Hiking the Canadian Rockies

September 24 – October 2, 2024 • 9 Days • $4690

We’ve marveled at the Canadian Rockies many times on past Adventures, ever enchanted with the wonders but always including them as a segment of another tour. We know the area well but have never had the luxury of devoting so much time to this scenic smorgasbord north of the border. Now, we’re devoting the entire tour to exploring a seemingly endless array of spectacular Canadian Rockies panoramas.

Big names national parks of Banff (including Lake Louise) and Jasper in the province of Alberta are the centerpiece of the itinerary, connected by the sensational Icefields Parkway. Yoho and Kootenay National Parks, just across the provincial border in British Columbia, are also worthy of inclusion.

We are delighted to present the first edition of Hiking the Canadian Rockies!

Overview / Trip Details


  • Jasper National Park – Part of UNESCO’s Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site, this pristine nature reserve boasts countless dazzling lakes, the stunning Maligne Canyon, and a very realistic chance of wildlife sightings.
  • Icefields Parkway – One of the world’s most scenic mountain drives, this resplendent roadway offers high-octane waterfalls, picturesque panoramas, and the chance to explore the Athabasca Glacier on the famed Columbia Icefields.
  • Lake Louise and Moraine Lake – These twin jewels are justifiably among the most famous and photographed Canadian landscapes, ringed by the Rockies and possessing an azure allure that is sure to captivate.
  • Yoho and Kootenay National Parks – Replete with natural wonders and hidden surprises, these two British Columbia gems offer stunning canyon and lakeside strolls, hot springs, Canadian Pacific Railway history, and a soaring skybridge.
  • Banff – This much-loved and fittingly famous resort area forms a fabulous finish to our Walking Adventure, with excellent walking throughout the town as well as a visit to the largest lake in Banff National Park and an intriguing look at the region’s rich coal mining history.


  • Airport to hotel transfer on first day
  • All land travel as outlined
  • Tourist-class or better hotel accommodations
  • 11 meals: all breakfasts, and 3 dinners as listed in itinerary (BLD)
  • 14 walk routes as listed plus an optional walk on Day 1 for those arriving early
  • Walking fees for 8 walks for those collecting IVV/Canadian Volkssport Federation credit (if CVF sanctions approved)
  • WAI guide service throughout (3 guides)
  • All tipping for coach drivers, any local guides, and group meals
  • Pricing is based on double occupancy. A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $1100. We also provide a roommate matching service for those interested.

Visits to / Admission fees:

  • Jasper National Park
  • Maligne Canyon
  • Valley of the Five Lakes
  • Pyramid Island
  • Athabasca Falls
  • Sunwapta Falls
  • Columbia Icefields Glacier Experience
  • Peyto Lake
  • Moraine Lake
  • Lake Louise
  • Yoho National Park
  • Emerald Lake
  • Natural Bridge
  • Golden Skybridge
  • Kootenay National Park
  • Marble Canyon
  • Banff National Park
  • Johnston Canyon
  • Lake Minnewanka
  • Bankhead Ghost Town
  • More fun stops than we can list!

Optional excursions:

  • Elk Island National Park Day Trip and Walk (Day 1)


Click on each day for more details. (BD) refers to meals included – Breakfast and Dinner.

Optional Elk Island National Park Day Trip and Walk

Our Canadian Rockies Adventure begins today in Edmonton, capital city of Alberta and the northernmost city in North America with a population over 1 million. Our starting hotel is near Edmonton International Airport (YEG).

The first official activity is a Welcome Orientation this evening at 7:30 pm at our hotel after dinner on your own.  Please plan to arrive in time to attend this important Adventure kick-off!

Elk Island National Park: For those who arrive in Edmonton a day early (September 23), an optional Elk Island National Park Day Trip and Walk is available today (September 24). While our main Canadian Rockies Adventure includes 4 national parks, today’s excursion offers the chance to see a fifth national park different from the rest. Elk Island National Park, just 35 miles east of Edmonton, is a UNESCO designated Biosphere Reserve of rolling hills and glassy lakes that provides a haven for herds of bison, elk, and more than 250 bird species.

This exciting full-day exploration includes round-trip transport from our airport hotel, scenic wildlife driving, a walk with walk credit, and guide services. Estimated price: $150 (NOTE–12 person minimum necessary to offer this excursion)

Walk #1: Annette Lake (Jasper NP) Walk – 3 km, rated 1B
Walk #2: Maligne Canyon (Jasper NP) Walk – 4.5 km, rated 2C

We depart Alberta’s capital city this morning and make our way west to Jasper National Park, largest national park in the Canadian Rockies and home to abundant wildlife and an extensive network of trails. The first walk of the Adventure is an easy but photogenic loop around Annette Lake, which also provides an excellent opportunities for today’s no-host picnic lunch.

