Road Scholar : Home
Spectacular Western Canada: Grizzlies, Orcas and Totems

Program Number: 21439RJ
Start and End Dates:
6/14/2015 - 6/27/2015; 6/10/2016 - 6/23/2016; 6/14/2016 - 6/27/2016; 6/24/2016 - 7/7/2016; 6/28/2016 - 7/11/2016; 7/8/2016 - 7/21/2016;
Duration: 13 nights
Location: Banff, Alberta
Price starting at: $4,395.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Train Treks; On the Road; Natural History
Meals: 35; 13 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 11 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

Discover the breathtaking range of the Canadian Rockies in Alberta and the magnificent wildlife and natural beauty of British Columbia. The Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks are richly adorned with mountain peaks, glaciers, waterfalls, limestone caves and fossils. In British Columbia, the Inside Passage teems with marine life from humpback and killer whales to dolphins, porpoises, sea lions and more, while on shore the ancient coastal rainforest provides habitat for grizzlies and many other mammals. Join expert naturalists for an exploration of the Rocky Mountains, the Pacific Coast Mountains and the waterways of the West on this wildlife and wilderness adventure.


ē Explore Banff, Yoho and Jasper national parks with experts and learn about their rich ecology and geology.
ē Experience British Columbiaís diversity of landscapes aboard Via Rail's Skeena train and on a BC Ferry cruise.
ē In the Khutzeymateen, observe North Americaís highest grizzly bear concentration in their natural environment.

Activity Particulars

Walk up to two miles daily; gentle elevation gains, stops for interpretation. Embarking/disembarking ferries, trains and vessels. Please be prepared for some late night arrivals and long days due to ferry and train schedules (subject to change).

Date Specific Information

6-14-2015, 6-10-2016, 6-14-2016, 6-24-2016, 6-28-2016, 7-8-2016

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

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Banff, AB, 3 nights; coach to Jasper, 2 nights; train to Prince George, 1 night; train to Prince Rupert, 4 nights; ferry to Port Hardy, 1 night; coach to Parksville, 1 night; ferry and coach to Vancouver, BC, 1 night; departure.


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

Vancouver: Hotel across the street from beautiful English Bay. Prince George, Prince Rupert, Port Hardy and Parksville: Comfortable hotels close to the ferry and train. Banff and Jasper: Centrally located hotels within the national parks.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Ben Gadd

Ben Gadd is one of Canadaís better-known naturalists and Rockies writers. Author of the ground-breaking ďHandbook of the Canadian Rockies,Ē Ben has written eight other books and contributed to several more. His novel, ďRavenís End,Ē has become a prize-winning Canadian best-seller. Ben has received three Banff Mountain Book Festival awards for his work. Educated as a geologist, Ben has pursued a career mainly in natural history, including a stint as a Parks Canada naturalist. He has also taught writing at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and Grant MacEwan College. For nearly 30 years, he has worked in the summer as a freelance interpretive guide ó he is one of only six master guides in Canadaís professional Interpretive Guides Association ó and in the winter as a writer and sought-after lecturer on Rockies topics. Heard frequently on CBC radio, Ben has also appeared in many television items and several documentaries on the Rockies.
Kirsten Schmitten

Kirsten Schmitten has spent over 30 years exploring, researching, writing and working in the Canadian Rockies. From her career as a park naturalist to her adventures with her warden husband, Kirstenís love and knowledge of the natural and cultural history of Jasper makes her a captivating and sought after speaker. She is the owner of All Things Wild, a company specializing in connecting people to the natural and cultural history of Jasper National Park.
Meals and Lodgings
   High Country Inn
  Banff, Alberta 3 nights
   The Chateau Jasper
  Jasper, Alberta 2 nights
   Ramada Prince George
  Prince George, British Columbia 1 night
   The Crest Hotel
  Prince Rupert, British Columbia 4 nights
   Quarterdeck Inn and Marine Resort
  Port Hardy, British Columbia 1 night
   Haida Way Hotel
  Port McNeill, British Columbia 1 night
   Best Western Sands by the Sea
  Vancouver, British Columbia 1 night
 High Country Inn
Type: Inn
  Description: We are a family owned hotel and are fortunate enough to call Banff and the Canadian Rockies our home. We welcome all our guests like they are part of our family, and we take great pleasure in ensuring you have the best Banff experience. After giving you a warm welcome, our friendly staff are eager to share their knowledge and help you create your own lasting memories. Discover why our past guests keep coming back!
  Contact info: 419 Banff Avenue
Box 700
Banff, AB  Canada
phone: 403-762-2236
  Room amenities: Rooms have mini fridge, coffee maker and courtesy coffee, Cable TV, individual climate control and air conditioning. Most rooms with private balcony. Free wireless internet and free local calls.
  Facility amenities: Set against a mountain backdrop, the High Country Inn offers an array of luxurious amenities that will ensure comfort and relaxation. Swim a lap in the indoor heated pool, soak in the hot tub or unwind in the traditional dry cedar sauna. When ready to enjoy what Banff has to offer, the knowledgeable staff is prepared to direct you to area attractions such as hiking trails, riding stables and guided tours. In addition to comfortable units and spacious suites, guests will also find: the Ticino Swiss-Italian Restaurant, indoor heated pool, hot tubs and dry cedar sauna; 24-hour front desk; Wireless Internet and Internet Kiosk.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Contact hotel for rates. Contact hotel for rates and availability for additional nights before the program.
  Check in time: 4:00 PM

