Western Canada's Cities, Mountain Towns, and Wide-Open Spaces, Designed for Young Travelers
The Canadian Rockies are a nature lover’s paradise and a photographer’s dream come true. But to describe the landscape as “dramatic” or “picturesque” would barely begin to capture the spirit of the place. Contiki Vacations aims to share some of its favorite destinations throughout the Canadian Rockies with young travelers aged 18–35. With a group of no more than 30, you’ll have a chance to visit national parks, towering peaks, and mountain towns during an 11-day guided tour.
In addition to organized hiking, sightseeing, and local color, each tour comes with ample free time for travelers to put their feet up and enjoy the experience. Tour managers use firsthand local knowledge to deliver commentary, logistical planning, and social recommendations, and each tour follows a relaxed itinerary with prearranged transportation and hotel accommodations.
Click here to see a detailed itinerary of the trip.
Days 1–2: You and your tour mates meet up with the tour manager in Vancouver and exchange handshakes and blood pacts before hopping aboard an air-conditioned coach for a whirlwind tour of the city. As the night sets in, the coach points its nose toward Crystal Lodge in the village of Whistler. The next day, you can choose from a lineup of alpine activities, such as hiking, canoeing, or exploring Whistler, the 2010 Winter Olympics host.
Days 3–5: The landscape alters dramatically as the coach, by this time nicknamed, winds down the mountains into the valley town of Lillooet, a former gold-rush capital. In 1860, Lillooet was the largest North American city between Chicago and San Francisco, but now it feels like a quaint backwater. Picture-perfect lakes, mountains, and rivers line the road into Kamloops, where you’ll spend the night at the Sandman Inn Kamloops. The next morning, after swinging past the sky-high Mount Robson, the coach heads east through the Rockies into Jasper National Park. A guided trek through Maligne Canyon's limestone is one of highlights this leg of the trip. You’ll spend two nights in the small town of Jasper at the historical Athabasca Hotel.
Days 6–7: The Columbia Icefields Parkway passes the largest ice field south of Alaska en route to Banff. Stops along the way include the turquoise-hued Lake Louise and Athabasca Glacier, where you can sample pure glacial water in a blind taste test against Coke. Four-person loft rooms at the Tunnel Mountain Resort become the staging ground for the next two days in the resort town of Banff, with the options of hiking, shopping, and exploring the famous Banff Springs Hotel.
Day 8: On the ride from Banff to Vernon, you’ll pass through three national parks. Craggy peaks dissolve into the terraced hills of the Okanagan Valley—British Columbia's wine country—just before the coach pulls into the Sandman Inn & Suites Vernon.
Days 9–11: The tour finishes where it began in Vancouver. You and your travel mates get a few days to acclimate back to city life and check out some of the sights glimpsed on day 1. The Sandman Hotel Vancouver City Centre is an ideal base camp for exploring the historical neighborhood of Gastown and Stanley Park's seawall promenade.