Best of Banff: Our Mountain Heritage
Delve deep into Canada’s pioneer history as you visit Chateau Lake Louise, Banff National Park and take expert walks through the Canadian Rockies to learn about artists and outdoorsmen.
Rating (4.91)
Program No. 13178RJ
6 days
Starts at
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6 days
5 nights
11 meals
5 B 3 L 3 D
Getting There
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Arrival and Check-In, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Banff, AB
The Rundlestone Lodge

Activity note: Hotel check-in available from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Arrive to booming Calgary and transfer to the hotel in scenic Banff. Program Registration. 5:00 p.m. Come meet our group leader in the lobby and get your welcome packet. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in and the front desk will be happy to help you.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a welcome dinner

Evening: We’ll begin our evening with an orientation session where we’ll get to know each other as well as review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes. We’ll go over important information as well as have time for questions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars or settle in for the night. You may also wish to explore what the town has to offer. The hotel is steps away from a ROAM stop (Banff’s public bus system) which will take you to all the biggest attractions in Banff.

Cave and Basin National Historic Site, Whyte Museum
Banff, AB
The Rundlestone Lodge

Activity note: Walking about 1 mile throughout the day; some stairs at historic site (can be avoided).

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel

Morning: Explore Cave and Basin National Historic Site with a local expert and learn about the amazing discovery of the thermal hotsprings which led to the birthplace of Canada’s National Parks system. We will learn about the establishment of Banff National Park and explore the site; from its thermal waters and historic bathing pavillion to the surrounding wetlands and the wildlife that inhabit it. These hot springs later became the centrepiece of Canada's first national park (and the world's third.) Stroll down to the warm marshes below with our naturalist to the springs, easily accessible along a boardwalk, to see introduced tropical fish and warm-water plants. Bring binoculars if you have them!

Lunch: We’ll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant

Afternoon: Step into the 1931 home of artists and Whyte Museum founders Peter and Catharine (Robb) Whyte, whose home illuminates their simple yet classic mountain style. Then journey back a generation to soak in the rustic elegance enjoyed by collectors Phillip and Pearl (Brewster) Moore in their 1907 home. This field trip provides an intimate look at both homes and the intriguing people who lived in them. In addition, we will visit the galleries and exhibits in the Whyte Museum

Dinner: We’ll enjoy dinner at a local restaurant

Evening: An expert from the Whyte Museum will introduce us to the "Women of the Rockies". This presentation will introduce you to historical and current figures that have shaped the mountain culture landscape. Discover the women whose lives are a part of a legacy of backcountry travel, ranching, climbing, scientific research, writing, drama and art.

Moraine Lake, Lake Louise, Yoho National Park
Banff, AB
The Rundlestone Lodge

Activity note: Walking 1.5 miles, approximately 2 hours over the course of the day; easy, flat lakeside trail with no elevation gain. Stops along the way for interpretation. Total time on the coach is approximately 1.5 hours.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel

Morning: Discover the geological highlights of the Rockies, Lake Louise and Yoho National Park with a local expert. At Moraine Lake, we’ll learn about the geology of the area in trailside discussions that introduce the natural wonders of the Rockies

Lunch: At Lake Louise in a scenic spot, we’ll have boxed lunches

Afternoon: We will head for Emerald Lake, another jewel of the Canadian Rockies, with a stop at the Spiral Tunnels. We’ll go on an expert-led trail walk to learn about the interesting plant species found here and at the Burgess Shale quarries along Fossil Ridge. Thanks to its position on the west side of the Great Divide in Yoho National Park, a 360-degree view from Emerald Lake showcases four very different environments: a huge avalanche path, the pine forest, a dry and dramatic alluvial fan and the towering trees of the rainforest.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Columbia Icefields, Ice Explorer, Athabasca Glacier
Banff, AB
The Rundlestone Lodge

Activity note: There are stairs leading up to the entrance of the Columbia Icefields Interpretive Centre. The remainder of the field trip will be by motorcoach. Driving about 150 miles throughout the day; approximately 4 hours total. The Ice Explorer ride on Athabasca Glacier is 3 miles roundtrip during the 1.5 hour adventure.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel

Morning: Travel along the Icefields Parkway, 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 en route. Along the way we’ll stop to enjoy some scenic overlooks and visit the interpretation centre.

Lunch: At a scenic spot, we’ll have boxed lunches

Afternoon: Our field trip continues at Columbia Icefields as we travel in a specially designed Ice Explorer to the middle of the Athabasca Glacier on a 3-mile (5 km) roundtrip journey. Our driver will explain how glaciers are formed and point out interesting geological features as we travel in safety and comfort. At the mid-point, we will be given the choice to step out onto ice formed from snow fallen as long as 200 years ago.

Dinner: Dinner on your own to enjoy local fare or join the Group Leader (at a local restaurant).

Banff Gondola, Free Time
Banff, AB
The Rundlestone Lodge

Activity note: Walking up to 1 mile on pavement.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel

Morning: Head up Sulphur Mountain in a four-passenger, glass-enclosed gondola (weather permitting). This activity will reinforce what we have learned during this morning's presentation. Along the way, we will have a 360-degree view of the breathtaking beauty of the Rockies. Bring a camera along, be amazed at the view from the top!

Lunch: Lunch on your own at the top of the mountain to enjoy the local offerings.

Afternoon: You may remain with your Group Leader to continue exploring local sites or take the opportunity to head off on your own to discover Banff. Experience High Tea at the Banff Springs Hotel, take the gondola up to Sulphur Mountain, a boat cruise on Lake Minnewanka or just relax at the hotel.

Dinner: We'll enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant

Program Concludes, Departures
Banff, AB

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel. Program concludes

Morning: Departures from the hotel in Banff after breakfast as per individual travel plans. Check-out is 11:00 a.m. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!

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