 The Chateau Jasper
Type: Hotel
  Description: Chateau Jasper, Luxury in the Mountains. The Chateau Jasper is an exceptional hotel with an excellent variety of accommodations and facilities. This conveniently located hotel offers 119 fully air-conditioned luxury guest rooms and suites, pleasantly furnished with mountain decor in mind.
  Contact info: 96 Geikie Street
P.O. Box 1200
Jasper, AB T0E 1E0 Canada
phone: 780-852-5644
  Room amenities: All Chateau Jasper guest rooms have private baths, mini fridges, in room safes, air conditioning and feature large flatscreen televisions, in room safes, complimentary Wi Fi, hair driers, irons and boards, complimentary coffee and tea and electric kettles.
  Facility amenities: This intimate hotel includes an indoor swimming pool, whirlpool, fitness center, a variety of meeting rooms, complimentary internet kiosks in hotel lobby, business centre, a lounge, as well as an award-winning, fine dining room. Additional features: Proud recipient of Travel Alberta Good Housekeeping Award Dining Room and Lounge Heated Indoor Pool and Whirlpool Fitness Centre Seasonal Ski Shuttle Heated Underground Parking Air Conditioning Meeting and Conference Rooms Toll free reservations #: 888-852-7737
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Ramada Prince George
Type: Hotel
  Description: Welcome to the Ramada hotel located in the heart of Prince George British Columbia. A historic city that has become a hub and gateway for transportation, commerce, and tourism for the Province of BC and now, North America. As our valued guest, our team is dedicated to ensuring your visit is one to remember.
  Contact info: 444 George Street
Prince George, BC V2L 1R6 Canada
phone: 250-563-0055
  Room amenities: Enjoy luxurious comfort in our newly renovated Premiere Guest Rooms. You are sure to have a restful sleep on our Simmons Beauty Rest, Cape Breton series mattresses dressed in 300 thread count linens. Experience convenience and make use of our audio visual panel to connect any of your personal media to our 42Āć LED television. When your electronics are not in use store them in your personal in room safe which can accommodate up to a 17Āć laptop with an in safe outlet for charging capabilities. After a hard day of work or play enjoy a relaxing hot shower with your choice of a wand or rain shower head.
  Facility amenities: Starbucks Nothing beats a perfect cup of coffee in the morning, and you donĀ't even have to get out of your pajamas to get it! Our Starbucks is located in our Grand Lobby, open 7am Ė 7pm Monday Ė Saturday and 7am-7pm on Sunday. Sheffield Express Everyone has forgotten something at some point during their travels, and we have the solution! Sheffield Express has many items to suit your needs, from snacks to toiletries. Fitness Centre Our Fitness Centre is located on the third floor, and offers a clean, comfortable, modern space with state-of-the-art Star Trac Equipment series. A great way to begin or end your day. Swimming Pool Located next to our Fitness Centre, you will enjoy our indoor pool, and jetted whirlpool. Whether you wish to swim laps or soothe your muscles, we are open from 6:00am Ė 11:00pm daily. Business Centre Our 24 hour Business Center is located in the lobby, allowing our guests the privacy to conduct their business with the assistance of our computer station, fax and photocopy machine.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 The Crest Hotel
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Prince Rupert's Crest Hotel is situated on a high promontory overlooking the inner harbor, and enjoys one of the most scenic vantage points of Kaien Island. We offer comfortable and convenient accommodations only minutes from downtown Prince Rupert and the cityís major tourist attractions.
  Contact info: 222 1st Avenue West
Prince Rupert, BC V8J 1A8 Canada
phone: 250-624-6771
  Room amenities: All rooms feature high-speed wireless internet access, coffee makers, irons, ironing boards and hair dryers.
  Facility amenities: From free open-air or covered parking, to complimentary wireless internet guests enjoy the many perks included in their stay at the Crest Hotel. A Fitness Centre, Gift Shop and choice of restaurant enhance the enjoyment and pleasure we provide.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Quarterdeck Inn and Marine Resort
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Quarterdeck Resort and Marina located in Port Hardy British Columbia Canada is a full service 3 1/2 star Hotel, complete with marina, Pubstyle restaurant, Close to downtown and all tourism or business services in Port Hardy. Guided fishing, whale watching, grizzly tours, eco tours, hiking to pristine beaches are all available nearby.
  Contact info: 6555 Hardy Bay Road
P.O.Box 910
Port Hardy, BC V0N 2P0 Canada
phone: 250-902-0455
  Room amenities: Rooms have hair dryer, individual thermostat control, high speed internet access, iron/ironing board (on request). All soaps, shampoo, conditioner, moisturizers and lotions are environmentally friendly and spa quality. Comfortable beds with quality linens. .
  Facility amenities: Located on the ocean with spectacular views of the ocean and marina. Full service restaurant/lounge. Site seeing tours and fishing charters are within steps at the marina dock.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Haida Way Hotel
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: The Haida Way is Port McNeillís most popular Northern Vancouver Island accommodation. At Port McNeill's centre, the Haida Way is within walking distance of shopping, the harbor and the ferry terminal to Sointula and Alert Bay. For your convenience, we offer a full-service restaurant, lively pub and well-stocked liquor store. Approved by BCAA and Tourism BC, the Haida Wayís 70 cozy guestrooms and suites feature brand-new queen-size beds and free wireless Internet.
  Contact info: 1817 Campbell Way
Port McNeill, BC V0N 2R0 Canada
phone: 205-956-3373
  Room amenities: Our rooms are accessible to the handicapped, and include fridges, microwaves, complimentary coffee and cable television.
  Facility amenities: Supplementing our 70 modern air conditioned guest rooms, we offer a fully licensed dining room, cafe and pub. Other amenities include: free wireless Internet access and a computer terminal in the lobby and a coin operated laundry facility.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Best Western Sands by the Sea
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Best Western Sands by the Sea is conveniently located one half block from the beach at beautiful English Bay and three blocks from Stanley Park's 1,000 acres of trails and gardens. Three bus routes stop at the front door for easy access to other parts of town.
  Contact info: 1755 Davie Street
Vancouver, BC V6G 1W5 Canada
phone: 604-682-1831
  Room amenities: In-room coffee makers, iron and ironing board, hair dryers, mini fridges, morning newspaper, free high speed wireless Internet access, iPod/iPhone/iPad Clock Radios and flat screen TVís.
  Facility amenities: Hotel amenities include a sauna and exercise room. Same-day dry-cleaning and laundry service is available, and there is a laundromat six blocks from the hotel. Restaurant and 2 bars on site. Toll free #: 800-661-7787
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: Check for availability. Contact the hotel directly for rates & availability.
  Check out time: 12:00 PM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Arrivals and transfers to Banff, Alberta. The scheduled transfer departs from Calgary at 2:00 p.m. sharp; approximate arrival in Banff is 4:00 p.m. Check in is 4:00 p.m. Welcome dinner at the hotel. You will be staying at High Country Inn that night.
  End of Program:
Departures from Vancouver, BC. Breakfast is at 7:30 a.m. Check-out is 12:00 noon. You will be staying at Best Western Sands by the Sea the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
NOTE: This program starts and ends in different locations - starting in Banff, Alberta and ending in Vancouver, British Columbia. If you are driving to the program, long term parking is available at the airport in Calgary.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Banff, Alberta
  Nearest city or town:  Calgary, Alberta
  Nearest airport:  Calgary International Airport
  From End of Program
  Location:  Vancouver, British Columbia
  Nearest city or town:  Vancouver
  Nearest highway: Highway 1 - Trans Canada
  Nearest airport:  Vancouver International Airport (YVR)
Travel Details


