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The World-Famous Calgary Stampede and Banff

Program Number: 20648RJ
Start and End Dates:
7/6/2014 - 7/11/2014; 7/10/2016 - 7/15/2016;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Banff, Alberta
Price starting at: $1,685.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Festivals, Misc.
Meals: 12; 5 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 4 Dinners    

Discover Alberta’s rich Western heritage and experience the daily lives of early ranchers and pioneers while studying the history, cultures and customs of Western Canada. Travel through the foothills of the Rocky Mountains to Banff National Park where you will learn from naturalists about local geology and wildlife. Meet bona fide cowboys, cowgirls, bareback riders and trainers behind the scenes of the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, the Calgary Stampede.


• At the Calgary Stampede, experience the rodeo, the thundering chuckwagon races and the Stampede Grandstand Show.
• With expert naturalists, discover the splendor of Johnston Canyon and Lake Louise in Banff National Park.
• At the Glenbow Museum, explore the colorful history of the Canadian West, including tales of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Blackfoot and early pioneers.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles a day, some uneven terrain.

Date Specific Information

7-6-2014, 7-10-2016

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

Itinerary Summary

2015:Independent arrival Banff, 2 nights; coach to Calgary, 3. nights; independent departure.

2016:Independent arrival Calgary, coach to Banff, 2 nights; coach to Calgary, 3 nights; independent departure.


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. Calgary: Full-service hotel.
Meals and Lodgings
   Irwin's Mountain Inn
  Banff, Alberta 2 nights
   Best Western Plus Port O'Call Calgary Airport Hotel
  Calgary, Alberta 3 nights
 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 prior: Call for availability & rates Please contact the hotel directly on your own for current rates and availability. Toll-Free: 1-888-905-5959

 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 after: Call for availability & rates. Contact hotel directly. Toll Free: 1-800-661-1161
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Arrivals to the program hotel in Banff, AB. Check-in after 4:00 p.m. Dinner is at 6:30 pm. You will be staying at Irwin's Mountain Inn that night.
  End of Program:
Breakfast is at 7:30 am; departures from Calgary after breakfast on final day. Check-out is 11:00 am. You will be staying at Best Western Plus Port O'Call Calgary Airport Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Contact the hotel directly at 403-762-8844 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:  Banff, Alberta
  Nearest city or town:  Calgary, Alberta
  Nearest airport:  Calgary International Airport
  From End of Program
  Location:  Calgary, Alberta
  Nearest city or town:  Calgary, Alberta
  Nearest airport:  Calgary International Airport
Travel Details



From Airport




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


Per Person/One Way:


Approx. $55 - $60 please see for updates
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


1.5 to 2 hours 




88 miles/140 kms


Hourly shuttle service; shuttle fee is non-refundable (insurance is available - please enquire with the shuttle company). Reservations are required. Should you plan on arriving into Calgary by air, mid to late morning arrivals are strongly recommended.




From Airport






Per Person/One Way:


Approximately CAD $160 from Calgary airport to the hotel in Banff
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


1.5 to 2 hours 




88 miles/140 kms




To Airport




Hotel Shuttle


Per Person/One Way:


Complimentary hotel shuttle.
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


10 minutes 


Hotel staff will assist with arranging a shuttle from the hotel to the airport.

Driving Directions
  **IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT DRIVING TO THE PROGRAM Driving your personal vehicle to the program is not recommended due to logistics of the itinerary and different start and end locations. However, should you choose to drive your personal vehicle to the program please note, you will be required to pay an additional Park entrance fee. Park fees are payable at the main Park gates and is based on your duration of stay at approximately CAD $20 per day. Price is subject to change. For additional information please contact the Banff Information Centre at (403) 762-1550 or toll free 1-800-748-7275. Parking fees may also apply at the hotel. For more information, please contact the hotel directly.
  Calgary, AB Take Trans Canada Highway #1 towards Banff. Take the Banff exit and turn left onto Banff Avenue. Continue to follow Banff Avenue and you will see the hotel on the right. Banff is 138 kms (86 miles) west of Calgary on the Trans Canada Highway #1.
Elevation Note: 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 Check-In/Welcome Dinner/Orientation
(Sunday, July 6)
 Afternoon: Arrivals and transfers to the program hotel. Check-in is 4:00 pm.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner at a local restaurant at 6:30 p.m.
 Evening: Following dinner, you will meet for introductions, a review of the program and site orientation. Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
Accommodations: Irwin's Mountain Inn
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Banff National Park/Johnston Canyon/Lake Louise
(Monday, July 7)

