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backcountry

Iconic Adventures: Horseback Rides & Lake Cruises

June 14, 2016
By Afton Aikens with notes from Where writers

In the Canadian Rockies we take our cues from the mountains—we go big. We also get creative. Our tour operators offer activities that allow everyone to explore our wild alpine playground. We’ll get you to the summit; you choose whether you want to ride, fly or climb.

Photo Credit: Banff Trail Riders

Photo Credit: Banff Trail Riders

Horse Trips to the Backcountry

Horses provided essential transportation for Indigenous peoples, European settlers and early Banff and Jasper tourists. Visitors can still sightsee by saddle and horse-drawn carriage. Today’s horseback rides provide a link to our western heritage.

Take a trail ride for an hour or a day, or join a multi-day pack trip through remote mountain terrain with tent camp stays. At the end of each day satisfy your appetite with hearty campfire-kissed cuisine. New this year are Banff Trail Riders’ custom fishing trips to alpine lakes teeming with trout.

“The cool thing about fishing pack trips is the solitude at the lakes and riversthere’s nobody else there. The opportunity to explore that area is pretty unique,” says Banff Trail Riders’ owner Jonathan Welsh. (more…)

Banff’s Backcountry Lodges

Jan. 25, 2016
Afton Aikens & Jack Wennot

Travel Alberta

Skoki Lodge, Travel Alberta

Snowshoe or ski tour to these rustic, log-built wilderness cabins that serve home-cooked meals and offer access to many fantastic trails. Reservations are a must.

Skoki Lodge, built by local residents in 1931, is 11 km from the Lake Louise Ski Resort over Boulder and Deception mountain passes. The lodge caters to skiers of all abilities, with ski touring and telemarking slopes, plus cross country routes nearby.

The main lodge and three surrounding cabins can accommodate 22 guests. Skoki does not have electricity or running water, but warm wash water is available. At night, candles and kerosene lamps light the lodge. Skoki is known for its delicious buffet-style breakfasts and dinners. Winter season runs to April 24.

(more…)

Big Mountain Adventure

Local pros suggest exhilarating winter excursions

Dec. 7, 2015
By Afton Aikens

Eisenhower Tower on Castle Mountain, John Price, Travel Alberta

Eisenhower Tower on Castle Mountain, John Price, Travel Alberta

Massive. Rugged. Incredible. Whatever your interpretation, there’s no denying that the Canadian Rockies leave an impression.

In winter, peaks and valleys draped in snow and ice create a magical outdoor playground that entices adventurers into its wilderness.

For professional climber, paraglider and kayaker Will Gadd, growing up here shaped his identity and sparked a lifetime of legendary exploits.

(more…)