From Airport





Per Person/One Way:


Prices are subject to change.


If you purchased airfare through Road Scholar, youíll receive a free departure airport transfer to get you from your program, in addition to the already-included, complimentary arrival transfer. Please note that the arrival transfer is only available if you arrive to the program on the scheduled start date. You will receive detailed information regarding these transfers approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. If you did not purchase airfare through Road Scholar, you will be responsible for making your own way to the airport at the end of your program. Please review the suggested options below.




From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Routes Adventures
phone: 866-745-1690
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


Included in program - no charge.
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


1.5 - 2 hours 


A shuttle transfer will be available from Calgary airport to the start of the program in Banff. There is no additional cost for this transfer. Details will be included in your Information Package.




From Airport




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


Per Person/One Way:


$50 - $60 CAD (discount 65+)
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


1.5 - 2 hours 


Travel in style from Calgary to Banff with Banff Airporter; high-back recliner seats with 110V plug-in, temperature control, large touring windows and TVís. Also enjoy free water, local newspapers. Check in desk located between exit doors 6 and 7 at area ďCĒ of the main arrivals level. Shuttle fee is non-refundable (insurance is available - please enquire with the shuttle company; or transfer your ticket for up to 1 year). Visit for updated schedule and fare information.


Calgary Airport


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Brewster Airport Express
phone: 866-606-6700
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


$55 - $60 CAD (discount 60+)
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


1.5 - 2 hours 


Travel from Calgary to Banff on a deluxe motor coach with spacious reclining seats, an onboard lavatory, and no cancellation fees or extra luggage charges. Modify or cancel your reservation up to 90 minutes prior to your departure.




To Airport






Per Person/One Way:


The cost is approximately $30 - $40 (per taxi)
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


20 - 30 minutes 


Taxi service is readily available from the hotel to Vancouver airport (YVR).




To Airport




Public Transportation
Sky Train/Canada Line


Per Person/One Way:


$7 - $10
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


35 - 45 minutes 


City bus from Davies to Yaletown/Roundhouse Station, then take the Sky Train/Canada Line to the airport. Visit for up to date schedule and fare information.




