Haida Gwaii and the Canadian Rockies
starting from US $7,990per person
Choose your own activities and experiences to enjoy.
Tailor your stay to perfectly suit your timeline and budget.
On this trip, explore the alpine treasures of the Canadian Rockies before traveling train through Northern British Columbia. Then, experience the raw, mystical beauty Haida Gwaii Islands. Stunning scenery, First Nations culture, abundant wildlife, and a choice of excellent guided experiences are all part of this incredible journey.
Trip at a glance
2 nights Banff
2 nights Emerald Lake
2 nights Jasper
1 night Prince George
2 nights Prince Rupert
4 nights Haida Gwaii
1 night Vancouver
Day 1 – Arrive Calgary, Drive to Banff
Welcome to Calgary International Airport! Pick up your rental car and drive through the Canadian Rocky Mountains to the town of Banff. The town of Banff is a unique destination; it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with the charm of a small mountain community. Breathe in the fresh Canadian Rockies air – you’ve arrived!
Day 2 – Explore Banff
Fill your lungs with cool, fresh Rockies air and head out for a day of exploration. Enjoy the views from the Banff Gondola located atop Sulphur Mountain.
Additionally, you have 3 options to help you enjoy Banff to its fullest:
• Option 1: Hike in Sunshine Meadows
Enjoy a sightseeing ride to the top of Sunshine Mountain, where you will begin your 90-minute interpretive hike with an experienced mountain guide. During your hike take the time to snap photos and enjoy the beautiful mountain vistas, lakes and learn about the history of the area. Pickups from Banff available.
Activity rating: Moderate
• Option 2: Helicopter Tour
Soar past the Three Sisters Peaks and above the Spray Valley in a thrilling helicopter tour. You will see the magnificent Goat Range where you will observe the radiant aqua blue and green colours of the Spray Lakes. Your tour follows the Bow River as you fly back to the town of Canmore.
Activity rating: Easy
• Option 3: Privately Guided Sunrise Photography Tour
Wake up early to experience the magical wilderness of Banff National Park at sunrise. Explore with a private guide and learn how to take great photos. Ideal for the amateur photographer wanting to increase their skills with a manual camera. This is a sure way to make friends and family at home jealous!
Activity rating: Moderate (some walking involved)
Insider tip: We recommend taking your Banff Gondola ride later in the evening to avoid the crowds and enjoy the evening light.
Day 3 – Banff to Yoho National Park
After a leisurely morning in Banff, drive through scenic Banff National Park, across the border into BC. Arriving at the exquisite Emerald Lake Lodge, located in the heart of Yoho National Park. End your day in the gorgeous outdoor hot tub surrounded by towering peaks or in the dining room which features Canadian Rocky Mountain cuisine.
Day 4 – Explore Yoho National Park
Today you are free to explore on your own. If you prefer to stay close to your hotel, Emerald Lake is one of the most admired destinations in Yoho National Park, with an unmatched diversity of both activities and landscapes. The hike around the lake, which will take about an hour, is one of the least strenuous but most rewarding in the park. Emerald Lake is a fantastic place to see wildlife, as animals are drawn to the important water source. Bald eagles, moose, and ospreys are a common sight, which can be seen from the lakeside or while paddling gently across the lake in a canoe.
Day 5 – The Icefields Parkway – Yoho National Park to Jasper
Drive along the spine of the Rockies, on what is surely one of the most beautiful roads in the world - the Icefields Parkway.
Along the way, you have 2 options for exploring today:
• Option 1: Ice Explorer and Glacier Skywalk Admissions
Drive the Icefields Parkway at your own pace and stop for a guided ride on the Ice Explorer out onto the Athabasca Glacier, where you’ll be able to spend some time walking on the glacier and filling your bottle with ice cold glacial water. Further down the Parkway, your admission to the Glacier Skywalk is included, giving you the chance to experience one of the newest attractions in the Canadian Rockies.
Activity rating: Easy
• Option 2: Guided Icewalk on the Athabasca Glacier
This full-day tour will have you venturing down the Icefields Parkway to the famous Columbia Icefields, one of the most scenic drives in the world. Step onto the Athabasca Glacier and explore safely along snow and ice while your experienced guide navigates. Equipment and lunch is included.
Activity rating: Moderate
After your time on the Icefields Parkway, your day ends in the small mountain town of Jasper.
