Canadian Rockies riding holiday in Canada - Far and Ride
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Canadian Rockies, Canada





Reviews



The trip was awesome! The nature, the people, the horses! Just everything.

Christian S.
Horse riding was very good, challenging at times, with views to die for. The accommodation was very good and food was good as well. My horse Chester was very good, very happy to ride him and he was very sure-footed.

Olga R.
Amazing, wonderful, spectacular! The best adventure I have ever had. This is something I have wanted to do since I was 10 years old and it was everything and more than I could possibly imagine. (Favourite memory?) The mountains had the biggest impact but everything from our guide, the fantastic horses, our hosts and wonderful cooks at the lodges. If I had to pick one memory it is sunrise up at Halfway Lodge - breathtaking.

Anne C.
Very entertaining. The scenery and location were spectacular. The staff and guide were all very good as were the horses. Our guide was very informative and hard working.

Stephen W.
Very well organised from start to finish. Horses are well looked after and obviously loved. Care and attention to guests, by staff, was excellent and the lodges were amazing. Amy's food at the Sundance Lodge was exceptional and both Sundance and Halfway Lodge were immaculate. I had the pleasure of riding Denver who was beautifully behaved. Tack was great and we were able to help untack at the end of the day. Josh (our guide) was great - very attentive, informative and great fun!

Gabby W. (Lodge Trail)
A once in a lifetime experience. I have been lucky enough to visit places few people go to. The food was better than expected considering the location of the second lodge. Plenty of it and 3 courses each evening. (Favourite memory?) Seeing snow on the Rockies - beautiful without but amazing (if cold!) with. Plus the outdoor shower - a unique experience. Josh (riding guide) made the trip!

Jo W.
 

Horses



Type of horses:

A wide mixture of breeds including Quarter Horses, Paints, Appaloosas, Draft Crosses and others.

Nature of horses:

Calm and sure-footed.

Height of horses:

14.2 - 16.2hh

Weight limit:

100kg / 220lbs (heavier riders may be accommodated, please ask)

Tack type:

Western

 

Travel Advice



Please ensure you read the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice before you travel.
 

Ride Description

Since 1962, this establishment has been offering beautiful rides which allow you to explore Banff National Park, Canada's oldest national park. Including part of the Canadian Rocky Mountain range, it is packed full of glaciers and ice fields, dense coniferous forest and magnificent alpine landscapes - this is some of the best scenery you can enjoy on horseback anywhere in the world! These trails teach you about life in the west, whilst bringing you close to the flora and fauna of this incredibly diverse and outstandingly beautiful area.

You start out from the office in Banff and will be taken to the stables to begin your adventure in the Rockies. Riders will be led along trails by experienced guides who will take you from one spectacular view after another, also allowing you to view the wildlife of the area in its natural habitat. Banff National Park is home to 56 mammal species including grizzly and black bears, wolves, lynx and cougar. Pack trips are available to Sundance and Halfway Lodges which offer luxurious backcountry accommodation and incredibly scenic views. Camping trips are also available and these are ideal for those with the real spirit of adventure.

Riders can choose to embark on trails of varying lengths, staying in warm homely lodges along the way. All abilities are welcome as these are strictly walking rides, taking into account the difficult terrain and the fact that the focus is on nature, scenery and enjoying an adventure in the area's remote wilderness.

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

Sundance and Halfway lodges provide a bit of homeliness whilst on your trip into the back country. Sundance lodge is a remote lodge situated on the curve of the Brewster Creek with a backdrop of the Sundance mountain range. The cosy mountain lodge has some home comforts with a large country kitchen, a living room warmed by a wood stove, and even hot showers. Halfway lodge was used in 1920's by mountain guide Erling Strom. Now a two storey lodge, Halfway remains pretty much the same as it was 80 years ago. The accommodation is simple and maintains the rustic feel. Light is supplied by propane lamps and candles and you are kept warm and cosy by the wood burning stoves.

Meals are homecooked ranch style. Hearty and tasty meals are served on the trail. Breakfasts consist of steak, western style eggs, Danish pastries, English muffins, cheese, fresh fruit, coffee, tea and hot chocolate. Lunches are served on the trail, dinners and breakfast at the camp.

Typical dinners include BBQ Steak, home-made baked beans, baked potatoes, caesar salad, bread rolls, dessert, coffee, juice or roast beef, french onion soup, gravy, mashed potates, corn, beans and garlic bread with a tasty dessert. Here they pride themselves on serving plenty of delicious food.