To Airport




Public Transportation
Quick Shuttle
phone: 800-665-2122
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


$55 - $60 USD (discount for 60+)
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


Approximate travel time is 5 hours 


Visit for information on schedules and fares and to make reservations. Shuttle pick up at your hotel (Best Western Sands by the Sea) and drop off at SeaTac airport. Passengers can purchase tickets over the phone from our Reservation Department at:800-665-2122 or 604-940-4428, on-line, from their local travel agent or directly from a driver.

Driving Directions
  DIFFERENT START AND END LOCATIONS This program starts in Banff, Alberta and ends in Vancouver, British Columbia. Driving your personal vehicle to the program is not recommended due to logistics of the itinerary and different start and end locations.
Elevation Note: Jasper has an altitude of 1,062m or 3,484 ft

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, June 14)
 Arrive To: Arrivals and transfers to the hotel in Banff in the afternoon. There is a transfer available from Calgary, included in the program cost. This shuttle departs Calgary airport at 2:00 p.m.; approximate arrival in Banff is 4:00 p.m. Check-in at the Banff hotel is 4:00 p.m. For those arriving independently, meet your Group Leader between 4:00 - 5:00 p.m. at the hotel to register and get your welcome packet.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner at the hotel at 6:00 p. m.
 Evening: Orientation, introductions and a review of the itinerary following dinner. 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: High Country Inn
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Banff National Park/Cave and Basin National Historic Site/Johnston Canyon
(Monday, June 15)

Note: Scenic Johnston canyon trail is approximately 1.5 miles to the waterfall and back.

 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Creating the Canadian Cordillera Ė Fifty years ago we thought that the Rockies popped up out of a ďgeosynclineĒ, and we had no reasonable explanation for the weird rock making up the mountains to the west. Now we know! Join one of Canada's better-known naturalists and award-winning author, Ben Gadd, as he shares the fascinating story of the Canadian Rockies.
 Morning: Explore the Cave and Basin National Historic Site with naturalist Ben Gadd. The warm waters issuing from Sulphur Mountain were known to aboriginal peoples. These hot springs later became the centrepiece of Canada's first national park (and the world's third.) We will also stroll down to the warm marshes below the springs, easily accessible along a boardwalk, to see birds and tropical fish. Bring your binoculars!
 Lunch: Lunch at Melissa's Missteak. Melissa's delightful and unique building has been a landmark in Banff since 1928. Locally owned and operated the restaurant takes great pride in offering fresh and "made from scratch" items on all menus.
 Afternoon: Explore Johnston Canyon on a trail walk while learning about the area flora/fauna; examine the measures taken to preserve the ecological integrity of the area.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant in Banff.
Accommodations: High Country Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Banff National Park/Lake Louise/Emerald Lake/Yoho National Park
(Tuesday, June 16)

Note: Trail walk at Emerald Lake is an easy 3 mile (5 km) walk with no elevation gain.

 Breakfast: At the inn with coffee, assorted juices, breads and gluten free bread, cold cereals, yogurt, fruit, jams.
 Morning: Discover the geological highlights of the Rockies in Lake Louise and Yoho National Park with Ben Gadd, renowned naturalist and author of the ground-breaking Handbook of the Canadian Rockies; including a trail walk at Emerald Lake.
 Lunch: Picnic lunch.
 Afternoon: Explore Yoho National Park; thanks to its position on the west side of the Great Divide, a 360 degree tour of Emerald yields up four very different environments. Learn about a huge avalanche path, the normal forest, a dry and dramatic alluvial fan and the towering trees of the coastal rainforest on a guided walk.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own; choose from a variety of dining options in Banff.
Accommodations: High Country Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Icefields Parkway/Athabasca Glacier - Ice Explorer/Jasper National Park
(Wednesday, June 17)

Note: Travel in a specially designed Ice Explorer to the middle of the Athabasca Glacier, on a 3 mile/5 km round trip journey. At the mid-point, you will have the option of stepping out onto ice formed from snow falling as long as 200 years ago.

