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Canada

8-Day Canadian Rockies Eco-Tour: Banff & Jasper National Parks

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8 Days
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Canada

8-Day Canadian Rockies Eco-Tour: Banff & Jasper National Parks

Destinations

  • Banff National Park/li>
  • Jasper National Park/li>
  • Hinton/li>
  • Athbasca River/li>
  • Elk Island National Park/li>

Highlights

  • Five distinctive ecosystems, foothills, mountains, wetlands, woodlands and prairie
  • Iconic Canadian Rocky Mountain Sites; Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, Columbia Icefields, Icefields Parkway
  • Photo safari day trip in front ranges and foothills of Kananaskis protected area.
  • Evening excursion in dark sky preserve Jasper National Park hopes to glimpse nocturnally active animals
  • Athabasca River float trip, quietly view wildlife on the riverbank
  • Unique canoe experience in foothill lakes and wetlands rarely accessed wildlife-rich habitat
  • Rolling woodlands of Elk Island National Park home to plains and woodland bison

Itinerary at a Glance

  • DAY 1-3 Banff National Park
  • DAY 4-5 Jasper National Park
  • DAY 6 Hinton - raft the Athbasca River
  • DAY 7 Elk Island National Park
  • DAY 8 Return Home

8-Day Canadian Rockies Eco-Tour: Banff & Jasper National Parks

Detailed Itinerary

DAY 1 Arrive / Banff National Park
Upon arriving in Calgary, transfer from the Calgary airport to Banff National Park mid-afternoon. After settling in Banff, an evening walk along the Bow River acts as the perfect introduction to the Canadian Rockies.

DAY 2 Banff National Park
Today we set out on a wildlife spotting excursion into Kananaskis area, utilizing a mix of well-maintained gravel and pavement roads which wind through the mountains and foothills. With good timing and some luck the chance to see coyotes, bears, bighorn sheep, elk, or moose are great. The views and photo stops along the way showcase the vastness of this mostly wild area where the 4000 square kilometer area of provincial parks and protected areas bordering Banff National Park, buffering the mountains, foothills, and prairie to the east.

DAY 3 Banff National Park
A visit to the Canadian Rockies would not be complete without seeing the iconic shorelines of Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. Today you will have the option to enjoy the view from the shore or over tea in the Chateau or join the guide for a short walk on a lesser known trail to take it all in from an intimate perspective. The optional gondola at the near by ski resort also offers a bird’s eye view of one of our favorite grizzly bear hang outs!

DAY 4 Icefield's Parkway / Jasper National Park
Icefield’s Parkway is one of the most scenic drives in the world, towering peaks, snow caps, waterfalls, glaciers and clear water lakes make this drive a feast for the eyes. Home to bighorn sheep, mountain goats, marmots and more, the best opportunities for viewing come from starting early and arriving in Jasper close to dusk. By taking our time, we allow for plenty of stops for the views and highlights along the way.

DAY 5Jasper National Park
An early morning drive on the Maligne Lake Road offers excellent wildlife sighting opportunities and leads to the lake where woodland caribou and moose are known to call home. After dinner join the guide for the evening at Cottonwood Slough. There, even in if the wildlife alludes even the most patient observer, the stars are brighter in this dark sky preserve and are awe inspiring on their own.

DAY 6 Jasper National Park / Athabasca River / Hinton
Today take to the water to search out the wildlife from a different perspective. This morning raft downriver on the Athabasca River. On the gentle stretch of water, the million-year-old geological phenomenon which carved the river valley through the mountains and foothills are the backdrop for spotting deer, elk, eagle and bear. The late afternoon and evening call for a switch to two person canoes to easily maneuver in the quiet bays and inlets on small lake nestled in the foothills. A narrow creek through marsh and wetlands offers an unparalleled chance to spot birds and maybe a family of beavers hard at work. The network of lakes and creeks has limited visitors, making this a spectacular opportunity to view a variety of wildlife loon, beaver, moose, eagles undisturbed. Make the most of this unique opportunity with no time pressures to end the evening.

