Canada: Hidden Gems
Explore the most varied scenery of Western Canada, from lush coastal landscapes to the rolling hills in Kootenay Country and spectacular mountains in Glacier National Park. Discover some of the unique cultural heritage of the region and enjoy the sense of being off the beaten track.
Dates available on request
Arrival in Vancouver
Fly from the UK to Vancouver International Airport. On arrival you will be met by a guide and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure for you to relax and enjoy the hotel facilities.
After breakfast you will go on a guided tour of the city of Vancouver. Visit the historic Gastown, lively Chinatown, Canada Place and the Waterfront. Don’t miss the towering trees and native Totem Poles in Stanley Park. The afternoon is at leisure for you to explore Vancouver on your own.
Vancouver – Penticton
This morning you will travel through the Fraser Valley, the garden of British Columbia, and through Manning Park which offers spectacular views of the Cascade Mountains. The journey takes you through wilderness mountain areas to Okanagan Valley. This region is the top wine producing region of BC and is also famed for its fruit production. Be sure to try a glass or two of the local wine.
Penticton – Nelson
Today you will travel southeast along the US border and into a beautiful and relatively undiscovered area of BC. Journey through the changing scenery of green rolling hills and to Castlegar. An intriguing chapter in the Kootenay’s history centres around the Doukhobors who fled from Russia in the early part of this century. The museum in Castlegar describes the Doukhobors and their life in detail. Continue to Nelson with its “turn of-the-century charm created by over 350 heritage buildings.
Nelson – Excursion in Kootenay Lake Country
Drive north along the shore of the Kootenay Lake via Ainsworth Hot Springs to Kaslo in the Slocan Valley. Visit nearby Sandon – this silver-mining ghost town has several historic buildings and an interesting museum of artefacts and old photographs. Continue to New Denver, another historical centre of the silver mining boom in the 1890’s, then drive south along the Slocan Lake back to Nelson. You will have the rest of the day at leisure to explore the local area.
Nelson – Cranbrook
This morning you will travel to Cranbrook. Visit Fort Steele, a restored town from the late 1890’s which shows the lifestyle of the settlers in that time. Fort Steele was the commercial, administrative and social centre for East Kootenay during the mining boom of the 1890’s. Continue along the narrow Kootenay Lake to Creston before reaching Cranbrook in the late afternoon.
Cranbrook-Glacier National Park
Today you will cross the border into Montana, USA. Visit the Glacier National Park that borders the Waterton Lake National Park in Canada. In 1932 Canada established Waterton National Park which later joined Glacier National Park to form the first International Peace Park in the world. This hidden treasure so close to the major resorts of Banff and Lake Louise, is still virtually undiscovered by international visitors.
Glacier National Park – Waterton Lake National Park
The ‘Going-to-the-Sun’ road trip will take you through the park from west to east. Keep the cameras ready, sit back and enjoy a spectacular tour. Upon arrival at the eastern side of the park you will continue to Waterton Lake National Park.
Waterton Lake National Park – Calgary
Today you will travel north to Fort Macleod to visit the Old Fort Museum that recreates the original outpost of the North West Mounted Police dating from 1874. Continue to Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, the site where ancient hunters would direct a herd of buffalo towards the cliff so that up to 300 animals would jump to their deaths. This hunting technique provided enough food and clothing for the native tribes to last through a long, hard winter.
Calgary – Departure
After breakfast, enjoy a morning tour of Calgary, passing the main sights including Fort Calgary, the Stampede grounds, and the Calgary Tower. Visit the Heritage Park, a living museum showing the historical development of Calgary or ride up to the observation deck of the Calgary Tower for the last view of the Canadian Rockies and the prairies. Later you will be transferred to the airport for your return flight to the UK.