Canadian Rockies, Wildlife & Vancouver Island
||Vancouver, Bristish Columbia, Canada
As the largest Pacific island east of New Zealand, Vancouver Island is a refuge for natural beauty, immense wildlife and outdoor adventurers. During the ferry crossing from mainland Canada, you're surrounded by looming peaks that punctuate the fjords. Grey, orca and occasionally humpback whales can also be spotted across the remote passage. The island itself is home to enormous temperate rainforests and iconic Canadian wildlife, including the famed grizzly bear.
Why we love it:
- The Canadian Rockies are a kaleidoscope of mountains, lakes, glaciers and awe-inspiring beauty.
- Walking and rafting at Yoho National Park is the way to experience a park whose name is actually the native word for ‘awe’.
- The old saying 'a picture tells a thousand tales' is never more apt than when faced with the view at iconic Lake Louise.
- At Banff you can canoe, bike and search for wildlife, whilst at scenic Athabasca Glacier we join a guided glacier hike.
- Pay homage to Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, before returning to city life with a stay in cosmopolitan and vibrant Vancouver.
Day to Day Itinerary
Day 1: Calgary - Banff
- Calgary has historically been famous for its Wild West roots but in recent years it has become a dynamic city with a booming economy. This morning you will leave the big city behind and transfer to the Canadian Rockies town of Banff, Canada’s first national park and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Banff town can easily be explored on foot and with loads of optional activities there is enough to fill your time. Visit the iconic Banff Springs Hotel where tourism in the Rockies first began, take a short trail to the tumbling Bow Falls, or visit some of the many souvenir shops in town. You can also take a gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain for the rewarding panoramic views of the Rockies or simply relax in the heated, natural pools of the Banff Hot Springs. You will stay overnight in nearby Canmore.
Day 2: Banff National Park
- Banff National Park in Alberta is one of the highlights of any visit to western Canada, with its magnificent mountains, lakes and forests. Today you will drive to Moraine Lake located in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, the highest of which is Deltaform Mountain (3424m). You may then take a walk on one of the many trails at nearby Lake Louise.
- Both of these lakes are famous for their striking blue glacial colour, caused by rock flour carried into the lakes by melt-water from the surrounding glaciers. Today you will travel along Highway 1A, a different route to the norm but with increased chances of spotting wildlife.
Day 3: Icefields Parkway - Jasper
- Brace yourself as this morning you will hit one of the most famous, and beautiful drives in the world; the Icefields Parkway where this spectacular road traverses the Rockies, running parallel to the Continental Divide. Mountain passes, glaciers and high peaks are some of the many scenic highlights and there are opportunities to see elk, caribou, bears, bighorn sheep and goats, which often graze on the vegetation found in roadside verges.
- You can stop at all of the 'must see' sights, including Bow Summit and Bow Lake, Peyto Lake and the Crowfoot Glacier. There is also the option of a guided glacier ice-walk along the way. Your overnight location will be in Jasper National Park, around 40 minutes out of town.
Day 4: Jasper National Park
- Jasper is much quieter and less developed than Banff, which means it is easy to escape the crowds here and we spend the day getting to know Jasper National Park and its surroundings. One option is to take the Jasper Tram and walk to the summit, which provides fantastic views over the Canadian Rockies.
- Alternatively there are various hikes at Mt Edith Cavell, including a short trek in the alpine meadows which will provide us with spectacular views of the Angel Wing Hanging Glacier and chances to view caribou. Included is a visit to Miette Hot Springs as this road offers regular sightings of big horned sheep and elk. Maligne Lake Rd is rife with wildlife (primarily big horned sheep, bears and elk) and you'll stop at the picnic area next to the river to see a colony of golden mantle ground squirrels.
Day 5: Mount Robson - Williams Lake
- Today you will leave the province of Alberta and enter British Columbia as we travel west. En route you will visit Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies; at 3954m this is one of the most impressive sights in western Canada and its peak usually capped with snow. There is an optional hike at Kinney Lake, located in the Mount Robson Provincial Park, or, depending on the groups wishes, it is possible to join a wildlife river safari instead, with the chance of seeing bear, moose, eagle and osprey from Blue River. You will drive to the historic gold rush city of Williams Lake today where you'll stay overnight.
