Road Scholar : Home
Exploring Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks

Program Number: 3856RJ
Start and End Dates:
7/26/2015 - 8/3/2015; 7/3/2016 - 7/11/2016; 7/17/2016 - 7/25/2016; 7/24/2016 - 8/1/2016; 8/7/2016 - 8/15/2016; 8/21/2016 - 8/29/2016; 9/4/2016 - 9/12/2016; 9/11/2016 - 9/19/2016;
Duration: 8 nights
Location: Banff, Alberta
Price starting at: $2,325.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: On the Road; National Parks; Natural History; Independent City Discoveries
Meals: 20; 8 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 6 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free; Low Fat; Low Salt    

Straddling the Continental Divide for 14,300 square miles, the seven contiguous Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks are richly adorned with mountain peaks, glaciers, waterfalls, limestone caves and fossils. Explore in depth three of these UNESCO World Heritage Sites to see how they each bear distinct ecological, geological and historical characters while sharing a common rugged beauty renowned worldwide.


• Explore Banff, Yoho and Jasper national parks with experts and learn about their rich geological history.
• Experience a bird’s eye view of the Continental Divide and Victoria Glacier atop the Lake Louise Gondola.
• Travel aboard a specially designed ice explorer to the middle of the breathtaking Athabasca Glacier.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles per day on uneven terrain; altitudes of more than 3,000 feet in Jasper, 4,500 feet in Banff. Good walking shoes recommended.

Date Specific Information

7-26-2015, 7-3-2016, 7-17-2016, 7-24-2016, 8-7-2016, 8-21-2016, 9-4-2016, 9-11-2016

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

Itinerary Summary

Independent arrival Banff, 2 nights; coach to Lake Louise, 2 nights; coach to Jasper, 2 nights; coach to Banff, 2 nights; independent departure.


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.


Located within a national park, the municipality of Jasper shares its governance with the Parks Canada Agency. Born as a fur-trade supply depot in the early 1800s, the 4,000-resident town benefits from the nearly 3 million visitors that pass through Jasper National Park annually.

Banff: Family-owned inn. Lake Louise: Inn with mountain views. Jasper: Centrally located lodge.

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

Colleen Campbell is a Victoria, B.C., native who has lived all over Canada and in many parts of the world. She holds three degrees in visual arts, has studied in the sciences and has worked as a wildlife field researcher, concentrating on coyotes and grizzly bears. She notes that studying wildlife means learning about all their interactions — plants and other animals — and about how and where they travel. Colleen was also full-time faculty at Mount Royal in Calgary for more than 30 years.
Craig Oldfield

Having grown up in the Canadian Rockies, Craig Oldfield still returns regularly to his parents’ ranch to camp, fish, and catch up with friends. Although he worked in home construction for many years, Craig changed course when he took a job teaching English in China and explored that country and Southeast Asia. Today, he is drawn to anything that has to do with photography, music, cooking and being outside. He has studied ecotourism and outdoor leadership at Mount Royal University in Calgary.
Meals and Lodgings
   Irwin's Mountain Inn
  Banff, Alberta 2 nights
   Lake Louise Inn
  Lake Louise, AB 2 nights
   Lobstick Lodge
  Jasper, AB 2 nights
   Irwin's Mountain Inn
  Banff, Alberta 2 nights
 Irwin's Mountain Inn
Type: Hotel
  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 Irwins 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.
  Facility amenities: •The El Toro Restaurant serving Breakfast and Dinner •10 Person Jetted Tub •Fitness Centre •Elevator •4 Person Sauna •Free Wireless Internet •Cable TV •Coin Operated Internet Kiosk •Coin Laundry •100% non-smoking
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Call for availability & rates Please contact the hotel directly. Toll Free: 1-800-661-1721
  Check in time: 4:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Call for availability & rates Please contact the hotel directly. Toll Free: 1-800-661-1721
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

