Christmas in the Canadian Rockies
Join us for Christmas in Banff to experience the winter wonderland of the Canadian Rockies. Learn about the local wildlife and culture, and marvel at the majestic mountain scenery.
Rating (5)
Program No. 16593RJ
6 days
Starts at
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6 days
5 nights
9 meals
4 B 2 L 3 D
Arrival and Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Banff, Alberta
The Rimrock Resort Hotel

Activity note: Check-in 4:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Independent arrivals and transfers to the program hotel in the afternoon. Check-in after 4:00 pm. Arrivals and transfers to the program hotel by 4:00 pm. Meet your Group Leader between 4:00 - 5:00 p.m. in the hotel lobby to register and get your welcome packet; or pick up your package at the front desk if you arrive after 5:00 p.m.

Dinner: Welcome dinner at the hotel at 6:00 pm. is a plated meal with starter, entrée, dessert; coffee, tea, water. Other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Orientation. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Travel and transfers will be via private motorcoach unless noted otherwise. A public transit pass (ROAM) will be provided to participants so they can use the local bus during free time. Periods in the schedule labeled “Free Time and “At Leisure” offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable while going out to explore on your own, engaging in available activities independently, making new friends among fellow Road Scholars, or simply relaxing. The Group Leader will always be happy to offer suggestions. 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, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead. Prepare for check-out and transfer.

Geology, Cave and Basin National Historic Site, Whyte Museum
Banff, Alberta
The Rimrock Resort Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach. Walking up to 1 mile; over 3.5 hours on pavement and boardwalks; slippery terrain with snow or ice. Dress warmly in layers.

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel includes hot & cold items; juice, milk, coffee, tea.

Morning: We transfer by coach to Cave and Basin National Historic Site where we will join a local expert to learn about the fascinating story and geology of the Canadian Rockies. Then explore Banff's natural heritage and share a discovery that changed the course of history at Cave and Basin. In 1883, hot springs were discovered by CPR railway workers, and the notion to protect natural and cultural treasures in Canada was born shortly thereafter. Stand in the dramatic spot that started it all. Watch plumes of billowing, sulphurous steam coming from the cave’s vent hole. Dip your hands in silky thermal waters that once attracted thousands of hot springs bathers. See colourful lights shimmering in an underground Cave. Marvel from raised boardwalks at breathtaking Bow Valley.

Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant will be a plated meal with starter, entrée, dessert; coffee, tea, water. Other beverages available for purchase. Transfer by coach to the Whyte Museum.

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, visit to the galleries and exhibits in the Whyte Museum including the Gateway to the Rockies exhibit and learn how these mountains were opened up to all. Who were the guides in this unforgiving landscape? Who protected it? Many people have been drawn to these peaks, come discover their stories. The Museum also has exceptional collections documenting the Stoney First Nation. Its art collection contains close to 4,000 works relating to the visual arts of the Canadian Rockies, including paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures, prints, mixed media works and objects of fine craft. Transfer by coach back to the hotel.

Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant will be a plated meal with starter, entrée and dessert; coffee, tea, water. Other beverages available for purchase.

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

Coach Exploration of Banff and Bow Valley, Free Afternoon
Banff, Alberta
The Rimrock Resort Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; coach travel approximately 4 hours with stops. Mileage and routing for the coach exploration will be weather dependent. Dress warmly in layers.

Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.

Morning: This morning we depart for a coach exploration of Banff and the surrounding area. See the area in all its winter wonder with waterfalls and lakes providing dramatic winter scenes. Keep your eye out for wildlife seeking shelter from the elements; animals shelter themselves in the valley against harsh winter conditions, but you can still spot, elk, coyotes and sometimes moose and wolves. Coach returns to the hotel.

Lunch: Lunch on your own to explore the many dining options in Banff; or join your group leader at a local restaurant ($$).

Afternoon: Free afternoon to relax or explore the town of Banff. There are few places more magical in the world that Banff at Christmas. The streets are carpeted in white, snow covered trees look more dramatic than ever and there is a general feeling of Christmas cheer around this glorious little lit up town. There are some suggestions in this package and additional options will be provided in the arrival package.

Dinner: Dinner on your own.

Evening: Enjoy outdoor festivities at the holiday bonfire or relax by the fireplace. Alternatively, stroll through the townsite of Banff and admire the decorations.

Banff Park Museum, Banff, Free Time, Christmas Eve
Banff, Alberta
The Rimrock Resort Hotel

Activity note: Walking up to 1 mile during morning field trip on paved walkways; slippery terrain with snow or ice. Dress warmly in layers.

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.

Morning: Coach transfer to the Banff Park Museum which displays an extensive collection of natural history specimens - from stuffed bears to minerals and plants. The museum is also involved in educating the public about natural resource management. Explore the museum with a local expert and learn about the wildlife found in the Banff area. Coach transfer back to the hotel or stay downtown to explore independently.

Lunch: Lunch on your own to explore the many dining options in Banff; or join your group leader at a local restaurant ($$).

Afternoon: Free afternoon to take part in Christmas celebrations; or some winter activities such as snowshoeing or skiing; the sparkling, glacier-fed waters of Banff National Park freeze over in winter, providing you with some of the most scenic ice skating rinks in the world. Information and options will be provided. We will regroup late afternoon to join in the Christmas Eve Celebration with a cocktail reception, and carol sing-along at the hotel.

Dinner: Special Christmas Eve dinner buffet at the Rimrock Hotel; coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

Afternoon Tea, Banff Springs, Sleigh Ride, Christmas Dinner
Banff, Alberta
The Rimrock Resort Hotel

Activity note: Walking less than 1 mile on paved walkways; some stairs; slippery terrain with snow or ice. Dress warmly in layers. Warm blankets and hot chocolate provided for sleigh ride.

Breakfast: Breakfast on your own.

Morning: Free morning to attend a church service or take part in Christmas activities. Information will be provided on area services and activities available on Christmas Day.

Lunch: Transfer by coach to the historic Banff Springs Hotel for afternoon tea. Since 1888, the Fairmont Banff Springs has symbolized the grandeur of the Canadian Rockies. Styled as a Scottish baronial castle, it was originally built for adventurous travelers crossing the Canadian Rockies by train. The grandeur of the holiday décor will add to this special experience. See why few hotels in the world can rival its majesty, hospitality and location. We will enjoy a festive themed Afternoon Tea while overlooking the breathtaking view of the snow-capped mountains at the Banff Springs Hotel.

Afternoon: A short coach transfer will take us to the stables to embark on a 45-minute horse-drawn sleigh ride through the winter wonderland of the Canadian Rockies, a unique and memorable way to experience another side of this wonderful mountain area. Glide beneath the snowy boughs and over fields of white powder in a crisp and clear afternoon or beneath the moonlit sky. Snuggle beneath warm wool blankets and breathe in that fresh mountain air as you sip hot chocolate and listen to the jingle of the sleigh bells. The friendly drivers will help deliver the perfect “Western Touch”.

Dinner: Enjoy a spectacular Christmas buffet feast in a private room at the Rimrock Hotel. Mix and mingle until the festive meal begins.

Program Concludes, Departure
Banff, Alberta

Activity note: Check-out is 12:00 p.m.

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.

Morning: Independent departures after breakfast as per individual travel plans. Hotel check-out is 12:00 noon. 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.

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