Tour begins: 5:00 PM at The Fairmont Palliser. A transfer is included from Calgary Airport to The Fairmont Palliser, located in the heart of downtown Calgary. Kick it up a notch at a private Wild West welcome reception and dinner at the Heritage Park Museum, featuring cowboy stunts and Calgary fiddlers.
Waterton Lakes & Glacier National Park
Travel south to Canada's Waterton Lakes National Park, where the prairie abruptly hits the mountains. En route, visit Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, a prehistoric site used continuously by First Nations peoples for over 5,500 years, and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site; visit its interpretive center. Continue to Waterton Lakes, where you'll have lunch at the celebrated Prince of Wales hotel. Then cross the border to Montana's Glacier National Park, which in 1932 was joined with Waterton Lakes to form the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park - a world first; it's now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve, where you might see grizzly or black bears. Your rustic accommodations in a historic lakeside hotel built in 1915 are the best available within Glacier National Park.
A lake cruise and the Going-to-the-Sun Road
This morning's private cruise on some of Glacier National Park's glacial lakes reveals why this region has been called the "Switzerland of North America." The Going-to-the-Sun Road is an engineering marvel meandering through Glacier's wild interior; weather permitting, drive it aboard the park's restored 1930s vintage touring buses called "Jammers." Cross the Continental Divide en route to Lake McDonald. Your Swiss chalet-style lodge sits on the eastern shore of the lake.
Kootenay and Banff national parks
Journey through Canada's timberlands, stopping for lunch in Fort Steele en route to Kootenay National Park and its stunning diversity of landscapes; view the bright red walls of Sinclair Canyon and Radium Hot Springs. Arrive at your world-famous chateau-style hotel on the edge of emerald Lake Louise overlooking Victoria Glacier on steep, sculpted mountains in Banff National Park, for a two-night stay; your room has a lakeside view.
Moraine Lake excursion & Lake Louise at leisure
Join our naturalist guide today for an excursion (weather permitting) to lovely Moraine Lake, one of the most photographed spots in all of Canada, nestled in the Valley of the Ten Peaks. This glacially fed lake reflects the awe-inspiring beauty that prompted explorer Walter Wilcox, who named it Moraine Lake after the moraine, or rock pile, deposited by the Wenkchemna Glacier, to write "no scene had ever given me an equal impression of inspiring solitude and rugged grandeur." In fact, Wilcox felt that the time spent contemplating the view was the happiest half-hour of his life! You can soak up more of the beauty of the area during an afternoon spent just as you please at Fairmont Château Lake Louise.
Photo tips and a drive along the Icefields Parkway
Photographers and artists both have attempted to capture the scenic beauty that unfolds before you everywhere you look in Canada's national parks. Enjoy expert tips from a local photographer this morning, then try out your newfound skills on a drive along the Icefields Parkway from Lake Louise to the town of Jasper. This wonderfully scenic drive extends for 142 miles through a vast wilderness of snow-capped peaks, ancient glaciers, mountain lakes and sweeping valleys that is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its outstanding natural beauty and geological value; look for resident wildlife along the way.
Spend the day in Jasper National Park, plus a wine and cheese art gallery reception
Spend the day enjoying the optional diversions at your lodge (many are available at an additional cost), including golf, fishing, trail riding and whitewater rafting. A National Parks presentation and a wine and cheese reception with a local artist at the Mountain Galleries round out a fantastic day in the great outdoors.
Explore Athabasca Glacier by "Ice Explorer" and on to Banff National Park
Follow the Icefields Parkway to Banff National Park and take a ride aboard a specially designed Ice Explorer along the surface of the Athabasca Glacier. Continue on to The Fairmont Banff Springs, one of Canada's first great railway hotels built by the Canadian Pacific Railway to resemble a Scottish baronial castle.
A day in Banff National Park
Today is your day to spend the way you wish in and around Banff. There are many optional activities (available at additional cost) to choose from at your wilderness resort or in the town of Banff itself. You can ride the Banff Gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain, take a guided nature walk, go horseback riding, mountain biking, or canoeing on the Bow River. Play a round of golf, perhaps book an alpine aromatherapy massage at the Willow Stream Spa, ranked among the top spas in Canada, or visit the chic alpine village of Banff on your own. Conclude this Glacier National Park and Canadian Rockies adventure by joining us for a festive farewell dinner tonight.
Return to Calgary (approximately 80 miles). Tour ends: Calgary International Airport at 10:00 AM. Allow a minimum of three hours for flight check-in.