Note: Johnston Canyon trail walk is approximately 2 miles/3 km along paved pathways with guardrails. Optional 1.25 mile/2 km trail walk at Lake Louise.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Discussions in Banff National Park will focus on the formation of Canada's park system; history of Alberta's ranching industry; First Nations study with emphasis on the Stoney Indian people; formation of the Northwest Mounted Police (NWMP) and mountain geology. Arrive at Johnston Canyon for a trail walk while learning about the area flora/fauna; examine the measures taken to preserve the ecological integrity of the area.
 Lunch: Picnic lunch
 Afternoon: Explore the alpine beauty of the Lake Louise area with guided trail walks and free time to explore the heritage exhibits at the renowned Chateau Lake Louise. Discuss the human history and exploration of the Lake Louise area, and study the impact of glacier formation on mountain geology while viewing the stunning Victoria Glacier. Knowledgeable guides will discuss the founding of the Canadian Pacific Railway, the hot springs discovery, and the park's connections to Hollywood film-making.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
Accommodations: Irwin's Mountain Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Whyte Museum/Travel to Calgary/Glenbow Museum/Stampede Event
(Tuesday, July 8)

Note: Participants will receive an up to date event planner with confirmed times and venues for all Stampede events and activities. There will be several options to choose from this evening which could include: a tractor pull, cutting horse competition, heavy horse pull, miniature donkey showcase, stock dog championship and more.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Take a walk back in time and get to know the colorful individuals who built the town of Banff at the Whyte Museum. This guided tour meanders through history to take you to the riverside site where Tom Wilson established one of the first outfitting operations in the area, St. Georges-in-the-Pines Anglican Church with its unique stained glass windows, and the Luxton Home and Garden. These and many other intriguing stops reveal the fascinating history of this town.
 Lunch: Lunch en route to Calgary. Travel time from Banff to Calgary will be approximately 1.5 hours on the coach (washroom available).
 Afternoon: Arriving in Calgary, we explore 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. Discover the new permanent exhibit, "Mavericks: An Incorrigible History of Alberta", which illustrates the province's history through the dynamic stories of over 40 mavericks from Western Canada's Past.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own at the Stampede grounds.
 Evening: STAMPEDE EVENT: Event to be confirmed - one option is the Heavy Horse Competition which showcases light, middle, and heavy weight classes of heavy horses as they try to pull loads of over five times their own body weight across various distances. The Pull competitions are fun to watch and it's fascinating to see how powerful these horses really are.
Accommodations: Best Western Plus Port O'Call Calgary Airport Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: The Big Four and the Calgary Stampede/Rodeo Event/Stampede Event
(Wednesday, July 9)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: A presentation will provide an introduction to the city of Calgary, highlighting the 'Big Four' founders of the world famous Calgary Stampede. American promoter and trick rider Guy Weadick launched the first rodeo and festival in 1912 in the hopes of establishing an event that more accurately represented the "wild west" than the shows he was a part of. Hear how he convinced several businessmen to put up $100,000 to guarantee funding for the event who came to be known as The Big Four. Over 100,000 people attended the first event in 1912. Spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the Stampede grounds.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: We will take in one of the rodeo events at the Calgary Stampede with reserved seating. Attend the Rodeo and watch the world's best rodeo athletes - both humans and livestock. Your reserved seat gives you a great view of this major Stampede event. Thrill to the contest between cowboy and stock and see which one comes out on top! There will be additional time before dinner to further explore the grounds and take in more of the activities that the Stampede has to offer.
 Dinner: Dinner at the Stampede grounds.
 Evening: STAMPEDE EVENT: Event to be confirmed. Participants will receive an event planner with confirmed times and venues for all Stampede events and activities. There will be several options to choose from this evening.
Accommodations: Best Western Plus Port O'Call Calgary Airport Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Full Day at the Calgary Stampede/Indian Village/Chuckwagon Races & Grandstand Show
(Thursday, July 10)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Enjoy a full day and evening at the Calgary Stampede, 'The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth'. We will have some scheduled activities and participants will have free time to explore the grounds. Aside from our scheduled events, there are lots of other exciting activities to choose from - see a working cow horse competition and rodeo events in the Northern Lights Arena, learn how the West was built with horsepower at Saddledome Lane or visit the Western Oasis and experience artistic excellence in photographs, bronzes, paintings, cooking demos, arts & crafts and western entertainment. We will provide a list of events.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own at the Stampede Grounds. There are many venues including The Cantina, Nashville North, Mavericks Dining Room and Lounge: Harvest Room Cafe and The Range.
 Afternoon: Learn about the history of the Treaty 7 First Nations historic partnership with the Calgary Stampede at the Indian Village. A major part of the Calgary Stampede since its inception in 1912, the Indian Village provides the opportunity for visitors to experience the First Nations traditions and culture first hand. Knowledgeable Native interpreters will guide you through the village to demonstrate the heritage and culture of the Treaty 7 natives.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner on the grounds of the Calgary Stampede.
 Evening: Your farewell evening begins with the exciting Rangeland Derby and the thundering Chuckwagon Races. The pounding of hooves and trembling of the ground marks the beginning of the world's premier chuckwagon event. Witness all the heart-stopping action as the teams vie for over $1.15 million in prize money! During the Stampede, the races start nightly at 8 pm.

