Canadian Rockies Hiking Holiday

Destination: Banff and Yoho National Parks, Canada

| Activities: Hiking

The Canadian Rockies offer some of the most varied and scenic hiking anywhere in the world. This vast area features amazing mountain formations, ice capped peaks, glacially fed aquamarine lakes, and sparkling glaciers. Alpine meadows carpeted in bright wildflowers add color to an already stunning landscape, and forests of spruce, alpine fir, and larch add their sweet scent to the clean air. Hiking opportunities are practically unlimited so we've chosen the best of the best for our active exploration of this fabled land. Maximum group size: 12


  • Being surrounded by stunning mountain scenery that is jaw droppingly beautiful
  • Hiking well marked trails to glaciers, over passes, past waterfalls, and through forests of spruce, fir, and larch
  • Walking in alpine meadows carpeted in an array of brightly colored wildflowers
  • Visiting the town of Banff home of the Chateau Lake Louise
  • Enjoying the camaraderie that staying in hostels makes possible

Departures and Prices

July 14 to July 22, 2022
$2995.00 - FULL
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September 08 to September 16, 2022
$2995.00 - Available
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  • 1-2 guides based on group size, 1 local and 1 AGC guide
  • Eight nights lodging in hostels and hotels
  • All meals from dinner on Day 1 through breakfast on Day 9 with the exception of one lunch. We will go out to restaurants for a few meals and cook in the hostels for most other meals.
  • Round-trip transportation from Calgary to the Parks
  • Park entry fees

Not included: Travel to and from Calgary, one lunch, alcoholic beverages, guide gratuities and travel insurance

Trip Documents

Trip Intro

This trip is designed for women who enjoy hiking in the mountains surrounded by breathtaking scenery. We will be hiking 8 - 11 miles a day in hilly terrain with significant ascents and descents. One descent is especially steep and rocky. Previous hiking experience is extremely useful, as is having a sense of adventure, a desire to spend time in the mountains, and a good level of physical fitness. A rating of 4 requires aerobic conditioning for at least 40-50 minutes 4-5 times a week. Additional endurance exercise (e.g. going for a 2-hour hike once a week) and/or strength training is appropriate.  Rating: 1 2 3 [4] 5.

On this trip we enjoy hiking on some of the most spectacular trails in the Canadian Rockies. The trails are well maintained; some are fairly smooth. Others may be quite rocky, steep (both up and down) and contain scree. There will also be time to explore the town of Banff one afternoon.

While in the Parks, we will stay at the Castle Mountain Wilderness Hostel, conveniently located in between Banff and Lake Louise. We will have the entire hostel to ourselves, including a cozy lounge with a wood-burning stove, a fully-equipped kitchen, an outdoor fire pit and two bunk rooms with enough space for everyone to get a bottom bunk. There are two bathrooms, each with two toilet stalls, two showers and two sinks. This hostel will give you a taste of a rustic Canadian wilderness experience with the benefit of creature comforts and convenient access to our favorite hikes and activities.

On the first and last nights of the trip, we will stay at hotel near the Calgary airport (YYC) with a free airport shuttle.

Below is the proposed itinerary for the trip. As is true on any adventure travel trip, plans for any specific day may be modified due to weather considerations, unforeseen circumstances, new opportunities, and group interests.

Arrive in Calgary on Saturday, in time to meet at our hotel at 5 p.m. We will gather in the lobby of our hotel for introductions and then go out together for a welcome dinner where we will continue getting to know each other and talk about our upcoming hiking adventure.
Overnight: Holiday Inn Calgary Airport or similar. (D)
This morning we load into the vans and head for Lake Louise. We will visit the world-famous Chateau Lake Louise, located in one of the most beautiful settings you will ever see (pictures of it are gorgeous and don't begin to do it justice). After visiting the Chateau, we take a short uphill hike to the Lake Agnes Tea House above the actual Lake, the perfect introduction to this amazing land. Note we may do an alternative hike based on timing and crowds. Our lodging tonight is the Castle Mountain Wilderness Hostel. We have the whole place to ourselves so we can spread out and enjoy.

Hiking: 4.5 miles round-trip, 1,312-foot elevation gain and loss. Overnight: Castle Mountain Wilderness Hostel (B, L, D)
The Plain of Six Glaciers is an accurate name! From the forefront of the Lower Victoria glacier, six glaciers are visible. Passing through some of the most interesting glaciated scenery in Banff National Park, our trail rises from Lake Louise to a spectacular viewpoint at the base of Mount Victoria. The teahouse at the end of the trail was built in 1924 by Swiss guides who were employed by the railway to bring tourism to the area. The baked goods served there provide an extra reward for our hiking endeavors.