Day 6: Tweedsmuir Provincial Park
- You'll drive through authentic Canadian wilderness as you head completely off the beaten track towards Tweedsmuir Provincial Park. With fewer visitors here your chances to see wildlife are increased, and the remoteness is refreshing. Your overnight location is close to the shore of Anahim Lake, a popular lake for fly fishing that supports plenty of wildlife who come to drink.
- There's an optional canoeing excursion on the lake in the afternoon, in the evening we recommend relaxing by the fireplace! Please note this area has very basic facilities but is extremely beautiful and off the tourist trail.
Day 7: Tweedsmuir Provincial Park - Bella Coola
- Tweedsmuir Provincial Park is completely off the radar of most tour groups, despite it being named as British Columbia's most beautiful. Your visit to this total wilderness area requires some advanced planning as your group should be completely self-sufficient. You'll spend time in the southern area of the park this morning, joining a hiking trail through an area of the thick forest.
- A healthy population of grizzly and black bears exists throughout the park, as well as elk, deer, moose and coyote; it is possible to see any of these whilst visiting Tweedsmuir. Wildlife aside, the colours of the mountains, combined with the solitude and flora will ensure that Tweedsmuir is a park that you'll remember.
- After your hike you'll drive over 'the Hill' with views towards Bella Coola.
Day 8: Bella Coola
- Bella Coola is located at the point where the Bella Coola River joins with the salt water of the Pacific Ocean. Here amongst the lush valley bottoms and snow-capped peaks reside some of the largest grizzly bears in the world and this little community is gaining a reputation as one of the best places to spot them in BC.
- The best time of year to view grizzly bears is from the middle of August to the end of September as this is when they descend from the mountains to catch salmon in the rivers. In season, it's possible to join an optional excursion in search of grizzly bears. Outside of the bear season there is a selection of excellent hikes on offer and plenty of optional activities.
Day 9: Inside Passage
- Today you will board a ferry at Bella Coola that takes us to Vancouver Island along the Inside Passage. This journey of approximately 12-14 hours is likely to be a real highlight of the trip as the scenery is simply spectacular: towering, forest-clad peaks surround the deep fjords.
- Those with keen eyes can often spot Bald eagles and bears. The Inside Passage also supports one of the world's richest marine environments and it may be possible to see Grey, Orca and occasionally Humpback whales.
- The remoteness of the Inside Passage is its most stunning feature; this area is largely inaccessible by road and the tiny communities spread along it rely on boats for transportation. With a late evening arrival you will stay overnight in Port Hardy in a hotel.
Day 10: Tofino
- You will drive from northern Vancouver Island to the area of Tofino today through some beautiful scenic areas. You'll stop at Cathedral Grove, one of the most accessible stands of giant Douglas fir trees in the province. There are many trails which meander through the Douglas-fir, Western Hemlock, Grand fir and Western Red Cedar trees.
Day 11: Tofino
- Tofino is one of British Columbia's most popular destinations. Located on the border of Clayquot Sound, the region surrounding Tofino retains one of the largest areas of temperate rainforest on Vancouver Island.
- This morning you will enjoy an included bear viewing boat tour where on previous trips whales have also been spotted. The afternoon will be free for optional activities such as hiking, whale watching, sea kayaking and relaxing in the hot springs.
Day 12: Victoria
- You'll travel to Victoria, Vancouver Island's main town and the capital of British Columbia. It's a remarkable mix of English Edwardian, First Nations and even some Chinese building styles and was home to the first Chinatown in Canada.
- After around a four hour journey to reach Victoria, you will take a tour of the city's highlights. The rest of the day will be free to relax. You may want to visit the Provincial Museum, which gives an introduction to the First Nations people and the natural history of the region. Alternatively there are plenty of optional excursions that you can organise locally.
Day 13: Vancouver
- In the morning you will board a ferry across the Strait of Georgia, admiring the small islands and breath-taking panorama of the city of Vancouver as it comes into view. This cosmopolitan and diverse metropolis is in stark contrast to the rest of British Columbia, but always proves to be a highlight.
