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Alberta/British Columbia

Western Canada by Train & Ferry: Grizzlies, Orcas & Totems

Program No. 21439RJ
Breathtaking vistas, unique wildlife, ancient cultures and traditional ways of life — discover this and more as you explore Western Canada from Alberta to the Inside Passage.
Length
13 days
Rating (4.83)
Activity Level
Starts at
5,649

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climate
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itinerary
Please Note:
The itinerary for this program is different on certain dates.
Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Jun 9 - Jun 21, 2023
Starting at
5,649
Itinerary Note

This departure travels Westbound, starting in Calgary, Alberta and ending in Vancouver, B.C.

Jun 13 - Jun 25, 2023
Starting at
5,649
Itinerary Note

This departure travels Westbound, starting in Calgary, Alberta and ending in Vancouver, B.C.

Jun 27 - Jul 9, 2023
Starting at
6,049
Itinerary Note

This departure travels Westbound, starting in Calgary, Alberta and ending in Vancouver, B.C.

Aug 7 - Aug 19, 2023
Starting at
6,149
Itinerary Note

This departure travels Eastbound, starting in Vancouver, B.C. and ending in Calgary, Alberta.

Aug 17 - Aug 29, 2023
Starting at
6,649
Itinerary Note

This departure travels Eastbound, starting in Vancouver, B.C. and ending in Calgary, Alberta.

Aug 21 - Sep 2, 2023
Starting at
6,149
Itinerary Note

This departure travels Eastbound, starting in Vancouver, B.C. and ending in Calgary, Alberta.

DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Jun 9 - Jun 21, 2023
Starting at
6,949
Itinerary Note

This departure travels Westbound, starting in Calgary, Alberta and ending in Vancouver, B.C.

Jun 13 - Jun 25, 2023
Starting at
6,949
Itinerary Note

This departure travels Westbound, starting in Calgary, Alberta and ending in Vancouver, B.C.

Jun 27 - Jul 9, 2023
Starting at
7,349
Itinerary Note

This departure travels Westbound, starting in Calgary, Alberta and ending in Vancouver, B.C.

Aug 7 - Aug 19, 2023
Starting at
7,549
Itinerary Note

This departure travels Eastbound, starting in Vancouver, B.C. and ending in Calgary, Alberta.

Aug 17 - Aug 29, 2023
Starting at
8,049
Itinerary Note

This departure travels Eastbound, starting in Vancouver, B.C. and ending in Calgary, Alberta.

Aug 21 - Sep 2, 2023
Starting at
7,549
Itinerary Note

This departure travels Eastbound, starting in Vancouver, B.C. and ending in Calgary, Alberta.

At a Glance

Discover the breathtaking range of the Canadian Rockies in Alberta and the magnificent 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, while on shore the ancient coastal rainforest provides habitat for grizzlies and many other mammals. Join naturalists for an exploration of the Rocky Mountains, the Pacific Coast Mountains and the waterways of the West on this wildlife and wilderness adventure.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walk up to two miles daily over varied terrain. Embarking/disembarking ferries, trains and vessels. Some late-night arrivals and long days due to ferry and train schedules (subject to change).

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Explore Banff, Yoho and Jasper National Parks with experts and learn about their rich ecology and geology.
  • Experience British Columbia’s diversity of landscapes aboard Via Rail's Skeena train and on a BC Ferry ride.
  • Learn about the bioregion of the grizzly bear and observe these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.

