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Best of Banff: Our Mountain Heritage

Program Number: 13178RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/8/2013 - 9/13/2013; 7/17/2016 - 7/22/2016; 8/7/2016 - 8/12/2016; 8/21/2016 - 8/26/2016; 9/4/2016 - 9/9/2016;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Price starting at: $1,349.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: National Parks; Natural History; History & Culture
Meals: 11; 5 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners    

Explore Canada’s oldest national park, Banff and Lake Louise, and hear about the incredible pioneers who tamed Canada’s Wild West. Learn how the Canadian Pacific railway was instrumental in turning Banff into a Victorian luxury paradise. Explore rocky peaks, vast forests and experience expert-led walks to the waters Bow Falls, Moraine Lake and Lake Louise to see how this natural paradise inspired voyagers, artists and outdoorsmen alike. Discover the incredible geological history and rich ecology at the Cave and Basin Historic Site and leave mesmerized by the ubiquitous beauty of the land.


• Celebrate the environmental efforts that led to the establishment of Canada’s first national park and the unique geothermal hot springs.
• Witness Victorian splendor at the Chateau Lake Louise, Banff Springs Hotel and the art of the Whyte Museum.
• Explore the geological history of the Canadian Rockies on an indepth field trip with a well-known expert.

Activity Particulars

Walks up to two miles, some standing.

Date Specific Information

9-8-2013, 7-17-2016, 8-21-2016

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

8-7-2016, 9-4-2016

The activity level for this date is Moderate; activities have been adjusted to reduce the amount of walking. Walking up to 1 mile, some stairs.
Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.


A dynamic metropolis that blends big-city energy with outstanding outdoor adventures, Calgary offers a wealth of cultural and historical attractions, world-renowned festivals, and a prime location close to mountain trails, rolling foothills and the desert badlands.


A storied gateway to Banff National Park — with more than 25 mountain peaks towering over 8,000 feet — Banff welcomes adventurers and nature-lovers to take in the alpine wonders and colorful history of the Canadian Rockies.

Banff: Mountain inn with breathtaking views of Canadian Rockies.
Meals and Lodgings
   Best Western Plus Port O'Call Calgary Airport Hotel
  Calgary, Alberta 1 night
   Irwin's Mountain Inn
  Banff, AB 4 nights
 Best Western Plus Port O'Call Calgary Airport Hotel
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: BEST WESTERN PLUS Port O' Call Calgary Airport Hotel is conveniently located only 3.72 miles (6 kms) from the Calgary International and also provides easy access to downtown Calgary, a number of Calgary attractions and Banff National Park. In addition, the hotel also features complimentary wireless Internet, an indoor pool, New Water Park featuring two slides, extensive fitness room, and several onsite restaurants for your convenience.
  Contact info: 1935 McKnight Blvd N.E.
Calgary, AB T2E 6V4 Canada
phone: 403-291-4600
  Room amenities: All hotel rooms have cable television with in-room movies, voicemail, irons, coffee makers and hair dryers. High speed Internet is available upon request.
  Facility amenities: • Complimentary shuttle to/from Calgary Airport • Indoor pool • Hot tub - Whirlpool • Exercise facility • Squash courts • Barber/beauty shop • Gift Shop • Dry cleaning • Guest laundry • High-speed Internet access
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Call for availability & rates. Contact hotel directly.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

 Irwin's Mountain Inn
Type: Inn
  Description: Family owned and operated for over thirty years, Irwin's Mountain Inn was completely reconstructed by the fall of 1995 making the property one of Banff's newer accommodations. Originally built in 1967 by Paul and Elizabeth Irwin with their two sons, Arlen and Larry, Irwin's Motor Inn was recognized as one of the best values in Banff. With farming as their previous livelihood, the Irwin's extended the same hospitality to their guests at the motel as was characteristic of the way they greeted and treated visitors and friends to their farm. A tradition of hospitality and friendliness was established in those early years and the Management to this day still endeavors to live up to Paul and Elizabeth's example in the service and quality of comfort they provide guests to Irwin's Mountain Inn. The name has changed and three times the motel has undergone major rebuilding phases, but the standard of excellence in hospitality that Paul and Elizabeth Irwin exemplified over thirty years ago still serves as the benchmark for the next generation of Irwins that share in the ownership and management of the Irwin's Mountain Inn.
  Contact info: 429 Banff Avenue
Banff, AB T1L 1B2 Canada
phone: 403-762-4566
  Room amenities: Satellite TV and movie channel; rooms are fully air conditioned, hair dryers, in-room coffee maker, irons and ironing boards available on request from front desk.
  Facility amenities: Fitness Centre, coin laundry, small gift shop, free wireless Internet, Internet Kiosk, 10 person jetted tub, 4 person Sauna, games room, massage therapy. Located within walking distance of downtown Banff. On-site dining at the El Toro restaurant, located on the street level of the inn, it has a reputation as one of the best restaurants in Banff, El Toro specializes in steak, seafood and Greek dishes.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: Call for availability & rates Please contact the hotel directly on your own OR if you require personal assistance contact Maritime Travel toll free at 1-888-905-5959. A service fee MAY apply.

