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 leave the foothills of the Rockies and 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 remind us of its occupation by the many different Indegenous 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 - 2hrs
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 the Burstall pass a trail that rises some 600m above the valley floor and rewards you with great views of the world-famous Mount Assiniboine. Transfer to our wilderness hostel for the next 3 nights. Meals: B, L, D
60 km - 50min (round trip)
Today we explore another section of Kananaskis on the Tent ridge horseshoe trail. Our objective is to complete the whole linear ridge trail that offers impressive 360-degree views of the area. Definitely a highlight of the trip. Back to our hostel at the end of the day. Meals: B, L, D
Today we don’t even have to use the car to reach our trailhead. If you thought you thought yesterday’s hike was stunning, you are in for another treat. The summit section of this hike could allow us to see almost every lake in K country and all the major peaks of the start of the Canadian Rockies. Back to our hostel at the end of the day. Meals: B, L, D
295km - 3hrs
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. Meals: 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. Meals: 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. Meals: B, L, D
170km - 2hrs
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. Meals 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. Meals: 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. Meals: B, L, D
120 km - 2hrs (round trip)
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. Meals: B, L, D
340 km - 4hrs
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. Meal: B
- Accommodation: 1 night standard hotel 2-3*, 3 nights in wilderness hostel, 7 nights camping
- Ground transportation by 12-passenger minibus with enclosed trailer for 10 passengers or more
- The services of a AGMG certified driver-guide
- 10 breakfasts, 9 picnics and 9 dinners
- Entry fees to national and provincial parks
- 3-day paddle down the Milk River
- Taxes where applicable
- Airport meet & greet and transfers
- Optional activities
- Meals in Calgary
- Flights and travel insurance
- Tips and gratuities
Our cancellation policy has been modified and no cancellation will be applied if when made at least 60 days before the trip. For obvious reasons linked to the COVID-19 pandemic 60 days and more before departure, Windigo Aventure reserves the right to modify all or part of the trip for similar or equivalent services at destination (hotels, outfitters, lodges or hostels with the same inclusive activities on site or nearby).
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.
All breakfasts are included either at the hotel or at a restaurant (not included). For days when we visit the parks, lunches are included and will generally be in the form of picnics. All cooking equipment and cutlery are provided by us. Your help will be appreciated in the preparation of meals. Dinners are not included and are at your own expense. Your guide will propose a restaurant every night for the group and will make all necessary arrangements. For meals not included, plan on about 15-20$ CAD for lunch and 25$-30$ CAD for dinner (tips and alcohol not included in prices).
Airport transfers and pre nights
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)
One ACMG certified bilingual (French & English) driver-guide who knows the area will lead the tour. On top of being excellent cooks, our guides are organized, dynamic and they just love sharing their knowledge and passions with the group. You may never want to leave them.
Expectations & Group philosophy
Groups are comprised of people from various parts of the world, with different nationalities and backgrounds. Bilingual tours are given in both French and English. The group size varies between 5 and 12 people. Please note that it is expected of you to actively participate in the daily chores, like the preparation of picnics, the loading and unloading of the minibus, the set-up of camp, and to participate in the activities.
For all transfers, we use a 12-passenger minibus. The luggage will be transported inside the minibus or inside an enclosed cargo trailer, depending on the number of group members.
Major credit cards (Visa & Mastercard) are accepted almost everywhere. You can use these to pay for purchases, or withdraw money in US Dollars from the many ATMs. You can also exchange your native currency (cash) into CAD dollars upon arrival.
In Canada and the United States, service is never included in the price. In bars, restaurants, and wherever a service is provided, it is expected that you leave a gratuity between 15 and 20% of the total bill amount. Be aware that many employees within the service industry count on tips as their main remuneration and it is be frowned upon to leave an insufficient amount or no tip at all. Even when paying by credit card, you can specify the amount of tip you want to leave. It is also customary to give a tip to the tour guide at the end of a trip. The recommended amount by the industry is around $7/person/day.