General Notes

Select dates are designated for small groups and are limited to 24 participants or less.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Brent MacDonald
Brent Macdonald has been a resident of the Canadian Rockies for almost 30 years. As a geology expert, he provides a wealth of knowledge about geography and geomorphology. Brent has had a diverse career as a freelance natural history interpreter, also working as a consultant for a geotechnical engineering company. He has shared his knowledge of geology and natural history as an interpreter and guest lecturer. Brent is also a certified mountain leader and ski instructor.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Kirsten Schmitten
Kirsten Schmitten View biography
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, Kirsten’s 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.
Profile Image of Krista Bogen
Krista Bogen View biography
Krista is a teacher based in Vancouver and particularly knowledgeable in the Banff area and the natural wonders that populate Western Canada. With her passion for teaching and learning, her deep love for her home country and seeing new places, group leading has become one of Krista’s favorite things to do. She also loves meeting new people and discovering common ground among diverse groups of participants. “Let me take you on a journey to see what makes Canada such an amazing place!” says Krista.
Profile Image of Hugh Southee
Hugh Southee View biography
A Geotechnical Engineer with experience in coal mining, Hugh has been leading people around the Burgess Shale area for five summers. With his love of education, he is dedicated to helping others learn about the wonders Mother Nature has created in the West. Living in the Rockies for eight years, nothing makes him happier than getting outside. Hugh has traveled the world for over a decade seeking rock and ice climbing adventures, and he also enjoys skiing and canoeing.
Profile Image of Brent MacDonald
Brent MacDonald View biography
Brent Macdonald has been a resident of the Canadian Rockies for almost 30 years. As a geology expert, he provides a wealth of knowledge about geography and geomorphology. Brent has had a diverse career as a freelance natural history interpreter, also working as a consultant for a geotechnical engineering company. He has shared his knowledge of geology and natural history as an interpreter and guest lecturer. Brent is also a certified mountain leader and ski instructor.
Profile Image of Tracey Gage
Tracey Gage View biography
Tracy Gage feels most at home in nature. She has a bachelor’s in wildlife biology as well as a degree in geology and teaching. Tracy has been a professional excursion leader, educator and naturalist for over 20 years in the kind of jobs you only see on TV: grizzly bear and whale expert, hiking leader and mountain bike coach. Throughout the year she works as the executive director of a local not-for-profit group that trains educational excursion leaders to work in Alberta’s National Parks.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Handbook of the Canadian Rockies
by Ben Gadd
Geology, plants, animals, history and recreation from Waterton/Glacier to the Yukon.
The West Beyond the West, A History of British Columbia
by Jean Barman
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.
Moon Handbook British Columbia including the Canadian Rockies
by Andrew Hempstead
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.
Bachelor Brothers' Bed and Breakfast
by Bill Richardson
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.
This Wild Spirit: Women in the Rocky Mountains of Canada
by Colleen Skidmore
In 1912, Mary Vaux, a botanist, glaciologist, painter, and photographer, wrote about her mountain adventures: “A day on the trail, or a scramble over the glacier, or even with a quiet day in camp to get things in order for the morrow's conquests? Some how when once this wild spirit enters the blood…I can hardly wait to be off again." Vaux's compulsion was shared by many women whose intellects, imaginations, and spirits rose to the challenge of the mountains between the late-nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries. This Wild Spirit explores a sampling of women's creative responses—in fiction and travel writing, photographs and paintings, embroidery and beadwork, letters and diaries, poetry and posters—to their experiences in the Rocky Mountains of Canada.
The Cure for Death by Lightning
by Gail Anderson-Dargatz
The Cure for Death by Lightning sold more than a staggering 100,000 copies in Canada alone and became a bestseller in Great Britain, later to be published in the United States and Europe. It was nominated for the Giller Prize, the richest fiction prize in Canada, and received a Betty Trask Award in the U.K. The Cure for Death by Lightning takes place in the poor, isolated farming community of Turtle Valley, British Columbia, in the shadow of the Second World War. The fifteenth summer of Beth Weeks’s life is full of strange happenings: a classmate is mauled to death; children go missing on the nearby reserve; an unseen predator pursues Beth. She is surrounded by unusual characters, including Nora, the sensual half-Native girl whose friendship provides refuge; Filthy Billy, the hired hand with Tourette’s Syndrome; and Nora’s mother, who has a man’s voice and an extra little finger. Then there’s the darkness within her own family: her domineering, shell-shocked father has fits of madness, and her mother frequently talks to the dead. Beth, meanwhile, must wrestle with her newfound sexuality in a harsh world where nylons, perfume and affection have no place. Then, in a violent storm, she is struck by lightning in her arm, and nothing is quite the same again. She decides to explore the dangers of the bush. Beth is a strong, honest, and compassionate heroine, bringing hope and joy into an environment that is often cruel. The character of Beth’s haunted mother infuses the book with life by means of her scrapbook of recipes scattered throughout, with luscious descriptions of food, gardening, and remedies, both practical and bizarre. Seen through Beth’s eyes, the West Coast landscape is full of beauty and mysteries, with its forests and rivers, and its rich native culture.
After the Ice Age: The Return of Life to Glaciated North America
by E.C. Pielou
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.
Landslide
by Desmond Bagley
Geologist Bob Boyd, who works in British Columbia timber country, has no memory of his past following a terrible accident, which only he survived. Hired by the powerful Matterson Corporation to survey land before they build a great new dam, he begins to uncover the shaky foundations of the Matterson family and becomes a fly in their ointment. Matters are complicated when he falls in love with Claire Trinavant, the last link to a forgotten family whose name strikes a mysteriously resonant chord.
The Island Within
by Richard Nelson
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.
Field Guide to Marine Mammals of the Pacific Coast
by Sarah G. Allen, Joe Mortenson, Sophie Webb
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
by Lonely Planet Publications
This informative, compact guidebook in the excellent Lonely Planet series includes details on the history, geology and wildlife of the region.
Raven's End
by Ben Gadd
A young raven, with no memory of his past, arrives to the beautiful and dangerous landscape of Yamnuska, Banff. A book that looks at the complex world of ravens.
Field Guide to Banff National Park
by James Kavanagh
This fold-up, laminated card features 133 color drawings and short descriptions of commonly encountered wildlife and a map.
Rocky Mountain Natural History, Grand Teton to Jasper, A Trailside Reference
by Daniel Mathews
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.
Switchbacks, True Stories from the Canadian Rockies
by Sid Marty
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.
Mark of the Grizzly
by Scott McMillion
McMillion gives readers a thorough understanding of the behavior of these magnificent, yet deadly creatures through examples of encounters gone very wrong.
Barrow's Boys
by Fergus Fleming
Between 1816 and 1845, John Barrow and his hand-picked teams of elite naval officers scoured the globe’s empty spaces, which makes this book a tale of absurdly dangerous comedy as well as a harrowing personal endeavour. The book contains great details on all the British naval expeditions in search of the Northwest Passage from 1815 to 1850.
A Traveller's History of Canada
by Robert Bothwell
A readable and admirably concise march through Canadian history from prehistory to today, including a timeline.
National Audubon Society Field Guide to the Pacific Northwest
by Peter Alden
A compact photographic guide to the wildflowers, trees, mosses, butterflies, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals of the Pacific Northwest.
The Great Bear Rainforest, Canada's Forgotten Coast
by Ian McAllister, Karen McAllister, Cameron Young
An environmental history of coastal British Columbia featuring handsome color photographs.
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13 days
12 nights
31 meals
12 B 9 L 10 D
DAY
1
Arrival, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Vancouver, British Columbia
D
Pacific Gateway Hotel