Then finish the night with a real blast at the Grandstand Show where it's all about heat, horses and hoof beats. It promises gravity defying sights at dizzying heights and combines equine magnificence, whimsical dreamscapes and spontaneous bursts of pyrotechnic energy. This extravaganza blends music, dancing, singing and spectacle into a remarkable production that is sure to create an unforgettable experience. The climax of the evening is the explosive, award-winning fireworks finale. The show is a blazing ball of energy featuring popular artists, fantastic acrobats and amazing scenes. The Young Canadians of the Calgary Stampede are joined by a world-class line-up of performers that will awe you, inspire you and energize you.

Accommodations: Best Western Plus Port O'Call Calgary Airport Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6: Program Concludes/Departures
(Friday, July 11)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel is at 7:30 am.
 Morning: Departures from the Calgary hotel after breakfast as per individual travel plans. Hotel check-out is 11:00 am. This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please be in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network, where you can share memories, pictures and comments. Best wishes for all your journeys.
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  Banff, Alberta Banff Hot Springs
All the amenities of a modern facility are featured in this splendid, historic spa and bath house – against a backdrop of spectacular alpine scenery. Luxuriate in the comfort of soothing hot water where travelers have come to “take the waters” for more than a century. For additional information, visit
  Banff Park Museum
The Banff Park Museum is a national historic site because the museum's original exhibit collection reflect and commemorate an early approach to the interpretation of natural history in Canada. Also, the architectural style and detailing of the 1903 log building are characteristic examples of early federal buildings in the Park. The museum displays an extensive collection of natural history specimens (more than 5,000) which are characteristic of early museum practices. The emphasis is on changes in attitudes toward natural resource management. Although the building, the collection, and the grounds have been modified over time in response to the demands of the day, the developments and treatments are "in keeping" with the historical significance of the building and collections themselves. For additional information, visit
  Lake Minnewanka Cruise
Lake Minnewanka (home of the 'Banff Crasher Squirrel') lies in the heart of the Canadian Rockies in Banff National Park, just a short 15 minute drive from the townsite of Banff. Banff Lake Cruise provides a unique sightseeing tour experience on one of two 43 passenger Lake Cruisers or the 65 passenger Alberta Explorer operating several times daily from mid-May to mid-October. This magnificent interpretive lake cruise of Minnewanka and the scenic Canadian Rockies is 1 hour and provides unique photo opportunities unavailable elsewhere. Our experienced crew will guide you through this rugged paradise richly steeped in history, native folklore and geology. The narration is intriguing, entertaining and informative. You will learn about the wildlife and vegetation that inhabit these mountains, the early explorers who named them and the tremendous forces that created them. The Lake Minnewanka valley offers some of the most interesting and spectacular scenery found anywhere in the Canadian Rockies For additional information, visit
  The Banff Centre
A globally respected arts, cultural, and educational institution and conference facility, The Banff Centre is a leader in the development and promotion of creative work in the arts, sciences, business, and the environment. It is the largest arts and creativity incubator on the planet. Over 8,000* artists, leaders, and researchers from across Canada and around the world participate in programs at The Banff Centre every year. Through its multidisciplinary programming, The Banff Centre provides them with the support they need to create, to develop solutions, and to make the impossible possible. 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

Moon Handbook Canadian Rockies

Author: Andrew Hempstead

Description: Canada resident and avid outdoorsman Andrew Hempstead knows the best way to experience the Canadian Rockies, from rafting on the Bow River and hiking Lake O'Hara to staying in a remote log cabin. Packed with information on dining, transportation, and accommodations, Moon Canadian Rockies has lots of options for a range of travel budgets. With must-see sights, maps, advice on planning and itineraries -- and an essential dose of humor.

A Traveller's History of Canada

Author: Robert Bothwell

Description: An admirably concise march through Canadian history by Robert Bothwell, who has also written "Canada and Quebec: One Country, Two Histories." Compact, easy-to-read and covering from prehistoric times to today, it's a useful introduction to the country, designed specifically for travelers.

Switchbacks, True Stories from the Canadian Rockies

Author: Sid Marty

Description: A native Albertan and park warden in the Canadian Rockies, Marty relates colorful anecdotes from friends, colleagues and his own youth in this collection of tales, which includes A Horse Named Candy.

Let the Cowboy Ride, Cattle Ranching in the American West

Author: Paul Starrs

Description: A book in the series Creating the North American Landscape by Johns Hopkins University Press. The dime novel and dude ranch, the barbecue and rodeo, the suburban ranch house and the urban cowboy -- all are a direct legacy of nineteenth-century cowboy life that still enlivens American popular culture. Yet at the same time, reports of environmental destruction or economic inefficiency have motivated calls for restricted livestock grazing on public lands or even for an end to ranching altogether. In Let the Cowboy Ride, Starrs offers a detailed and comprehensive look at one of America's most enduring institutions. Richly illustrated with more than 130 photographs and maps, the book combines the authentic detail of an insider's view (Starrs spent six years working cattle on the high desert Great Basin range) with a scholar's keen eye for objective analysis.

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