This trip brings you the iconic landscapes and outdoor adventures that characterize Western North America, woven together with a little history and lots of geography. The tour is half in Canada and half in the United States. We travel the most scenic routes, visit the most iconic landscapes and get off the beaten path into the heart of the natural environment. We’ll visit all the major National parks of both countries and enjoy such exhilarating activities as white-water rafting, canoeing, hiking, horseback riding, cycling, a glacier adventure, a houseboat sailing trip and canyoneering, with many more optional activities. And we’ll touch the great cities of Las Vegas and San Francisco. Truly, an experience of a lifetime!
Duration: 36 days/35 nights
Departure City: Vancouver Ending City: Vancouver
Accommodations: camping (18 nights) hotels (16 nights) houseboat (1 night)
Transportation: minibus, houseboat, canoe
Leaders: Tour leader, Bus driver/ass’t leader
Included meals: 20 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 19 dinners
Included Activities: Whitewater rafting, houseboat adventure, hot springs soak, excursions to Moraine Lake, Mt. Edith Cavell, Maligne Lake and Takakkaw Falls, Glacier tour, canoe trip, horseback trail ride, national park tours, Mesa Verde entrance fees, Monument Valley tour, Hoover Dam tour, Napa Valley wine tour, all park fees, all meals when camping and on houseboat
Day 1: Meet your tour leader and fellow adventurers at the joining hotel to get your tour orientation. Then enjoy dinner at one of Vancouver’s many renowned restaurants.
Day 2: Enjoy travel up the scenic Fraser Canyon to our afternoon adventure: motorized rafting on the turbulent Lower Thompson River. Afterwards we’ll set up camp for the night along the river, with shared cooking responsibilities under the guidance of your leader.
Day 3: In the morning we travel through low-lying hills, past luxuriant lakes to the Shuswap, where we’ll board the Remote Escape houseboat for our afternoon and overnight excursion. Tonight we sleep in the houseboat’s berths on the gentle waters of the lake.
Day 4: We return to our minibus and journey through three mountain ranges draped with some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet. We’ll stop frequently for great photos, have a chance to take a helicopter flight into the back-country, and eventually get to our campsite in the Rocky Mountains.
Day 5+6: Two full days to explore the natural wonders of Yoho National Park and Lake Louise, including hiking, horseback riding, canoeing, rock climbing, chairlift rides to mountain peaks or simply relaxing in the tea houses or the opulent Lake Louise Lodge. And, of course, load up your camera with amazing photos.
Day 6: Our tour includes a trip to Moraine Lake and the Valley of the Ten Peaks, one of the most photographed scenes in Canada, with plenty of hiking or trail-riding opportunities, or canoeing.
Day 7+8: We take the short trip to Banff, the true heart of the Canadian Rockies. Here you’ll have two days to hike, walk, cycle, soak, paddle, ride, fly, stroll, visit museums, take photos, shop, or even dance the time away. Plus a Via Ferrata or a paddle rafting adrenaline rush.
Day 9: Today we travel the incomparable Icefields Parkway, one of the world’s great road trips. Numerous stops amid stunning scenery and an exhilarating glacier expedition along the way. We end up in Jasper, the largest of the Rocky Mountain National Parks.
Day 10: Today is a full day to explore the Jasper area: hike, cycle, ride the Sky Tram or take a boat cruise to iconic Spirit Island. Along the way, we’re likely to see wildlife such as elk, moose, deer or even bear.
Day 11: We travel to Wells Grey Provincial Park, via Mt Robson, the highest massif in the Canadian Rockies. At Wells Grey we climb into canoes for an included overnight trip across Clearwater Lake, where we’ll get deep into the BC wilderness.
Day 12: We re-board our minibus for the short trip to the rolling hills of BC’s Cariboo Country. Here we’ll participate in an included horseback trail ride, then relax in a private resort lodge.
Day 13: Today we travel down to Whistler, site of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, again passing through some superb scenery. We’ll also stop along the way for an interpretive First Nations’ cultural experience.
Day 14: We have a full day to participate in some of the many options available in Whistler, Canada’s adrenaline capital: Ziptrek, downhill mountain-biking, bungee jumping, Peak 2 Peak gondola ride, hiking, cycling, swimming, partying, even a ride in a bobsleigh.
Day 15: We travel the stunningly beautiful Sea-to-Sky Highway back to Vancouver, arriving about noon. Enjoy an optional tour around Vancouver in the afternoon. Say good bye to some of your colleagues and hello to others who join us.
Day 16: Today takes us to the South Okanagan and the town of Osoyoos, after crossing the magnificent Cascade Mountain range. This is a summer playground of beaches and water sports, but also wine country. Time to participate in only a few options.
Day 17: We travel across southern BC, taking in more splendid mountain vistas and finally exiting the Rocky Mountains. Our destination is Waterton National Park that sits right on the edge of the Rockies and along the United States border. It will be a full, but scenic day of travel. Tonight we camp.
Day 18: You’ll want to exercise your legs after yesterday’s long travel day, and what better a place to do that than Waterton? Today is a full day to explore the park, with many hiking options for all levels of difficulty, and as varied as the majestic scenery in which they’re set.
Day 19: We turn south today, crossing immediately into the United States and traversing the large state of Montana. We arrive at Yellowstone Park about mid-afternoon, and will spend some time sight-seeing part of the park before setting up camp for the night.
