Join this unforgettable Canadian horse riding holiday to enjoy mountain peaks, green valleys, crystal clear lakes, and beautiful mountain trails that meander through the most spectacular country in the world. You will get teepee and tent accommodations while savoring delicious homemade meals and professionally guided on a getaway adventure. Say goodbye to the city and hello to the most memorable bucket list adventure you’ll ever have!
Your wilderness base camp, known as Teepee Town, will be located on Mill Creek, north of the border of Waterton Lakes National Park. The camp, although rustic and in the wilderness, has private accommodations for individuals, families, and friends in walled tents and native Indian-style canvas teepees.
Each one accommodates two people on raised cots with mattresses. In addition, they also have three three-to-four person tents for families. Your meals are served in a large kitchen / dining tent and they have plenty of hot water, washbasins, a hot private outdoor shower, and dry toilets. The camp is complete with separate cowgirl and cowboy indoor washing facilities with washbasins and hot and cold water.
The traditional doughnut tent is where you gather in the evenings around the campfire for a traditional sing-song with music, entertainment, and educational talks. Along the trail, there are no washroom facilities at all but there are lots of trees! Bring your own toilet paper and carry it in the saddlebags provided for you.
You will explore the Mill Creek area in Castle Wildlands in southwestern Alberta. You will have six-day rides with a maximum of 19 guests on each ride. Riders come from around the world and you will meet people from all walks of life who share your joy of the wilderness. The Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies will supply all the horses, western tack, great meals, and accommodation in tents and teepees.
It is not necessary to be an experienced horseman, however, The Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies strongly suggests that every rider brush up a bit on the riding skills before attending a ride even though riding lessons can be provided. Taking a few lessons prior to your ride is a good idea. Young people are welcome to come on the ride with one or more of their parents (grandparents - a frequent occurrence). An adult must accompany all riders under the age of 18. They recommend that children be at least eight years old and have some camping / horse experience.
The staging area this summer will be Acclaim Hotel Calgary Airport in Calgary, Alberta. Each rider should arrive in Calgary the day before their ride begins. You are welcome to stay in any of the many hotels in Calgary, but out of convenience to yourself, you are suggested to stay at The Trail Riders' host hotel, the Acclaim, as the bus to the trailhead will depart there on the day of your ride.
The Trail Riders has negotiated a group rate at the Acclaim Hotel, so be sure to mention the name, Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies, to receive a better rate (use the code TRAIL when booking online). Parking of vehicles at the Acclaim Hotel, while you are on your ride, is allowed. Make sure you get a receipt for the dashboard of your car! Please note that you are responsible for the booking and payment of your own hotel accommodation! International guests will need to clear customs and immigration when arriving in Calgary from foreign countries.
The horses will travel at a steady walk and you will take plenty of breaks during the day. Dudes, absolute tenderfeet, and one who wouldn’t know which end the bridle goes on are welcome to swing into the saddle and take to the high trails with the more experienced riders and guides.
Each daily trip from the base camp is customized based on the weather, trail conditions, Parks Canada policies, and your riding ability which may include dividing it into two groups. The staffs will gear themselves to folks who may ride a bit through the year and really want to see this spectacular country in comfort without having to walk.
Beginners will tend to ride near the front of the line while more experienced will ride at the back of the line. The price includes a membership in the organization and backcountry user fees. Riding experience of the member’s ranges from very little to years in the saddle.
Each ride has an emcee who is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the ride. The head guide is responsible for all the horses and safety issues and carries a first aid kit. The riders will travel by bus to the trailhead corral where they will be met by cowboys and horses. Here, the dudes will match with a horse according to the information given on your application form.
Each horse is a sure-footed, well-broken animal, accustomed to the sometimes-rocky terrain and tolerant of the greenest tenderfoot. All the horses are handled and cared for by the staff. It is also important to let The Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies know in advance if you are planning to ride with your own saddle since the staffs need to make arrangements for this before the outfitter saddles all of the horses.
The staffs will supply all horses, western tack, great meals, and accommodation in the native Indian-style teepees or tents at Teepee Town. The staffs have a unique style of camp that no other group or outfitter in Western Canada has. They will set up the camp in July with volunteers and tear it down in late August, never leaving a trace. All other outfitters in the national parks will need either to have a moving camp every night or grant semi-permanent camp areas. There are downsides to both.
After an exhilarating day on the trail, you will return to the base camp where the chefs will serve hot four-course home-cooked meals followed by live entertainment, educational talks, and music before retiring to your own sleeping bags on raised cots with mattresses in the teepees or tents.
The bus between the hotel and the trailhead has been arranged and will be included in the cost of your ride. The bus departs from the hotel on early Monday morning at 08:00 to start your adventure. Please arrive at 07:30 for check-in and have a hearty breakfast first. Your emcee will be on board to register you, brief you on details for the week and answer your questions.
As part of introducing you to the western history and culture, your first stop will be the famous national historic site, Bar U Ranch, where you will have a two-hour tour followed by lunch, included in your ride fee. Next, you are off to the corral where you will meet the staff. There will be a safety orientation and then you will be introduced to your horse.
