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Come to Banff, Canada, and ride through Alberta’s Wild West, tracing the paths that the early pioneers used while exploring these untamed forests! Amidst dense fragrant pines and snow-crested mountains that pierce the sky, you’ll get to experience the wild side of Banff that not many visitors get to see. Remote and without any internet or cell service, the backcountry lodges where you will be staying offer a chance to find peaceful quiet and reconnect with friends and loved ones over a crackling campfire.
You will be accommodated at Sundance Lodge for two nights and at Halfway Lodge for one night. Please note that prices are based on two guests per room, but the rooms have a variety of configurations. A single room supplement is available for an additional fee
Sundance Lodge is a rustic ten-room log cabin that was built in 1991. Set against the looming Sundance Mountain Range and surrounded by thick woods, Sundance Lodge feels remote and secluded despite being just 16 kilometers (10 miles) from town. The lodge is powered by solar and heated by burning wood and there are indoor washrooms and heated showers onsite. All bedding is provided. This place is known for its great food. It also features hot showers and electricity generated by solar power. The massive kitchen brings out the best in the cooks who fully cater with a rotating seasonal menu. The walls were built with locally harvested timber. Sundance Lodge features ten rooms with space for up to 34 people.
Set at the base of Allenby Pass, Halfway Lodge is a rustic cabin with propane lanterns, candles, and a woodstove to heat the cozy kitchen, dining and living areas. There are two shared outhouses and an outdoor shower onsite.
The four-day tour commences at 09:30 at the Warner Stables on Wednesdays, with four full days of riding (approximately five to six hours per day including leisurely breaks). The ride returns to the stables at 16:30 on Saturday. With a backcountry expert to guide you, this horseback experience is a chance to learn about the history of early exploration in the region.
With four days to wander and discover Canada’s oldest national park, you’ll have plenty of time to relax into the slow pace and peaceful quiet of life on the trail. No experience is necessary and if you’ve never been riding before then Banff Trail Riders will be sure to pair you with the perfect horse so you can enjoy a comfortable ride. The guides will also provide a brief riding instruction prior to the ride.
You’ll begin your journey at 09:30 at Warner Stables at the backcountry check-in area of the large barn. You can park your vehicle here for free during the trip. Banff Trail Riders will hand out your slickers and saddle bags and introduce you to the horse that they have specifically picked just for you. Things happen on “Western Time” here so you may not leave right on the dot and you’ll have time to get to know your horse and ask any questions.
One of the aspects of these tours that guests often rave about is the connection they forge with their hooved companions. At the end of the trip, you’ll have a new four-legged best friend. The horses are steady and responsive and can be counted on to cross any terrain, from forest paths to boulder-strewn creeks.
Saddled up and ready to ride, you’ll hit the trail for the ten-mile journey to Sundance Lodge. On this backcountry adventure, Banff Trail Riders will take you along a route that the early explorers of the Canadian Rockies blazed nearly a century ago. You will follow the trail alongside the rushing glacier-fed waters of the Bow River, Healy Creek, and Brewster Creek. Along the way, you’ll stop for a simple, hearty cowboy-style hot lunch on the banks of the river.
You’ll arrive at Sundance Lodge in the late afternoon, where your lodge host will greet you. Sundance is the ideal place for those who want to marvel at the beauty of the Banff Backcountry while still being swaddled in comfort. There are no sleeping bags or camp stoves here; you will be sipping from wine glasses, dining on food prepared by a skilled cook in a professional kitchen, and sleeping in a comfortable bed.
Your lodge host will cater to your every need and make you feel welcome like you are a guest in their home. Afterward, you can settle into your room and freshen up from your day on the trail, then gather around the table for a gourmet meal prepared by your talented host. By the end of this trip, you’ll have plenty of new friends from around the world.
Set against the craggy peaks of the Sundance Range on a gentle curve of Brewster Creek, Sundance Lodge is a 10-room log cabin that will welcome you with backcountry charm, satisfying meals and warm showers. The lodge is the perfect balance of comfort and authenticity, giving you the Wild West Explorer feeling without having to rough it.
The adventure continues as you journey nine miles southward to Halfway Lodge. The rugged peaks of the Sundance Range loom over the eastern horizon as you follow the winding historic Erling Strom Trail. You’ll be following in the footsteps that the early explorers of the Canadian Rockies took nearly a century ago. You’ll stop along the way for a picnic in the fresh air of an open mountain meadow.
Tonight, you’ll stay at Halfway Lodge, located at the midway point between Banff and Assiniboine Mountain where weary riders have been stopping to rest since the 1920s. As you approach, you’ll notice the trees start to thin out and the mountains peeking up above the treeline all around you. It is tucked into a postcard-perfect setting, with a striking cauldron of mountains all around it.
This lodge was constructed by Erling Strom in the 1920s as a stopover spot for the guests that he led on trips from Banff to Mount Assiniboine. With propane lanterns and candles providing lighting and a woodstove providing warmth, it hasn’t changed much in the last 80 years. The only big change occurred in 1967 when a second story was added because of a bear making a surprise entrance through the roof.
Today, you’ll leave your peaceful haven at Halfway Lodge and take the meandering trail along Brewster Creek back to Sundance Lodge. You’ll spend another night here, relaxing in pure backcountry comfort. Please be warned that you won’t want to leave Halfway Lodge once you have experienced this gorgeous retreat in the Rockies. After you wake up in comfort and enjoy a hearty breakfast at Halfway Lodge, you’ll hit the trail.
Your guide will lead you through the backcountry on a scenic and exciting trail, crisscrossing the valley in the historic footsteps of the early pioneers and stopping for lunch along the way. You’ll arrive back at Sundance Lodge again, a luxurious retreat you will have fallen deeply in love with. Pamper yourself after your ride with a warm shower and a glass of wine, then enjoy another delicious meal prepared by your professional chef lodge host.
It’s your last morning at Sundance Lodge, which by now will feel like home due to the warm hospitality of your host. You will wake up wrapped in your warm down duvet one last time, gather around for a delicious breakfast, and wave goodbye as you begin the journey back to Banff.
Breathe the crisp pine-scented air as you depart for one more day on the trail with your fellow riders whom you have no doubt become good friends with by now! Your guide will lead you through the backcountry along winding river trails and through the thick pine forests, with the jagged peaks of the Rockies always standing proudly on the horizon.
You’ll stop along the banks of Healy Creek for a lunch of fresh sandwiches, baked goods, and fruit. You’ll take the gentle nine-mile ride from Sundance back to Warner Stables, arriving at around 16:30. You may be leaving the backcountry, but the memories you have made will stay with you for a long time.
On this trip, you will follow the Erling Strom Trail, a path forged through the dense Banff forests by renowned explorer Erling Strom, in Alberta, Canada.
During this holiday, you will be served fully catered meals including three breakfasts, four lunches, and three dinners. Even miles away from civilization, the backcountry cooks are able to prepare some surprisingly sophisticated meals. Large, well-equipped kitchens and talented cooks are the key to the great food at both Sundance Lodge and Halfway Lodge. You can savor everything from braised beef short ribs to Crème Brulee Cheesecake. It’s rustic comfort food taken to a whole new level. Limited beer and wine are available to purchase at the lodges.
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