Ultimate horseback riding trip with remote lodge accommodations
Available for 2020! On this 8 day Canadian Rockies adventure, combine a backcountry horseback journey with a few days to experience the best of Banff National Park. First, follow a historic trail by horseback and see a wild side of the Rockies most people never get to experience. Spend three nights in comfort at remote backcountry lodges, where you’ll enjoy the hospitality of gracious lodge hosts and dine on delicious chef-prepared meals. Afterwards, enjoy the luxuries of a Banff hotel paired with some of our favorite guided activities.
8 Days / 7 Nights
Arrive in Calgary → 1 night Banff → 1 night Sundance Lodge → 1 night Halfway Lodge → 1 night Sundance Lodge → 3 nights Banff → Depart from Calgary
Exciting Banff activities - rafting, biking, or hiking
Visit Lake Louise without the crowds
Is this an escorted tour?
Our vacations are not typically 'escorted.' We combine the best of both worlds – the reassurance of seamless connections, customer service support, and scheduled activities, plus the freedom of 'independent' travel. You are not tied into a specific group, or a rigid daily itinerary. This allows us to personalize your trip to suit your occasion, interests, and timeframe.
Can this trip be made shorter or longer?
Absolutely! We personalize all our clients' trips to fit their exact tastes and needs. You can add days at locations that you'd like to explore and spend more time at. Or leave out certain areas that don't interest you as much. Discuss your travel goals with our Canadian Insiders who make sure that your trip fits your needs and budget.
Can I customize this trip?
Your trip can be as rich as you'd like, and completely arranged around your interests and needs. The greatest benefit of working with us is our local knowledge. You can get your FREE personalized trip plan and decide what you'd like to see and do.
If your trip is a special occasion, we'll make sure it is unforgettable. Or if you're traveling with a group, we'll take care of the logistics so you can share time together stress-free.
Where am I staying on this trip?
You'll be staying at various local three to five star hotels or lodges along your route, some of which are very iconic properties with great locations, views and history. All our accommodations are carefully selected by our Canadian Insiders. We'll make sure that wherever you stay, you get the best value and comfort based on the seasonal availability.
How much does my trip cost?
All our trips are personalized to fit our clients' schedule and budget. The price of your trip generally depends on the travel season, train service, accommodations, and the sightseeing tours you take. Please request your personalized quote which will provide you with the detailed information you need.
What is included in the price?
Typically we include and pre-book all your main trip components so you don't have to worry about your connections, places to stay, or activities on your trip. You'll receive your detailed digital travel documents, and our Canadian Insiders remain at your disposal throughout your trip to answer any questions.
What are the best ways to travel around Canada?
Canada has a network of spectacular roadways, train routes, ferry crossings, and float planes. We can arrange for you to travel by car or to sit back and relax.
When is the best time to see wildlife?
That depends on the destination and type. As a rule, the main feeding and migration seasons are best for wildlife experiences. Tell us which animals interest you and we'll make your trip coincide with the best viewing season.
Will it be cold when I visit Canada in summer?
The temperature varies from mild to hot, depending on location. Canada's west coast, mountain regions, and Maritimes enjoy milder summer temperatures. They range on average from 59°F to 77°F (15°C – 25°C). The interior of British Columbia, prairies, Ontario and Quebec can reach temperatures around 95°F (35°C). Northern Canada will range between 50°F to 64°F (10°C – 18°C) in summer.
This Trip in Pictures
Think of this itinerary as just a starting point. Our experienced Canadian Insiders will create a personalized trip plan for you that matches your travel style, schedule and budget.
Day 1 – Drive to Banff
Pick up a rental car and head west to Banff. As you drive the Trans Canada highway, you’ll see the Canadian Rockies rise up on the horizon. Soon you’re surrounded by the fragrant pine forests and spectacular mountain peaks of Banff National Park. Check into your hotel for the night, anticipating your horseback adventure tomorrow.
Tip: let us know if you are driving from another destination, and we’ll be happy to arrange hotels along the way and a car rental, if needed! If you’d prefer not to drive, ask us about having transfers arranged by bus, or with a private driver.
Day 2 – Into Banff’s Backcountry on Horseback
Your horseback journey begins at the Banff stables, where you’ll meet your experienced guide. Gear up with slickers and saddle bags, then meet your carefully selected horse – your partner for the next few days. The bond you’ll forge with your four-legged companion will be a highlight of your experience. The horses provided are steady, responsive and can be counted on to cross any terrain, from forest paths to boulder-strewn creeks.
Saddled up and ready to ride, you’ll hit the trail for the ten-mile journey to Sundance Lodge. You’ll follow a route that the early European explorers blazed nearly a century ago, alongside the rushing glacier-fed waters of the Bow River, Healy Creek and Brewster Creek. Along the way, stop for a hearty cowboy-style lunch on the banks of the river.
Arrive at your backcountry lodge in the late afternoon, to be welcomed by your host. This is the ideal place to marvel at the beauty of the Banff’s wilderness, while still being swaddled in comfort. The cozy Sundance lodge sits against the looming Sundance Mountain Range, surrounded by thick woods. Watch for wildlife on the porch or settle into a comfortable chair near the crackling fireplace and kick up your feet. Gather together to dine on food prepared by a skilled chef, then drift off to sleep in a comfortable bed. The lodge uses solar power and a wood burning stove and features indoor washrooms with hot showers.