 Lake Louise Inn
Type: Inn
  Description: The Lake Louise Inn is a modern mountain resort nestled in a picturesque setting near the Pipestone River. Situated in five buildings, the 232 tastefully appointed guest rooms offer something to fit every style and budget. Most of the eight room types feature a view of the outdoors. Amenities include: a heated indoor pool, whirlpool, steam room, gift shop/newsstand, games area, and laundromat. The Village of Lake Louise is a 5-minute walk away with access to a variety of shops and services. Free parking available. On-site dining facilities include Legends restaurant, Timberwold Pizza and Pasta cafe, and the Explorers Lounge.
  Contact info: 210 Village Road
Lake Louise, AB T0L 1E0 Canada
phone: 800-661-9237
  Room amenities: Color TV, telephone, clock radio, coffee maker, hairdryers and 4-piece private baths in all guest rooms. Dial-up internet service available in guest rooms.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Lobstick Lodge
Type: Lodge
  Description: Located close to all the amenities of the town of Jasper. Renovated in 2002, oversized rooms, kitchenettes with microwave ovens, mini fridges, iron and ironing boards, indoor pool, 2 jacuzzis, sauna and steam room and 3 outdoor hot tubs, excellent licensed family restaurant, laundry facilities
  Contact info: 94 Giekie Street
Jasper, AB T0E 1E0 Canada
phone: 780-852-4431
  Room amenities: Mini fridges, iron & ironing boards, full private bathroom featuring a standard selection of in-room personal care amenities, complimentary in-room coffee, direct dial telephone with voice mail, clock radio, cable television and hair dryer
  Facility amenities: Indoor pool, three outdoor & two indoor hot tubs, sauna and steam room, Free High Speed Lobby Internet Access, cable television, complimentary in-room coffee & tea, guest laundry facilities, iron & ironing boards, inside corridor access to all rooms with Vingcard security system, elevator, kitchen suites available, all rooms are non-smoking effective November 1, 2005, wheelchair accessible rooms available, Country Inn Family Restaurant, Skyline Lounge with the best scenic views in the town of Jasper, a relaxing fireplace and all your favorite beverages
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Arrivals to Banff, Alberta. Optional group shuttle ($$) from Calgary airport arrives approximately 5:00 p.m. Hotel check-in is 4:00 p.m for those arriving independently. Welcome dinner is at 6:00 pm. You will be staying at Irwin's Mountain Inn that night.
  End of Program:
Breakast is at 7:30 am; departures from Banff after breakfast. Check-out of hotel is 11:00 am. You will be staying at Irwin's Mountain Inn the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Complimentary parking is available at the Banff hotel for the duration of the program, based on availability. Subject to change. For more information, please contact the hotel directly at 403-762-4566.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Banff, Alberta
  Nearest city or town:  Calgary, Alberta
  Nearest airport:  Calgary International Airport
  From End of Program
  Location: Banff, Alberta
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details


From Airport





If you purchased airfare through Road Scholar, you’ll receive free round-trip airport transfers to get you to and from your program. This offer is only valid on the program's start and end dates. You will receive detailed information regarding the transfer 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 and from the airport. Please review the suggested options below.




From Airport




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


Per Person/One Way:


$50 CAD
Prices are subject to change.


A group transfer from Calgary International Airport (YYC) to the hotel in Banff will be available on arrival day. This group transfer will depart Calgary airport at 3:00 p.m.; approximate arrival in Banff is 5:00 p.m. Information and a sign-up form 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:


Approximately $55 CDN
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


1.5 hours 


The Banff Airporter offers regular scheduled service from the Calgary airport to Banff. For current fare & schedule information visit or call-toll free 1-888-449-2901. Shuttle fee is non-refundable (insurance is available - please enquire with the shuttle company). Volunteers on the Arrivals level at the Calgary Airport (wearing white cowboy hats and red vests) are very helpful in getting people on their way to transportation and the hotels.




To Airport




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


Per Person/One Way:


$50 CAD
Prices are subject to change.


A group transfer from the hotel in Banff to Calgary International Airport (YYC) will be available on the final day. This group transfer will depart Banff at 8:30 a.m.; approximate arrival at Calgary airport is 10:30 Information and a sign-up form will be included in your Information Package.




To Airport




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


Per Person/One Way:


Approximately $55 CDN
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


Approximately 1.5 hours 


The Banff Airporter offers regular scheduled service from Banff to Calgary airport. For current fares & schedule visit or call-toll free 1-888-449-2901. Shuttle fee is non-refundable (insurance available, enquire with the shuttle company). NOTE: travel time from Banff to the Calgary Airport (YYC) is approx. 1.5 to 2 hours. When booking your departure/return flight, confirm with your airline the time required for pre-flight check-in to ensure you have sufficient time.