This afternoon, a short drive brings us to one of Canada’s most impressive and interesting canyons. Here, we walk along a narrow limestone gouge in the earth crossing several bridges with vantage points to admire numerous waterfalls and springs. Following this memorable hike, we check in to our hotel in the delightful mountain town of Jasper and prepare for an included group dinner this evening.

Walk #3: Valley of the Five Lakes (Jasper NP) Walk – 5.5 km, rated 2C
Walk #4: Afternoon walk options:
     Standard Walk: Beauvert Lake (Jasper NP) Walk – 3.5 km, rated 1C
     Challenge Walk: Old Fort Point Loop (Jasper NP) Hike – 4.3 km, rated 3C

Starting with a dazzling hike in the Valley of the Five Lakes, we enjoy another heaping helping of natural wonder today in the Jasper area, part of UNESCO’s Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site. Our morning meander takes us past a quintet of beautiful clear lakes with unique shades of jade and blue, providing plenty of perfect-picture photo-ops.

Following a lunch break back in Jasper, afternoon plans include two different gorgeous walk options. For those preferring a gentler stroll, we offer a truly lovely loop walk around Lac Beauvert (Beaver Lake) featuring the pristine grounds of Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. Those craving a bit of a cardio workout and stellar views over the Athabasca Valley are invited to join us on the Old Fort Point Loop Hike, abounding with eye-popping panoramas.

Dinner and the remainder of the evening are free to enjoy at your leisure from our Jasper hotel.

Departing Jasper this morning, we venture south along the magical Icefields Parkway, one of the planet’s most scenic drives. While no official walks are offered today, several leg-stretching stops at viewpoints punctuate the day including thunderous Athabasca Falls, Sunwapta Falls, and turquoise-colored Peyto Lake.

The massive Columbia Icefields are the featured mid-day highlight. Here, we board a “snocoach” and enjoy the rare opportunity to walk directly on the Athabasca Glacier!

Following this dazzling day of sensory overload, we arrive in Lake Louise Village for the first of two nights and an included group dinner at our hotel.

Walk #5: Moraine Lake (Banff NP) Walk – 5 km, rated 2B
Walk #6: Afternoon walk options:
     Standard Walk: Lake Louise (Banff NP) Walk – 5 km, rated 1B
     Challenge Walk: Lake Agnes (Banff NP) Hike above Lake Louise – 8.75 km, rated 3C

Two of Canada’s most famous and fabulous mountain lake gems, Moraine Lake and Lake Louise, are located within Banff National Park! Today, we experience both of these beauties, starting with a morning visit to Moraine Lake.

Nestled among towering mountains in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, Moraine Lake’s brilliant blue waters provide a postcard-perfect backdrop for a walk that features jaw-dropping views from the Rock Pile as well as along the lake shore.

After a lunch break back down in the village, we ascend to the azure waters of Lake Louise where two walk options are offered.

The standard route is a stupendous out-and-back stroll along the northern shore of Lake Louise, with an abundance of awesome photo opportunities. Those up for a challenge are invited to join us for an out-and-back Lake Agnes Hike that briefly follows the shore of Lake Louise before ascending through lush forest to Mirror Lake and Lake Agnes.

Nestled in a little bowl, Agnes feels like a lake in the clouds. It also features a cute tea house that offers snacks and tea (for purchase) as a reward for the climb.

This evening, back in Lake Louise Village, you are free to enjoy dinner on your own.

Walk #7: Emerald Lake (Yoho NP) Walk – 5 km, rated 1B
Walk #8: Golden Skybridge BC Walk – 1.5 km, rated 2B

Today, a second Canadian province of the adventure beckons us westward. Crossing the Continental Divide takes us into British Columbia to explore the natural wonders of Yoho National Park.

Groundbreaking Canadian Pacific Railway history is featured early in the day with a stop at Spiral Tunnel Viewpoint to learn how the intimidating grades of the Rockies were finally conquered by railroad engineers.

Continuing down the wonderfully named Kicking Horse River, we stop briefly to wonder at the geological oddity of Natural Bridge before making our way to Emerald Lake. Ringed by mountains of the President Range, this aquatic jewel is circumnavigated on a stunning shoreline trail sure to leave an impression.

Following a lunch break at the lake, we continue to the town of Golden, where a series of short trails and Canada’s highest suspension bridge offer outstanding views of the Columbia Valley.

