Anyone who has visited the Canadian Rockies – or has a friend who has and can’t stop talking about it –already knows that it’s a world-class travel destination. This dramatic range of snowcapped peaks that spans the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta harbors a rugged and exceptionaly rare natural beauty. And among some of the most jaw-dropping vistas you’ll ever see are a plethora of exciting outdoor activities and festivals plus luxurious accommodations to retire to at day’s end.
January: the perfect month to curl up at home with a book and a cup of hot chocolate, right? Maybe for some people, but for the rest of us, it's is the perfect time to get off the beaten path. At Backroads we believe that the traveling season is year-round, and January is the perfect example. From snowy adventures in the northern hemisphere to jungle or desert treks down south, every traveler can find something to surprise, stimulate and challenge them in January.
Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada is a hiker's paradise. Backroads offers a couple spectacular hiking trips up that way — walking and hiking through Banff, Yoho and Kootenay National Parks or taking it to the next level and hiking by helicopter! If you'd rather explore the park on your own, here are our top five, not-to-be-missed hikes in Banff. So let's tie up our boots and get going!
You've probably heard of Banff, Canada. But do you know about the other park that flanks its northwestern border? Jasper National Park is known as much for its beauty as it is for how you get there: by way of the Icefields Parkway, a world-class journey that you'll never forget. And the hikes along the way are simply unparalleled. You'll experience some of them if you come along for the ride with Backroads, or you can tap into the park's majesty on your own with a few of our favorite Jasper hikes—we’re sharing our top five!
Ask somebody if they know of the Gulf Islands, and chances are they don't. Nestled in Canada's southwest corner, below the 49th parallel, this exquisite archipelago is the unsung vacation hero of Canada (and maybe even North America!). It is, hands down, my favorite place to spend a summer. And I don't say that lightly: having lived, worked and traveled in 15 countries on 4 continents, this place still takes the cake. Perhaps it's because I came here as a child, spending endless hours building sand castles to the sound of eagle calls and running with wild deer through the islands' untouched coastal forests. You never forget things like that.
After exploring the Canadian Rockies for more than three decades, many of us now live among them. Backroads Regional Manager Alison Iles, who raised her kids in Banff, not only designed many of our Rockies trips but has also served on park development committees and chaired both the Interpretive Guides Association and the Heritage Tourism Association. Having helped set the standards for all travel in the region, she knows how to ensure our trips exceed all expectations.
Backroads pioneered the active river trip, partnering with AmaWaterways, the leader in river cruising, to create a new kind of travel experience featuring biking and walking explorations from an elegant floating hotel. Our Danube River Cruise Bike Tour takes you through the heart of this culturally diverse region from Prague to Passau, Vienna to Bratislava and on to Budapest. Pedal through the Bavarian forest, stroll among baroque architecture, sample local beers and discover tucked-away hamlets. Then luxuriate on board the ship as it carries you to your next adventure.
There isn't a trail to be missed in the Canadian Rockies. Bold statement? Yes. True? Absolutely. So you can't go wrong. But to help you get the most from your precious time in this magical region, let me give you the lowdown. From Banff, Yoho and Kootenay National Parks to Kananaskis Country, here are my ten favorite hikes in the Canadian Rockies.
Take a deep breath in. That's the literal definition of 'inspire.' And it's what The Banff Centre does best. Their mandate is 'Inspiring Creativity' and they do it like nobody else on the planet. I promise you this: If you venture off Banff Avenue for a short walk up Tunnel Mountain, you'll find yourself in the most inspiring place on earth.
Beyond the obvious opportunity to explore some spectacular landscapes, the idea behind this trip is simple: why settle for just one renowned national park when you can explore two - and cross an international boundary in the bargain? Biking through Glacier National Park on the Montana side of the Rockies, then crossing the US-Canada border into Waterton Lakes, you enjoy stunning rides and stay at historic park lodges that are typically booked-up far in advance.