Driving Directions
  **IMPORTANT NOTE IF DRIVING TO THE PROGRAM If you choose to drive your personal vehicle to the program you will be required to pay an additional Banff Park entrance fee. Park fees are mandatory and are payable at the main Park gates and is based on your duration of stay at approximately CAN $10.00 per day per person. Price is subject to change. For additional information please contact Banff Information Centre at (403) 762-1550 or toll free 1-800-748-7275.
  Calgary (East) Take the 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, at 429 Banff Avenue. Approximate distance from Calgary is 86 miles (140 km) along the Trans-Canada Highway.
  Kootenay (South) Travel North on Highway BC-95N. Turn right onto Kootenay Hwy/BC-93N. Continue onto AB-93N and take a slight right toward Trans-Canada Highway/AB-1E, taking the AB-1E ramp to Banff. Turn right toward Banff Avenue and right onto Banff Avenue. You will see Irwin’s Mountain Inn on your right, at 429 Banff Avenue.
Elevation Note: Altitudes reaching up to 4,540 feet in Banff and up to 3,484 feet in Jasper.

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 26)
 Arrive To: Arrivals and transfers to the program hotel; check-in is 4:00 pm. 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.
 Dinner: Enjoy a welcome dinner at a nearby restaurant (El Toro).
 Evening: Following dinner, you will meet for introductions, a review of the program and site orientation.
Accommodations: Irwin's Mountain Inn
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Geology of Banff/Cave and Basin National Historic Site/Early Explorers
(Monday, July 27)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at a nearby restaurant (El Toro).
 Morning: Creating the Canadian Cordillera – Fifty years ago we thought that the Rockies popped up out of a “geosyncline”, 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.

Then we explore the Cave and Basin National Historic Site with a Parks Canada guide and 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 introduced tropical fish and warm-water plants. Bring your binoculars!

 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Explore the Whyte Museum, one of Banff's most culturally significant museums, and learn of the remarkable history of some of the locals and their cultural past. The museum features an art gallery and a vast collection of photographs telling the history of early explorers, artists and the Canadian Pacific Railway.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
 Evening: Explore independently the sights and sounds of Banff. For live entertainment, check out one of the local pubs or the Banff Centre (
Accommodations: Irwin's Mountain Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Yoho National Park/Moraine Lake/Emerald Lake/Takakkaw Falls
(Tuesday, July 28)

Note: Trail walk at Emerald Lake is an easy 1.5 hour walk on a flat lakeside trail, no elevation gain. Stops along the way for interpretation

 Breakfast: Breakfast at a local restaurant.
 Morning: Discover the geological highlights of the Rockies, Lake Louise and Yoho National Park with Ben Gadd, renowned naturalist and author of the ground-breaking Handbook of the Canadian Rockies. At Moraine Lake, learn about the geology of the area in trailside discussions with our expert naturalist.
 Lunch: Lunch in Lake Louise.
 Afternoon: After lunch we head for Emerald Lake with a stop at the Spiral Tunnels. Emerald Lake is another jewel of the Canadian Rockies. On a guided trail walk, learn about the interesting plant species found here and the Burgess Shale quarries along Fossil Ridge. Thanks to its position of the west side of the Great Divide in Yoho National Park, a 360 degree tour of Emerald yields up four very different environments: a huge avalanche path, the normal forest, a dry and dramatic alluvial fan and the towering trees. Our final stop is at a scenic viewpoint at Takakkaw Falls
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel in Lake Louise.
 Evening: Free evening. You may remain with your Group Leader to continue exploring local sites or take the opportunity to head off on your own to discover Lake Louise.
Accommodations: Lake Louise Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Grizzly Bears and Glaciers/Victoria Glacier/Lake Louise
(Wednesday, July 29)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel
 Morning: Meet with an expert biologist and conservationalist who will present on "Sharing the Land with Grizzly Bears". The Bow Valley is considered an internationally significant wildlife migration corridor. The Lake Louise area is considered significant for its critical grizzly bear, elk, lynx, bighorn sheep and mountain goat habitat. As protected areas, the mountain national parks make a significant contribution to grizzly bear conservation in the Rocky Mountain ecosystem. These parks can contribute refuge in the greater landscape. But this requires special considerations for how we share this landscape with bears. Hear how Parks Canada is managing land use and management policies.