We finish our afternoon with a scenic drive along the upper course of the famous Columbia River (the same river that later courses between Oregon and Washington en route to the Pacific), arriving in the cute little town of Radium Hot Springs for a relaxing evening and dinner on your own.

Walk #9: Ochre Beds and Paint Pots (Kootenay NP) Walk – 2.2 km, rated 1B
Walk #10: Marble Canyon (Kootenay NP) Walk – 1.8 km, rated 2B
Walk #11: Johnston Canyon (Banff NP) Walk – 2 km or 5.5 km, rated 2B or 3B

Today’s journey begins in Kootenay National Park with a couple of short morning walks. We start with a fascinating foray amongst ochre-colored swamp land along the Vermillion River, culminating with the reddish hues of the Paint Pots, three little iron-rich ponds used by First Nations people in making body paint.

Our next Kootenay walk is short but sweet as we investigate the power of erosion on a short ascent to seven different bridges spanning a narrow and thunderous canyon and featuring a lovely waterfall at the turnaround point.

Crossing back over the Continental Divide into Alberta, this afternoon offers a lunch stop and a gorgeous walk up the cliff-hugging catwalks and impressive sheer limestone rock faces of Johnston Canyon. A short and long walk are available here, both visually stunning!

We wrap up our day in the popular mountain town of Banff, where we share an included group dinner at our hotel.

Walk #12: Lake Minnewanka (Banff NP) Walk – 3.5 km, rated 1B
Walk #13: Lower Bankhead Ghost Town (Banff NP) Walk – 1.3 km, rated 1B
Walk #14: Afternoon walk options:
     Standard Walk: Bow River Falls and Fenland Trail (Banff NP) Walk – 6.5 km, rated 2B
Challenge Walk: Tunnel Mountain Viewpoint (Banff NP) Hike – 6 km, rated 4C

This morning, a short drive whisks us away from the busy tourist streets of Banff and deposits us on the shore of Lake Minnewanka, largest in Banff National Park.

Clear green waters and verdant forests provide fantastic views as we stroll to Stewart Canyon and back. Later this morning, we explore the rich coal mining history of the region on a fascinating walk around Lower Bankhead, an old ghost town that still contains historical remnants and mining equipment from the glory days of a century ago.

Following a lunch break in Banff, we offer two different afternoon walk options. For those wishing for a less taxing walk, we offer a wonderful stroll along the Bow River, passing by the Banff Springs Hotel, Bow River Falls, and featuring the surprisingly serene Fenland Trail.

For those in search of outstanding elevated Banff views and a cardio challenge, we offer a hike to the summit of Tunnel Mountain, where great photos await of Bow Valley, Mt. Rundle, Sulphur Mountain and the surrounding Rockies.

Or, if you’d rather skip the afternoon walks altogether, today could be the perfect day to go to the top of Sulphur Mountain on the Banff Gondola (cost is about $66 CAD per person) for some of the best 360-degree views in the Canadian Rockies.

Dinner this evening is on your own.

Our Canadian Rockies Adventure draws to a close with breakfast at our Banff hotel.

While no group transfer is provided to Calgary, we can help you arrange for your own Banff Airporter transfer to the Calgary International Airport (YYC) at a time that is convenient for you. Banff Airporter offers 10 different transfers per day to Calgary Airport and costs about $72-$80 CAD depending upon your age. The one-way transfer takes about 2 hours, so be sure to budget enough time to get to the airport and check in for your flight home.

Thanks for sharing this adventure in one of the world’s most mesmerizing mountain landscapes!

Before You Book

Click on each heading for more details.

To register, a non-refundable $300 deposit is required to hold your spot. A final payment is due 90 days before departure and is non-refundable after the due date. You will receive a prompt email from us 2 to 3 weeks in advance.

Soon after registration, an “Adventure Advice” email will be sent with critical information on flight arrangements as well as important steps to take in the months before your trip. Please do not buy your airline tickets until you review this Adventure Advice email.

Please follow this link to read our full General Tour Conditions.

With help from local experts and walking guides, Classic Curated itineraries are crafted with extensive on-site planning by WAI tour planners.

When designing Classic Curated Tours, our objective is to capture the essence of a destination—the history, culture, and natural wonders unique to that part of the world. We then build activities and walks that take us inside these characteristics.

These tours are educational, but they are also interactive and immersive; walking gets us off the bus and penetrates local cultures to not only see, but also touch, smell, and feel these special spaces.

Along the way, interactions with locals amplify the experience by sharing insights into the magic of that particular location.

In the case of Hiking the Canadian Rockies, WAI has criss-crossed this lake-studded mountain range numerous times in different ways since the mid-1990s. Always before, however, the region was a mid-point of an far-ranging itinerary with 2 to 3 days devoted to the Rockies.