Day 6 – A Full Day in the Rockies – Discover Jasper
Spend the day exploring the jewel of the Rockies, Jasper.
You have 3 options today to help you enjoy Jasper to its fullest:
• Option 1: Jasper Evening Discovery Tour
Join a knowledgeable guide on this small group tour to learn about the ecology and rich diversity of Jasper National Park. Travel through the Athabasca Valley to some of the park’s most beautiful scenery - have your camera ready to capture some amazing photos and possible wildlife encounters!
Activity rating: Easy
• Option 2: Hike on Mount Edith Cavell
Drink in the sights, smells and sounds of nature on this professionally guided walk in Jasper National Park. Enjoy a pace suited to your level, and plenty of time for photos. Discover wildlife, admire rare alpine wildflowers, and stand in awe of magnificent valley views.
Activity rating: Moderate
• Option 3: Jasper Canoe Adventure
The ambiance of an evening on a mountain lake is breathtaking - fish breaking the surface of the still water, the call of a loon, the sighting of beaver, or perhaps a moose grazing. Paddle with a guide across the lake, in a large canoe. What a peaceful way to end your day, with the sun setting behind the surrounding mountains.
Activity rating: Moderate
Day 7 – Canadian Rockies by Train – Jasper to Prince George onboard VIA Rail’s Skeena Train
Start your train vacation onboard VIA Rail’s Skeena train. Enjoy the rugged beauty and pioneering character of a landscape once solely traveled by First Nation and fur traders. The train follows the turbulent currents of the Skeena River traveling through the spectacular canyons and open valleys in the presence of ever present mountain ridges. Overnight in Prince George.
Day 8 – Prince George to Prince Rupert onboard VIA Rail’s Skeena Train
Continue your train journey, bound for the coast today. All around you are windows – 360 degrees of spectacular scenery surround the Skeena train as you travel through the dense forest of British Columbia. Endless mountain ranges, remote communities and native history are just outside your window, so don’t take your eyes off the horizon. Arrive into the small port town of Prince Rupert tonight.
Day 9 – Explore Prince Rupert
Enjoy exploring spectacular Northern British Columbia. You may wish to visit the Museum of Northern British Columbia, where First Nations artists work in the carving shed, open to the public.
Insider tip: From May to late July, ask your vacation specialist about adding a cruise to the untouched wilderness of Khutzeymateen Valley, home to the highest population of Grizzlies in North America. Here you can spot your first grizzly bear grazing in a meadow or tending her cubs, in a completely natural environment. Overnight in Prince Rupert.
Day 10 – Prince Rupert to Haida Gwaii
Today your Haida Gwaii adventure begins. Board a float plane in Prince Rupert and fly to the northern Haida Gwaii town of Massett. Enjoy the scenic flight as you soar over the Hecate Strait. Upon arrival in Haida Gwaii you will be met by a representative and driven to the Haida House at Tllaal, your base for the next four days. An orientation with Cultural Services and a delicious dinner from local chefs is the perfect introduction to Haida Gwaii, also known as the ‘Islands of the People’.
Day 11 – Cultural Day in Haida Gwaii
The archipelago of Haida Gwaii offers numerous opportunities to dive into ancient culture and traditions. Start off with an escorted drive along the scenic coast to Skidegate Village, and Queen Charlotte City. Then immerse yourself in history at the Kay Lnagaay Heritage Centre and learn about the famous Haida Totem Poles and carvings. After a picnic lunch, visit a Haida artisan’s home studio to see weaving or jewelry making in action. Top off your day with a traditional Haida Feast; including locally harvested food served tapas style by a renowned Haida Chef.
Day 12 – Zodiac Adventure to Skedans (K'uuna Llnagaay)
Join a marine guide on a thrilling Zodiac tour to the remote K'uuna Llnagaay, a place with 12,000 years of human history. The main stop on this tour is the Haida village site of Skedans. Enjoy a guided tour of the totem poles and house pits that remain in the village which was abandoned in the 1880s. Chances to see marine wildlife and bears makes for an exciting zodiac ride back.