 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: We travel from mountains to glaciers as we depart for Jasper along the Icefields Parkway; linking Lake Louise to Jasper, the Parkway remains one of the most spectacular stretches of scenic driving in Canada. The highway follows a lake-lined valley between two chains of the Eastern Main Ranges, which make up the Continental Divide. The mountains here are the highest, craggiest and maybe the most scenic in all of the Rockies. Interpretive commentary along the way.
 Lunch: Box lunch at the Icefields.
 Afternoon: Travel in a specially designed Ice Explorer to the middle of the Athabasca Glacier, on a 3 mile/5 km round trip journey. Your driver/guide will explain how glaciers are formed and point out interesting geological features as you travel in safety and comfort. At the mid-point, you will have the option of stepping out onto ice formed from snow falling as long as 200 years ago. With advance notice we can offer an option to do Glacier Icewalk approximately 2 - 2.5 hours. Walking up to 1.5 miles/2.5 kms.
 Afternoon: We continue our journey to Jasper National Park. This scenic drive is lined with beautiful mountain lakes and more than 100 glaciers providing a dramatic backdrop. This scenic drive along the Icefields Parkway is lined with one beautiful mountain lake after another, with more than 100 glaciers providing a dramatic backdrop. Keep an eye out for mountain goats and bighorn sheep in the cliffs along the way.
 Dinner: At the hotel in Jasper.
 Evening: Free time to enjoy Jasper.
Accommodations: The Chateau Jasper
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Jasper National Park: Maligne Canyon/Pyramid Lake/Pallisades Stewardship Centre
(Thursday, June 18)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Meet your local expert naturalist who will introduce you to Jasper National Park. Explore together Maligne Canyon and Pyramid Lake. Discover the Maligne Canyon trail, rich in natural history, with impressive geologic features and wildlife. Search for fossils and find out how this deep canyon formed during glacial ages. The forests of these wilderness areas are home to mountain goats, elk, moose, and bears as well as a variety of birds, including Bald Eagles. Scenic trails let you explore the spectacular vantage points, flower meadows, and sapphire blue mountain lakes.
 Lunch: Picnic lunch (weather permitting).
 Afternoon: Once a homestead of an early pioneer family, Palisades Stewardship Education Centre is an historic ranch operated by Parks Canada as one of Canadaís premier outdoor education facilities. Located in the spectacular Athabasca Valley, the Stewardship Palisades Education Centreís innovative programming is designed to stimulate a new kind of relationship with nature and to embrace the values of protected areas. During a visit to the Centre, learn about the role of the National Parks in fostering conservation ethics from a Parks Canada expert.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
Accommodations: The Chateau Jasper
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Skeena Train - Jasper to Prince George
(Friday, June 19)

Note: We board the Skeena and travel by train from Jasper, Alberta, through the Rocky Mountains, to Prince George, British Columbia in "touring class". Train departs approximately 12:45 p.m. and is scheduled to arrive in Prince George at approximately 7:15 p.m. Please note that train schedules are subject to change and delays are possible due to rail traffic or other conditions.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: There will be some free time to explore Jasper independently before we board the train. Today we embark on a two-day journey aboard Via Railís Skeena Train from Jasper, AB to Prince Rupert, BC, with an overnight stop in Prince George, BC. Travelling in touring class, enjoy sweeping views from the extra-large panoramic windows of the Panorama car at your seat. You will also benefit from an exclusive access to the Park dome car. Experience spectacular views of Jasper National Park and the rugged Canadian Rockies, the hauntingly beautiful Pacific Coast and the rustic settlements, farms and sawmills dotting the lake-studded landscape.
 Lunch: Served onboard the train (cold selections available).
 Afternoon: Our rail journey continues through the Rocky Mountains to Prince George, BC. Known as British Columbia's northern capital, Prince George is situated at the confluence of the Fraser and Nechako Rivers. The origins of Prince George can be traced to the fur trading post of Fort George, established in 1807 by Simon Fraser. Wildlife such as bear, moose, elk, deer, wolves, coyotes, eagles and hawks may be seen during the trip, depending on season and chance.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the train (hot selections available). Choose from a variety of meal options, freshly prepared with seasonal ingredients served with a glass of red or white wine with your dinner.
 Evening: We are scheduled to arrive in Prince George at approximately 7:15 p.m. Transfer to the hotel and enjoy some free time for the rest of the evening.
Accommodations: Ramada Prince George
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Skeena Train - Prince George to Prince Rupert
(Saturday, June 20)

Note: Today we embark on the final leg of our train trek on Via Rail's The Skeena train. Board the train at approximately 7:00 a.m. and travel in ďtouring classĒ, from Prince George to Prince Rupert, BC. Approximate arrival in Prince Rupert is 8:30 p.m. Please note that train schedules are subject to change and delays are possible due to rail traffic or other conditions.

