GVQ Travel |Escorted Tours |Autumn
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National Parks and the Canadian Rockies
12 days / 11 nights

This trip offers both the exploration of the main cities and of the wilderness on the Canadian west coast. You will set out on the Gold Rush route and to the land of the cowboys; you will also visit national parks and Vancouver Island, just opposite Vancouver.  You will explore the Rocky Mountains, their emerald-colored lakes formed at the base of glaciers, fish-filled rivers and incredible valleys, all of which will make for a complete change of scenery!

Itinerary

DAY 1: ARRIVAL INTO VANCOUVER

Arrival at Vancouver Airport at the end of the day. A GVQ Travel guide will be there to welcome you. Quick transfer to downtown Vancouver. Once there, check-in to your hotel and dinner is at your leisure.

DAY 2: VANCOUVER - VICTORIA

We begin with a guided tour of Vancouver ‘s spectacular assets such as the historical district of « Gastown », Chinatown (one of the largest in North America), Stanley Park, the city’s most beloved urban park with kilometres of trails overlooking the ocean; the First Nations Totem Poles, English Bay and Lions Gate Bridge and the Granville Island Public Market, that brings together musicians, crafts people, farm and food artisans. In the afternoon, we sail out to Vancouver Island. The ferry takes you there through the Gulf Islands; the views are spectacular! Once off the ferry, we go for an orientation tour of the city of Victoria: the parliament (from the outside), the Empress hotel, the antique dealers’ district, Chinatown, the residential area called Oakland, Marine Drive along the coast and Beacon Hill Park. You get a little bit of free time before checking-in to your hotel.

DAY 3: VICTORIA - WHISTLER

This morning, we`ll discover the Butchart Gardens created on an abandoned quarry. The gardens offer acres of wonderful floral display and are now recognized as National Historic Site of Canada. We then head for Nanaimo and embark on the ferry to Horseshoe Bay, from there we take the famous Sea to Sky Highway to Whistler; this highway, between sea and mountains, offers some of the most dramatic panoramas in western Canada. We check-in at a Whistler hotel before having dinner in the village.This morning, we`ll discover the Butchart Gardens created on an abandoned quarry. The gardens offer acres of wonderful floral display and are now recognized as National Historic Site of Canada. We then head for Nanaimo and embark on the ferry to Horseshoe Bay, from there we take the famous Sea to Sky Highway to Whistler; this highway, between sea and mountains, offers some of the most dramatic panoramas in western Canada. We check-in at a Whistler hotel before having dinner in the village.

 DAY 4: WHISTLER - KAMLOOPS

We start out towards Kamloops, the largest city in the Thompson district, via Cache Creek and Lillooett, the starting point of the historic Klondike gold rush trail. You will cross an area where glaciers of the last ice age are common, a region sculpted by erosion into dramatic peaks and valleys; then we will come to the interior plateau of British Colombia, where semi-desert landscapes and numerous ranches await you. We stop at Duffey Lake on the way and visit Hat Creek Ranch. This authentic historic site will literally have you time travelling back to the Gold Rush years! The ranch was the hub to provision the gold diggers during their long trip North. Costumed guides will take you to a real “roadhouse” and a Shuswap Nation aboriginal village. During this adventure, you will be offered to ride in an authentic chariot from the gold rush period, used at the time for long journeys. We continue on the mythical road of the gold diggers through Fraser Valley. Hotel check-in.

DAY 5: KAMLOOPS - JASPER

This morning, we are in for a scenic drive, heading North on the Yellowhead Highway. We pause at Helmcken Falls, a 135-meter waterfall, making it the most impressive in British Colombia. En-route to Jasper, we pause again at Mount Robson, the highest peak (3953 meters) in the Canadian Rockies. We then follow the breathtaking Thompson River with its deep gorges and plunging waterfalls all the way to where it meets the Fraser River. Stay alert during the drive and some wild animals might reward you! We spend two nights in the charming village of Jasper.

DAY 6: JASPER

A whole day to visit Jasper is on today`s programme! We start with an orientation tour of this UNESCO world heritage city and a visit of Jasper National Park.  In the afternoon, we tour Maligne Canyon. You may also take an optional cruise on Maligne Lake to Spirit Island.

DAY 7: JASPER - LAKE LOUISE

We set off to Lake Louise and stop at Athabasca Falls. An exciting snow coach tour will take you out onto the Athabasca Glacier. We continue on one of the most spectacular roads in the world: the Icefields Parkway, which could actually have one sole purpose: your viewing pleasure. The landscapes, with over 100 glaciers, are simply unconceivable in Europe. Mother nature rules all here, you won’t encounter a single village or house, just certain wildlife species. Further down the road, admire and photograph Bow Lake and Peyto Lake during the stops. Our final stop of the day is in Lake Louise, situated at the base of impressive glacier-clad peaks forming the Great Water Divide. The lake, at an altitude of 1731 meters, is hemmed in the large Bow River Basin. Fed by silt-laden glacier water, the lake is either sparkling emerald or sparkling blue, depending on daylight. The silt stays at the surface of the lake, reflecting the green rays of the solar spectrum. Check-in to your hotel.

DAY 8: LAKE LOUISE - BANFF - CALGARY

The next leg of our trip is Banff. On the way there, we are treated to another lake and more grandiose landscapes: the Moraine Lake. Moraine Lake is smaller than Lake Louise and stretches, on one side, at the base of the majestic Wenkchemna Peak partially covered with permanent snow, and, on the other, in front of the dense forest, which elegantly slopes down to the shore. Once in Banff, we take an orientation tour of the village and its immediate surroundings: the Bow Falls, the hoodoo fairy chimneys, Minnewanka Lake, the Cave and Basin National Historic Site, and so on. Beginning of the afternoon, we drive to Calgary, city of the “urban” cowboys. During the orientation tour of the city, you will enjoy, among other things, Stephen Avenue, a major pedestrian mall located in historic downtown. We overnight in Calgary.

DAY 9: CALGARY - REVELSTOKE

Today, we move on to Revelstoke. We enter Yoho National Park; the park’s immense territory, towering rock walls and mountains covered in forest are just plain grand. We visit Emerald Lake and then drive across the Glacier National Park, caracterised by its soaring peaks and numerous hanging glaciers. We have lunch at Rogers Pass. We then hike through the dense old-growth rainforest of giant cedars in Mount Revelstoke National Park. Hotel check-in.

DAY 10: REVELSTOKE - VANCOUVER

It’s time to head back to Vancouver, with a stop in Kamloops. We continue to Vancouver on the road that runs along the Fraser River. We take time at Hells Gate to cross the canyon thanks to the aerial trams. Hotel check-in and overnight in Vancouver.

DAY 11: VANCOUVER-FLIGHT HOME

Saunter along the streets of Vancouver at leisure today. Your airport transfer will be organised according to your flight schedule. Assistance for flight check-in, as well as police and customs formalities, is provided. Flight back home.

The itinerary and the activities are subject to change with the season

The holiday includes

  • Standard, 3-star accommodation (4-star accommodation is also available)
  • Transportation in an air-conditioned, luxury coach with restroom
  • The services of a professional English-speaking guide
  • The activities, the tours and visits mentioned in the program, except the optional ones

Not included in you Holiday

  • The flight
  • Insurance
  • Tips for the guides and driver
  • Personal expenses
  • The drinks (except coffee and tea in the included meals)
  • Luggage handling

Optional

  • A cruise on Maligne Lake