Hop in the saddle and explore the deep, wild forests of Banff! The experienced guides make this tent trip easy and comfortable, so you can relax and focus on the jaw-dropping scenery around you. As you ride down the spectacular trails, your guide will weave entertaining tales of the history of Canada’s rugged backcountry and what it was like to live and work in the great Canadian West. You’ll also learn about the diverse wild creatures that call this unspoiled mountain paradise home.
The tour includes two nights accommodation at Stoney Creek Camp and three nights at Flints Camp. The accommodation is based on double occupancy room and a single room supplement is available for an additional fee. Each campsite has six A-frame canvas tents set on a raised wooden platform. Each tent has two single cots and a stove. All camps are fully catered and include live-in cooks who all love to show off their backcountry culinary skills. You can gather inside the big kitchen tent to dine on succulent steak or chicken. There’s plenty of table space inside too, including room for card games when the sun goes down. Each campsite is surrounded by an electric fence that keeps curious critters out and there are meticulously cleaned outhouses. Crystal clear water is supplied by nearby glacial streams, which is then filtered for drinking.
The craggy peaks of the Palliser Mountain Range provide a stunning backdrop at this wilderness camp. When night falls, you can relax by the campfire while listening to the murmur of nearby Stoney Creek.
Surrounded by the limestone cliffs of summit ridges, the valley features alpine wildflower meadows and rockslides inhabited by marmots and pikas.
The six-day tour commences at 08:30 at the Warner Stables on Mondays and Fridays. The ride returns to the stables between 17:30 and 18:00 on the sixth day. You need to arrive at 08:30 on the morning of your tour. The meeting point is at the Warner Stables, the big red stables located at the end of Sundance Road in Banff. There is plenty of free parking at the site.
In the morning, you’ll have a washstand with hot water for freshening up and a hearty, homemade meal prepared for you in the kitchen tent, the perfect fuel to give you energy for a day on the trail. When night falls, you’ll be warm and cozy as you curl up in your A-frame canvas tent set on a raised wooden platform. Listen to the gentle hush of the forest as you fall asleep.
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. With about 300 horses in the stables, Banff Trail Riders is able to pinpoint the absolute perfect horse for any rider. That means if you’ve never been riding before, Banff Trail Riders will be sure to pair you with the most mild-mannered horse available so you can enjoy the experience. After all, Banff Trail Riders wants both seasoned horsemen and horsewomen as well as new riders to have the time of their lives.
The adventure begins at Warner Stables at 08:30. There’s free parking at the stables and it’s fine to leave your vehicle for the duration of the tour. Banff Trail Riders will hand out the slickers and saddle bags and you will leave all of your gear with the guides. Your sleeping bag and pillow should be packed in a soft-sided bag (the traditional “duffel” style of cowboy packing). A separate team of horses will safely deliver your belongings to the camp for you so that you can ride unencumbered. When you arrive, your “duffel” will be waiting for you so that you can grab it and settle into your tent.
Once you’ve met your friendly guide and the trusty horse specially chosen for you, then you’ll mount up for the 13-mile ride through the stunning scenery of Elk Lake Summit. Banff Trail Riders will take you by van to the very fringe of the front country, the trailhead corral at Mount Norquay. This is the launching point to heading completely off the beaten track into Banff’s wildest places that most tourists will not get to see. The climb to Elk Lake Summit is jaw-dropping, you’ll be wide-eyed with awe at the larger-than-life mountains with their jagged edges piercing the sky.
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. You’ll learn to “trust your horse” (a Banff Trail Riders catchphrase) as these sure-footed beasts carry you safely down even the most difficult backcountry trails.
You’ll pass through the cool, craggy peaks of Brewster Mountain and Cascade Mountain, then head down into Stoney Creek Camp (stopping for lunch at Elk Pass Summit along the way). This historic camp was named by the First Nations people and is deeply historically and culturally significant. It’s only day one and you’re already more deeply immersed in the backcountry than most Banff visitors will ever get.
Life at camp is simple, yet comfortable. It is a rustic, yet well-equipped camp that is shadowed by the jagged peaks of the Palliser Mountain Range and you’ll always be able to hear the gentle murmuring of the nearby creek. Banff Trail Riders will cook up a feast of hearty, homemade cowboy cuisine and gather around in the main kitchen tent, which acts as the communal hub of the camp. In the evening, you will gather around a crackling fire to watch the stars and share stories. Then, it’s time to curl up in your sleeping bag in your canvas tent with cot, heater, and thermarest and get some sleep. The adventure has only just begun.
