• WindigoGroup Travel
  • WindigoSouth Alberta
  • Windigo12 days / 11 nights
  • Windigointermediate

Hiking and paddling through cowboy country

Hidden gems of South Alberta

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Hiking and paddling through cowboy country

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Hiking and paddling through cowboy country

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Hiking and paddling through cowboy country

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Next departures

  • 1 July 2021
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From 2685$CA / pers.
carte-Hiking and paddling through cowboy country

Description

Come and explore southern Alberta. Aoften 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 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. 

Highlights

  • 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

Itinerary

Day 01
Arrive in Calgary

Hotel

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.

Day 02
Transfer to Kananaskis

Wilderness hostel

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

Hike

Burstall Pass 16km, 675m elevation, 5-6hrs
Day 03
Hiking tent Ridge Horseshoe trail, Kananaskis

Wilderness hostel

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

Hike

Tent Ridge Horseshoe 11 km, 850m elevation, 4-5hrs
Day 04
Hiking Sarrail Ridge, Kananaskis

Wilderness hostel

minimal

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

Hike

Sarrail Ridge 12km, 1050m elevation, 5-6hrs
Day 05
Transfer to Waterton and hiking Red rock Canyon

Camping

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

Hike

Red Rock Canyon: exploratory stroll
Day 06
Hiking Carthew and Alderson Summit

Camping

30 minutes

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

Hike

Mount Carthew and Alderson 20km, 1000m elevation, 7-8hrs - intermediate
Day 07
Hiking Crypt Lake

Camping

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

Hike

Crypt Lake 20 km, 925m elevation, 7-8hrs - intermediate
Day 08
Transfer to Milk River and Start of our paddling trip

Camping

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

Canoeing

Milk River to Gold Spring About 3hs to cover 19km
Day 09
Paddling down the Milk River

Camping

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

Caoeing

Gold Spring to Poverty Rock About 5-6hs on the river to cover 34km
Day 10
Paddling To Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park

Camping

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

canoeing

Poverty Rock to Writing-on-Stone About 3-4hs on the river to cover 20km
Day 11
Visit Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park

Camping

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

Hike

Hoodoos hiking 12km, 250m elevation, 4hrs - intermediate
Day 12
Return to Calgary and end of trip

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

Note: B = breakfast L = lunch D = diner
Itinerary note: The guide reserves the right to modify the itinerary for the group’s safety depending on the weather and general operating conditions.

Dates & prices

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Inclusive

  • 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

Non inclusive

  • Airport meet & greet and transfers
  • Optional activities
  • Meals in Calgary
  • Flights and travel insurance
  • Tips and gratuities

Why travel with us?

Know how

25 years' experience, Offices across North America, we run more than 500 trips / year with dedicated staff and leaders, the overall managing teams experience is worth more than 100 years expertise!

We are adventurers

Across the artic on skis, paddling white water rivers, trekking unmarked and rugged route of Newfoundland, backcountry hiking in Utah’s canyons, we not only sell outdoors experiences, we are passionate about them.

Bang for the buck

Our overall volume from worldwide partners in addition to sisters’ companies just give us the best buying power.

Green and not just saying it

Nature is the heart of our products, from conception to completion, we always think about its protection.