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Independent arrivals and transfers to the program hotel, Calgary, AB. Check-in after 3:00 pm. Dinner is at 6:00 pm. You will be staying at Best Western Plus Port O'Call Calgary Airport Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
Breakfast is at 7:30 am. Independent departures from Banff hotel after breakfast. Check-out is 11 am. You will be staying at Irwin's Mountain Inn the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. PASSPORTS: Passport requirements are subject to change. Visit for up to date information.
  Parking availability:
Contact the hotel directly for parking rates 403-291-4600. At the airport – Parkade: Outdoor, long-term parking for CAD$28 per day, or CAD$125 per week(403) 735-1372. Park ‘n Fly: CAD$14.95per day or CAD$69.75 per week. More info: (403) 250-6533.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Calgary, Alberta
  Nearest city or town:  Canmore, Alberta
  Nearest airport:  Calgary International Airport
  From End of Program
  Location:  Banff, AB
  Nearest city or town:  Banff
  Nearest highway: Trans-Canada highway 1
  Nearest airport:  Calgary International Airport
Travel Details

Calgary, AB


From Airport




Hotel Shuttle
phone: 403-291-4600
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


No charge
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


Approximately 15 minutes 


A complimentary shuttle is available from the airport to the Best Western Port O' Call. Please call the hotel from the airport for pickup. The hotel staff will advise when the next shuttle will be at the airport and will let you know where to go to meet the shuttle.


Calgary (AB)


From Airport






Per Person/One Way:


Approximately $30
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


15 minutes 


Taxis are readily available in the arrival area.


Calgary (AB)


From Bus Terminal






Per Person/One Way:


Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


20 minutes 


Taxis available at bus station. Greyhound Canada offers regularly scheduled bus service to/from Calgary, Alberta. Contact Greyhound at 800-661-8747 or 403-263-1234 or visit for schedule and fare information.


Banff to Calgary Airport


To Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Banff Airporter
phone: 888-449-2901
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


Approximately CAD$55
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


1.5 to 2 hours 




140 kms


The Banff Airporter offers hourly shuttle service between Banff and Calgary, including the Calgary International Airport. Shuttle fee is non-refundable (insurance is available - please enquire with the shuttle company). Reservations are required. Visit for current fares, schedules and reservations.




To Airport




Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


Approximate cost is CAD$160
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


Approximate travel time is 1.5 to 2 hours 




140 kms


Taxi service is available from the Banff hotel to the Calgary International Airport. The hotel staff will be happy to arrange this service for you. Please provide them with ample notice.

Driving Directions
  Calgary Airport (to Best Western Port O' Call) Head South on Airport Road NE. Turn right to stay on Airport Road NE. Turn left onto Barlow Trail NE N. Turn left onto Airport Trail NE W (watch signs for Alberta 2/City Centre). Take the ramp onto Alberta 16 State Hwy S. Take exit 261 for McKnight Boulevard E. Merge onto McKnight Blvd NE E. The Best Western Port O’Call will be on the right
  Trans Canada Highway (from the east) Head west on Trans Canada Hwy/AB-1 W. Take the AB-2 N/Deerfoot Trail ramp to Red Deer. Merge onto Deerfoot Trail/Alberta 16 State Hwy N. Take exit 261A for McKnight Blvd NE E. The Best Western Port O’Call will be on your right.
  Trans Canada Highway (from the west) Head East on Trans Canada Hwy/AB-1 E. Turn left onto Centre St NE N. Turn right on McKnight Blvd NE E. The Best Western Port O’Call will be on the right.
Elevation Note: 5,700 feet is the highest elevation participants will experience. Banff is situated at 4,540 ft.

