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: Sunshine Meadows Guided Hike
Sunshine Meadows are known by many as the most stunning alpine setting in the Canadian Rockies with unobstructed views that are beyond compare. Wildlife abound in the meadows, and the brilliance of the summer flowers and autumn larches guarantees spectacular scenery on every visit.
Activity Rating: Moderate (12 kms)
• Option 2: Banff E-Bike Tour
Take a leisurely guided e-bike tour through the Banff townsite to visit Bow Falls, Surprise Corner, Banff Springs Hotel, Banff Downtown and Cave & Basin National Historic Site.
Activity Rating: Easy
• Option 3: White Water Rafting
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.
Activity Rating: Moderate
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.