- Upon arrival you'll enjoy a scenic drive through Stanley Park, a 4,000-hectare green wonderland. See the authentic totem poles erected in the 1920s and buy some moreish maple sugar candies. Stop by Prospect Point, a scenic lookout where you gaze out at spectacular views of Lion's Gate Bridge, North Vancouver and West Vancouver.
- The tour finishes back at the hotel at 5pm where your tour ends upon arrival. If you wish to extend your stay please reserve additional accommodation at the time of booking. If you are flying tonight please do not book a flight before 9pm (21:00).
- The services of a professional tour leader.
- Sightseeing and entrance fee to national parks.
Some meals are included on your trip (except for North America trips - please refer to your day-to-day itinerary). However, sometimes we think you'll benefit from getting out and discovering the local cuisine. So when a meal is not included, it's a great opportunity to try something new. For group trips, ask your leader for tips on where to get the best meal, or you might decide to dine out as a group and experience the fun together.
- International flights
- Airport transfers
- Airport departure taxes
- Any optional tours and activities
- Tips and items of a personal nature
- Daily budget
We have chosen some great optional activities to enhance your travel experience. You will need to cover any additional costs yourself. For group trips, speak to your leader if you are interested in any of the following:
- Helicopter Flight
- Whitewater Rafting (seasonal) - Canada
What to know
Vaccinations may be required for this trip. Talk to your doctor about the up-to-date information for this region.
Visas and Permits
It is your responsibility to ensure you have all required visas for your trip. Rules and regulations governing the issuance of visas are constantly changing, and vary for different nationalities and you should check visa requirements with your travel agent or relevant consular authority well before travel.
At the time of writing, Australians, Americans, British, New Zealanders and most European nationals do not require a visa for Canada. For all other nationalities please reconfirm your visa requirements with your travel agent.
You are required to have travel insurance before heading off on a Peregrine trip. Insurance can be organised by your Peregrine representative or your travel agent.
Our Responsible Travel ethos is at the heart of everything we do, from getting the basics right like respecting local cultures and the environment, to initiating projects that make positive contributions to communities, to our staff’s fundraising efforts and offsetting our carbon emissions.
Customs and Culture
Please visit our Responsible Travel (http://www.peregrineadventures.com/rt) page for more information.
Our Pre Departure Information or Travel Dossier (provided upon booking a trip) provides tips on how you can show respect for the local customs and culture in the country you are travelling in.
The information listed above is a brief description of some things you may need to consider when booking a trip. Once a tour is booked you will be provided with a link to your Travel Dossier which will contain detailed Pre Departure information.
City to City – Jan Morris Wild Is Always There: Canada Through the Eyes of Foreign Writers – Greg Gatenby (edited by) Maple Leaf Rag: Travels Across Canada – Stephen Brook Native Peoples and Cultures of Canada – Allan Macmillan Who Has Seen The Wind – W.O. Mitchell Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town: Stephen Leacock The Klondike Quest – Pierre Berton The Promised Land – Pierre Berton Ribbon of Highway: The Trans Canada Highway Coast to Coast by Bus – Kildare Dobbs
Peregrine Adventures and Grand American Adventures.
This trip is operated by our partners, Grand American Adventures, a US based company with nearly 40 years experience in adventure travel. They also share our ethos for offering unique holiday adventures. As this is a code-shared departure you can expect there to be both Grand American Adventures and Peregrine travellers on your trip.
In the event of an emergency or if you wish to report a problem on tour please do not hesitate to call Grand American Adventures' toll free* 24-hour emergency contact number.
Toll-Free (*in the US): 1 (800) 345 - 8777
International: 001 (310) 719 - 9877
Possible Itinerary Amendments
Our routes have been carefully chosen to include the best night stops and highlights. However, as local and operational conditions may vary and unforeseen circumstances can arise, our stated itinerary should be used as a guideline.
About this Information
The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please keep this in mind when you read it and check with us if you want to be sure about something. The document was correct at time of printing, but you can check online for the most up to date version. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!
7 November 2013
General Contact Details
Web: Visit Peregrine