Activity note: Check-in begins 4:00 pm.

Afternoon: Program registration begins at 4:00 pm. After you have your room assignment, join us at the Road Scholar table in the lobby to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing the up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, other important information, and to confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in.

Dinner: Enjoy a welcome dinner at the hotel.

Evening: Orientation. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will 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.

DAY
2
Ferry to Vancouver Island, Qualicum Walk, North Island
Telegraph Cove, British Columbia
B,D
Telegraph Cove Resort

Activity note: Getting on and off the ferry; crossing from Vancouver to Nanaimo is about 30 nautical miles; approx. 1.5 hours. Driving from Nanaimo to Telegraph Cove is approx. 220 miles; about 4 hours. Walking up to 2 miles on groomed trails, paths, and mulch trails.

Breakfast: Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

Morning: Board the ferry to Vancouver Island, the largest island on the west coast of North America, separated from the Canadian mainland by the Georgia Strait, Johnstone Strait, and Queen Charlotte Strait. Enjoy insightful commentary about natural and human history while travelling by motorcoach to Qualicum Beach. Learn about First Nations medicinal plants and culture while wandering through an old growth Douglas fir forest.

Lunch: Lunch on Own.

Afternoon: Travel by coach to Telegraph Cove. Telegraph Cove was once populated by a single telegraph shack from which fisherman, pioneers, and loggers communicated. The town grew with the arrival of a school, general store, and sawmill and many of the early settlements were built on stilts over the water, making it an iconic destination for thousands of visitors today.

Dinner: Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant in Telegraph Cove.

Evening: Check-in to the hotel. The evening may be enjoyed at your leisure.

DAY
3
Whale Museum, Orca Whale Watching
Telegraph Cove, British Columbia
B,L,D
Telegraph Cove Resort

Activity note: Getting on/off the boat, possibly on steep ramps (tide levels depending); walking on boardwalks; distances vary depending location of sightings; vessels carry up to 74 passengers. Heated indoor cabin, two open air decks, on-board washrooms, and snack bar. Bring a light jacket or rain gear. Hats, gloves and jackets provided for all passengers on request.

Breakfast: Breakfast at nearby restaurant.