Horses are matched to riders according to the specifications that you will have given in your online registration. Saddlebags will be available for you there for your insect repellent, camera, binoculars, energy bars, water bottle, gloves, sunglasses, and an additional sweater will come in handy for your ride. Bring your rain slicker and keep it separate as it will be tied to your saddle.
Then you saddle up for a short one hour ride to your base camp (your duffel will be packed with the horses and arrive in camp ahead of you). After a long bus ride and historic tour at the Bar U Ranch, you will have a short ride into your base camp. Expect to see fantastic vistas and mountain flowers. This is a Kodak moment trip.
After arriving at the Mill Creek camp, Teepee Town, around 18:00, you will settle into your comfortable accommodations and perhaps clean up and get ready for the happy hour and dinner. Accommodations may be made where possible. After dinner, as the sun dips below the mountains, a roaring campfire is started in your doughnut tent (weather dependent).
As you enjoy your favorite beverages, you may be entertained with music for a campfire sing-a-long, storytelling, educational talks, squaring dancing, and / or cowboy poetry. With a full belly of food and drink and some good laughs with new friends, everyone turns in for the evening.
The breakfast bell will ring for all to gather in the dining tent for a hot and hearty breakfast. Your morning ritual will include hot coffee in the dining tent and perhaps a wash at the rustic wash areas with plenty of hot water. After breakfast, guests will prepare their own picnic lunches.
Next, everyone will meet at the corral where the cowboys and the head guide will greet you with a smile and a how-ya-doin-this-morning. The cowboys saddle the horses, check the cinches, and by 09:30 you are off on the trail. Each day will find you exploring lakes, valleys, glaciers, or mountain pass.
This area actually gives you more options than you have days to ride! The high, uninhabited valleys of the Rockies offer peace and contentment combined with the thrill of majestic vistas. There is a sweep of majesty to this land, a towering grandeur and nobility of face so powerful in its vast silence.
This alpine land abounds in larch, spruce and fir trees, mountain animals and birds, incredible alpine flowers, as well as meadows and parklands leading to the nearby snow-capped peaks and ridges. By noon, you have reached your destination and after lunch, riders can stroll, visit or stretch out for a nap in the hot mountain sun. A camera for these trips is a must! By late afternoon, it’s back to the camp for happy hour before enjoying a four-course dinner.
The great thing about traveling with The Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies is that you don’t need to worry about moving camp on a daily basis. Unfortunately, however, all good things must come to an end and today you pack your duffle and after other spectacular days of riding, you return via bus to Calgary.
Please do not expect to arrive in Calgary until 20:00. Hopefully, you have already booked your nights accommodation, unless you are planning to drive home that night. It is not recommended that you make travel plans on Saturday night, but rather stay in Calgary. These accommodations before and after the ride must be booked by you and the cost is not included in your ride fee.
By then it is tears, hugs with newly made friends, and sad farewells as you leave each other with promises of, see ya next year! There will be no official after-the-ride dinner, but riders staying the night in Calgary, often gather for dinner or drinks and one last night get together before they go their separate ways.
The last night in camp is for traditional awards, induction of new members, and skit night. Keep this in mind during the week so you can create the best skit, poem, or tall tale ever! This is a TRCR tradition and great fun!
During this holiday, you will enjoy a two-hour tour of the historic Bar U Ranch.
This summer, you will spend six days of riding to explore Mill Creek area in the Castle Wildland Provincial Park in southwestern Alberta, Canada. The Castle area is quite remote. Expect to see no one else except your fellow trail riders this week. You will probably see wildlife there, but there is no guarantee.
During this horse riding holiday, you will get hot breakfasts, picnic lunches, hot four-course dinners, and after ride snacks. The hearty meals are served by expert camp cooks in the large kitchen / dining tent. Breakfasts will include (alternating) eggs, bacon, sausage, hot biscuits, pancakes, fruit, and French toast.
For picnic lunches, you can choose from a variety of bread, cold cuts, drinks, and snacks. The chefs will prepare a multi-course dinner that quickly wipes away those hunger pangs. You will be surprised with what the chefs can prepare. It includes (alternating) roast chicken, barbecue steaks, baked ham, and roast beef. Sides include potatoes, vegetable, salad, coleslaw and of course dessert.
Please let The Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies know of your allergies and / or dietary concerns since meals will be on a set menu. Please also note that they do not serve fish during this holiday. The Trail Riders also does not sell alcohol and there will not be any ice for chilling beer and other drinks. You will be in a wilderness situation and they do not have the ability to make ice. However, they do have a very cold creek nearby and you are welcome to store beverages there.
Please book your flight to arrive at YYC Calgary International Airport (YYC). Transfer from and to this airport is not included.
Rental cars, taxis, limousines, and airport shuttles are all available to take you to your final destination. The Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies' host hotel, The Acclaim, has a free shuttle service.
The Greyhound station in the west end of downtown has regular arrivals from all over North America. Red Arrow buses from Edmonton and Red Deer offer drop-off downtown. The buses traveling to and from Calgary pass through a variety of beautiful landscapes so please bring the camera with you.
The trains run at Mountain Standard Time. A parade of Rocky Mountain scenery awaits anyone who travels to Calgary by train. Though regular passenger train service to Calgary passed into the history books some time ago, these luxury train tours (The Rocky Mountaineer) are a great way to experience the expansive majesty of Western Canada.