Best of the Canadian Rockies: Calgary to Vancouver

Highlights & InclusionsItineraryPricing Information Terms & Conditions
Departure Date: September 8, 2017
Duration: 15 Days / 14 Nights
Price from: $3,295
Single Room Supplement: Waived

In order to bring you the greatest selection of destinations and itineraries, Gutsy Women Travel has worked with our partner GCT to reserve space on this 2017 guided vacation. This trip is open to men and women, and will operate with a larger group size than our traditional Gutsy Women departures.


Highlights & Inclusions

  • Be sure to mention booking code G7-25972 to receive all the Gutsy benefits!
  • Airport transfers are included when you purchase our operator's International air to coincide with trip's day by day agenda.
  • Choose to purchase Grand Circle's airfare, and your airport transfers, government taxes, fees, and airline fuel surcharges are included. Or, make your own air arrangements
  • Accommodations for 14 nights in comfortable rooms with private baths
  • 24 meals: 14 breakfasts, 6 lunches, and 4 dinners
  • 13 included features: 11 guided tours and 2 exclusive Discovery Series events: Ranch visit • First Nations community visit
  • Exclusive services of a local Grand Circle Program Director (assigned to no more than 42 travelers)
  • Gratuities on your main trip for local guides and motorcoach drivers
  • Personal headset on all included and optional tours
  • Private motorcoach land travel
  • Baggage handling for 1 piece of luggage per person, including tips
  • 5% Frequent Traveler Credit toward your next Grand Circle trip—an average of $208


Itinerary

Discover some of nature's most stunning creations on this comprehensive Canadian Rockies tour. Journey through the flat prairies of Alberta's cowboy country to the dramatic mountainous landscapes of British Columbia and the Pacific Coast—exploring the grandeur of Waterton-Glacier, Banff, and Jasper national parks along the way. As you travel from cosmopolitan Calgary to Vancouver, British Columbia's sparkling city by the sea, visit an Alberta cattle ranch, embark on an exciting ride onto Athabasca Glacier aboard The Ice Explorer snowcoach, and uncover the proud heritage of the First Nations people as you visit their community at a Stoney Nakoda reservation.

DAY 1 Arrive Calgary, Alberta


OVERNIGHT: Sheraton Suites Calgary Eau Claire or similar Travel to Calgary today to begin your Canadian Rockies tour, with your arrival time this afternoon depending on your departure city. This evening, meet your Program Director and fellow travelers, including those who took our Yellowstone National Park & Montana pre-trip extension, for a brief orientation walk of the neighborhood before dinner on your own.

DAY 2 Calgary


MEALS: B D
OVERNIGHT: Sheraton Suites Calgary Eau Claire or similar

Explore Calgary this morning, setting off on a city tour after breakfast and an orientation briefing.

Backdropped by the rugged, snow-capped Canadian Rockies, Alberta's largest metropolis has a distinctly Western flair—and was host to Canada's first Winter Olympics in 1988. An oil boom in the late 1940s ignited the city's economy and development, and by the 1990s, a series of downtown skyscrapers emerged that characterize its skyline to this day.

End your tour at Stephen Avenue, a pedestrian mall dotted with historic buildings in the heart of downtown, where you'll enjoy a bit of time on your own for a stroll and lunch. Then return to your hotel for the rest of the afternoon at leisure.

This evening, gather with your fellow travelers at a local restaurant for a Welcome Dinner.

DAY 3 Calgary • Ranch visit • Waterton Lakes


MEALS: B L
OVERNIGHT: Bayshore Inn or similar

Travel to Waterton today, a quaint alpine village from which you'll explore Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site composed of both Waterton Lakes and Glacier national parks.

Depart after breakfast and stop along the way to see the local cowboy culture brought to life at a cattle ranch. During this exclusive Discovery Series visit, get a feel for daily life here from the ranch hands on a tour, then sample their rustic fare during lunch on the ranch.

Upon arrival in Waterton, you'll have the rest of the afternoon free to explore this charming village and its sublime surroundings—Waterton Lakes National Park. Set in the southwestern corner of Alberta, this tranquil area is a scenic convergence of prairies and mountains, set into stunning relief by the still waters of its sapphire lake. Dinner is on your own tonight.

DAY 4 Waterton Lakes • Glacier National Park


MEALS: B
OVERNIGHT: Bayshore Inn or similar

Explore Montana's Glacier National Park today, departing after breakfast to cross the Canadian-U.S. border. A beautiful wilderness area of more than one million acres, Glacier was established as a U.S. National Park in 1910, then combined into the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park by U.S. and Canadian governments in 1932.