DAY 7 Edmonton / Elk Island National Park
Leaving the Rocky Mountains and heading east to Edmonton this morning’s drive begins on forest lined highway which opens to farm and ranches. Early afternoon arrive at Elk Island National Park. This small National Park boasts more that forty-two species of mammals including plains and wood bison, elk, moose and 250 species of birds plus amphibians, reptile and fish in the diverse landscape of forest, lakes, wetland and grasslands. This sanctuary of rolling woodlands and meadows dotted with lakes, bogs and ponds is close to Edmonton and tonight’s hotel. This evening, share the highlights of the week with each other over a farewell drink.

DAY 8 Edmonton / Home
Mid-morning we'll say goodbye and transfer back to Edmonton Airport in time for flights home.

 

Canada Activities

At a Glance

Verbiage Needed

Angkor Archaeological Park contains the magnificent remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, including the famous Temple of Angkor Wat and, at Angkor Thom, the Bayon Temple with its countless sculptural decorations.  

  • Visits to temple sites like Bakong, Angkor Thom, Angkor Wat, the Bayon and many more.
  • Visit Les Artisans, d Angkor Chantiers Ecoles where visitors can observe students learning traditional wood and stone carving and finishing techniques, styles and forms. 
  • Explore and shop at the Psah Ja and Angkor Night Markets.
  • Enjoy local food and dance performances.

Exclusive Wildlife Activities

Verbiage Needed

Verbiage Needed

Other Activities

VERBIAGE NEEDED

VERBIAGE NEEDED

 

Canada Wildlife

Prolific & Likely Sightings

Wild Planet's tours are designed for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. We take care to seek out wildlife that is rare, off the beaten path, and in greater numbers than you will see on conventional tours.

Our expert naturalist guides will educate you in the field so your experience is intimate and unparalleled. Still, wildlife viewing can unpredictable and requires patience and sensory awareness. A partial list of some of the animals you are likely to see is below:

Mammals: Black Bear, Coyotes, Red and Grey Fox, Mountain Goat, Bighorn Sheep, Elk, Moose, Mule Deer, White Tailed Deer, Beaver, Marmots (if hiking to alpine regions), Porcupine, Pikas (if hiking to alpine regions), Golden Mantel Ground Squirrels, Pine Squirrels, and Grey Squirrels

Rare or Endangered Possible Sightings

Mammals: Grizzly Bear, Wolves, Cougar, Lynx, and Caribou (American Reindeer)

 

Canada Guides

Garrett Kuhnert

Garrett Kuhnert, Naturalist Guide

As a third-generation tour guide, Garrett grew up travelling with groups and surrounded by the stories of guides’ and their adventures. His love of all things outdoors is deep and his knowledge of Canadian wilderness comes as second nature. Whether hiking in the Rockies or paddling his canoe he has a keen eye for animals big and small and is eager to share stories and facts of all the locals.

Besides the Canadian Rocky Mountains and Vancouver Island and West Coast, Garrett has travelled in Europe and Asia he’s learned what travelers need to know and where to find the off the beaten track places that can be a trip’s highlight. His enthusiasm for nature is contagious.

 

Canada FAQ

Canada Facts for Visitors

Location:

Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometers (3.85 million square miles), making it the world's second-largest country by total area. Its southern and western border with the United States, stretching 8,891 kilometers (5,525 mi), is the world's longest bi-national land border. Canada's capital is Ottawa, and its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.

Canada is a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy in the Westminster tradition, with a monarch and a prime minister who serves as the chair of the Cabinet and head of government. The country is a realm within the Commonwealth of Nations, a member of the Francophonie and officially bilingual at the federal level. It ranks among the highest in international measurements of government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life, economic freedom, and education. It is one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from many other countries. Canada's long and complex relationship with the United States has had a significant impact on its economy and culture.

As a highly developed country, Canada has the seventeenth-highest nominal per-capita income globally as well as the thirteenth-highest ranking in the Human Development Index. Its advanced economy is the tenth largest in the world, relying chiefly upon its abundant natural resources and well-developed international trade networks. Canada is part of several major international and intergovernmental institutions or groupings including the United Nations, NATO, the G7, the Group of Ten, the G20, the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

Geography:

By total area (including its waters), Canada is the second-largest country in the world, after Russia. By land area alone, however, Canada ranks fourth, due to having the world's largest proportion of fresh water lakes Of Canada's thirteen provinces and territories, eight share a border with the United States, and only two are landlocked (Alberta and Saskatchewan), with the remaining eight provinces and three territories directly bordering one of three oceans.