Day 3 – Deeper into Banff National Park
The adventure continues as you journey 9 miles southward to an even more remote lodge, in the shadow of the rugged Sundance Mountains. Stop along the way for a picnic in the fresh air of an open mountain meadow. Tonight’s rustic lodge has provided a resting place for horse-riders for over a century. Here you’ll ride into the alpine treeline – a postcard-perfect setting, with a striking mountain peaks all around you.
Tonight’s accommodations are in a true backcountry cabin, heated by a log burning stove and lit by propane lanterns. The cozy, log-built lodge features two outdoor outhouses, and an outdoor shower.
Day 4 – Back to Sundance Lodge
After a hearty breakfast your guide will lead you back to the Sundance Lodge. Follow the footsteps of the early pioneers as you criss-cross a valley along the Brewster River. Back at Sundance Lodge, indulge in a warm shower and a glass of wine, then enjoy another delicious chef-prepared meal.
Day 5 – Return to the town of Banff
Wake up in your cozy bed one last time, surrounded by the sounds of the mountains. Join your guide for a ride along winding river trails and through the thick pine forests. Stop along the banks of Healy Creek for a lunch of fresh sandwiches, baked goods and fruit. Arriving back at the stables in the late afternoon, say a reluctant good-bye to your horse and guide.
Tonight, spoil yourself with the luxuries of your Banff, after days of exploring in the outdoors. We recommend a stay at the Rimrock Resort or Buffalo Mountain Lodge – each with dining experiences you won’t want to miss.
Day 6 – Banff Adventures
The adventure continues today! We’ve picked three of our favorite Banff adventures to choose from:
Option 1: Private Eco-Bike Tour with BBQ Lunch – Cycle anywhere from 6km to 50 km with your guide on this completely personalized E-bike tour. These electric-assisted e-bikes allow you to see some of the most beautiful vistas in and around Banff with ease. You’ll be rewarded with a private BBQ picnic lunch near the end of your tour.
Option 2: White Water Rafting Adventure – opt for a thrilling white-water paddle along Horseshoe Canyon. Your experienced guide will take you on a journey through the picturesque landscape of Kananaskis Country with the Rockies as a dramatic backdrop.
Option 3: Privately Guided Hike – we will help you choose a premium Banff hike to suit your activity level. Explore the trails with an experienced guide.
Day 7 – Explore the Lake Louise area
Today is a free day to explore Banff National Park, so we recommend a visit to Lake Louise area. Rent a canoe to paddle across the lake, hike up to the Lake Agnes Tea House for a refreshing snack in the wilderness, or push further afield to visit Takakkaw Falls and Emerald Lake. Spend your final night enjoying Banff’s great local restaurants.
Day 8 – Depart for Home
Filled with memories of Banff’s pristine wilderness, check out of your hotel and head home. If your end destination is Calgary, we can arrange a drop at the airport or at a downtown location.
Below are examples of the places you can stay on this trip. Please get in touch to discuss your options and to check availability.
It’s warm, cozy and just the right amount of rustic. But what really makes the Sundance Lodge a special place to stay is the quintessential Old West history that surrounds this place. The 10-room log cabin was built in 1991 with locally harvested timber. It sits near the original Ten-Mile Cabin, constructed in 1923, that was used as a rest shelter for trail riders heading to Mount Assiniboine.
This backcountry cabin is a local legend. Set at the base of Allenby Pass, weary riders have been resting their heads at Halfway Lodge since the 1920s. It’s been the setting for countless tales of wilderness adventures and one unbelievable story about a bear that literally dropped in for visit. Over the past 80 years, the experience at this rustic cabin hasn’t changed all that much. Things are kept simple: propane lanterns and candles provide the lighting while a woodstove provides the heat and keeps the coffee warm.
These are the places and experiences to look forward to on this trip.
3 nights of accommodation in a backcountry lodge
4 nights of hotel accommodation in Banff
A reliable, friendly horse
Basic horse riding instruction
Delicious breakfasts and dinners at the lodges
Lunches on the trail
Services of an expert trail guide and lodge hosts
Choose 1 of 3:
Private Banff E-Bike tour, with BBQ lunch
White water rafting
Privately guided Banff hike
Intermediate sized car rental
Loss Damage Waiver (LDW)
Third Party Liability Insurance Coverage
Fee for 1 additional driver
Vehicle licensing fee
Fresh Tracks Canada Service:
Digital Travel Documents
Fresh Tracks Canada customer service – from the time you book, you will have your own personal Vacation Coordinator whom you can reach out to with any questions or requests.
Meals, other than those mentioned
Car rental exclusions: Fuel and refueling fees, Personal Accident Insurance (PAI), Personal Effects Coverage (PEC), LDW deductible of up to $500 depending on car type, Fee for drivers under the age of 25
Trip Cancellation and Travel Medical Insurance (highly recommended, ask us for a quote)
Canadian Federal Taxes
Ideas to customize your trip
Think of this itinerary as just a starting point. These are some of the experiences you can add-on to personalize your trip.
Venture up the Icefields Parkway, and explore Jasper National Park
Spend a night or two at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise or Emerald Lake Lodge
Ask us about adding more days to your horseback trip
Get your personalized trip plan organized and arranged for you
Get a trip that covers everything you want to see.
Know which places to go and which areas are best during certain times of the year.
Have someone local who knows the area to suggest trains, hotels, dining, sightseeing, etc.