Morning: Ruminate at the Whale Interpretive Centre with a docent from the museum. This facility was established in order to provide public awareness of the biology, habitat needs, and existing threats to local marine mammals. This area is home to a variety of marine wildlife, including humpback whales, sea lions, dolphins, porpoises, bald eagles, and much more. Explore collections of marine mammal skeletons housed at the museum.

Lunch: Enjoy boxed lunches on board the whale watching vessel.

Afternoon: Discover one of the best locations to observe orca (killer) whales while whale watching. Hopefully, we’ll see orcas, humpback whales, Dall’s porpoises, Pacific white-sided dolphins, harbor seals, and Stellar sea lions. Vessels are equipped with underwater microphones (hydrophones) enabling us to listen to the squeaks and whistles characteristic of echolocation used by orcas and dolphins to locate food.

Dinner: Enjoy a meal at a scenic waterside restaurant, known for its yellow cedar post-and-beam style, and beautiful copper tables, surrounded by stained-glass windows.

Evening: Enjoy the evening at your leisure. Prepare for early check out in the morning.

DAY
4
Grizzly Bear Viewing, Port Hardy
Port Hardy, British Columbia
B,L,D
Kwa’lilas Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off 12 passenger aluminum boats; approximately 2 hours each way; vessels are covered and have onboard toilets. Dress warmly in dark layers with a waterproof shell; bring a hat and a water bottle. No perfume/aftershave. We will always stay at least 55 yards (50 meters) from bears.

Breakfast: Enjoy breakfast on board the boats.

Morning: Travel to Knight Inlet aboard water taxis for an exciting bear and wildlife spotting adventure. At a prime bear viewing location, we’ll transfer to large flat-bottomed observation skiffs, which include an elevated platform, and a crow’s nest to maximize viewing. The shallow draft of these former herring fishing vessels allows us to get close to the action. Explore the hidden habitat of black and grizzly bears and learn about the ecosystem from an expert who will explain the vital role bears play in sustaining the bioregion As a courtesy to the bears and to ensure the longevity of viewing for years to come, we will always stay at least 50 meters from bears as per recommended guidelines; please do not wear perfumes or aftershave on the bear viewing trip.

Lunch: Enjoy a packed lunch on board the boats. Eating in the bear viewing area is not bear friendly; we don’t want bears confusing humans with food.

Afternoon: Our grizzly bear adventure will continue amid great towering mountains rising out of the sea, with forested islands and beautiful channels providing ever new views. The bear habitat cuts through the Coast Range Mountains, including the highest mountain in British Columbia, Mount Waddington, which supports an abundance of wildlife and salmon take advantage of the phenomenal river systems. While our local experts will make their best effort to get us to the best places for bear viewing, they cannot guarantee sightings – they would like to be able to book an appointment with the bears but sometimes they do not show up! We will transfer to Port Hardy in the late afternoon.

Dinner: Dinner at the hotel in Port Hardy.

Evening: At your leisure.Prepare for early check out (5:15 a.m.) and transfer to the ferry in the morning

DAY
5
BC Ferry to Prince Rupert, Canada's Inside Passage
Prince Rupert, British Columbia
B,D
The Crest Hotel

Activity note: Early hotel check-out (5:15 a.m.) for transfer to the ferry dock; less than an hour driving. Board ferry for a ride of 274 nautical miles; about 16 hours. Participants will have onboard cabins for the duration of the journey. Late night arrival in Prince Rupert.

Breakfast: Enjoy a delicious buffet breakfast aboard the ferry. Coffee, tea, and juice is included. Other drinks are available for purchase.

Morning: Enjoy a cruise on the famously awe-inspiring Inside Passage route. This 16-hour journey will take us past spectacular coastal rainforests and majestic coastal mountains. Learn about coastal ecological issues while passing noted villages, first contact sites and maybe even some sea mammals.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy aboard the ferry.

Afternoon: We’ll continue to cruise through Canada's Inside Passage. Cut from the coastal mountains by glaciers millions of years ago, the fjords of Canada’s Inside Passage provide vistas of coastal rainforests, beaches, waterfalls and mountains.

Dinner: Dinner will be served aboard the ferry. Coffee, tea, and water is included. Other beverages are available for purchase.

Evening: We’ll transfer to the hotel upon late arrival in Prince Rupert, BC.

DAY
6
Northern BC Museum, Pacific Northwest Cannery Historic Site
Prince Rupert, British Columbia
B,L,D
The Crest Hotel

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles throughout the day; paved streets and boardwalks. Less than 1 hour spent aboard the motorcoach.