Equipment Requirements: No equipment required.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrival and Orientation
(Sunday, September 8)
 Arrive To: ARRIVALS AND CHECK-IN: Independent arrivals and transfers to the program hotel after 3:00 pm. Please note that rooms are not generally available until mid to late afternoon.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
 Evening: INTRODUCTIONS: Following dinner, you will meet for introductions, a review of the program and site orientation.
Accommodations: Best Western Plus Port O'Call Calgary Airport Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Glenbow Museum/Grassi Lake Geological Safari with Ben Gadd
(Monday, September 9)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: Glenbow Museum/Geological Safari. Enjoy a curator led exploration of the Glenbow Museum. Discover the colorful western history and heritage of the Canadian west at the Glenbow Museum, western Canada's largest. Hear tales of the RCMP, the Blackfoot people, early European pioneers, whiskey traders, and ground-breaking entrepreneurs.
 Lunch: Box picnic lunch.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Grassi Lake Geological Safari. Explore the natural history and geological story of the Canadian Rockies with Ben Gadd. Ben is an acknowledged authority on the region and the author of nine books on the area. His best-selling Handbook of the Canadian Rockies, recently updated, is an award-winning guide to everything from geology, botany and bears to human history and backpacking trips.
 Dinner: Dinner in Banff.
 Evening: Free time to head off on your own to discover one of the many activities Banff has to offer.
Accommodations: Irwin's Mountain Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Cave and Basin National Historic Site/Whyte Museum and Heritage Homes
(Tuesday, September 10)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: PRESENTATION & FIELD TRIP: Cave and Basin National Historic Site. Meet with Parks expert who will recount the amazing discovery of the thermal hotsprings which led to the birthplace of Canada’s National Parks system. Learn about the birthplace of Banff National Park and the discovery of the thermal hotsprings.
 Lunch: Lunch at local restaurant.
 Afternoon: PRESENTATION & FIELD TRIP: Whyte Museum and Heritage Homes. Step into the 1931 home of artists and Museum founders Peter and Catharine (Robb) Whyte, whose home illuminates their simple yet classic mountain style. Then journey back a generation to soak in the rustic elegance enjoyed by collectors Phillip and Pearl (Brewster) Moore in their 1907 home. This field trip provides an intimate look at both homes and the intriguing people who lived in them. In addition, visit to the galleries and exhibits in the Museum.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own to explore one of the many dining options Banff has to offer.
Accommodations: Irwin's Mountain Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Johnston Canyon/Bow Valley and Moraine Lake/Lake Louise/Women of the Rockies
(Wednesday, September 11)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: Moraine Lake and the Bow Valley. Travel along the scenic Bow Valley Parkway to Moraine Lake. The Bow Valley is considered an internationally significant wildlife migration corridor providing quality habitat to grizzly bear, elk, lynx, bighorn sheep and mountain goats. Learn about the importance of wildlife corridors and the efforts being made to preserve and restore key regions
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: Johnston Canyon. Explore the Canyon with our expert naturalists. Scenic canyon trail is approximately 1.5 mi to the waterfall and back. Learn about the geological timeline of the Canadian Rockies and the concept of differential erosion, as Johnston Creek has carved down into the limestone on the valley bottom, creating a spectacular and deep canyon in a short period of time.
 Lunch: Lunch will be High Tea at the Chateau Lake Louise while enjoying the beautiful scenic views. Afternoon Tea at the Chateau offers our finest loose leaf teas that are accompanied by delectable pastries and finger sandwiches for the time honoured traditionalist.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Chateau Lake Louise / Depart Banff for Lake Louise. Visit the "Diamond in the Wilderness", the famous Chateau Lake Louise Hotel for a guided exploration. Stroll along the shores of Lake Louise with discussions on subalpine plants and wildlife and the incredible Victoria Glacier.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own to enjoy local fare or join the Group Leader (at a local restaurant).
 Evening: PRESENTATION: Women of the Rockies. An expert Whyte Museum staff will present "Women of the Rockies". This presentation will introduce you to historical and current figures that have shaped our mountain culture landscape. Discover the women whose lives are a part of a legacy of backcountry travel, ranching, climbing, scientific research, writing, drama and art.
Accommodations: Irwin's Mountain Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Banff Springs Hotel/Free Afternoon/Farewell Dinner
(Thursday, September 12)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: Banff Springs Hotel. Discover the rich Scottish heritage, and intriguing myths and legends of Banff's most famous landmark on a historic guided walk through the majestic Banff Springs Hotel.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own to enjoy local fare or join the Group Leader (at a local restaurant).
 Afternoon: FREE AFTERNOON: You may remain with your Group Leader to continue exploring local sites or take the opportunity to head off on your own to discover Banff. Indulge yourself with a soak at the hot springs....relax at the hotel or prepare for your next day's departure from the program.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner in Banff.
Accommodations: Irwin's Mountain Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6: Independent Departures
(Friday, September 13)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel is at 7:30 am.
