Hiking and paddling through cowboy country
Hidden gems of South Alberta
Come and explore southern Alberta. An often overlooked and less traveled part of the province that amply merits our interest. Home to the some of the most stunning protected areas like Kananaskis and Waterton, it also boasts a rich human, geological, cultural and prehistoric history. After hiking the best trails in Kananaskis and Waterton we’ll head east to discover the undulating beauty and surreal geological formations of the Canadian Badlands on a 3-day paddle down the Milk River. Named by the American explorers Lewis and Clark who felt its color reminded them of a cup of tea with milk, the river takes us to Writing-on-stone Provincial Park. A place whose petroglyphs are a testament of its occupation by the many different Indigenous people of the area. An experience like no other that mixes snow-capped peaks and pristine alpine lakes with vast expanses of rolling prairies to discover the hidden gems of southern Alberta and live and nature’s pace.
- The variety of landscapes: from the Rocky Mountain peaks of Waterton and Kananaskis to the rugged rock formations of the Canadian badlands
- Hiking the less traveled national and provincial parks of Alberta
- A unique paddling experience down the Milk River through mesmerising rock formations
- Bustling Calgary
- ACMG certified guide to assist you throughout your trip
Arrive in Calgary. Free time to explore the city depending on your flight’s arrival time. RDV at the hotel with the rest of the group to meet your guide and hear the tour presentation. Independent dinner. Night at the hotel.
160 km - 2 h
B, L, D
We leave Calgary on our way to Kananaskis, a lesser-known provincial park that is one of the local's favorite. With smaller crowds and great hiking K-country is a place to discover. We start our exploration by tackling Upper Kananaskis Lake trail. Perfect for a firs outing this trail offers varied terrain and incredible views of Kananaskis Lake. Transfer to our wilderness hostel for the next 3 nights.
60 km - 50 min (round trip)
Meals: B, L, D
Today we explore another section of Kananaskis on the Burstall Pass trail. The trail starts in the lush forest surrounding Burstall Lake. After a few kilometres we cross Burstall creek which may require us to get our feet wet before regaining the cool cover of the forest. The trail steepens and emmerges on to a vast alpine prairie covered in wild flowers. The real climbing to reach the pass starts here and rises some 600m above the valley floor to reward you with great views of the world-famous Mount Assiniboine. Definitely a highlight of the trip. Back to our hostel at the end of the day.
B, L, D
Today we tackle Guinn's Pass. A 18km out and back trail that takes us along Galatea creek all to way to Lilian Lake. From there the trail picks up as we climb to reach the pass. Offering great view of Ribbon lake bassin and surrounding mountains. Back to our hostel at the end of the day.
295 km - 3 h
B, L, D
Leaving Kananaskis we head south to reach Waterton NP. Founded in 1895 at the same time as Glacier National Park in the US, it is a symbol of the unity and peace between the two countries. Once we reach the park we’ll go and explore Red rock canyon an ochre red canyon carved out of the ferrous rocks by the flowing streams. Return to Waterton village to set up our campground for the night.
B, L, D
Ascend one of the parks signature trails. Be ready to experience something completely different than the trails we’ve hiked so far. Walking in an environment reminiscent of Mars or the moon the hike takes us from the shores of Cameron Lake up to Summit, Carthew and Anderson lake before taking us of back to Waterton Village. A truly unique and unforgettable trek. Back to our campground for a well deserve rest and a tasty campfire meal.
B, L, D
This morning we hop on a boat to cross Waterton Lake and reach the start of the Crypt Lake trail. A 20km loop trail that will take us south towards the US boarder along wide-open ridges with amazing views of the surrounding mountains. Return by boat to Waterton village. Free time to visit the prince of Whales hotel. Night at the campground.