Hiking: 8.2 miles round-trip, 1,215-foot elevation gain and loss. Overnight: Castle Mountain Wilderness Hostel (B, L, D)
Of the major trails in the mountain parks, Sentinel Pass at 8,566 feet is the highest. Sandwiched between two peaks, this barren pass offers us a glimpse into the world of mountaineers. Starting in the Valley of the Ten Peaks we walk above Moraine Lake to the beautiful Larch Valley and onto Sentinel Pass. After a picnic lunch at the pass with its outstanding vistas in all directions, we descend to Paradise Valley for a gradual walk out to the road. This hike feels long by the end but is so absolutely stunning that it is well worth tired feet.

Hiking: 11 miles loop, 2,380-foot elevation gain, 3,000-foot loss. Overnight: Castle Mountain Wilderness Hostel (B, L, D)
Today we'll see the Rockies from atop a glacier, one of the geologic forms that is responsible for carving out these majestic mountains. On our guided walk on the Athabasca Glacier in the Jasper area, we'll learn how to use crampons, which make walking on ice safe and enjoyable. We'll stop often to learn about the intricacies; how glaciers are made, what moulins (glacier mills) are, what a crevasse is, how moraines are made, and much more. After our full day trip to the glacier we'll relax back at our hostel.

Overnight: Castle Mountain Wilderness Hostel (B, L, D)
Today is full of options! We will visit Emerald Lake where you can rent canoes (canoe rental not included) and/or enjoy the walk around the lake. If you want a longer hike, we will pick one of the many that leave from Emerald Lake. You may be interested in learning more about the Burgess Shale in the area and attending a geology talk at the visitor center. Of course, relaxing at the hostel and exploring is also an excellent option.

Hiking: Emerald Basin - 6 miles round-trip, 820-foot elevation gain and loss. Yoho Pass - 10 miles round-trip, 1,700-foot gain and loss. Round the Lake Loop - 3 miles, 0-foot elevation gain and loss. Overnight: Castle Mountain Wilderness Hostel (B, L, D)
This morning we head for Takkakaw Falls, one of the most beautiful and dramatic falls in the Canadian Rockies as it plunges 850 feet over a rocky cliff. "Takakkaw" is loosely translated from Cree, meaning "it is magnificent." The Iceline trail is magnificent too! Our hike for the day on the Iceline trail offers simply spectacular vistas of the Yoho Valley. Scratched from glacial rubble, the trail follows a sensational line, contouring the edge of Emerald Glacier for 2 miles. Panoramic vistas of the Yoho valley (Yoho is from a Cree expression meaning awe and wonder) are our reward for venturing into this rocky domain.

Hiking: 10 miles, 2,380-foot elevation gain and loss. Overnight: Castle Mountain Wilderness Hostel (B, L, D)
After a leisurely morning, we drive back to the city of Banff. Along the way we will stop for a three-mile hike along tumbling waters in the deep cleft of Johnson Canyon. This asphalt-covered path is one of the most popular in the Park and no wonder - its gentle grade up to spectacular waterfalls is outstanding. Once in town there are a number of possible things to do, including a visit to the famous cave and basin hot springs, a ride up the Sulphur mountain gondola, or a visit to the Whyte Museum. There will also be time to shop for last minute souvenirs. We will head back to Calgary for dinner and our final farewells.

Overnight: Holiday Inn Calgary Airport (or similar) (B, L, D)
We will be staying at an airport hotel, so you are free to depart at anytime and utilize the free airport shuttle. Calgary is a thriving metropolis, and you might want to spend time touring the city before heading home.

*These are the unfiltered reviews of women who have been on this trip in answer to the question "What made this trip special for you?". We take reviews very seriously and often tweak itineraries based on feedback. Please feel free to contact us about any questions you have.


(36 reviews)
4.7 Food
4.5 Lodging
4.8 Safety
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Lisa S.
2 years ago

Great hiking and great guides.

Cheryl K.
2 years ago

Exceeded them!

Cheri B.
2 years ago

The Iceline trail hike was the highlight for me. I also enjoyed the Athabascar glacier excursion. I was taken aback by the hordes at Lake Louise, however, and the very difficult parking situation which complicated things on the first day. I think an alternative first day hike that avoids this scene would be advisable. Not sure we need to go the teahouse--it was too crowded to appreciate anyway.