 Breakfast: Breakfast will be served on board the train (cold selections available).
 Morning: Today we embark on the final leg of our journey aboard Via Railís Skeena Train from Prince George, BC to Prince Rupert, BC. Board the train and travel in ďtouring classĒ to experience the magnificent scenery along the route. We wind through the Yellowhead Pass, across British Columbiaís interior plateau and long the mighty Skeena River. The ancient traditions of the native peoples, the not-too-distant pioneer days of sternwheelers, steam trains and panning for gold and modern history have all left their mark alongside the tracks. Many villages and towns along the line were surveyed and named by the railway. Important industries across the region include forestry, agriculture, mining, tourism and commercial fishing.
 Lunch: Lunch will be served onboard the train (cold selections available).
 Afternoon: Travel aboard the Skeena train continues as we make our way to Terrace. High in the coastal mountains of northwestern British Columbia, at the edge of the Spasizi Plateau, the Skeena River begins its 570 kilometer run to the Pacific. The Skeena is the second largest river in the province, and one of the longest un-dammed rivers in the world. Informal discussions onboard the train will highlight the biodiversity of the landscape and the issues of conservation and preservation. Spacious assigned seats in the glass enclosed Panorama Car provides an unbeatable opportunity to observe the landscapes under study.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the train (hot selections available). Choose from a variety of meal options, freshly prepared with seasonal ingredients served with a glass of red or white wine with your dinner.
 Evening: Arrive to Prince Rupert late in the evening (approximately 8:30 p.m.); transfer to and check into our hotel.
Accommodations: The Crest Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Prince Rupert: Guided Walk and Presentation/Pacific Northwest Cannery Historic Site
(Sunday, June 21)
 Breakfast: Late breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: A guided walk and presentation will provide an overview of Prince Rupert and the surrounding area. This region of the North Coast is one of the most beautiful wilderness areas in the world with its fjords, inlets, rain forests, lagoons, sandy beaches, haunting abandoned villages. Prince Rupert is located on Kaien Island at the mouth of a fjord.
 Lunch: At the Pacific Northwest Cannery Historic Site.
 Afternoon: One of the most significant sites of its kind in Western Canada, the Pacific Northwest Cannery Historic Site provides insight into life at remote salmon canneries and how the industry shaped the economy and culture of the province. Additional notes for copy: Weíll explore North Pacific Canneryís historic boardwalks, industrial buildings, residences and wilderness surroundings on a private tour connecting participants with the salmon canning industry, highlighting the people, living quarters, workspaces, and functions of a remote cannery. Experience live demonstrations of cannery machinery, a glimpse into the unique living experiences of workers of First Nations, Japanese, Chinese, and European descent, and a journey from the earliest days of salmon canning to the modern methods that take place today.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: The Crest Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary - Full Day Grizzly Bear Viewing
(Monday, June 22)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel in Prince Rupert.
 Morning: A presentation will set the stage for an incredible journey to the Khutzeymateen Valley, home to one of the highest concentrations of grizzly bears in North America. As we cruise north through Chatam Sound, the foliage becomes denser, and hardy Western hemlocks carpet the mountains that guard the entrance to the estuary. Along the way, watch for porpoises, seals, sea lions, bald eagles, and blue herons as you learn first-hand about this diverse marine environment. Pass through cliffs that rise up from the waters of the 14-mile long Khutzeymateen Inlet towards peaks of over 6,500 feet high. Beyond lies a valley of ancient spruce forests and the protected land of the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary. Here we will have an opportunity to observe these legendary giants in their pristine natural environment. It is truly a photographerís paradise and will be the highlight of your program.
 Lunch: Lunch on site.
 Afternoon: Grizzly bear viewing continues in the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary. Khutzeymateen Provincial Park [a.k.a. Khutzeymateen/Kítsim-a-deen Grizzly Sanctuary] was established as the first area in Canada to be protected specifically for grizzly bears and their habitat. It also represents the first undisturbed estuary of its size to be protected along the north coast of BC. The topography of this land and marine sanctuary is diverse, with rugged peaks towering to 2100 metres above a valley of wetlands, old growth temperate rainforests and a large estuary. An abundance of wildlife shares the area.
 Dinner: Late dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: The Crest Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Museum of Northern British Columbia/Free Afternoon
(Tuesday, June 23)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel in Prince Rupert.
 Morning: Discover the natural and cultural heritage of the Northwest Coast at the Museum of Northern British Columbia with a museum curator. Learn about the important role of feasting and performance art in Northwest Coast culture during a real life feast experience. View ceremonial regalia and extraordinary feast art in the museumís galleries and discover their significance with museum experts. After a short walk, enter the feast house as a guest, where song, mask dancing and storytelling inform and delight.
 Lunch: Lunch at the museum.
 Afternoon: Free afternoon.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own in Prince Rupert. Free evening to explore on your own or rest up for tomorrow's Inside Passage cruise.
Accommodations: The Crest Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 11: BC Ferry to Port Hardy/Canada's Inside Passage
(Wednesday, June 24)

Note: This is a full day of travel with an early departure to board the ferry in Prince Rupert (depart hotel at 5:45 a.m.; ferry leaves at 7:30 a.m.) The ferry trip is 16 hours - participants will have a cabin onboard to relax or rest during the journey. Arrival in Port Hardy is approximately 11:30 p.m.

