An MTS-exclusive escape to Western Canada’s high alpine backcountry!
If you’re in need of a mountain getaway but don’t have the time or resources to make your way across the ocean to the Alps, then look no farther! The stunning Canadian Rockies might bear a resemblance to their American siblings, but they couldn’t be more different. Heavily glaciated, these jagged, limestone peaks enjoy more precipitation, and consequently offer greener valleys to explore. At their heart lie Banff and Yoho National Parks, two of the country’s flagship (and most popular) wilderness areas! But not to worry—at MTS we’ve found a great way to escape the crowds by designing our treks to the most far-flung, high alpine meadows of western Canada with the support of a helicopter, whisking you to its most stunning mountain paradises while also giving you a spectacular aerial perspective. You’ll hike beneath glaciers, along turquoise lakes, and see famous Takakkaw Falls—Canada’s second highest. You’ll enjoy the comfort and charm of exceptional mountain lodgings, including the luxurious, eco-friendly Purcell Lodge, set in high alpine country accessible only by air. You’ll take in the charm of Banff and enjoy a rare treat—a rare tour of Burgess Shale, the world’s best preserved fossil beds, where we have exclusive permits. After this adventure, you won’t ever want to hike any other way.
Heli-Hiking, Trekking, Luxury Lodging, expert local guides!!
- Trek the high alpine meadows of Canada’s Banff & Yoho National Parks on this MTS-exclusive itinerary
- Visit Grizzly Bear Refuge, and enjoy a rare tour of Yoho National Park‘s difficult-to-visit Burgess Shale, the world’s best-preserved fossil beds—we have exclusive permits
- Escape the crowds and save time to explore far-flung areas of the Purcell Range of the Columbia Mountains with the help of a helicopter!
- Enjoy the comfort of mountain lodging, including the luxurious, eco-friendly Purcell Lodge, plus dine in a mountaintop restaurant with eagle-eye views of 5 different parks!
Duration: 8 days Start Location: Banff, Alberta End Location: Banff, AlbertaDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Arrive in Banff
Meet your guides in the afternoon at our hotel situated just outside of Banff’s hustle but still an easy walk to access the shops and amenities of Main Street. After checking in,join us for a cocktail alfresco (6:00pm) as we discuss the exciting experiences and activities we’ll discover on our trip. Afterwards meet your new friends as we enjoy our first dinner together in anticipation of the next eight days.
Day 2 : Banff National Park & Lake Louise
A short morning transfer to the west will bring us into the heart of Banff National Park and to one of the world’s most famous vistas: Lake Louise. As you’ll discover, the surreally coloured glacial lake surrounded by high rocky peaks and cascading glaciers is one of the most photographed spots on the planet for very good reason. We’ll stroll along the shores of the lake and then hike up above treeline for even closer views of the 6 glaciers that feed the lake. An historic teahouse makes a scenic viewpoint for lunch and admiration of the peaks.
Your guides have climbed many of them and will be happy to explain the human and geologic history of the area. Continue hiking up a glacial moraine for a look up into Abbot Pass which straddles the Alberta-British Columbia border.
Once you’ve had your fill, it’s all downhill back to the lake! If you have the energy, opt for an extra hike over the Beehive to the Lake Agnes teahouse - the effort is definitely worth the reward!
(7 miles, 1300 elevation gain). With optional extra hike
Day 3 : Heli- Hiking into the Purcell Range of the Columbia Mountains
Crossing over the Kicking Horse Pass (we’ll tell you a great story behind that name!) on the Continental Divide, we enter the province of British Columbia and continue to the town of Golden nestled near the headwaters of the Columbia River. After a safety briefing, we’ll board a helicopter for an exhilarating flight into the heart of the Purcell Range of the Columbia Mountains. Our pilot will drop us off on the summit of a peak with views reserved only for the very few with the good fortune to visit this roadless area. A gentle downhill hike brings us to Purcell Lodge - an oasis in the middle of the wild backcountry and accessible only by helicopter. Equipped with all the amenities of home but environmentally-focussed, the lodge is powered by a micro-hydro system from a crystal clear nearby creek. This is truly the backcountry lodge of your dreams situated on Canada’s highest alpine meadow. The trained chef will prepare meals one would never expect at this altitude and the long summer evenings mean plenty of time to enjoy a drink on the private rooms’ balconies. (6 miles; 660 elevation gain)
Day 4 : Copperstain Mountain
After a hearty mountain breakfast, we’ll fill our packs with a delicious on-trail lunch from the lodge and set out on foot with the goal of summitting Copperstain Mountain. On the way we’ll walk through lush flower-filled alpine meadows and other flora. Wild animals are abundant here, we take all necessary safety precautions and always hike in groups. If we’re lucky, we might even spot a grizzly or black bear - from a safe distance of course! You’ve never seen views like the ones from the summit, on the border of yet another iconic Canadian Mountain National Park - Glacier. Multiple options exist to extend the hike for those who wish but all trails lead back to our lodge and a well-earned sumptuous dinner created exclusively for us by Purcell Lodge’s chef. (8 miles; 2900 elevation gain).
Day 5 : Selkirk Range & Mt. Sir Donald
Another day of exploring our “private” backcountry awaits! Today’s hike will be more leisurely than yesterday’s: meandering along the western crest of the Purcells with panoramic views of the soaring glacier-draped Selkirk range including lofty Mt. Sir Donald culminating at just under 12000 feet. We’ll pass alpine tarns and creeks always keeping an eye open for wildlife and flowers. This day is built for flexibility; hike as far or as short (or not at all!) as you wish. This could be the day for your first (or 3rd...) wood-fired sauna at 6600 feet! (7.5 miles; 990 elevation gain).