 

Activities

Sundance lodge can be used as a base for cross country skiing and hiking trips. Food and bedding is provided by the lodge, leaving guests free to enjoy the many trails around Banff national park.

 

Further Details

Languages: English and French.

Health requirements: General good health recommended.

Age limit: 9 years + for riding programmes.

Tuition: No

Included: All riding, full board accommodation and an experienced guide

Not included: Flights and travel insurance.

 

Travel Information

There is a shuttle service which runs between the airport and the town of Banff. Most guests choose to book a hotel in Banff for a few days before and/or after the trip.

Airport: Calgary International Airport

Alternative Airport:

 

Programmes


Backcountry Lodge Trail



During this incredible ride through the Rocky Mountains national park, you will witness the majesty of sky-piercing mountains as they stretch out across the landscape, with peaks dusted in ice and snow. The air here is cool and fresh and there is an almost zen-like quiet through the park. During the trail, you will pass the shimmering waters of the Bow River, travel along historic pack trails and ride up the stunning Allenby Pass, with jagged rock formations lining the route. You will climb to an elevation of near 8100 feet on this trip, but the terrain is gentle the entire way. 

For all the wild and rugged scenery you’ll encounter on this trek, you will find that the adventure itself is far from ‘roughing it.’ Each evening you will be able to unwind in rustic luxury at the spacious Sundance Lodge and later at cozy Halfway Lodge. Quintessential mountain cabins offering comfortable beds, a crackling fire and some of the most delicious backcountry cuisine you’ll ever try!

Halfway Lodge (6 Days, 5 Nights):

Day 1: 

You will meet at the stable office just outside Banff at 9.30am (free parking available on-site). There you will be met by your guides and horses and will mount up for your first ride of around ten miles. This ride will lead you to Sundance Lodge (your accommodation for the night), via the glacier-fed waters of the Bow River and along Healy and Brewster Creeks. On the way you will stop for lunch - a traditional cowboy cook-out - along the banks of the Bow river. This will provide you with the perfect fuel to give you energy for a day on the trail.

Upon arrival at Sundance lodge, you will be greeted by a friendly lodge host and shown to your room where you can freshen up with a hot shower and get settled in. Your lodge host will take care of your every need during your stay and make sure you feel welcome and at home in the lodge.

Sundance Lodge itself is no basic mountain cabin – here you will be pampered in backcountry luxury, sleeping in comfortable beds and dining on tasty cooked gourmet meals whipped up by your talented host in the professional kitchen.

Day 2: 

After a tasty breakfast at the lodge, your adventure continues as you journey 9 miles, heading south to Halfway Lodge. The rugged peaks of the Sundance Range will loom over the eastern horizon as you follow the winding historic Erling Strom pack trail. Whilst on this route, you will be following in the footsteps of the early explorers as they trekked across the Canadian Rockies nearly a century ago. Stop along the way for a picnic in the fresh air of an open mountain meadow.

Tonight you will be staying at the cosy Halfway Lodge, located at the midway point between Banff and Assiniboine Mountain. Weary riders and explorers have been stopping at this point to rest since the early 1920s. You’ll first notice the trees begin thinning out as you approach the lodge site and the mountains will peek up above the treeline all around you. Halfway is tucked into a picture-postcard perfect setting, nestled into a quiet valley wreathed by a crown of mountain peaks.

The lodge is simple but comfortable, with propane lanterns and candles providing light and a woodstove to provide warmth - it hasn’t changed much in the last 80 years!

Day 3: 

After a hearty breakfast you can leave your belongings at the lodge and set off on another adventure. Today you’ll make the climb up Allenby Pass on horseback, an elevation of 8,100 feet. For many this is, understandably, the highlight of their trip as you’ll witness some incredibly breathtaking views from up there. The jagged rock formations create an enormous amphitheatre of mountains which will stretch out all around you. Up this high, it's difficult to imagine that Allenby Pass was once at the bottom of the sea, millions of years ago, but has been forced upwards by the huge pressures of seismic activity below the Earth's crust. If you look closely you may still spot small fossils of long passed sea creatures amongst the rubble and rocks.

At the end of the day, you will return to your familiar room at Halfway Lodge, where you are certain to already feel comfortable and at home. As the sun sets behind the mountains, you can sit back and relax with a glass of wine whilst sharing stories and photos with your fellow adventurers.