 Breakfast: On board the ferry. A full hot breakfast buffet is served at 9:00 a.m.
 Morning: Depart from Prince Rupert aboard BC Ferries Inside Passage route. Cruise southward through the awe-inspiring Inside Passage to Port Hardy. Cabins will be made available on-board the ferry which will allow participants the opportunity to rest. This 16 hour journey takes you past spectacular coastal rainforests, and majestic coastal mountains. Informal discussion and interpretation of coastal ecological issues while passing noted villages, first contact sites, sea mammals, etc.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own onboard the ferry
 Afternoon: We continue to cruise through Canada's Inside Passage. Cut from the coastal mountains by glaciers millions of years ago, the fjords of Canadaís Inside Passage provide vistas of spectacular coastal rainforests, beaches, waterfalls and mountains.
 Dinner: Onboard the ferry
 Evening: Late arrival in Port Hardy, BC on Vancouver Island. Located at the northern tip of Vancouver Island, BC, Port Hardy is nestled on the edge of the Queen Charlotte Strait, in the small Hardy Bay and the terminus for the Inside Passage Ferry.
Accommodations: Quarterdeck Inn and Marine Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 12: Telegraph Cove - Orca Whale Watching Expedition
(Thursday, June 25)
 Breakfast: At the hotel
 Morning: This morning we visit the rugged coast of Vancouver Island and historic Telegraph Cove, BCís last boardwalk community and considered by some to be the best location in the world to observe Orca (Killer) Whales. The Johnstone Strait and Broughton Archipelago are home to a bounty of marine wildlife including humpback whales, Steller sea lions, dolphins, porpoises, bald eagles and so much more. We will visit the Whale Museum for a guided visit before we head out on the water.
 Lunch: Box lunch.
 Afternoon: We will head out into the protected waters off the shores of Telegraph Cove, an ideal location to view and listen to orcas and other marine mammals as they feed, socialize and raise their young. We will cruise through the passages and around the islands that are teeming with wildlife in one of the most beautiful locations on British Columbiaís coast.
 Dinner: Dinner at the Killer Whale Cafť; built over the water, it is known for its yellow cedar post and beam style construction. The restaurant features beautiful copper tables and fittings and one-of-a-kind stained glass windows and doors.
 Evening: Transfer and check-in to hotel in Port McNeill.
Accommodations: Haida Way Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Coach to Nanaimo/Coombs Country Market/Ferry to Vancouver/Farewell Dinner
(Friday, June 26)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: We head for Nanaimo to board the ferry to Vancouver on the mainland. Nanaimo is famous for its varied landscapes and more than two dozen parks, the city boasts one of the most beautiful waterfronts in Canada. Two BC Ferry terminals feed traffic from Vancouver City on the mainland to Nanaimo.
 Lunch: Lunch at Coombs Country Market (the one with the goats on the roof).
 Afternoon: The ferry departs Nanaimo at 3:10 and arrives to the terminal in Horseshoe Bay (just outside of Vancouver) around 5:30 p.m. Transfer and check-in to hotel; time to freshen up before our final evening.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner in Vancouver at 7:00 p.m.
Accommodations: Best Western Sands by the Sea
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Program Concludes/Departure
(Saturday, June 27)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel in Vancouver.
 Morning: Departures from Vancouver after breakfast as per individual travel plans. 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 Ė against a backdrop of spectacular alpine scenery. Luxuriate in the comfort of soothing hot water where travelers have come to ďtake the watersĒ 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
  Vancouver, British Columbia Capilano Suspension Bridge
Voices from Vancouverís past mingle with the sounds of nature, beautiful gardens skirt colourful totem poles, British Columbia First Nations artisans chisel legend into cedar and Capilano Suspension Bridge takes you to the serenity of a West Coast rainforest. Cross the suspension bridge, try out Canadaís award-winning tourist attraction, Treetops Adventure which offers a squirrelís eye view of a thriving coastal rainforest in the mid-story of 1300-year-old old growth Douglas-firs; or take the Cliffwalk with a labyrinth-like series of narrow cantilevered bridges, stairs and platforms. For additional information, visit
  Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
Step back in time to 15th Century China at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. The first of its kind outside of China, the Garden offers a glimpse into life as a Chinese scholar during the Ming dynasty. Scholars lived and worked in their gardens, sharing these enchanting spaces with friends and family of all ages. Like any home, a scholar's garden was filled with energy, but also offered quiet moments for contemplation. As a bridge between cultures, the Garden offers lively demonstrations, Chinese festival celebrations and diverse art exhibitions. We also feature musical concerts such as the summer Enchanted Evenings Concert series. For additional information, visit
  Granville Island
Early in the morning, the first Aquabus of the day putters across False Creek, heading towards Granville Island. Home to 300 businesses, studios and facilities, the destination still retains an old-fashioned, timeless feeling. Craftsmen and artists take up residence here, and it's clear that the tradition of apprenticeship and mastery is alive and well. You can see it in the detail of a ceramic bowl or the gentle curve of a freshly blown glass vase, the intricacy of a piece of jewellery or the flick of a painter's brush. Granville Island's charming public market overflows with fresh produce, breads, seafood and a bounty of other goods is reason enough to visit Granville Island. Be sure to also stroll the narrow lanes of the island to check out its unique shops and photo-worthy views of downtown across False Creek. Street music is one of the most distinctive characteristics of Granville Island. Singer/songwriters strum away in open courtyards, drum circles form out of nowhere, and a clear strain of a melody from violin or saxophone melody often seems to make its way to the ears of an unsuspecting visitor For additional information, visit
  Harbour Cruise
Vancouver's best sightseeing, dining and special event cruises. Join Vancouver's most popular Sunset Dinner Cruise, an amazing opportunity to enjoy the fabulous sunset view. Enjoy Vancouver's only authentic paddlewheeler and narrated tour of the inner harbour or relax with Indian Arm Luncheon Cruise through a secluded mountain fjord. A unique experience, since the area is only accessible by boat, in 4 hours you will pass Deep Cove to Indian Arm and finally reach Silver Falls. For additional information, visit
  Vancouver Aquarium
Canadaís largest aquarium, the Vancouver Aquarium is dedicated to the conservation of aquatic life through display, interpretation, education, research, and direct action. You can experience all of this and more when you visit us. Research is ongoing at Aquarium labs and with display animals, by graduate students and staff. For additional information, visit
  Vancouver Museum
The Vancouver Museum houses permanent displays, exhibitions and educational programs about the natural, cultural and human history of the Vancouver region. Canada's largest civic museum moves into its second century, it continues to explore the human and natural history of the Vancouver region, the Pacific Northwest Coast and Pacific Rim with exciting, ever-changing new exhibitions. The Vancouver Museum continues to celebrate the rich legacy and heritage of our diverse multicultural society through varied programs. 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