Angela T.
2 years ago

The Canadian Rockies were better breathtaking, and the camaraderie of a he women was a blast.

Christine C.
2 years ago

The guides were fantastic and the beauty of the Canadian Rockies. The other women on the trip made it a delight.

Sylvie H.
2 years ago

Great trip, amazing hikes. Very good food. Appreciated both guides, especially Leigh Saint and her amazing leadership and composure. My group of 4 had the smallest room, which included a door that did not open all the way and wedged against the bunks. It felt unsafe descending from the upper bunk. Two of us swapped bunks midway to mitigate the issue.

Deborah H.
2 years ago

Highlights: the support from the guides as I challenged myself with a faulty piriformis and average lung capacity (I chose to let my breathing dictate how fast I walked); the AMAZING food that they prepared; the truly wonderful Fireweed Hostel in Field B.C.; the guides themselves...both are amazing women and complemented each other's skills.

Coralynn D.
2 years ago

stupendous landscape; kind and competent guides, lovely company, highline and 10 peaks trails, bear sightings, excellent food, glaciers and glacial lakes

Kathryn K.
2 years ago

Wonderful hikes with amazing views, fabulous guides, perfectly planned itinerary, great food and accommodations, and truly wonderful trip mates.

Margaret B.
3 years ago

Glacier hike Long hikes with beautiful views Interaction with participants Great guides (and food)

Kathleen S.
3 years ago

It was a level 4 trip but I enjoyed the variety of activities, the home cooked meals, staying in Hostels. It felt more like a family than a group of strangers in the end by the nature of the lodging and cooked meals.

Pam P.
3 years ago

The hikes were great, challenging, but great. Group was fun (my favorite group of all my AGC trips). Food was fantastic. Guides were awesome as usual. Loved all the different activities that we did and had the option to do.

Jean M.
3 years ago

Sentinal Pass and Iceline Trail

Carol H.
3 years ago

Hiking on the glacier, completing the boulder field, experiencing all the different types of terrain and beautiful glacial lakes were highlights. Also pushing myself to do the 10 miler on the 'free choice day' - was rewarded many times over for that choice.

Ronda S.
3 years ago

The guides, hostels, food, location, new friends

Diane M.
3 years ago

The leaders were exceptional. They worked so hard for us. Loved hiking on the Athabasca Glacier and Sentinal Pass hike

Elise R.
3 years ago

i showed up without any expectations, and was more than thrilled with everything. I love how well planned out the trips are, even taking into consideration the length of hikes to adjust longer days with shorter.

Debra R.
3 years ago

Nice clean accommodations, great selection of hikes with alternatives for more strenuous hikes on some days, fantastic meals throughout

3 years ago

Maureen H.
3 years ago

Every day was a new adventure!

Kristen D.
4 years ago

I was looking for some hikes to challenge my ability and this trip certainly fit the bill! The Larch Valley/Sentinel Pass/Paradise Valley Loop trail was the most challenging hike I've ever done. I was nervous about coming down through the rocks and scree from Sentinel Pass but Debra and Janet prepared us well. I felt a great sense of accomplishment completing that hike. The day on the Athabasca Glacier was also another highlight. The entire trip had continual "wow" moments. Of the 3 AGC trips I've taken this has been my favorite. They were all great but this one stands out with the scenery and challenging hikes.

Amanda R.
4 years ago

I actually did not know what to expect but I appreciated the depth of knowledge our guides had and finding the most beautiful hikes I could imagine.

Nancy S.
4 years ago

Overall, it was an amazing experience!! The hikes were challenging, the scenery outstanding, and the group camaraderie was the icing on the cake. Our guides, Debra and Janet, were excellent leaders, thoroughly planning each day, showed concern if someone had an issue, and after a long day, they cooked delicious meals! The glacier hike was probably my favorite as was the challenging downhill of Larch Valley/Sentinel Pass.

Wen S.
4 years ago

The guides, the community, the scenery - all exceeded my expectations.

Tracy V.
4 years ago

I thought it was a good selection of hikes. The trip was well paced, with harder and easier days.