Breakfast: Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

Morning: Discover the natural and cultural heritage of the Northwest Coast at the Museum of Northern British Columbia. The museum is housed in a magnificent Northwest Coast longhouse overlooking Prince Rupert Harbour. Learn about the cultural and geological origins of this region, including the history of the Tsimshian, Haida, Tlingit, and Kwakwakawakw peoples.

Lunch: Enjoy lunch at the North Pacific Cannery Historic Site.

Afternoon: The Pacific Northwest Cannery Historic Site offers insight into life at remote salmon canneries and elucidates on how the industry shaped the economy and culture of the province. This field trip includes walking along historic boardwalks, the exploration of industrial buildings, residences, and the wilderness surroundings the salmon canning industry. You’ll hear about the people, living conditions, workspaces, and the functions of a remote cannery. Witness live demonstrations of cannery machinery and meditate on what it must have been like for workers. This excursion will explore canning practices from its earliest days to modern methods.

Dinner: Enjoy local flavors at a nearby restaurant.

Evening: At your leisure. Prepare for check-out in the morning.

DAY
7
Skeena Train - Prince Rupert to Prince George
Prince George, British Columbia
B,L,D
Ramada Prince George

Activity note: Train travel is approximately 723 miles; about 13 hours. Train schedules are subject to change and delays are possible due to rail traffic or other conditions. Bring only a carry-on bag with what you will need for 2 days travel including medication, larger luggage will be delivered to the hotel in Jasper. Walking up to 1 mile, about 30 minutes.

Breakfast: Breakfast on board the train.

Morning: Embark on a two-day train journey aboard Via Rail’s Skeena Train from Prince Rupert, BC to Jasper, AB with an overnight stop in Prince George, BC. Enjoy the haunting splendor and rugged beauty of the great Canadian wilderness from the comfort of the train.

Lunch: Enjoy lunch aboard the train.

Afternoon: Our rail journey will continue past the edge of the Spasizi Plateau, along the Skeena River, towards Prince George, BC. Prince George is situated at the confluence of the Fraser and Nechako Rivers. The origin of Prince George can be traced to the fur trading post of Fort George, established in 1807 by Simon Fraser.

Dinner: Dinner will be served aboard the train.

Evening: We are scheduled to arrive in Prince George in the mid evening. Upon arrival, we’ll transfer to the hotel and enjoy time at your leisure for the remainder of the evening. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
8
Skeena Train - Prince George to Jasper
Jasper, Alberta
B,L,D
Tonquin Inn

Activity note: Check-out of the hotel early and transfer to the station to board the train for travel to Jasper, AB. Train travel is approximately 205 miles; about 7 hours. Train schedules are subject to change and delays are possible due to rail traffic or other conditions.

Breakfast: Enjoy breakfast on board the train.

Morning: Continue to relax and enjoy the scenery as we make our way to Jasper aboard the train. We will start making our way into Alberta as we travel through majestic mountains and beautiful lakes and communities.

Lunch: Enjoy lunch aboard the train. Coffee, tea, and water are included. Other beverages are available for purchase.

Afternoon: The railroad adventure continues as we journey to Jasper. We’ll be travelling through Jasper National Park, in the Canadian Rockies. Arrival in Jasper in late afternoon. Transfer to the hotel and check in.

Dinner: At the hotel in Jasper.

Evening: The remainder of the evening will be at your leisure.

DAY
9
Maligne Canyon, Pyramid Lake, Jasper National Park
Jasper, Alberta
B,L
Tonquin Inn

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles throughout the day; paved and/or maintained trails. Driving approx. 60 miles about 2.5 hours total aboard coach with stops for interpretation.

Breakfast: Enjoy a buffet breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Our local expert naturalist will meet us at the hotel and accompany us in our explorations of Jasper National Park, Maligne Canyon and Pyramid Lake by motorcoach. We’ll make a stop for a walk along the Maligne Canyon Trail, which is rich in natural history, impressive geologic features and wildlife. On our walk, we’ll 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. These scenic trails will allow us to explore the spectacular vantage points, flower meadows, and sapphire blue mountain lakes.

Lunch: We’ll enjoy boxed lunches at a scenic spot in the park

Afternoon: We’ll continue our expert-led exploration in Jasper National Park by motorcoach, making some stops for expert interpretation. Canada's largest and most northerly Rocky Mountain Park, Jasper encompasses over 4,200 square miles and boasts healthy wildlife populations, including grizzly bears and wolves, which 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 enjoy local fare.

