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21439
Alberta/British Columbia

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

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.
Rating (4.55)
Program No. 21439RJ
Length
13 days
Starts at
4,449
Alberta/British Columbia

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

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
Starts at
4,449
Program No. 21439 RJ
Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
climate
Plan ahead.
What kind of weather can you expect? Take a look!
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 13 - Jun 25, 2021
Starting at
4,449
Jun 27 - Jul 9, 2021
Starting at
4,549
Jul 11 - Jul 23, 2021
Small group
Starting at
4,949
Jul 31 - Aug 12, 2021
Starting at
4,849
Itinerary Note

The itinerary on this date is in reverse, starting in Vancouver, B.C. and ending in Calgary, A.B.

Aug 14 - Aug 26, 2021
Small group
Starting at
5,349
Itinerary Note

The itinerary on this date is in reverse, starting in Vancouver, B.C. and ending in Calgary, A.B.

Aug 28 - Sep 9, 2021
Starting at
4,849
Itinerary Note

The itinerary on this date is in reverse, starting in Vancouver, B.C. and ending in Calgary, A.B.

DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Jun 13 - Jun 25, 2021
Starting at
5,479
Jun 27 - Jul 9, 2021
Starting at
5,579
Jul 11 - Jul 23, 2021
Small group
Starting at
5,999
Jul 31 - Aug 12, 2021
Starting at
6,099
Itinerary Note

The itinerary on this date is in reverse, starting in Vancouver, B.C. and ending in Calgary, A.B.

Aug 14 - Aug 26, 2021
Small group
Starting at
6,599
Itinerary Note

The itinerary on this date is in reverse, starting in Vancouver, B.C. and ending in Calgary, A.B.

Aug 28 - Sep 9, 2021
Starting at
6,099
Itinerary Note

The itinerary on this date is in reverse, starting in Vancouver, B.C. and ending in Calgary, A.B.

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.
  • In the Khutzeymateen, observe North America’s highest grizzly bear concentration in their natural environment.

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 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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Myths and Legends of the Pacific Northwest
by Katharine Berry Judson
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Handbook of the Canadian Rockies
by Ben Gadd
Geology, plants, animals, history and recreation from Waterton/Glacier to the Yukon.
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.
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.





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