Canada’s national parks highlight this wonderful Canadian Rockies vacation. Begin your trip in Vancouver with a sightseeing tour of Vancouver’s major sites and time to explore on your own. Then, travel to the resort city of Kelowna for a winery tour and overnight. Journey through the Okanagan Valley to Canada’s Glacier National Park for panoramic vistas and to Yoho National Park with its Natural Bridge. Enter Alberta and Banff National Park, the scenic heart of the Canadian Rockies. In Banff, one of Canada’s favorite resorts, you have time to hike, fish, relax, and much more. Then it’s on to Jasper National Park. But first, stop in Lake Louise and travel north to Columbia Icefield for a highlight of your vacation—a thrilling ride aboard an Ice Explorer, an all-terrain vehicle that travels on the Columbia Icefield, the largest expanse of ice in the Canadian Rockies. Continue on to Jasper National Park, the largest national park in Canada, for two nights and an orientation tour in Jasper. Head back into British Columbia via the base of 12,972-foot Mount Robson, the highest point in the Canadian Rockies. Enjoy leisure time in Sun Peaks and the alpine resort of Whistler, host of the 2010 Winter Olympics. Then travel to the Pacific Coast, where you’ll sail across the Strait of Georgia to Victoria for an orientation tour, two overnights, free time to discover some of Victoria’s most popular attractions, and a visit to Butchart Gardens, rated as one of the most beautiful gardens in the world. Your Canadian Rockies vacation ends in Vancouver with two nights and time to explore on your own. Exploring the Canadian Rockies is an unforgettable vacation not to be missed.
Day #1 Vancouver. Welcome to Vancouver! Enjoy time at leisure to relax or to do some independent exploring. Your Tour Director is on hand this evening to answer any questions.
Day #2 Vancouver. This morning, an included city tour highlights STANLEY PARK, Chinatown, the harbor and beaches, and more. The rest of the day is at leisure, and your Tour Director will have suggestions for your further exploration of the city. Maybe take a water taxi to lively Granville Island with its outdoor markets, street musicians, and waterfront cafés. Or, visit historic Gastown with its steam-powered clock, antique shops, art galleries, and street vendors.
Day #3 Vancouver–Kelowna. This morning, our journey begins in British Columbia’s fertile valleys and continues through rich mountain forests to Lake Okanagan. Travel along the lake to the resort city of Kelowna, attractively set on the lake shore and surrounded by orchards and vineyards. Sample the local wines on the included WINERY TOUR this afternoon.
Day #4 Kelowna–Glacier National Park–Yoho National Park–Banff National Park. Motor north through the Okanagan Valley, famous for its peaches and vineyards. Climb up 4,379-foot-high Rogers Pass in GLACIER NATIONAL PARK. Take a break at the pass, a perfect spot for photos of the rugged mountains, glaciers, and waterfalls. Enter YOHO NATIONAL PARK and scale Kicking Horse Pass at 5,421 feet. By early evening, reach BANFF NATIONAL PARK, gateway to the majestic Canadian Rockies.
Day #5 Banff National Park. Banff is one of Canada’s favorite year-round resorts, with activities ranging from skiing in the winter to hiking, boating, and fishing in the summer. With this free day, your Tour Director will suggest an optional helicopter ride over the Canadian Rockies. Tonight, why not take in an optional dinner theater performance featuring cuisine and entertainment about Canada?
Day #6 Banff National Park–Lake Louise–Columbia Icefield–Jasper National Park. A day of scenic grandeur. First, to Lake Louise, its turquoise waters a perfect natural mirror that reflects the mountains and glaciers. Precipitous gorges, snowcapped summits, and lakes of exquisite blues and greens come into view as the motorcoach continues northward into JASPER NATIONAL PARK. Another highlight on today’s agenda is a stop at the COLUMBIA ICEFIELD to board the Ice Explorer, an all-terrain vehicle that travels on ice that is 1,200 feet (365 meters) thick. Late this afternoon, your Tour Director suggests an optional float trip down the Athabasca River. Enjoy an orientation tour of Jasper townsite upon arrival.
Day #7 Jasper National Park. Today, join our optional excursion to Maligne Lake and Spirit Island, where you embark on a narrated cruise of the lake. The balance of the day is free to enjoy everything Jasper has to offer—from guided hikes and quaint shops to meandering wildlife.
Day #8 Jasper National Park–Mount Robson–Sun Peaks. Leave Jasper and follow the Fraser River to the base of Mount Robson, the highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies, peaking at 12,972 feet. Continue following the Yellowhead Highway south along the North Thompson River—a route pioneered by fur trappers a century ago. Overnight at the mountain resort of Sun Peaks.
Day #9 Sun Peaks–Lillooet–Whistler. Head south, following the once treacherous Cariboo Wagon Trail. Via Lillooet—”Mile 0 of the Gold Rush Route”—your motorcoach will follow the shores of Seton and Duffey Lakes with a mid-afternoon arrival in Whistler. There are plenty of optional activities to choose from, including flightseeing by floatplane over the lakes and glaciated peaks of Garibaldi Provincial Park. Tonight, wander the many alpine trails or enjoy the shopping and great selection of restaurants and nightlife.
Day #10 Whistler–Ferry Crossing–Victoria. This morning, sail across the Strait of Georgia and through the spectacular Gulf Islands, an archipelago known for its Mediterranean-type climate. Afternoon arrival in Victoria. Sightseeing today includes Marine Drive, Bastion Square, and Thunderbird Park with its unusual collection of totem poles. Then, visit world-famous BUTCHART GARDENS, one of Victoria’s most celebrated sites and rated among the most beautiful gardens in the world. Once there, stroll through the colorful arrangements of the Sunken Garden, the Japanese and Italian Gardens, the English Rose Garden, and the magnificent Ross Fountain.
Day #11 Victoria. Today is at leisure to discover some of the attractions this splendid city has to offer, including the Royal British Columbia Museum, Afternoon Tea at the Empress Hotel, an IMAX presentation at the National Geographic Theatre, whale watching on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and fine shopping along Government Street.
Day #12 Victoria–Ferry Crossing–Vancouver. Early this morning, board the ferry for a scenic crossing to the mainland. Check into your Vancouver hotel, the Sandman Hotel City Centre, for the next two nights.
Day #13 Vancouver. The day is at leisure for independent activities or choose from a variety of optional excursions. Your local host will have ideas on the best places to shop and dine.
Day #14 Vancouver. The trip ends today with guests departing on individual schedules. Transfers are provided to Vancouver International Airport.