowds and spend the day getting to know Jasper National Park and its surroundings. One option is to take the Jasper Tram and walk to the summit, which provides fantastic views over the Canadian Rockies. Alternatively there are various hikes at Mount Edith Cavell, including a short hike in the alpine meadows where you'll encounter spectacular views of the Angel Wing Hanging Glacier, with chances to see caribou. Included is a visit to Miette Hot Springs to rest your weary muscles after a day of exploring and hiking
Day 6 – Mount Robson and Williams Lake
As the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, Mount Robson is indeed a stunning sight and pausing to take in over 10,000ft of snow-capped loveliness is exactly what you can expect as you continue on your journey. You have the option to hike at Kinney Lake, located in the Mount Robson Provincial Park, or join a wildlife river safari instead, with the chance to see bear, moose, eagle and osprey from Blue River. Drive to the historic gold rush city of Williams Lake to spend the night.
Day 7 – Tweedsmuir Provincial Park
Today you drive through authentic Canadian wilderness as you head completely off the beaten track towards Tweedsmuir Provincial Park. Tweedsmuir Provincial Park was named after the 15th Governor General of Canada, John Buchan, Baron Tweedsmuir who travelled extensively throughout the park by float aircraft and horseback. With a varied landscape you can expect to see rugged mountains, deep valleys and ocean fjords. Your overnight location is close to the shores of Anahim Lake, a popular lake for fly fishing that supports plenty of wildlife. There's an optional canoeing excursion on the lake this afternoon and in the evening we recommend relaxing by the fireplace! NB: This area has very basic facilities but is extremely beautiful and off the tourist trail.
Day 8 - Tweedsmuir Provincial Park to Bella Coola
Tweedsmuir Provincial Park is completely off the radar for most tour groups, despite being named as British Columbia's most beautiful park. Spend time in the southern area of the park and enjoy a hiking trail through an area of thick forest. A healthy population of Grizzly and Black Bear exists throughout the park, as well as elk, deer, moose and coyote; it is possible to see any of these whilst visiting Tweedsmuir. Wildlife aside, the colours of the mountains, combined with the solitude and flora will ensure that Tweedsmuir is a park that you'll remember. After some time spent hiking, you'll drive over `the Hill' with superb views all the way to Bella Coola.
Day 9 - Bella Coola
Bella Coola is located at the point where the Bella Coola River joins with the salt water of the Pacific Ocean. Here, amongst the lush valley bottoms and snow-capped peaks, reside some of the largest Grizzly Bear in the world and this little community is gaining a reputation as one of the best places to spot them in British Columbia. The best time of year to view Grizzly Bear is from the middle of August to the end of September as this is when they descend from the mountains to catch salmon in the rivers. In season, it's possible to join an optional excursion in search of Grizzly Bear. Outside of bear season there's a selection of excellent hikes on offer and plenty of optional activities, such as fishing and wildlife viewing.
Day 10 - Inside Passage
Fondly regarded as an absolute delight for wildlife lovers, the Inside Passage presents one of the most amazing ferry trips in the whole of North America, with everything from frozen fjords to forest-covered hillsides flanking the route. The journey cannot be completed with one ferry so we take two ferries with a total duration of 16.5 hours. The scenery is simply spectacular: towering, forest-clad peaks surround the deep fjords and those with a keen eye can often spot Bald Eagles and bear. The Inside Passage also supports one of the world's richest marine environments and it may be possible to see Grey, Orca, Pacific White Sided and occasionally Humpback Whales. The remoteness of the Inside Passage is its most stunning feature; this area is largely inaccessible by road and the tiny communities spread along it rely on boats for transportation.
Day 11 – Tofino and Ucluelet, Vancouver Island
Drive from northern side of Vancouver Island to the area of Tofino through some beautiful scenic areas. Make a stop at Cathedral Grove, one of the most accessible stands of giant Douglas Fir Trees in the province. There are many trails which meander through the Douglas-Fir, Western Hemlock, Grand fir and Western Red Cedar Trees, so enjoy the scenery and breathe in that fresh island air.
Day 12 – Tofino and Ucluelet, Vancouver Island
The West Coast of Vancouver Island is well-known for its whale and bear sightings and this morning you'll undertake a boat trip that gives you a unique chance to get up close and personal with the beautiful Black Bear, with experienced on board guides who know the area in depth. The afternoon is yours to enjoy as you wish with kayaking, hiking or a boat whale watching trip. Your overnight base will be in Ucluelet or Tofino.
Day 13 – Victoria
Travel to Victoria, Vancouver Island's main town and the capital of British Columbia. It's a remarkable mix of English Edwardian, First Nations and even some unique Chinese style buildings and was home to the first Chinatown in Canada. Take a tour of the city's highlights then enjoy some free time to relax or see the city in more depth. You may want to visit the Provincial Museum, which gives an introduction to the First Nations people and the natural history of the region. Alternatively there are plenty of optional excursions that you can organise locally.
Day 14 – Victoria to Vancouver
In the morning board a ferry across the Salish Sea, admiring the small islands and breath-taking panorama of the city of Vancouver as it comes into view. This cosmopolitan and diverse metropolis is a stark contrast to the rest of British Columbia, but always proves to be a highlight. Enjoy a scenic drive through Stanley Park, a 4,000-hectare green wonderland with authentic totem poles erected in the 1920s. Stop by Prospect Point, a scenic lookout where you gaze out at spectacular views of Lion's Gate Bridge, North Vancouver and West Vancouver. This tour ends at our gateway hotel at approximately 17:00 hrs
Day 15 - Fly from Vancouver to London - End of tour
In the morning board a ferry to Vancouver. Enjoy a drive through Stanley Park and stop by Prospect Point for a spectacular view of Vancouver. The rest of the afternoon is free to explore or relax in Vancouver.Want to alter anything?
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