Over millennia, glaciers carved out a rugged landscape of spectacular mountains and pristine lakes. Witness the breathtaking scenery during a panoramic morning tour of the park, departing from St. Mary Lake and traveling the switchback route of the Going-to-the-Sun Road as it ascends to Logan Pass. Return to St. Mary Lake after your tour and enjoy lunch on your own in this picturesque setting.

Head back to Waterton this afternoon, where dinner is on your own tonight.

Please note: As weather conditions are unpredictable in this region, the road to Glacier National Park can close unexpectedly at any time of year. Your Program Director will arrange an alternate day itinerary if that is the case.

DAY 5 Waterton Lakes • Fort Steele Heritage Town • Banff


MEALS: B
OVERNIGHT: Mount Royal Hotel or similar

Travel north to Banff today, departing after breakfast. The site of Canada's oldest national park, Banff is nestled in a charming valley dominated by high mountains.

Choose a spot for lunch on your own in Fort Steele Heritage Town, a restored 1890s mining boomtown that is still alive with the sights and sounds of frontier life. Feel the rhythm of Western life through the town's scripted street dramas by joining tours aboard horse-drawn wagons, or by listening to costumed townsfolk in lively debate over the controversies of their day.

Continue on to Banff, arriving at the hotel late this afternoon. Dinner is on your own this evening, and your Program Director can offer suggestions on nearby restaurants.

DAY 6 Banff • Optional Boundary Ranch experience & dinner


MEALS: B
OVERNIGHT: Mount Royal Hotel or similar

This morning, discover Banff National Park, Canada’s first and most popular national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your panoramic tour along the Tunnel Mountain Drive loop takes you to many of the park's scenic highlights, including Lake Minnewanka, Two Jack Lake, and the curiously shaped hoodoos—spires of eroded limestone and sandstone.

The rest of the day is yours in Banff. Arrive at your hotel in time for lunch on your own—perhaps strolling down Banff Avenue, the main street of this quaint town lined with boutiques and restaurants. Visit the Whyte Museum, uncovering the history here (Banff was created in 1885) through a collection of pieces and archived photographs. Walk to Bow Falls, a short but dramatic convergence of Spray and Bow rivers. Or continue your explorations in Banff National Park with recommendations from your Program Director, witnessing the distinct blue hue of Peyto Lake or setting off on one of the varied hiking trails.

This evening, you may choose to join us for a real taste of Canadian cowboy culture on an optional tour to Boundary Ranch, a rustic horse ranch idyllically set amongst the stunning scenery of the Rockies. On this optional excursion you’ll enjoy a peaceful trail ride aboard a horse-drawn wagon before settling in for a hearty steak dinner, with all the trimmings. While you dine, you’ll be treated to the musical stylings of a local country band, and afterward, get ready to burn some calories as you join in for some lively line dancing.

DAY 7 Banff • Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum • First Nations community visit


MEALS: B L
OVERNIGHT: Mount Royal Hotel or similar

This morning, visit the Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum. Dedicated to the First Nations people, indigenous people who inhabited the Northern Plains and Canadian Rockies before the arrival of the Europeans, this museum spotlights their proud heritage and rich culture with a wide-ranging collection of arts, artifacts, and ceremonial pieces.

Following your time at the museum, head to a nearby Stoney Nakoda reservation for a special afternoon of cultural interaction during an exclusive Discovery Series event. You'll meet with local First Nations residents to hear about their history and culture firsthand, and to learn about what life is like on the reservation. After your discussion, you'll sit down for a lunch of traditional Native American cuisine, prepared by chefs from the reservation. Following your meal, you'll have some free time to stroll around and explore the reservation's beautiful environs on your own.

Return to Banff later today, where the rest of the day is yours to do as you please. Dinner is on your own tonight.

DAY 8 Banff • Columbia Icefield • Jasper


MEALS: B L D
OVERNIGHT: Mount Robson Inn or similar

Your tour of the Canadian Rockies continues with a full-day journey to Jasper, an 185-mile trek across one of the world's most spectacular highways, the Icefields Parkway.

This morning takes you to Lake Louise, named for Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, daughter of Queen Victoria. When thawed, the blue-green waters appear almost tropical, though it generally stays frozen through mid-June. Commanding a spectacular view of the lake and surrounding mountains, the Victorian Chateau Lake Louise offers paths you can stroll between shoreline and cliffs. You'll have time to explore on your own and enjoy an early included picnic lunch amidst the natural beauty.