Day 6 : Heli-Hiking to Kicking Horse Mountain Resort & Yoho National Park
Reluctantly we’ll say goodbye to our private alpine lodge, but with everything we have planned for today it will all be worthwhile! Another exciting helicopter lift will deposit us high at the summit of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort at 7041 feet. Once again, a helicopter has easily enabled our access to supreme hiking on alpine ridges with stunning 360 degree views of both the Purcells and the Rockies. We’ll dine in mountain splendour in the Eagle’s Eye restaurant. Afterwards, the resort’s gondola will whisk us to the base, sparing our knees the long, jarring descent. A subsequent quick chairlift ride brings us to the Grizzly Bear Refuge where a private guided tour will introduce us to the resident grizzly bear. Boo isn’t tame though, he lives in a fenced 8 hectare refuge that recreates his natural habitat. We’ll safely view from outside the fence...
After a nearly full day of special exploration and adventure only Mountain Travel Sobek can deliver, we’ll have a short transfer to Yoho National Park. Founded the year after Banff Park in 1886, Yoho is a paradise of waterfalls, glaciers and hiking trails. Our hotel combines the rich history and rugged scenery in a tranquil inviting setting. (6 miles; 990 elevation gain.)
Day 7 : Yoho Pass & Emerald Valley
Yoho in Cree roughly translates to “place of great beauty” and it’s a fitting name for this 1310 square
kilometre park forming the western boundary of the Canadian Rockies’ UNESCO-designated contiguous national mountain parks. Takakkaw Falls tumbles 675 feet from the Daly Glacier making it the 2nd highest in Canada.
We’ll need to fuel up for today’s hike as it’s the biggest of the trip. Of course if you’d rather do something shorter, there is no lack of beautiful options to choose from. We’ll begin our hike over Yoho Pass and into the Emerald Valley. On the western side of the pass lies one of the best preserved fossil beds in the world - 505 million years old Burgess Shales. Closed to the public except by special arrangement, we’ve arranged a private guided tour to delve into this fascinating piece of our planet’s past. (12 miles; 2900 elevation gain).
This evening will be our farewell dinner in the hotel’s dining room with substantive views of the surrounding peaks.
Day 8 : Back to Banff
Wake up early for a relaxing walk or enjoy a long, leisurely breakfast - the choice is yours. After breakfast we’ll transfer to Banff and drop you off at our Day 1 meet hotel in Banff or another Banff hotel of your choice. Of course we recommend spending another day or two in the Bow Valley but regardless, private shuttle companies have multiple daily departures for the 1.5 hour trip to the Calgary International Airport. 2 miles; 100 elevation gain.
DATES: Best time to go: July - August Departures: Jul 13 - 20, 2013 Jul 27, 2013 - Aug 3, 2013 Aug 10 - 17, 2013 SOLD OUT Aug 24 - 31, 2013
Buffalo Mountain LodgeBanff, Canada
Distinct from the majority of Banff hotels, Buffalo Mountain Lodge is situated on Tunnel Mountain – formerly called “Sleeping Buffalo” by native peoples living in the region.
The Rocky Mountains have long been an area of great significance to our indigenous peoples. The valleys were places of ceremony and celebration. The lakes and mineral springs offered rejuvenation for mind, body and spirit.
Deer LodgeLake Louise, Canada
Deer Lodge – with much of its original hand-hewn log structure and decor still in place – is the classic definition of rustic mountain accommodations.
Located just minutes by foot from the enchanting Lake Louise, this century old property has also seen substantial restoration of its early architecture.
Think intimate rooms with inviting feather comforters and historic furniture.
In all, these charming elements are the reason so many repeat visitors, local and international, can’t seem to get enough of our mountain property.
Purcell LodgeGolden, BC Canada
The lodge has 10 Private Bedrooms that overlook our 360-degree views of the Canadian Rockies, with nothing but wilderness as far as the eye can see. Despite our remote location, however, the Lodge is anything but rustic: a nearby mountain stream provides ample electricity and crystal-clear drinking water, central heating sends warm air throughout the building, and hot showers are always available to soothe away your aches and pains. There’s even a traditional wood-fired cedar sauna for those who wish to relax after a day in the mountains, before enjoying an exquisite gourmet meal.
Emerald Lake LodgeEmerald Lake, BC Canada
A nod to the past characterizes accommodations at Emerald Lake Lodge. Dotting the property’s 13-acre peninsula are 24 cabin-style buildings (accommodating up to 200 guests); each is designed to reflect the traditional architecture of the lodge.
Rooms feature private baths, balconies and wood burning fieldstone fireplaces – stocked daily with complimentary firewood. Room amenities include cozy feather duvets and pillows, telephones, in-room coffee makers, hair dryers, and alarm clocks.
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom
leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure
everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and
take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your
experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step
of the way.
Raised at the foot of the Canadian Rockies, Ken Bélanger began instructing and guiding outdoor adventures while studying for his Kinesiology degree at the University of Calgary. Now over 20 years in the outdoor industry in many diverse aspects worldwide: from hiking & backpacking, road & mountain cycling, rock & alpine climbing including at altitude, backcountry skiing, to wilderness whitewater adventures. For the better part of 10 years Ken designed & guided active holidays internationally: specializing in Europe but also working in Central America, North Africa and Asia. Ken spends his winters backcountry ski guiding: heli-skiing, ski-mountaineering and ski touring adventures. He is certified by the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides and an accredited avalanche forecaster by the Canadian Avalanche Association. After many years of living & working internationally, Ken is now back in his home region and based in Canmore, Alberta. He is fluent in French and English, conversant in Spanish and Italian and regularly orders beer & wine in many others.