Much of Northern Canada is covered by ice and permafrost; however, the future of the permafrost is uncertain because the Canadian Arctic has been warming at three times the global average as a result of climate change. Three of Canada's arctic islands – Baffin Island, Victoria Island and Ellesmere Island – are among the ten largest in the world.

Since the end of the last glacial period, Canada has consisted of eight distinct forest regions, including extensive boreal forest on the Canadian Shield; 42 percent of the land acreage is covered by forests (approximately 8 percent of the world's forested land), made up mostly of spruce, poplar, and pine.[133] Canada has over 2,000,000 lakes—563 of which are greater than 100 km2 (39 sq mi)—which is more than any other country, containing much of the world's fresh water. There are also fresh-water glaciers in the Canadian Rockies, the Coast Mountains and the Arctic Cordillera.

Canada is geologically active, having many earthquakes and potentially active volcanoes, notably Mount Meager massif, Mount Garibaldi, Mount Cayley massif, and the Mount Edziza volcanic complex. The volcanic eruption of the Tseax Cone in 1775 was among Canada's worst natural disasters, killing an estimated 2,000 Nisga'a people and destroying their village in the Nass River valley of northern British Columbia. The eruption produced a 22.5-kilometre (14.0 mi) lava flow, and, according to Nisga'a legend, blocked the flow of the Nass River.

Population:

Canada's population density, at 3.7 inhabitants per square kilometer (9.6/sq. mi), is among the lowest in the world. Canada spans latitudinally from the 83rd parallel north to the 41st parallel north, and approximately 95 percent of the population is found south of the 55th parallel north. About four-fifths of the population lives within 150 kilometers (93 mi) of the border with the contiguous United States. The most densely populated part of the country, accounting for nearly 50 percent, is the Quebec City–Windsor Corridor in Southern Quebec and Southern Ontario along the Great Lakes and the Saint Lawrence River. An additional 30 percent live along the British Columbia Lower Mainland and the Calgary–Edmonton Corridor in Alberta.

According to the 2016 Canadian Census, the country's largest self-reported ethnic origin is Canadian (accounting for 32 percent of the population), followed by English (18.3 percent), Scottish (13.9 percent), French (13.6 percent), Irish (13.4 percent), German (9.6 percent), Chinese (5.1 percent), Italian (4.6 percent), First Nations (4.4 percent), Indian (4.0 percent), and Ukrainian (3.9 percent). There are 600 recognized First Nations governments or bands, encompassing a total of 1,525,565 people. The Indigenous population in Canada is growing at almost twice the national rate, and four percent of Canada's population claimed an Indigenous identity in 2006. Another 22.3 percent of the population belonged to a non-Indigenous visible minority. In 2016, the largest visible minority groups were South Asian (5.6 percent), Chinese (5.1 percent) and Black (3.5 percent). Between 2011 and 2016, the visible minority population rose by 18.4 percent. In 1961, less than two percent of Canada's population (about 300,000 people) were members of visible minority groups.

Language:

A multitude of languages are used by Canadians, with English and French (the official languages) being the mother tongues of approximately 56 percent and 21 percent of Canadians, respectively. As of the 2016 Census, just over 7.3 million Canadians listed a non-official language as their mother tongue. Some of the most common non-official first languages include Chinese (1,227,680 first-language speakers), Punjabi (501,680), Spanish (458,850), Tagalog (431,385), Arabic (419,895), German (384,040), and Italian (375,645). Canada's federal government practices official bilingualism, which is applied by the Commissioner of Official Languages in consonance with Section 16 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Federal Official Languages Act English and French have equal status in federal courts, parliament, and in all federal institutions. Citizens have the right, where there is sufficient demand, to receive federal government services in either English or French and official-language minorities are guaranteed their own schools in all provinces and territories.