Continue on over Bow Pass, which rises to an altitude of 7,000 feet. This Icefields Parkway route shows you the many glaciers of the Columbia Icefield, the largest body of ice in the Rocky Mountains—and the Athabasca Glacier, the largest accessible by road in the Canadian Rockies. Stop here for a ride aboard the Ice Explorer snowcoach onto the Athabasca Glacier, whose ice is almost 1,000 feet thick. Stepping onto the glacier's surface, don't fight the temptation to toss a snowball or two!

Arrive this evening in Jasper, an old trading post town located in the heart of Jasper National Park. Dinner is at a local restaurant tonight.

DAY 9 Jasper • Maligne Lake


MEALS: B
OVERNIGHT: Mount Robson Inn or similar

After breakfast, enjoy a free morning to relax and spend in Jasper as you please. The town of Jasper was founded in 1911 when the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway was built along the Athabasca River to the Yellowhead Pass, although a settlement here served as a trading post for fur trappers before the railroad came. Today Jasper is a quiet, friendly town set in the heart of a broad valley and framed by mountains.

In the afternoon, after lunch on your own, you’ll embark on a cruise of Maligne Lake, passing by tiny Spirit Island—often featured in quintessential images of the Canadian Rockies. This 90-minute cruise on the turquoise waters is a golden opportunity to relax and experience the sheer majesty of the Rockies in all their unspoiled glory. Please note: The Maligne Lake cruise is only available from June-September.

Return to Jasper this evening, where the rest of the day is at your leisure. Dinner is on your own tonight.

DAY 10 Jasper • Jasper National Park • Kamloops, British Columbia


MEALS: B L D
OVERNIGHT: DoubleTree by Hilton Kamloops or similar

Explore Jasper National Park this morning on a tour that takes you to three stunning lakes—Patricia, Pyramid, and Medicine. You'll also learn about the park's karst landscapes, a topography dotted with sinkholes and caves due to the dissolution of soluble rocks.

Then, travel to your next destination, the Canadian Rockies province of British Columbia (changing time zones) as you travel from Jasper to Kamloops today, enjoying an included bag lunch on the way. Set on the banks of the Thompson River, where two of its branches converge, Kamloops was a favored location for the Shuswap First Nation for its abundance of salmon fishing and ease of transportation, and also served as a fur-trading post the 1800s.

Arrive at your hotel with time to settle in before an included dinner.

DAY 11 Kamloops • Whistler


MEALS: B L
OVERNIGHT: Crystal Lodge or similar

Head to Whistler this morning, stopping en route for an included lunch in the village of Cache Creek, a historic transportation junction.

Defined by the imposing Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, Whistler earned its name for the distinctive noise made by the area's population of marmots. One of the most popular ski resorts in the world—and home to the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games—Whistler offers a delightful array of natural charms and mountainside restaurants and shops. Arrive this afternoon, with the rest of the day at leisure and dinner on your own in the village.

DAY 12 Whistler • Optional Two Peaks, Two Pasts tour


MEALS: B
OVERNIGHT: Crystal Lodge or similar

Explore Whistler this morning on a scenic drive and walking tour that takes you through the village then up to Blackcomb Mountain and to notable sites from the 2010 Olympics.

After lunch on your own, you may spend the day at leisure, or, join our optional Two Peaks, Two Pasts tour for an intimate encounter with two of the Rocky Mountains’ most famous peaks—Whistler and Blackcomb. Your optional tour will acquaint you with millions of years of geological history, as you trace the formation of these mountains through the eons, visiting Whistler’s geological milestones in the company of an expert guide. Your guide will also point out the mountain flora and fauna, and discuss the effects of climate change on the mountainous environment over the years.

Your optional tour concludes with a breathtaking look at the Rocky Mountains’ majesty during a special PEAK 2 PEAK gondola ride. You’ll float through the air aboard a cable car between the soaring peaks of Whistler and Blackcomb mountain, gazing out upon the glorious mountain scenery all around (and below) you.

Return to Whistler this evening. Dinner is on your own tonight.

DAY 13 Whistler • Vancouver


MEALS: B
OVERNIGHT: Holiday Inn and Suites Vancouver Downtown or similar

On your way to Vancouver this morning, take in the panoramic views of the Strait of Georgia and the British Columbia mountain ranges that line the scenic Sea to Sky Highway.

