Tour begins: 2:00 PM, Calgary International Airport. For guests who are spending the previous night in Calgary, an airport transfer from Calgary International Airport to Sheraton Suites Calgary Eau Claire is included; pick-up time today will be 1:00 PM at Sheraton Suites Calgary Eau Claire. Your trip begins with a journey from Calgary that takes you across the last few miles of Canadian prairie to Kananaskis country, the foothills of Canada's Rocky Mountains. Join us tonight for a Wild West-themed welcome reception and dinner with music at Boundary Ranch.
Flying High Among Rock Mountains
Weather permitting, start the day with a morning helicopter excursion* that showcases the stunning views of Mount Yamnuska, the Bow River and Heart Mountain, with a final ascent directly over Mt. Baldy, named Enemy Warrior Lookout by the Stoney Nakoda people. Here, you're able to see the "Warrier" looking out over the spectacular lakes of the Kananaskis Valley. Then head high up into the Canadian Rockies and cross the Continental Divide through Kicking Horse Pass on a day of Alberta travel on which you'll see some of the most beautiful lakes in North America, including Lake Louise, where you'll have lunch. Later, visit Moraine Lake, situated in the Valley of the Ten Peaks where you'll have the opportunity to enjoy views of the surrounding peaks as they reflect in the glacially-fed waters. Arrive at your historic château-style resort hotel on the edge of Lake Louise overlooking Victoria Glacier in Banff National Park, where you'll enjoy lake-view accommodations during your two-night stay; have dinner at the hotel tonight.
Lakes Where the Blues are Happy
Come along with our naturalist guide today for an excursion (weather permitting) to lovely Moraine Lake, one of the most photographed spots in all of Canada, located 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,” adding that his time spent contemplating the view was the happiest half-hour of his life. In the event of adverse weather conditions, join Tauck's naturalist guide for a tour of Lake Louise. Return to The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise to spend the rest of the day as you wish.
The Icefields Parkway into the Wild
After breakfast, set off along the Icefields Parkway, which winds its way through Alberta's Banff and Jasper National Parks, past more than 600 glaciers, six icefields and a cornucopia of mountains featuring jaw-dropping views of spectacular rocky peaks, waterfalls and snowfields around every turn. Enjoy a barbecue lunch, and watch for bears, moose, elk, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats – especially in the spring and fall – en route to your lodge in the heart of Jasper National Park. During your two-night stay, you'll have an opportunity to attend a presentation by a Parks Canada official to hear the history, legends and folklore that are the very essence of Canada's magnificent national parks.
A Day Your Way in the Park
Continue your Alberta vacation with a day spent exploring magnificent Jasper National Park with your choice of an included "Jasper Your Way" discovery tour. You may choose from among an Athabasca River whitewater rafting adventure* led by Rocky Mountain River Guides; a "Wildlife Discovery Tour," joining a wildlife interpreter to search for bear, elk and more; or a trip on the Jasper Tramway through alpine tundra, leading to the interesting alpine town of Jasper. Or you may want to engage in some of the optional activities at your lodge (available at an additional cost) including horseback riding, biking, tennis, golf, fishing or boating. A park official shares insights on aboriginal culture during a presentation late this afternoon.
A Glacier on the Columbia Icefield
Retracing your route along the Icefields Parkway back to Banff National Park today, you'll appreciate the region's spectacular scenery from several perspectives. Take a memorable ride across the surface of Athabasca Glacier on an Ice Explorer, a specially designed glacial vehicle, for a close look at the glacier's geological features – another highlight of your Alberta vacation adventure. Arrive in Banff National Park, the first national park in Canada; your grand hotel, one of the Rockies' finest resorts, was built more than a century ago to resemble a Scottish baronial castle.
Banff National Park as You Like It
Today is yours to explore Banff National Park and environs as you please. You may wish to check out the village of Banff, which, with its spectacular scenery and trendy shops and boutiques, has grown over the decades to rival the chic alpine villages of the American Rockies. There are also many optional activities to choose from (available at an additional cost) in Banff National Park itself. You can ride the Banff gondola, take a guided nature walk, go horseback riding, mountain biking, or canoeing on the Bow River. Play a round of golf at your world-famous resort, or perhaps book an alpine aromatherapy massage at the Willow Stream Spa, ranked among the top spas in Canada. The week comes to a conclusion tonight at a special farewell reception at The Banff Centre, a world-renowned cultural center where creativity in the performing arts is fostered and new works are created. Your evening includes a special musical performance and dinner overlooking the gorgeous Bow Valley, where the views are a feast for the heart and a great finale to your Alberta vacation.
Tour ends: 10:00 AM, Calgary International Airport. Travel back to Calgary, approximately 80 miles. Guests spending additional nights in Calgary will be transferred to Sheraton Suites Calgary Eau Claire upon arrival; a transfer from Sheraton Suites Calgary Eau Claire to Calgary International Airport is included. Please arrange flights from Calgary to your final destination after 12:00 noon. Allow a minimum of two hours for check-in.