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Canadian Rockies

Overview

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 landscape…

Highlights

  • Explore Banff national park on horseback
  • Marvel at the glorious Rocky Mountain landscapes
  • Rides are slow to take advantage of the scenery
  • Look out for tracks left by wildlife such as bears
  • Watch the sunrise over the mountains from your lodge

Essential Facts

  • 1 itinerary available
  • Max 8 riders per group (12 in camp)
  • Average of 4 - 5 hours riding per day
  • Weight limit: 100kg / 220lbs / 15 st 10lbs.
    more info Heavier riders may be accommodated if they are experienced, please ask.

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.

Horses & Riding

Tack

All the tack used for these rides is western. The saddles have wide comfortable seats perfect for long days of riding. Bridles are simple western leather headstalls with snaffle or shank bits. Each rider will have saddlebags attached to their saddle to keep personal possessions in during the day.

Horses

With over 300 horses available at the stables in Banff, there is sure to be a great match for everyone! Many of the trail horses are rescues that have been purchased from kill pens and rehabilitated to the trail. They are a wide mixture of breeds including Quarter Horses, Paints, Appaloosas, Draft, mules and a host of other breeds too.

Riding

There is 1 itinerary:

  • Backcountry Lodge Trail is a trail ride

Ages

9 years + for riding programmes.

Health

General good health recommended.

Weight

100kg / 220lbs / 15 st 10lbs. Heavier riders may be accommodated if they are experienced, please ask.

Food & Accommodation

Food

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.

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.

Itineraries

Backcountry Lodge Trail Standard accommodation.

Other 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.

Travel

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.

Testimonials

Joanne W., Oct. 7, 2017

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!


Gabby W. (Lodge Trail), July 12, 2017

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!


Stephen W., Dec. 8, 2015

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.


Christian S., Oct. 3, 2011

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


Itinerary & Pricing

Day 1 - Sundance Lodge

Riding: 4 - 5 hours

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 - Halfway Lodge

Riding: 4 - 5 hours

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 - Allenby Pass Trail

Riding: 4 - 5 hours

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 - Halfway Rest Day

Riding: No riding.

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 - Brewster Creek Trail

Riding: 4 - 5 hours

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 - Healy Creek Trail

Riding: 4 - 5 hours

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.

Accommodation

First & last nights at Sundance Lodge and the other 3 nights at Halfway Lodge.

Experience Beginner / Intermediate / Experienced

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.

Minimum group size 2
Maximum group size 8
Accommodation for up to 12.
Departure windows

At any time during: June 20, 2021 - Sept. 8, 2021  (Departs every Sunday & Thursday)

At any time during: June 19, 2022 - Sept. 8, 2022  (Departs every Sunday & Thursday)

At any time during: June 18, 2023 - Sept. 10, 2023  (Departs every Sunday & Thursday)

Pricing

2021/2022
Single Occupancy
£1720 $2380 €2040
2021/2022
Double Occupancy
£1475 $2040 €1750
2021/2022
Triple Occupancy
£1415 $1955 €1675
2023
Single occupancy
£1860 $2570 €2205
2023
Double occupancy
£1595 $2210 €1895
2023
Triple occupancy
£1535 $2125 €1820
Included 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.
Not included Flights, personal travel insurance, transfers, alcoholic drinks, tips 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.