Set off on a city tour upon arrival in Vancouver, and see how the city's urban character is complemented by its proximity to the mountains, lush forests, and beaches. Visit Stanley Park, dedicated by Lord Stanley in 1889 for the “use and enjoyment of all people of all colors, creeds, and customs for all time” and dotted with majestic evergreen forests, a beautiful formal rose garden, and pristine beaches. You'll also see downtown, the epicenter of business and government, and Gastown, the historical center of the city. In 1867, a retired riverboat captain, John “Gassy Jack” Deighton, arrived and opened a saloon. Despite repeated attempts to give the district a more dignified name, it has maintained its nickname of Gastown. After its heyday, the area seemed destined for decline, but was rejuvenated in the 1970s and is now a charmingly restored district that was declared a Canadian National Historic Site in 1972.

Then cross the Burrard Bridge, connecting the downtown peninsula to the south, and make your way to Granville Island, which is nestled between the two. Enjoy time your own to peruse the Granville Island Public Market, an eclectic assortment of stalls offering homemade goods and fresh foods, and scout the variety of options for lunch on your own here.

Return to your hotel for an afternoon on your own, as well as dinner.

DAY 14 Vancouver


MEALS: B L D
OVERNIGHT: Holiday Inn and Suites Vancouver Downtown or similar

Experience Vancouver's exotic and expansive Chinatown, the second-largest in North America, this morning. The Chinese were among the first settlers of Vancouver, so while it’s a relatively new city, Chinatown is one of its oldest neighborhoods.

Enter through the gaily painted pillars of China Gate, and once inside, find landmarks such as the Chinese Cultural Centre Museum and Archives and the Sam Kee building, the narrowest office building in the world. You’ll notice that many of Chinatown’s buildings date from Victorian times and have typically Chinese features. You'll also explore the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, the first of its kind outside of China. As you wander the manicured grounds that evoke 15th-century China, learn about the Ming Dynasty through the architecture and horticulture you find here.

After time to explore on your own, regroup for lunch at an authentic Chinese restaurant. Then return to your hotel for an afternoon at leisure to make your own discoveries in Vancouver.

This evening, gather with your fellow travelers at a local restaurant for a Farewell Dinner.

DAY 15 Depart Vancouver


MEALS: B Return home today, transferring to the airport after breakfast, or continue your Canadian explorations on our optional Vancouver, British Columbia extension.

Accommodations

Pricing Information

View Specials & Promotions
Arrival DateSingleSharedDouble
Sep 8, 2017 $3,295 $3,295 $3,295
Your Savings* Past GWT Traveler?
Air from JFK $700

Be sure to mention booking code G7-25972 to receive all the Gutsy benefits!

*Discount and savings are subject to change, please call reservations (866.464.8879 for the actual price. The discount is not valid on all itineraries and will be verified at time of booking. The discount is valid for guests who’ve traveled with Gutsy Women Travel within the last five years. Other conditions apply. Every effort has been made to produce this information accurately. We reserve the right to correct errors. All prices are subject to change.

In order to qualify for the GWT Past Traveler Discount of 5% on the land portion of the trip, you must advise the reservation specialist at time of depositing on your 2017 trip which GWT trip you traveled on (date/name of departure and year) over the past 5 years.

Please note: A $25 documentation fee will be added to the final payment for this trip.

We limit our trips to small groups so we suggest you deposit early to guarantee your spot. View information regarding Air Travel & Transfers here.

Please note this departure is not exclusive to women but will be comprised of Gutsy Women Travel participants co-sharing the overall trip capacity with members of OAT resulting in a larger group size compared to the traditional Gutsy Women Travel trips designed exclusively for women.

Single Room - one person, traveling solo in single accommodation
Double Room - two people, traveling together in same accommodation
Shared Room - one person, traveling solo who would like to share with another passenger and pay the per person "Double" price

Air travel arrangements for Gutsy Women's trip participants are made independently as most women are traveling from various gateway cities within or outside North America. Gutsy Women Travel includes a group transfer (if travelers purchase airfare from our operator) or individuals can book private transportation if desired.

For further information and reservations call (866) IM GUTSY (464 8879) or
email reservations@gutsywomentravel.com.
For online 24/7 booking capability go to gutsywomentravel.com.

Please note: Every effort has been made to produce this information accurately. We reserve the right to correct errors. All prices are subject to change. Departure dates and prices shown may be updated several times daily, and apply to new bookings only.