A Traveller's History of Canada

Author: Robert Bothwell

Description: A readable and admirably concise march through Canadian history from prehistory to today, including a timeline.

After the Ice Age: The Return of Life to Glaciated North America

Author: E.C. Pielou

Description: Eighteen thousand years ago, an immense sheet of ice covered all of present day Canada and northernmost U.S. This story tells of how a harsh terrain was transformed into the environment we know today.

Alaska and Canada's Inside Passage

Author: Coastal Cruise Tour Guides

Description: This accordion map-guide folds into a booklet, at a scale of 1:1,000,000.

Bachelor Brothers' Bed and Breakfast

Author: Bill Richardson

Description: Lake Woebegone goes British Columbian in this humorous slip of a novel about an unconventional Vancouver B&B, which features twin bookworm brothers, a talking parrot and a motley crew of hotel guests.

Canada West Adventure Map

Author: National Geographic Maps

Description: A waterproof, tear-resistant map of the Canadian West at a scale of 1:2,100,000.

Canadian Rockies Destination Map

Author: National Geographic Society

Description: This guide map by National Geographic includes both an overview of wildlife and attractions and a bird's-eye view of Banff, Jasper and surroundings.

Field Guide to Banff National Park

Author: James Kavanagh

Description: This fold-up, laminated card features 133 color drawings and short descriptions of commonly encountered wildlife and a map.

Field Guide to Marine Mammals of the Pacific Coast

Author: Sarah G. Allen, Joe Mortenson, Sophie Webb

Description: Sophie Webb, director of Oikinos, contributes the exquisite paintings for this outstanding field guide, the 100th in the California Natural History Guides series, perfect for the Sea of Cortez.

Lonely Planet Banff, Jasper & Glacier National Parks

Author: Lonely Planet Publications

Description: This informative, compact guidebook in the excellent Lonely Planet series includes details on the history, geology and wildlife of the region.

Mark of the Grizzly

Author: Scott McMillion

Description: McMillion gives readers a thorough understanding of the behavior of these magnificent, yet deadly creatures through examples of encounters gone very wrong.

Moon Handbook British Columbia including the Canadian Rockies

Author: Andrew Hempstead

Description: This comprehensive guide stakes out the best sites throughout British Columbia, nicely balancing practical detail with a good overview of the region and its attractions.

Myths and Legends of the Pacific Northwest

Author: Katharine Berry Judson

Description: Presented here with 52 photographs, these traditional stories, first collected in 1910, reveal myths and traditions of creation, alongside noted geographical features of the territory.

National Audubon Society Field Guide to the Pacific Northwest

Author: Peter Alden

Description: A compact photographic guide to the wildflowers, trees, mosses, butterflies, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals of the Pacific Northwest.

Rocky Mountain Natural History, Grand Teton to Jasper, A Trailside Reference

Author: Daniel Mathews

Description: A comprehensive field guide and handbook covering the plants, animals, insects, geology and history of the region. With 480 color photographs and 11 line drawings.

Rocky Mountain Nature Guide

Author: Andy Bezener

Description: This guide includes information on mammals, fish, birds, trees, shrubs, wildflowers, insects and reptiles from the entire span of the Rockies - Alaska to New Mexico. Featuring over 300 exact full-color illustrations.

Spectacular Canada

Author: Gerald Bryan Hall

Description: Featuring 177 color photographs showcasing the diversity and grandeur of our neighbor to the north.

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.

The Great Bear Rainforest, Canada's Forgotten Coast

Author: Ian McAllister, Karen McAllister, Cameron Young

Description: An environmental history of coastal British Columbia featuring handsome color photographs.

The Island Within

Author: Richard Nelson

Description: A beautifully written tribute to the Pacific Northwest. Drawn from the author's journals, this is an account of the natural and cultural history of an island in the waters of Haida Strait, with emphasis on the relationship between people and the land.

The West Beyond the West, A History of British Columbia

Author: Jean Barman

Description: A fascinating history of the Canadian province from the 18th century to the mid-1990s. The author weaves portraits of major personalities and events into a readable overview of the cultural and social influences that have shaped the region.

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