Entry Requirements:

Whether you can travel to Canada without a visa will be determined by your country of origin. Please visit Canada’s official website: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/visit-canada/entry-requirements-country.html to learn the entry requirements for your home country.

Please contact your local Canadia Embassy / Consulate for up-to-date entry requirements.

Banking and Currency:

The currency of Canada is the Canadian Dollar (CAD). Current exchange rates can be found at http://x-rates.com. Many, but not all, locations accept credit cards, mainly Visa and MasterCard.

Climate and Weather:

Average winter and summer high temperatures across Canada vary from region to region. Winters can be harsh in many parts of the country, particularly in the interior and Prairie provinces, which experience a continental climate, where daily average temperatures are near −15 °C (5 °F), but can drop below −40 °C (−40 °F) with severe wind chills. In non-coastal regions, snow can cover the ground for almost six months of the year, while in parts of the north snow can persist year-round. Coastal British Columbia has a temperate climate, with a mild and rainy winter. On the east and west coasts, average high temperatures are generally in the low 20s °C (70s °F), while between the coasts, the average summer high temperature ranges from 25 to 30 °C (77 to 86 °F), with temperatures in some interior locations occasionally exceeding 40 °C (104 °F).

Electricity and Plug Standards:

Outlets and voltage (110 volts) are the same as in the United States. Small appliances such as hair dryers, irons, razors, etc. can be used in Canada. For those from other countries, adapters are required for electrical appliances.

WIFI - All the hotels we use have wifi. Some places have faster/better service than others, but it is generally available.

Sales Taxes:

In Canada, there are two types of sales taxes levied. These are :

  • Provincial sales taxes (PST), levied by the provinces.
  • Goods and Services Tax (GST)/Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), a value-added tax levied by the federal government. The GST applies nationally. The HST includes the provincial portion of the sales tax but is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and is applied under the same legislation as the GST. The HST is in effect in Ontario, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
  • Every province except Alberta has implemented either a provincial sales tax or the Harmonized Sales Tax. The federal GST rate is 5 percent, effective January 1, 2008.

    The territories of Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut have no territorial sales taxes, so only the GST is collected. The three northern jurisdictions are heavily subsidized by the federal government, and its residents receive some additional tax concessions due to the high cost of living in the north.

    Tipping:

    Tipping is never expected, but always appreciated. Tips are seldom included. General guidelines are:

  • Hotel housekeeping staff: US$2 per day per room
  • Guides: US$40/person/day
  • Drivers and Boat Captains: Half what you prefer to tip your guide
  • This Trip's Exclusive Wildlife Features:

    Choose Your Canada Travel Style! Any of our wildlife adventures are also available as fully customizable private trips, honeymoons or family wildlife adventures.
    CONTACT US | EMAIL US | CHAT NOW | RESERVE A TRIP | 1-800-990-4376
    We're Wild for Wildlife...
    • Five distinctive ecosystems, foothills, mountains, wetlands, woodlands and prairie.
    • Iconic Canadian Rocky Mountain Sites; Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, Columbia Icefields, Icefields Parkway.
    • Photo safari day trip in front ranges and foothills of Kananaskis protected area.
    • Evening excursion in dark sky preserve Jasper National Park hopes to glimpse nocturnally active animals.
    • Athabasca River float trip, quietly view wildlife on the riverbank.
    • Unique canoe experience in foothill lakes and wetlands rarely accessed wildlife-rich habitat.
    • Rolling woodlands of Elk Island National Park home to plains and woodland bison.
    We're Wild for Wildlife...
    • Five distinctive ecosystems, foothills, mountains, wetlands, woodlands and prairie.
    • Iconic Canadian Rocky Mountain Sites; Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, Columbia Icefields, Icefields Parkway.
    • Photo safari day trip in front ranges and foothills of Kananaskis protected area.
    • Evening excursion in dark sky preserve Jasper National Park hopes to glimpse nocturnally active animals.
    • Athabasca River float trip, quietly view wildlife on the riverbank.
    • Unique canoe experience in foothill lakes and wetlands rarely accessed wildlife-rich habitat.
    • Rolling woodlands of Elk Island National Park home to plains and woodland bison.
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