Today, you will make your way along the winding Dormer Pass Trail, which is one of the most visually stunning trails you tackle on your horseback riding adventures. There’s no feeling quite like being deep in the Canadian wilderness like this. No matter which direction you headed in, you could wander for miles in pristine, unspoiled wilderness without seeing another building, person, or trace of human civilization. It gives you a sense of the immense scale and power of nature in the Rocky Mountains.
You will be traveling along the trails that were once used by the wardens to patrol the boundaries of Banff National Park, the true outskirts of the Canadian wilderness. On this day of adventure, you’ll climb higher into the mountains, traversing technical trails along mountain ridges with spectacular views all along. You may encounter the odd hiker, but it’s likely that you will have these stunning mountain vistas all to yourselves, there are no crowds of tourists with selfie sticks here.
A cowboy trail lunch will be served along the waterways, so you can sit and enjoy while admiring the mountain views. After a full day of exploring, you’ll arrive back at Stoney Creek Camp to settle back into your comfortable, familiar heated tent for the night after another tasty camp dinner.
You will mount up in the fresh morning air and ride the 10 miles to Flint’s Park Camp with a stop for lunch on the banks of Cascade River. This stunning camp is one of the highlights of the trip, located in the fertile valley bottom with an open, grassy ridge providing sweeping views of the awe-inspiring Rocky Mountains.
Flint’s Park Camp was one of the original outpost areas used by the wardens as a base for patrolling in the early days of the park. Due to the wide-open terrain, it’s likely you’ll spot some wild creatures wandering around. It is located within the Bison Free Range Zone, a totally unspoiled region where herds of Bison have been reintroduced for the first time in 140 years.
There’s no cellphone reception way out here, which is a blessing. It’s so rejuvenating to escape from the constant pinging of notifications and the pressure of your to-do list and just sit quietly in nature. At night, take a moment to look up and notice how many more glittering stars you can see out here far from the city lights. Then, curl up in your warm tent and enjoy the blissful quiet of the forest.
There are many beautiful points of interest accessible from Flint’s Park including Block Mountain and Cuthead Viewpoint. After all, this was a warden’s post so it has access to some of the most pristine backcountry in the park.
Whether you are a hiker or photographer, this area has a lot to offer. You could ride along the valley bottom amidst the wildflowers, birds, and butterflies or climb high above the treeline. No matter which direction you ride in, you will be surrounded by some of the most incredible scenery in Canada.
This camp is the jumping off point for many different rides into the backcountry, each more spectacular than the last. Your guide will create a customized ride for your group, tailored to your interests and experience. This ensures that your adventure is a bespoke, VIP experience that is just right for you. At the end of the day, you’ll return to the familiar camp to relax and chat around the campfire once more.
Today is a free day at Flint’s Park Camp. It’s up to you how you want to spend your time. You could go on one of the many great hikes in the area, but if you’d rather relax, there’s no pressure. This lodge is a lovely place to find some quiet time, far away from the pinging of notifications and the pressure of your endless to-do list.
It’s a chance to take a breather, perhaps by getting lost in the pages of a good book or playing cards with your fellow travelers around the communal table in the kitchen tent. You may even take some time to groom your horse, who has no doubt become your best friend by this point. In the evening, you’ll feast on a hearty meal cooked by the camp chef.
You will arise early and say goodbye to your pristine backcountry surroundings. It’s time to head back into Banff and rejoin civilization. Most of the guests are reluctant to leave the isolated, tranquil beauty of this off-the-beaten-track spot.
On the last day of your Rocky Mountain backcountry adventure, you’ll take the scenic 17-mile ride from Flint’s Park Camp to the Minnewanka Pack Station, with a lunch stop along the way where Stony Creek meets the Cascade River. This is a truly exciting and epic ride and it’s also a chance to reflect on everything you have experienced in the last six days.
You’ll have plenty of wild Banff backcountry stories to tell and you will have earned the bragging rights to say that you spent six days deep in the Canadian Rockies. The shuttle will be waiting to take you back to Warner Stables for approximately 17:30 to 18:00, where you’ll say goodbye to the new friends with whom you shared this unforgettable adventure into the wild.
This holiday will take place in Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada.
During this holiday, you will be served fully catered meals. These expeditions take you deep into the backcountry, where you’ll stay at well-equipped campsites featuring an on-site cook and other basic facilities. That way, you can experience Banff National Park like a pioneer without having to “rough it.” From juicy steaks grilled over a campfire to plump Cornish game hen matched with a side of fluffy mashed potatoes, all the food served during a Banff Trail Riders’ trip is prepared by professional chefs who are masters of backcountry cuisine.
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