Day 13 – Exploratory Tour of Old Massett Village Totems, Port Clements & Tlell
Sit back and enjoy a guided drive north to the town of Port Clements, known for the once famous Golden Spruce; walk along a gentle, canopied trail as you learn about the tragic felling of the ancient tree. Your tour continues north to Massett where you can enjoy a boardwalk hike to the top of Tow Hill to achieve views of endless beaches and the Alaskan Islands. Depending on the tides you may have the chance to view the naturally formed Blow Hole. Next, visit Old Massett, an area known for its 18 totem poles, each with a unique design and history. After a picnic lunch, visit the artisans of Tlell and their enchanting studios.
Day 14 – Fly from Haida Gwaii to Vancouver
Savor one last breakfast at the Haida House before being transported to the airport in time for your flight. Enjoy the stunning scenery from the window of the plane as you fly two hours south to Vancouver. Soar over endless mountain ranges, shimmering oceans, and massive glaciers. Overnight at a Vancouver Airport hotel.
Day 15 – With Fond Memories Made – Depart Vancouver
Much too soon, you leave the clean air and colorful sights of Canada behind as your Canadian vacation comes to an end.
What we love about this trip
Two days on the comfortable Skeena Train by VIA Rail
Taking a float plane over Hecate Strait
Exploring Haida Gwaii and the stunning Rocky Mountains
Exploring the totems of remote K’uuna Llnagaay by zodiac
Staying at the scenic Emerald Lake Lodge
Wildlife of the Pacific North West and Rocky Mountains
Below you'll find examples of this trip's accommodation options. Please call us for the full list or advice on how to customize your experience.
Juniper Hotel & Bistro
An example of our Boutique accommodations
The simple, comfortable Juniper Hotel is like nowhere else in Banff. Panoramic views, plentiful sunshine, and vintage architecture make this the perfect mountain retreat. Set away from the busy townsite yet close enough to be convenient, mountains rise straight up from the back door, while elk, coyote, or deer pass by every day. The wall-to-wall glass at the Juniper Bistro looks out over one of the most renowned vistas in North America. Locally-inspired food served in the bistro is perfect after a day of adventure.
An example of our Rustic Mountain Lodge accommodations
Stay in one of the Tekarra Lodge's rustic, charming cabins a stone's throw from the town of Jasper but snugly nestled in nature. Tekarra Lodge's tranquil and peaceful setting will immediately let you relax without the distractions of telephones or televisions. Walk out onto your private deck, be greeted by breathtaking mountain views, and watch the wildlife which often includes deer, elk, squirrels, and pine martins. Tekarra accommodations are equipped with wood burning fireplaces, perfect for cozying up with a book and a glass of wine. As well, each cabin has a kitchen or kitchenette for convenience. The Tekarra Restaurant is right onsite offering amazing fine dining in a relaxed casual atmosphere amongst the evergreens. Other amenities include bike rentals, plus an onsite gift shop.
An example of our Wilderness Lodge accommodations
Nestled on the banks of the serene Tlell River, surrounded by forest, sand, and surf, Haida House the ideal base from which to enjoy the many adventures, attractions, excursions and cultural sites available on Haida Gwaii. The spacious post and beam lodge features 10 comfortable guest rooms, each with a double and twin bed and private facilities. The lodge features a lounge, patio, and dining room where delicious Northwest Coast cuisine is served.
Emerald Lake Lodge
An example of our Mountain Lodge accommodations
An exclusive year-round destination, the historic Emerald Lake lodge is located in Yoho National Park, just 25 miles west of Lake Louise. Built of hand-hewn timber and featuring massive stone fireplaces, the Lodge includes a formal dining room, quiet reading and sitting rooms, and a games room. The lounge is enhanced by an oak bar salvaged from an 1890's Yukon saloon. The lodge features an outdoor hot tub which offers dazzling views of Emerald Lake, or gather around the firepit in the evening to appreciate the beauty and serenity of the area.
Prices & Dates2018 - Calgary Start Dates*
June 4, 18
July 2, 16, 30
August 13, 27
* Only Westbound itinerary option available due to trip component availability. If you’d like to travel outside of these dates, please call us for a customized trip to fit into your time frame.
Superior Hotels and Lodges
from US $7,990to US $8,629per person
Our Superior Level provides amazing value for clients wanting something more upscale but not at the price of a top-end 5 star resort. Superior level hotels are some of our favorites because of the character and unique charm that you won't find at the average chain hotel. Unique tours and seamless transfers complete your itinerary.
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