Evening: At your leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
10
Icefields Parkway, Athabasca Glacier, Transfer to Banff
Banff, Alberta
B,L,D
Royal Canadian Lodge

Activity note: Stairs lead to the entrance of the Columbia Icefields Interpretive Centre. If easier access is required, there is a higher parking lot, where there is ramp access. The remainder of the trip will be by motor coach. Driving for about 150 miles (241.4 km) throughout the day for approximately 5 hours total. The Ice Explorer will be driving 3 miles (5 km) roundtrip on the Athabasca Glacier for about 1.5 hours.

Breakfast: A buffet breakfast will be provided at the hotel.

Morning: We will travel by coach to the Columbia Icefields and learn all about this impressive geological feature. Upon arrival at the Icefields, we’ll board a specially designed Ice Explorer to the middle of the Athabasca Glacier on a 3-mile (5 km) roundtrip journey for an awe-inspiring glimpse of icy crevasses and ice-fed streamlets. Our driver will explain how glaciers are formed and point out interesting geological features as we travel onto the glacier in safety and comfort. At the mid-point, we will have the opportunity to step out onto ice formed from snow falling as long as 200 years ago.

Lunch: We’ll enjoy boxed lunches at a scenic spot along the Parkway.

Afternoon: We will continue our journey to Banff along the famed scenic Icefields Parkway, one of the most impressive stretches of scenic driving in Canada. The highway follows a lake-lined valley between the Eastern Main Ranges which make-up the Continental Divide. The Group Leader will divulge interesting facts about the geological history and glaciology of the Athabasca Glacier.

Dinner: Enjoy dinner at the hotel.

Evening: At your leisure.

DAY
11
Lake Louise, Grizzlies, Gondola, High Tea
Banff, Alberta
B,L
Royal Canadian Lodge

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles on pavement and groomed trails, some stairs and uneven terrain at historic site.

Breakfast: Enjoy a buffet breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Meet a wildlife expert and conservationist at Lake Louise Gondola who will explain how to share the land with grizzly bears and how Parks Canada is conducting land use and management for conservation areas. Learn about the role of The Bow Valley as a migration corridor and the valley’s position as a critical location for grizzly bears, lynx, elk, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats. Board the Lake Louise Gondola and enjoy views of Lake Louise and Moraine Lake within the Valley of the Ten Peaks.

Lunch: We’ll be served afternoon tea with assorted pastries and traditional finger sandwiches at Château Lake Louise.

Afternoon: Enjoy a visit to Moraine Lake while returning to Banff. Moraine Lake’s turquoise waters increase in intensity during the summer while the glaciers melt. Nestled in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, the lake is surrounded by waterfalls, mountains, and rock piles. Arrive in Banff at approximately 4:30 pm with some free time for the rest of the afternoon.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy local fare.

Evening: At your leisure.

DAY
12
Banff National Park, Emerald Lake, Yoho Park
Banff, Alberta
B,L,D
Royal Canadian Lodge

Activity note: Walking up to 1.5 miles; approximately 2 hours over the course of the day; well-maintained trails and pathways; easy, flat lakeside trail at Emerald Lake with no elevation gain. Stops along the way for interpretation. Driving approximately 140 miles; about 3 hours.

Breakfast: Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

Morning: Explore Spiral Tunnels, an engineering feat which allowed for safe and efficient train travel through the difficult Kicking Horse Pass. Journey to Emerald Lake and learn about the plant species found in the region from an expert. Visit the Burgess Shale, rich in fossils, it has preserved marine ecosystems dating back 500 million years.

Lunch: We’ll have boxed lunches at a scenic location.

Afternoon: Continue exploring the area. Learn about the interesting local plant species along Fossil Ridge with a local expert. Observe the diverse landscape at the Great Divide in Yoho National Park, offering a view of huge avalanche paths, the interior rainforest, and lakeside riparian zones. Visit Takakkaw Falls, towering a total of 1,250 feet making it one of the tallest waterfalls in Canada.

Dinner: Enjoy a farewell dinner at the hotel.

Evening: At your leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer to Calgary in the morning.

DAY
13
Program Concludes
Banff, Alberta
B

Activity note: Transfer to Calgary airport

Breakfast: Breakfast will be served at the hotel prior to the transfer to Calgary. This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.