Day 4: 

Today will be a rest day at Halfway Lodge. You will be able to take an optional guided hike to a shimmering glacier fed lake at the end of the ridge, offering phenomenal views of the valley and landscape below. If you’d prefer to simply rest and relax, then there is absolutely no pressure. This lodge is a beautiful place to spend time quietly, far away from the stresses of everyday life. Take the chance to breath in the fresh mountain air, perhaps whilst sitting on the deck and getting lost in the pages of a good book.  You may wish to take some time to groom your horse, who has boldly carried you over all manor of terrain so far - he will certainly appreciate the time taken to give him a good fuss.

Day 5: 

After breakfast today you will say goodbye to your wonderful hosts at Halfway Lodge as it's time to hit the winding trail along Brewster Creek and back to Sundance Lodge. You won’t want to leave this cosy little lodge deep in the heart of the wilderness and a piece of your soul is bound to remain with that quiet retreat in the mountains.

Your guide will lead you back through the backcountry on a scenic and twisting trail, criss-crossing the valley in the historic footsteps of the early pioneers. A stop for lunch along the way and finally you will arrive back at Sundance Lodge again. A very welcome warm shower and a glass of wine will be waiting to greet you here, before enjoying another delicious meal prepared by your lodge host.

Day 6: 

Today will be your final morning at Sundance Lodge, which by now will have become a second and very welcome home due to the warm hospitality of your host. Wake up in your comfortable bed one last time and gather around for a delicious breakfast. Saying a final goodbye, you begin the journey back to Banff – a gentle 9 mile ride from Sundance back to the Stables. 

You will be lead through the backcountry along winding river trails and through thick pine forests, with the jagged peaks of the Rockies standing ever proudly on the horizon. You’ll stop along the banks of Healy Creek for a lunch of fresh sandwiches, baked goods and fruit.

You’ll return to the stables at approximately 4:30 pm, with plenty of wonderful tales to tell family and friends from your time spent in the backcountry.

Please note that the itinerary may vary depending on local conditions. 



Accommodation: First & last nights at Sundance Lodge and the other 3 nights at Halfway Lodge.
Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 12
Ability description: All abilities welcome - rides are slow to take advantage of scenery and wildlife (walking pace). There is some challenging terrain so novice riders should be of an adventurous nature. Good fitness recommended.
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: Day rides.
Departure dates: 2020:
Departs every Sunday & Thursday from 21st June - 10th September (inclusive)

Shorter trails are available on request - please contact us for more information about these.
 
Pricing: 2020:

Single occupancy: £1622
Double occupancy: £1381 per person
Triple occupancy: £1321 per person

Prices include 5 nights accommodation (2 at Sundance Lodge and 3 at Halfway Lodge), all meals from lunch on arrival day to lunch on departure day, soft drinks with meals, 5 days of riding, own horse throughout as well as 5% Canadian GST. A rest day is included halfway through the trip for fishing and relaxing.

Price does not include transfers, flights, travel insurance, alcoholic drinks and extras not described in the itinerary.

Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding.

All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.



Backcountry Camping Trail



Immerse yourself in the wilderness of the Rockies on an exciting tent trip! You will experience the true beauty of the national park whilst enjoying a real backcountry adventure. 

All the camps are a similar set-up and include simple luxuries such as washstands and hot water, filtered drinking water, an evening campfire, a spacious kitchen tent, 'A' frame canvas tents with wooden platforms for your accommodation and also rail corrals to keep the horses secure overnight. Nearby you will find fresh, clean rivers which are a treat for plucky swimmers and fisherman (please bring your rod if you'd like to fish!). 

Each camp is surrounded by an electric fence to keep you safe from curious wildlife. There is a live-in cook who prepares your hearty camp meals, which are cooked and served in the kitchen tent. This tent warms up thanks to a wood-burning stove and there is plenty of seating space for socialising after dinner. Flints Park Camp even offers a hot shower!

During this ride you may explore a variety of tranquil areas including Rainbow, Sawback or Cuthead Lakes; breathtaking views of 40 Mile Summit, Cuthead View Point or Rainbow Ridge; wide, open valleys on the passes of Elk Lake or 40 Mile Summit plus the incredible beauty of the Dormer, Block and Mystic Valleys. There's a historic elk corral and a wild goat trap which will hopefully allow you to spot and photograph some of the wildlife seen in the area: elk, deer, bighorn sheep, goats, eagles and perhaps even a bear or timber wolf. The rides are very casual with regular breaks and leisurely lunches, those being eaten on the trail. There is often the time for a post-lunch siesta or some exploring or fishing. 