In October 2023, Scott Isom and former WAI guide, Russ Isom, Scott’s dad, spent a couple of weeks on a scouting trip exploring deeper and adding several intriguing layers to our already solid Canadian Rockies travel and hiking foundation.

The distinction between “walking” and “hiking” is subjective. One person’s walk is another person’s hike. With this lack of precision in mind, please consider the following factors before you book this Adventure.

The verb “hiking” is included in the tour title of Hiking the Canadian Rockies because featured trails are generally more difficult than a typical WAI tour. We consider many of these trail to fall into a category of “hiking trails” rather than “walking paths”. Factors reviewed when we bump an itinerary into the “Hiking” category include:

Elevation gain and loss is generally greater across the series of the tour’s walks. On the Canadian Rockies itinerary, several “challenge” trails are offered. Mitigating these difficult walks is the fact that a standard walk is offered concurrently, with a significantly lower level of difficulty.

Trail surface condition is generally rougher with fewer groomed trails or smooth surfaces such as sidewalks or paved trails. Travelers are required to give more attention to where they place their feet; uneven surfaces and occasional sections of trail covered by roots or rocks are more common.

Altitude could be higher. Our trails in the Canadian Rockies are not as high as Utah (Bryce Canyon), the Colorado Rockies, or the Swiss & French Alps tour. We are in the mountains, however, not at sea level or in the prairie states or provinces. Still, we consider altitude only a minor factor in the Canadian Rockies; hotels are always below 6000 feet and our trails are mostly in the 3000 to 5500 foot above sea level range.

While not our most challenging series of walks, WAI planners feel that the range of trails featured on this Canadian Rockies Adventure qualify it as a “hiking” tour and travelers should bear this in mind as they consider participation and preparation.

We generally walk at a pace of 2 to 3 miles per hour. Walks oriented more towards education may take longer due to stops for guide commentary. Nature walks, on the other hand, generally continue at a steadier pace because we’re stopping less to talk.

In most cases, we are not “strolling.” We are walking at a relaxed but steady pace. Your experience will be significantly affected by your level of physical fitness. If not walking regularly at home, we strongly recommend that you make a priority of “training” beforehand in order to both enjoy the trip and avoid medical issues due to overexertion. If you have questions about your ability to participate, please call our office at +1.360.260.9393.

We have adopted a walk difficulty rating system which contains a numeric indicator for trail incline and an alpha indicator for trail terrain. This system is not precise, but intended to give a general idea of trail difficulty.

The explanation for this system is presented below. Cumulative elevation gain totals assume a 10 km (6.2 mile) trail. Shorter walks may be pro-rated: e.g. a 5 km walk with 750 feet elevation gain could receive an incline rating of 3 because continuing for 10 km with the same trail conditions would likely generate approximately 1500 feet elevation gain, which is within the 1000-2000 feet range of an incline rating of 3.


1. Minimal hills or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain: <200 feet.
2. Some moderate hills and stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain: 200-1000 feet.
3. Some significant hill or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain: 1000-2000 feet.
4. Significant hills or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from starting point: 2000 – 3500 feet.


A. Almost entirely on pavement.
B. A significant part of the route is on well-groomed trails with very few obstacles.
C. A significant part of the route is on somewhat difficult terrain (rocky / rooted paths or soft sand).

The official start point for this Adventure is the Edmonton International Airport (airport code YEG) in Edmonton, Alberta. The official finish point is our hotel in Banff, Alberta, served by Calgary International Airport (airport YYC).

Our first hotel in Edmonton provides a complimentary airport shuttle. While the departure transfer at the end of the tour from Banff to the Calgary International Airport is not included, your WAI tour guides will help connect you to a Banff Airporter service, through which you can arrange for your transfer to Calgary International Airport.

We recommend that you contact Laura Pfahler, the travel agent we work with, to help book your flight arrangements. In this age of airfare complications and airport uncertainty, using a travel agent is a good investment!

More details about flight arrangements and travel agent contact information will be provided in an Adventure Advice PDF by email after you register for the Adventure.  Please do not book your airfare prior to receiving these flight details from us!

WAI believes in the importance of travel insurance for financial and medical protection from any number of unforeseen circumstances that can arise before departure or during your Adventure. Many travel insurance providers are available for you to consider. Laura Pfahler and Sharon Mitchell of World Travel Inc. can provide travel insurance services for your WAI tour, as well as your airfare. For those who purchase airfare through Laura, purchasing your travel insurance from her colleague, Sharon Mitchell, may be the simplest option.