Day 20: Today is a full day to explore Yellowstone. Your driver will take you on a circuit of the park, stopping at numerous sites along the way, including the famous Yellowstone Lodge and at least one stop at the famous Old Faithful geyser.
Day 21: We travel to Salt Lake City, known for the lake that shares its name but also as the headquarters for the Mormon Church, a native American religion. We’ll stop as we pass, to visit the Church’s headquarters and learn a little about their tortured history before moving on to our hotel.
Day 22: Today we explore the renowned Zion National Park with its wind and water-shaped formations. You’ll definitely want to spend some time hiking the incomparable Virgin River. We camp tonight between Zion and Bryce National Parks.
Day 23: It’s time for Bryce Canyon National Park today. Although also shaped by wind and water, the formations of Bryce Canyon are completely different from those of Zion. And there will be plenty of time an options for hiking.
Day 24: We journey today to Moab, the adrenaline capital of the region, and also the jumping off point for two more great National Parks, Arches and Canyonlands. A tour of Arches National Park, including the iconic Delicate Arch, is part of the included itinerary.
Day 25: We have a full day to explore the area around Moab: by foot, by bicycle or by 4×4. The scenery just never stops! Some adrenaline inducing activity options include canyoneering, river rafting, mountain biking, zip-lining or rock-climbing.
Day 26: We visit two great American sites today. The first is Mesa Verde, where ancient nations carved out a village into the side of a canyon wall. Then we’ll travel to the iconic Monument Valley, where numerous Western movies have been shot. We camp tonight near Monument Valley.
Day 27: Today we make our way to the South rim of the Grand Canyon, with plenty of time to view this marvelous landscape. We’ll get to see it at sunset tonight and again at sunrise tomorrow. Hike, rent a bike, or a horse, to get the amazing views from different perspectives. We’ll camp nearby tonight.
Day 28: We get a second great look of the canyon at sunrise and spend a few more hours there before heading toward Las Vegas. We’ll detour to travel the famous Route 66 and take a tour of Hoover Dam. We’ll get to Vegas just as it’s heating up for the night, and stay in a casino hotel.
Day 29: A full day to enjoy the sights and sounds of Las Vegas, and take in a show or two. Need we say more? You’re on your own in “the city that never sleeps.” Just be on time for our departure tomorrow morning.
Day 30: Today we travel through Death Valley, both the hottest, and lowest, place in the United States. We’ll stop at such places as Badwater, Dante’s View, The Devil’s Golf Course, Furnace Creek and Stovepipe Wells. Then we’ll travel on to the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Day 31: A half day of travel takes us to Yosemite National Park via the spectacular Tioga Pass. There is so much to see at Yosemite: Half Dome, El Capitan, numerous waterfalls, and landscapes that you’d swear were lunar. There are also some short hiking options.
Day 32: After cleaning up our camp, we’ll travel to San Francisco and stay right in the heart of downtown. From there we have a day and a half to explore the many attractions: Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street, Fisherman’s Wharf, and much more.
Day 33: A full day to relax or complete the activities you started yesterday. You may want to tour some of San Francisco’s iconic buildings or areas.
Day 34: We begin making our way north through the Napa Valley, where we’ll take in several wine tours before heading up through northern California. Shortly into Oregon we’ll turn off the interstate highway toward the cobalt blue waters of Crater Lake where we’ll camp for the night.
Day 35: After skirting the edge of Crater Lake we cross into the interior for a totally different landscape as we head steadily north into Washington State. Midway through the State we turn back into the Cascade Mountains and end our day in Leavenworth, a Bavarian-themed town.
Day 36: We make our way back to the interstate and head back north to Vancouver, arriving there shortly after noon.
Tour Add-on Packages (Optional Excursion Add-ons)
How to add optional tour packages
Some of our tours have optional add-on packages which secure those activities for you in advance, and may be less expensive and less hassle than booking them individually while on your trip. You can add these packages at check out.
Add-on 1: Close to Nature package:
This package includes a helicopter flight to the high mountain back-country glaciers of the Purcell range on Day 4. On Day 7 or 8 you will be whisked up to the Sunshine meadows high alpine hiking and scenic exploration area. On Day 14, you will enjoy the Whistler Hiking and Sightseeing package for mountain vistas, surreal landscapes and fantastic hiking, plus the Peak 2 Peak gondola ride. Price: $458CAD, incl. taxes.
Add-on 2: Adrenaline Package:
This package includes a white-water paddle rafting trip on the Kicking Horse River on Day 5, 6 or 7, where you navigate class 3 and 4 rapids without the aid of a motor. On Day 7 or 8, you’ll get the Ridgewalker Via Ferrata on Mount Norquay in Banff. Then, in Whistler you can choose either Mammoth Ziptrek that includes 10 ziplines and 8 treetop bridges or Extreme Downhill Mountain-biking that includes bike rental and tickets to the mountain-bike park and lift passage. Price: $597CAD, incl. taxes.
Add-on 3: Single Supplement
Our trip prices are based on two people sharing rooms and tents. Single travelers will be paired up with others of the same gender for room assignments. Subject to availability, travelers may upgrade to single rooms and tents by adding a single supplement to their tour. The single supplement for this trip is $2059CAD.