Cascade Valley (6 Days, 5 Nights) - campsite offering views of the rugged mountain peaks of the Palliser Range: 

Day 1: 

Riders meet at the stables just outside Banff at 8.30am and are taken to the corral at Mount Norquay. Here you will meet your guides and horses and will mount up for your first ride, an eleven-mile route over Elk Lake Summit between Brewster Mountain and Cascade Mountain and then down into Stoney Creek Camp where you will spend the night. 

Day 2: 

Today you will ride towards the headwaters of Stoney Creek, up the Dormer Pass Trail, with a tasty cowboy lunch enjoyed on the route. The Dormer Trail area is a favoured haunt of Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, who can often be spotted grazing in the high meadows. You'll have ample opportunities to take pictures in this beautiful area. In the afternoon, you will return to Stoney Creek Campsite where you can freshen up with a hot shower before another delicious dinner prepared by the on-site cook.

Day 3: 

After breakfast today, you will mount up and begin the 10 mile ride up to Flint’s Park Camp, your next stop on this trail. This stunning camp is one of the highlights of the trip, located in the fertile valley bottom with an open, grassy ridge providing sweeping views of the awe-inspiring Rocky Mountains. You'll experience some of this wonderful scenery as you ride the trail following the Cascade River, stopping for another picturesque al-fresco lunch on the river bank.

Flint’s Park Camp was one of the original park warden bases used for patrols during the first years the Rockies national park was established. Due to its position amongst very open terrain, chances of spotting some of the famous wild animals of the park wandering around are very high. The camp is also located within the Bison Free Range Zone - a totally unspoiled area where herds of Bison have been reintroduced after being wiped out 140 years ago.

You will find that there is no phone coverage way out here - which can be a great blessing - allowing you to escape from the stresses of everyday life and simply sit quietly in nature. Once night falls, take a moment to look up at the stars; clearly visible so far away from any city lights.

Day 4: 

Today's ride will be a circular route, dedicated to exploring further through the beautiful area surrounding Flint's Park Camp. You may ride along the valley bottom where you can spot many varieties of wildflowers, birdlife and butterflies during the summer months. Or, perhaps you will choose to climb up high above the tree-line to gain a more expansive view of the mountains. Whichever direction you ride in, you will found that you are enveloped by some of the most incredible scenery in Canada. At the end of the day you’ll return to the now familiar Flint's camp to relax and chat around the campfire once more.

Day 5: 

Following a last morning and breakfast in camp, it will be time to saddle up and begin the ride from Flints Park to Mystic Valley camp. This day is often regarded as a highlight of the trip and the route can include beautiful sights such as Rainbow Lake, the stunning 40 Mile summit, the Vermillion Range, which runs to the east, and the Sawback range, running to the west. Along the way, you’ll stop for a tasty lakeside lunch, enjoying the peaceful and tranquil beauty of Rainbow Lake in the background.

On the final night of your trail, it is tradition to have a real western dinner in order to celebrate. Time to kick your cowboy boot heels and have a "wind-up get-together"!

Day 6: 

Arise early this morning and say goodbye to your pristine backcountry surroundings – it’s time to head back into Banff and rejoin civilisation. By this point, you'll be reluctant to leave following your time in this isolated and peaceful "off-the-beaten-track" spot.

On the last day, you’ll mount up for a leisurely 9 mile ride following the passage of the creek below 40 Mile summit. This scenic ride is the perfect time to reflect on everything you have experienced in the last 6 days. You’ll surely have plenty of backcountry stories to tell. 

The shuttle will be waiting at the Norquay Corral end point to take you back to the stables for approximately 5 pm. Here you will say goodbye to the new friends you have made and who you have shared this unforgettable adventure into the wild with.



Accommodation: Camping is at three different sites: Stoney Creek, Flint's Park and Mystic Valley.
Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 12
Ability description: All abilities welcome - rides are slow to take advantage of scenery and wildlife (walking pace). There is some challenging terrain so novice riders should be of an adventurous nature. Good fitness recommended.
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: Day rides.
Departure dates: 2020:
Departs Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays from 22nd June - 7th September (inclusive).

A shorter trail is also available by request - please contact us for more information about these.
 
Pricing: 2020:

Single occupancy: £1471
Double occupancy: £1291 per person

Price includes 5 nights tent accommodation, all meals from lunch on arrival day to lunch on departure day, soft drinks with meals, own horse throughout the trail, camping mattresses and tents (own sleeping bags need to be provided or can be rented for a minimal cost). 5% Canadian GST has also been included in these prices.

Price does not include transfers, flights, travel insurance, alcoholic drinks and extras not described in the itinerary.

Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding.

All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.