Be aware that some travel insurance policies contain time-sensitive provisions (i.e. some benefits, such as coverage of pre-existing conditions, are available only if the policy is purchased within a certain number of days of the purchase of the travel package). In addition, remember that airfare is not covered by any travel insurance policy you may have purchased for the tour.

Check out Insurance Tips from World Travel for a short introduction to travel insurance.

Sharon Mitchell–World Travel Inc.
Phone: 971-261-2091
Email: [email protected]

Other options include:

  • Allianz
  • Betins
  • Travel Guard
  • Travel Insured International

As always, do some shopping to ensure you are getting the best value. Using the SquareMouth.com website can be a good way to compare pricing.

WAI bears no responsibility for travel insurance benefits advertised by various credit card companies. If you are relying on this type of benefit for insurance, we advise you to verify coverage types and limits and that your purchase does in fact qualify you for this insurance.

NOTE: We suggest purchasing from a reputable, well-established insurance company (avoid buying insurance from an unknown company found only online). Travelers interested in purchasing “cancel for any reason” insurance coverage should be careful to check pricing and terms BEFORE they register for a tour. Recent changes in the international travel landscape has caused changes in the policies of some insurance companies, and made the purchase of this particular type of policy even more time-sensitive.

Walking Adventures International reserves the right to cancel this tour departure with fewer than 15 participants, in which case registered participants will receive a 100% refund of payments received.

This refund policy contains one exclusion. Many suppliers require non-refundable deposits as a condition of booking services. Though it is rare, unforeseen circumstances can force us to cancel a tour. In cases where supplier’s non-refundable policies are imposed, WAI attempts to retrieve as much of these deposits as possible but cannot guarantee a 100% refund. In cases where full refunds cannot be obtained for a cancelled tour, we will do our best to transfer unrefunded money as traveler credits to be applied to a future tour to that destination.

Our approach to wellness on tour has traditionally been to encourage travelers to:

  • Focus on health before the tour so you start healthy.
  • Pace yourself while on tour; travel is inherently stimulating and can produce adrenalin boosts that mask energy drain. Guard your energy reserves and consider the length of the trip and whether to opt out of some activities and/or walks.
  • Be self-aware. If you feel yourself tiring or feel a bug coming on, take precautions to block it (e.g. extra rest, extra doses of vitamin C, etc).
  • If you feel a bug coming on or if you take ill, distance yourself from others when possible.
  • If you feel ill, isolate yourself towards the back of the bus and away from others.

Click WAI Wellness on Tour Policy to view the WAI policy on Wellness on Tour.

After registration, an “Adventure Advice” email will be sent with critical information on flight arrangements as well as important steps to take in the months before your trip. Please do not buy your airline tickets until you review this Adventure Advice email.

A final payment is due 90 days before departure (June 26, 2024) and is non-refundable after the due date. You will receive a prompt email from us a week or two in advance. Please see our General Tour Conditions for the full terms and conditions for participation in this Adventure.

Around 2 weeks before departure, you will receive a final email packet with details of the program, including hotel names and contact information, a list of fellow travelers, and a more detailed daily schedule.

We look forward to hiking the sensational landscapes of the Canadian Rockies with you!

Adventure Pace

Tour Pace: 1 2 3 4 5
Walk Challenge: 1 2 3 4 5

About Adventure Pace

Important Info

Your Guides

Scott Isom (left) has had a passion for the outdoors ever since his childhood days spent exploring the waterfalls and outstanding hiking trails of the Columbia River Gorge with his family. Since joining WAI in 2007, Scott has led tours on all 7 continents and has become WAI’s busiest guide and on-site Adventure planner.

Scott’s dad, Russ Isom was instrumental in developing that passion for the outdoors. Russ and Scott have trekked the Pacific Crest Trail from the California-Oregon border to Canada and climbed several of the Pacific Northwest’s Cascade Range peaks.

Russ also came to WAI in 2007, father and son co-leading Adventures as a team for many travel seasons, with Russ’s wife, Judy, sometimes assisting. In October 2023, Russ came out of retirement to help with the Rockies scouting trip and has offered to once again lead an Adventure with Scott in 2024.

To provide better support on these mountain trails, and facilitate two simultaneous trails on many days, Scott and Russ will be joined by a third WAI guide, Michael Le Roy. Michael is new to the WAI family. He and his wife, Andrea, notched their inaugural Adventure assisting on the WAI Camino Portuguese tour in 2023. Michael, in fact, has hiked the entire French Camino, over 500 miles, and recommends it as a great experience.

This trio of leaders is excited to share our initial Hiking the Canadian Rockies next September!

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Canadian Rockies 2024