The Lake Louise Gondola is one of the best places to see grizzly bears in their natural environment. You may experience this rare and awesome spectacle of nature if lucky from the comfort of an enclosed gondola. Enjoy views of Lake Louise and Victoria Glacier from the top of the mountain. Moraine Lake, surrounded by peaks and a deep teal in color, is nothing less than stunning and sits in the gorgeous Valley of the Ten Peaks.

 Lunch: Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.
 Afternoon: Explore the Chateau Lake Louise with a local historian. For those looking for a moderate hike, consider the 2.8 miles (4.5 km) Lake Louise Loop.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: Lake Louise Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Mountains to Glaciers/Icefields Parkway/Athabasca Glacier Ice Explorer/Arrive in Jasper
(Thursday, July 30)

Note: There are stairs leading up to the entrance of the Columbia Icefields Interpretive Centre, but there is a higher parking lot with a ramp for easier access. The remainder of the field trip is completed by coach.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at your hotel
 Morning: 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.
 Morning: Travel along the Icefields Parkway, linking Lake Louise to Jasper, 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.
 Lunch: Lunch en route.
 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. In the spruce forest above the Sunwapta River, watch for grizzly bears during spring, summer and fall.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel in Jasper.
 Evening: Our expert naturalist will discuss the history and development of Jasper National Park.
Accommodations: Lobstick Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Maligne Canyon/Pyramid Lake/Jasper National Park
(Friday, July 31)

Note: Today's field trips include up to 2 guided walks, no more than 1 mile (1.5 km) each in length on paved or maintained trails.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at your 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 en route (weather permitting)
 Afternoon: Discover the history of Jasper National Park - Canada's largest and most northerly Rocky Mountain park, encompassing over 4,200 square miles. Healthy wildlife populations, including grizzly bears and wolves, live among its grand peaks and emerald-green lakes. The combination of these startling blue-green mountain lakes, soaring peaks and broad, forested valleys makes this one of the world's premiere national parks.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own to explore local fare or join the Group Leader at a local restaurant.
Accommodations: Lobstick Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7: Palisades Stewardship Education Centre/Return to Banff
(Saturday, August 1)

Note: Today's field trip includes a guided walk, no more than 1 mile (1.5 km) in length on paved or maintained trails.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at your hotel
 Morning: The Palisades Stewardship Education Centre was once a homestead of an early pioneer family. The historic ranch is now operated by Parks Canada as one of Canada’s premier outdoor education facilities. Located in the spectacular Athabasca Valley, the Stewardship Palisades Education Centre’s 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.
 Lunch: Lunch at the centre.
 Afternoon: Return to Banff
 Dinner: Dinner on your own to explore local fare or join the Group Leader at a local restaurant.
 Evening: This evening is free to head off on your own to explore Banff, remain with your Group Leader or relax at your hotel.
Accommodations: Irwin's Mountain Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8: Banff Springs Hotel/Free Afternoon/Farewell Celebrations
(Sunday, August 2)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at a local restaurant.
 Morning: Discover the history of the town of Banff, located within Canada's First National Park. Banff lies in a mountain-rimmed valley carved by the Bow River. Its development has always been determined by the federal government, tourism and the railway. In 1930, the Rocky Mountain Parks Reserve was renamed Banff National Park, Canada's first nature reserve, to encompass 2,564 square miles of valleys, mountains, glaciers, forests, meadows and rivers. Beneath the famous Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel is gushing Bow Falls. The spectacular falls is fed upstream by the Bow Glacier which in turn feeds the Bow River. An easy stroll along the Bow Falls Trail gets you up close to the rapids and roaring water falls.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own.
 Afternoon: Free afternoon to explore Banff on your own, remain with your group leader or prepare for tomorrow's departure from the program.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at El Toro
 Evening: Farewell celebrations
Accommodations: Irwin's Mountain Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9: Program Concludes/Departures
(Monday, August 3)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at a local restaurant at 7:30 am.
 Morning: Departures from Banff after breakfast as per individual travel plans. Optional group shuttle departs Banff at 8:30 a.m. Approximate travel time from Banff to the Calgary International (YYC) Airport is 2 hours. When booking your departure/return flight, confirm with your airline the amount of time required for pre-flight check-in procedure. Make sure you have enough time upon arrival at airport to comfortably make your flight. 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. 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
  Jasper, AB Jasper Art Gallery
A must see on your tour of the Jasper area, The Clock Tower Gallery presents a timely offering of local and regional art. Since opening its first permanent gallery in July 2003, JAG operates Jasper's only artist-run gallery, has experienced boundless success and received acclaim from thousands of international visitors. Come and view our eclectic collection of oils, acrylics, watercolours, drawings, photo-based works, clay and metal sculptures and converse with our informed gallery representatives. For additional information, visit
  Jasper Yellowhead Museum and Archives
The Jasper Yellowhead Museum & Archives houses thousands of artifacts in the collection storage. Some of the more interesting items include woollen bathing suits worn at Miette Hot Springs, wooden shovels used on the Skyline Trail in 1911, and many beautiful examples of Suzette Swift’s beadwork. The collection continues to grow with donations of new artefacts arriving regularly. The permanent historic gallery features exhibits on the fur trade, the railway, and early exploration and tourism in Jasper National Park. Among our featured artefacts is Curly Phillips’ canoe, the ice axe from Mt. Alberta, and David Thompson’s musket balls recovered from Athabasca Pass. 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.

