Rising along the border of Alberta and British Columbia, the Canadian Rockies are a wonderland of twisting granite peaks, jewel-colored alpine lakes, and glaciers that pour down from towering heights. Explore this spectacular region in one of the most exhilarating ways possible: soaring among the summits in a helicopter to reach remote hiking trails. Crunch across an ancient glacier, swing through the high alpine landscapes on a zip line, and discover stunning scenery that few have encountered. The adventure begins in beautiful Banff National Park, where we’ll hike beneath its highest peaks with a private guide. From our lakeside lodge in Yoho National Park head out on hikes and canoe outings. Then fly up to the isolated heights of the Bobbie Burns Lodge in a helicopter and embark on an unforgettable heli-hiking adventure.
Spend three days heli-hiking amid glaciers, snow-tipped summits, and the high alpine meadows of the Bobbi Burns region.
Hike through Banff National Park’s splendid Sunshine Meadows with a private interpretive guide.
Take a guided geological walk back in time at the Burgess Shale Geoscience Foundation and learn about the amazing finds at one of the world’s most important fossil fields.
Stay in stunning remote mountain lodges and enjoy time on your own to canoe, hike, or get a massage.
Itinerary - 7 Days
Day 1 — Calgary/Banff National Park
Arrive at Calgary International Airport and take a two-hour drive to the eastern edge of the Rockies to Banff National Park—a UNESCO World Heritage site and Canada’s first national park. Get settled at the Buffalo Mountain Lodge, where each room features a cozy fi replace, before gathering for an orientation and dinner. Buffalo Mountain Lodge (D)
Day 2 — Banff National Park
Unfurling at 7,300 feet of elevation, yet beneath some of the highest peaks of the Canadian Rockies, Sunshine Meadows is a spectacular introduction to the wonders of Banff. Spend the day on its trails with our interpretive guide, hiking through wildflowers to pristine lakes and hidden waterfalls. Keep your eye out for black and grizzly bears, elk, mule deer, moose, and much more. Take in incredible views of the twisted peak of Mount Assiniboine, an 11,870-foot summit sometimes referred to as the Matterhorn of North America. At the Banff Centre, enjoy dinner and a private screening of the Best of Banff —a sampling of the top films from the annual Banff Mountain Film Festival, which is presented in association with National Geographic. (4–5 miles hiking, 4–5 hours) Buffalo Mountain Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 3 — Banff National Park/Burgess Shale/Yoho National Park
A scenic drive on the Bow Valley Parkway brings us to Moraine Lake, nestled in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, whose sapphire waters mirror a soaring set of ice-clad summits. Hike to the viewpoint above Moraine Lake, then continue on to Lake Louise, where you have time for a lakeside stroll. After lunch, cross into Yoho National Park to Field, British Columbia, home of the fascinating Burgess Shale—one of the richest deposits of fossils in the world. Step half a billion years back in time during a geology walk and presentation across the black shale slopes and learn about the trilobites and other soft -bodied creatures whose fossils have given us a glimpse into life on Earth during the Cambrian Period. Later, arrive at our stunning and intimate lodge, perched on the shores of Emerald Lake. The rest of the day is yours to go canoeing, hike around the lake, or relax at the lodge. (3 miles hiking, 1–2 hours) Emerald Lake Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 4 — Bobbie Burns
Head west into the Columbia Valley to the Bobbie Burns helipad, where our helicopter awaits. Take a quick flight to our remote lodge, set high in the Rockies. With the help of the lodge staff, we’ll gear up for our heli-hiking adventure and fly up to the ridgeline for a warm-up hike after lunch. Return by helicopter late this afternoon and enjoy time to relax before a delicious family-style dinner tonight. (4–6 miles hiking, 3–4 hours) Bobbie Burns Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 5 — Heli-Hiking
After a hearty breakfast, board our helicopter for a full day of exploring the majestic landscapes around Bobbie Burns. Choose from a variety of guided excursions: Go hiking in high alpine meadows or descend into deep river valleys, trek across an ancient glacier, or swoop through the mountains on a zipline course. Or, the very adventurous can aim for the summit on a rock-climbing outing. Take a packed lunch with you for a picnic in a scenic spot. Return by helicopter to the lodge and take time to unwind—perhaps indulge in an optional massage before dinner. (8–10 miles optional hiking, 6–7 hours) Bobbie Burns Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 6 — Heli-Hiking
Our helicopter whisks us over the mountains again this morning for another full day pursuing your choice of activities amid the snowy summits. Spot wildlife such as mountain goats, bighorn sheep, bears, and wolves. Back at the lodge this evening, toast our high-flying escapades at a festive farewell dinner. (8–10 miles optional hiking, 6–7 hours) Bobbie Burns Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 7 — Bobbie Burns/Calgary
After breakfast, a final helicopter flight brings us to the helipad, where we continue overland on a stunning drive through Kootenay and Banff National Parks. Arrive at Calgary International Airport and catch your flight home. (B,L)
National Geographic Active Expeditions are unique, active itineraries for intrepid travelers that combine spectacular places, cultural interaction, and physical challenge. You'll explore fascinating, off-the-beaten-path places with top guides, and wherever possible, meet National Geographic experts in the field.
We will be hiking 1 to 7 hours per day (3 to 10 miles) in remote regions on moderate grades and at elevations ranging from 4,500 feet to a maximum of 9,000 feet. Most days have options for more, or less, hiking. We will spend 6 nights in lodges that combine comfort and ideal locations.
Click here for a description of all activity levels.
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