 Morning: Independent departures from the hotel in Banff after breakfast. Check-out is 11:00 a.m.
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  Banff, AB Art Galleries
Galleries in downtown Banff highlight the works of accomplished Canadian, and often local, artists, with an emphasis on mountain themes. Galleries offer varied styles of painting, photography, sculpture, jewelry, printmaking, and other art forms For additional information, visit
  Banff Centre
The Banff Centre is a globally respected arts and culture centre, and conference facility. Throughout the year, The Banff Centre offers live performances and events featuring dance, music, theatre, opera, films, new media, and literary readings. For additional information, visit
  Banff Gondola
Ride to the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff, Canada to experience a bird's eye view of six mountain ranges. At the Banff Gondola, you'll see more mountains in a moment than most see in a lifetime. This exhilarating activity is open year-round. Contact the Banff Gondola to find out details about costs at 1-800-760-6934. For additional information, visit
  Banff Upper Hot Springs
Whether you are travelling to Banff for skiing, snowboarding, hiking, or sightseeing, Banff Upper Hot Springs is the thing to do in Banff, so come relax and ease your sore muscles in the natural hot springs water. For additional information, visit
  Calgary, Alberta Calgary Zoo
From the splendour of the Rocky Mountains to the heart of Destination Africa, The Calgary Zoo takes you to see over 1,000 animals from around the world. Trek through the gorilla’s rainforest, safari over the Savannah to watch the hippos swim, or climb the Canadian Wilds for a grizzly bear encounter! Finish your world tour with a trip back in time in the Prehistoric Park or soothe your senses in nearly 6 acres of our Botanical Gardens. Relax in the new ENMAX Conservatory and enjoy the butterflies and seasonal displays. For additional information, visit
  Canada Olympic Park/Sports Hall of Fame
No visit to the Calgary is complete without a visit to WinSport’s Canada Olympic Park, the most visible legacy from the 1988 Games. WinSport has taken the Olympic legacy to new heights with the goal of becoming a world-class Winter Sport Institute and helping Canadian athletes reach the podium at World Cup events and the Olympic Games. In the summer, a visit to Canada Olympic Park is the perfect tonic for adrenaline junkies! Rush down North America’s fastest zipline, reaching speeds of up to 140 km/h from the top of the 90m Ski Jump Tower, or rumble down the sliding track at 100 km/h in a four-man summer bobsleigh. (Advance booking required, please call 403.247.5452). Guests can also ride more than 25 km of mountain bike trails, enjoy a scenic round of 18 hole mini-golf, or strap on the skates at Calgary’s newest Ice Complex and home of Hockey Canada. If you’re looking for a more relaxed visit at the Park, take a tour of the iconic 90 meter Ski Jump Tower, which has graced the Calgary skyline for 25 years. Or celebrate Canadian sports history with a visit to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, which features 520 inducted sports legends and more than 1,000 artifacts from a vast array of sports. Canada Olympic Park has something for everyone, and with more than a dozen sports organizations making their home at WinSport Canada, you just never know when you’ll run into a past, present or future Olympian. For additional information, visit
  Fort Calgary
The heart of Calgary is red ...the scarlet red of the North West Mounted Police tunic. When the NWMP built their fort at the confluence of the Bow and Elbow Rivers in 1875, they laid the foundations for the city we enjoy today. They came to bring law and order to the west, to stamp out the whiskey trade, and to befriend the First Nations peoples in preparation for the treaties that would open the land for settlement. The hopes, dreams and values of that time are still evident in the city we enjoy today. Fort Calgary is located just east of downtown Calgary on a 40-acre site. For additional information, visit
  Heritage Park
Step back in time and experience hands-on history, visit with the friendly costumed townsfolk, tour 180 historical exhibits and relive the past through a huge collection of working antiques and artifacts. Explore the far corners of the Park and: -Tour the Railway Car Shop- packed full of Canada’s rail treasures, -Explore a replica of an 1860s Hudson’s Bay Company Fur Trading Fort, -Make bannock in the Aboriginal Encampment, -Visit the original home of Sam Livingston in the 1880s rustic pre-railway settlement, -Churn old-fashioned ice cream on the porch of the Burnside Ranch House, -Shop, eat and play in the bustling 1910 prairie railroad town. -Ride an authentic steam train, cruise on Calgary’s only paddlewheeler and tour the Park on a horse-drawn wagon. For additional information, visit
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

Handbook of the Canadian Rockies

Author: Ben Gadd

Description: Geology, plants, animals, history and recreation from Waterton/Glacier to the Yukon.

Canadian Rockies: An Altitude Super Guide

Author: Graeme Pole

Description: The Canadian Rockies SuperGuide has detailed information on Banff, Jasper, Kootenay, Yoho, and Waterton National Parks. Included are maps, historical tidbits, info on flora and fauna, and plenty of spectacular full-colour photographs. Informative and visually exciting, this is the new, revised edition of the world's best-selling guide to the Canadian Rockies.

The Canadian Rockies

Author: Douglas Leighton

Description: PAPER, 112 PAGES A beautiful photographic portrait of Banff, Jasper and other parks from a naturalist who grew up in the region. Published in Canada, it has been a bestseller on the Canadian Rockies for years.

Switchbacks, True Stories from the Canadian Rockies

Author: Sid Marty

Description: PAPER, 328 PAGES, Marty recalls the colorful tales of his friends, colleagues and his own youth in this collection of tales.

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