Banff National Park Map

Author: Gem Trek Maps

Description: A double-sided map and guide to Banff, Yoho and Kootenay national parks at a scale of 1:250,000.

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.

Canadian Rockies Explorer's Map and Guide

Author: Gem Trek Maps

Description: A driver's map of Banff and Jasper National Parks in Alberta, at a birds-eye scale of 1:400,000.

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.

Lake Louise and Yoho Map

Author: Gem Trek Maps

Description: A topographic map of this popular hiking region from Lake Louise to Emerald Lake, at a scale of 1:50,000.

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.

Moon Handbook Canadian Rockies

Author: Andrew Hempstead

Description: This comprehensive and authoritative guide by Banff-based Hempstead covers where to go and what to do from Jasper to Waterton.

National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America

Author: Jon Dunn

Description: This guide is the veteran's choice for birding anywhere in the United States. Practical to use in the field, it has maps, illustrations and descriptions of the birds on facing pages.

Northern Rocky Mountain Wildflowers, Including Glacier, Waterton Lakes, Banff, Jasper, Kootenay, Mount Revelstoke, and Yoho

Author: Wayne Phillips

Description: Compiled by a former forest service ecologist and botany teacher at Yellowstone Institute, this handy guide features 300 species, expertly photographed, explained and organized by color and family for quick identification.

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.

Scats and Tracks of the Rocky Mountains

Author: James Halfpenny, Todd Telander (Illustrator)

Description: An essential pocket guide to tracks, scats and signs of not just the mammals of the region, but also of the reptiles, amphibians and birds. Each of 70 species gets a double-page spread, with line drawings of the animal, scat and track, range map and description.

Selected Stories

Author: Alice Munro

Description: This collection of 28 short stories represents some of Munro's finest work. A powerful range of emotional, evocative tales set throughout the cities and rural towns of her native country.

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 Amazing Death of Calf Shirt and Other Blackfoot Stories, Three Hundred Years of Blackfoot History

Author: Hugh A. Dempsey

Description: A wonderful collection of stories, illuminating the history of the Blackfoot people of the prairies of southern Alberta and northern Montana.

The Great Rocky Mountain Nature Factbook

Author: Susan Ewing

Description: Ewing's family-friendly guide, with black-and-white drawings throughout, answers the curiosity of engaged visitors about the plants, animals and natural features of the Rockies.

Why I Hate Canadians

Author: Will Ferguson

Description: This is the tenth anniversary edition of Ferguson's wickedly astute cultural salvo, the collection of humorous essays that launched his career. As you might guess, the title is tongue-in-cheek.

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