Linda K.
4 years ago

No picture can show the beauty of the places we hiked other than seeing it in person. No matter how difficult the hike, the surrounding beauty help revive ones body, mind

Mary S.
4 years ago

Elaine T.
4 years ago

hiking, people, food

Lee R.
4 years ago

Highlights - Congenial, flexible leadership and participants beautiful scenery

Laurie W.
4 years ago

The hikes chosen were all fantastic. I like the way they built up in difficulty. And although I knew to expect it, I found the pace a little slow for my taste, and the trails more populated than I like (this was unexpected!) But the company was great, and I learned I need to take a chill pill!

Doris E.
4 years ago

Highlights: The guides were so competent and fun. The participants came prepared, worked together naturally as a group, were positive and fully engaged. The hikes were physically challenging, diverse and memorable. The Alberta Rockies were spectacular, stunningly beautiful, "postcard-like" vistas, breathtaking glacier fed lakes, abundant wildflowers and waterfalls. The weather was perfect too. Hardly a complaint, but it would have been fun to see more wildlife. Hearing from a group ahead of us that they saw a grizzly on the morning of our last hike was perfect. The hardest parts for me were spending time off trail at Lake Louise and Banff. I'd value a bike ride option along the river in Banff vs shopping.

Marcia M.
5 years ago

The hikes were fabulous.....I liked the order in which we did the hikes....easier to more difficult, then a break from climbing, then another strenuous hike. Everything was very well organized and, of course, the ladies were great to hang out with (both the guides and the participants). Really enjoyed Emerald Lake, in part because it was a leisure day with great weather, but mostly because it was so beautiful.

Ellen W.
5 years ago

The trip was fabulous. Met and exceeded my expectations. I think the Rockies are gorgeous so that is half the battle :) The guides were both excellent. Each offered different things and balanced each other very nicely. I appreciated Debra's fun and lighthearted manner. And underneath that was a very organized women who was on top of her game. Brenda brought other qualities- innate teacher who loves to share her knowledge- of flowers and sex :), weather, yoga/body stuff, art/color and how to look and see things. The daily yoga was a lovely addition to the trip. The only weakness in my mind were the crowds, but can't do much about that.

Tawanda A.
5 years ago

it exceeded my expectations! Meeting the lovely women and having the pleasure of two well-informed,patient and caring guides, Debra Huntington, and Brenda Porter made it all the more GREAT

Katie M.
5 years ago

The scenery - size of the mountains - glaciers - guides - other women on the trip - incredible organization of trip

Deb M.
5 years ago

It was even more amazing than expected. The guides were both so awesome in their individual ways - it added a different component to the trip.

  1. Where do we eat?

    The guides will be cooking breakfasts in the hostel. At breakfast the guides will put out 'fixings' for lunch and you will pack your own lunch and snacks. You will go out for dinner one night and other nights relax in the hostel while the guides prepare delicious meals.
  2. What dietary preferences or restrictions can you accommodate on this trip?

    If we know well in advance, we can accommodate vegetarian, lactose-free, and gluten-sensitive diets. We cannot guarantee a completely gluten-free diet and we cannot provide a kitchen guaranteed to be free of cross-contamination. If you are vegan, we ask that you bring some additional protein bars; and if you are gluten-sensitive, please bring some gluten-free snacks. If you have severe allergies, Celiac disease and/or other significant dietary restrictions, please call the office before you register.
  3. I'll be coming by myself. Do I need to pay a single supplement?

    You only need to pay a single supplement if you want to guarantee you have your own room at the hotel at the beginning and end of the trip. At other times you will be sharing a room with others. Typically, there will be 2 bunk-beds per room for a total of 4 people. There are shared bathrooms and showers down the hall.
  4. What is the terrain like and what is the highest elevation?

    The terrain varies from hike to hike. Generally, you will be hiking along well-marked trails which may contain rocks and routes. On one hike you will be hiking down a steep scree field. Scree are loose stones that will cover the side of the mountain. The Canadian Rockies are generally not has high as the American Rockies. The highest you will be is Sentinel Pass at 8,566 ft.
  5. Should I be concerned about grizzly bears?

    There are bears in the parks. When appropriate your guides will be carrying bear spray and practice safe hiking. (staying in groups) Your guides will brief you on what to do if you see a bear. That all being said, for better or worse, we have never seen a grizzly or any other bear while hiking in Canada.
  6. I am afraid of heights. Will this be a problem?

    Some of this depends on your level of fear. There is one hike that has an option to hike along a moraine. The moraine has exposure on both sides and would not be a good choice. On another hike, there is a steep down hike in the open area but we have found that once people make that first step its OK after that.