170 km - 2 h
B, L, D
Leave the foothills of the Rockies and make our way to the rolling Plaines of southern Alberta. We stop in Milk river to experience the rural side of Alberta, with its vast expanses of agricultural and farmland. This will be the starting point of our 3–day paddle on the Milk River on our way to Writing-on-Stone PP. Named after its characteristic color due to the presence of glacial silt, the meandering river carves its way through the surrounding sandstone all the way to the Missouri river in Montana. Night camping.
B, L, D
Full day of paddling down the Milk river. Taking in all the meandering detours of the river as we calmly make our way east through these impressive rock formations. Tonight, we camp like the first explorers did, setting up our tents on the side of the river, enjoying a hearty camp meal under the star lit sky. Night camping.
B, L, D
Last day on the river. We break down camp before making our way to Writing-on-Stone PP. We arrive in the afternoon and begin our exploration of the area that was, according to the people that have lived there for centuries, created by the God Nààpi who was sent by the creator to shape the land in this way. Night camping.
120 km - 2 h (round trip)
B, L, D
Discovery of this incredibly rich cultural site of the Blackfoot people. Accompanied by a first nation’s guide we’ll learn about the significance of the site as well as get to see many of the artefacts and petroglyphs that bear witness to the presence of indigenous people form centuries passed. In the afternoon we cross the river and head out for a hike amongst these giant rock towers and miniature canyons, returning to our campground for our last night camping.
340 km - 4 h
Today we break camp for the last time and make our way back to Calgary stopping for lunch along the way and to check out the impressive railway bridge in Lethbridge. Arrive in Calgary in the early afternoon for some free time to explore the city or make your way to the airport for your return flight.
Dates & prices
1 July - 12 July 2021 2685 $CA Guided in french available
All our prices are on double occupancy basis. Please contact us regarding the single, triple or quadruple rates.Privatize this trip write to us
- Accommodation: 1 night standard hotel 2-3*, 3 nights in wilderness hostel, 7 nights camping
- Meals: 10 breakfasts, 9 picnics and 9 dinners
- National and provincial park entrance fees
- 3-day paddle down the Milk River
- Transportation in a minivan with cargo trailer from 8 travelers
- Certified ACMG hiking guide
- Camping and cooking equipment
- First aid kit and emergency communication device
- Group from 6 to 12 travelers
- FICAV contribution (compensation fund for customers of travel agents – 0 $ / 1000 $)
- Personal insurance (medical and repatriation)
- Air transportation, meet & greet and airport transfer
- Pre & post night
- Sleeping bag, pillow and towel
- Meals not mentioned in the included section
- Optional activities
- Guide's tip
- Goods and Services Tax (5%)
Information about activities and hikes
Intermediate level hiking tour with 3 to 6 hours of walking each day. Hikes are mainly mountainous with a few near lakes and the ocean. The climate can change rapidly in the mountains. Even though it is warm and sunny during the day, there is the possibility of snow and rain in the evening.
Physical level #
We suggest you have a healthy lifestyle and are in good physical condition to join this trip. You should be able to walk for 4 to 6 hours with an average 400 to 800 m elevation gain. The hikes are at varying altitudes, from about 0 to 2200m.
For the Rockies, you will mostly experience mountain climate. In the summer days are pleasant, sometimes hot, but the nights are cool. In early summer and fall, nightfall can bring rain and snow, and even freezing temperatures. In the summer, the days are long and the sun does not set until about 21h00/9:00pm.
From the Calgary airport you may hop on a hotel shuttle, stopping at various hotels including the Ramada Downtown. The cost is 15$CAD/person. To be paid locally. You may also take a taxi (approximate cost: 40$ CAD)
10 Days of paddling down the Bazin River
- 10 Days of living at the river’s pace, completely immersed and at one with nature
- Certified guides that live to share their passion and knowledge about a sport and an environment that they love
- The gradually increasing level of difficulty of the river that allows you to progress, learn and master new skills
The Wild Side of the Rockies
- The majestic beauty of the Rocky Mountains
- Hiking some of the National Park’s signature trails
- An exclusive itinerary through the less traveled parts of the Rockies