The Great National Parks from Yellowstone to the Rockies

A long and beautiful journey is waiting you ! You will visit both Western Canada and the North Western America. So you will see different provinces and landscapes, punctuated by the most beautiful hikes. Many stops at various places which make you understand our North America culture.

Itinerary

  • Day 1 Vancouver

    Vancouver Welcome at the airport by our guide and transfer to the Vancouver Youth Hostel. Evening and dinner free.

    Accommodation : Hotel

  • Day 2 Vancouver- Whistler

    Vancouver- Whistler Visit various attractions of Vancouver City in the morning: Granville Island, Queen Elizabeth’s garden overlooking the city , Stanley Park ... In the middle of the afternoon, transfer to Whistler. Whistler is famous for his ski resort called Whistler Blackcoombs. (B, L, D)

    Accommodation : Camping

  • Day 3 Whistler - Garibaldi Park - Whistler

    Whistler is famous for its amazing and mountainous environment, along the Coast Mountains. We take advantage of this natural setting for a day hike. Direction Garibaldi Park, huge provincial park that offers beautiful hilly landscape and wild nature.  (B, L, D)

    Accommodation : Camping

  • Day 4 Whistler - Wells Gray Park

    Whistler - Wells Gray Park We leave the imposing mountain landscape to cross the highlands of British Columbia. We travel through arid valleys, Far-West landscapes, as for as reach Hat Creek Ranch, a site relates the history of travelers attracted by the gold rush in the 1860s. We go in the Wells Gray Park: here the volcanoes and ice left their imprint and shaped the mountains and valleys in an extraordinary way. (B, L, D)

    Accommodation : Camping

  • Day 5 Wells Gray Park

    Wells Gray Park We discover this subalpine region and go to the day in the area Trophy Mountains. We go for a hike in forests of fir and spruce. Next, we climb the ridges at 2500 m altitude, to enjoy a fantastic view of the glacial peaks of Wells Gray Park and the Cariboo Mountain Range. (B, L, D)

    Accommodation : Camping

  • Day 6 Wells Gray Park - Jasper National Park

    Wells Gray Park - Jasper National Park We discover the southern face of Mount Robson, the highest point of the Canadian Rockies with 3954m of altitude. After a walk to the Overlander Falls or a hike on the Kinney Lake Trail, we continue the road again and arrive in Jasper, in Alberta. (B, L, D)

    Accommodation : Camping

  • Day 7 Jasper National Park

    Jasper National Park We join Miette Hot Springs, the starting point of a spectacular hike on the Sulfur Skyline ridges. The rather steep climb on the end of the trail is worth the detour with a 360 ° view of the surrounding mountains. (B, L, D)

    Accommodation : Camping

  • Day 8 Jasper National Park

    Jasper National Park Still exploring Jasper Park we go to Maligne Lake, which stretch in the through of an ancient glacier valley. We go for a hike in this section of the park where we pass the Bald Hills' gorges, fossils, waterfalls, and alpine meadows covered with flowers. (B, L, D)

    Accommodation : Camping

  • Day 9 Jasper National Park - Lake Louise

    Jasper National Park - Lake Louise Departure for the Icefields Parkway through the Columbia Icefield. Stops at Sunwapta Falls, Athasca and the Columbia Glacier. Numerous stops to discover glaciers, waterfalls and the Emerald lake. . We will probably be able to see wild animals such as elk, black bears or mountain goats. (B, L, D)

    Accommodation : Youth Hostel

  • Day 10 Lake Louise - Yoho National Park - Lake Louise

    Lake Louise - Yoho National Park - Lake Louise This day is dedicated to the discovery of Yoho National Park. We go for a hike on Iceline Trail which offers vast and beautiful views of the British Columbia and Alberta massif and allows you to discover one of Canada's highest waterfalls, Takakkaw Falls (250 m) and spectacular Twin Falls. When we return, we enjoy the quieter evening to stop at Lake Louise, one of the most visited and photographed sites in the Rockies.
    (B, L, D)

    Accommodation : Youth Hostel

  • Day 11 Lake Louise - Lake Moraine - Banff National Park

    Lake Louise - Lake Moraine - Banff National Park Early departure for Moraine Lake, we go for a beautiful hike in the Sentinel Pass. This course to discover the alpine meadows, glaciers and Emeralds lakes will not fail to amaze us. We set up our camp for the night. (B, L, D)

    Accommodation : Camping

  • Day 12 Banff National Park - Calgary

    Banff National Park - Calgary We go for a hike this morning around the charming Banff National Park. Then we go back to Calgary in the afternoon. Very famous for its rodeo festival, this city has all the typical of a city in the west. We have free time to visit Calgary that received the 1988 Olympic Winter Games.
    (B, L)

    Accommodation : Hotel

  • Days 13 to 14 Calgary - East Glacier

    Calgary  - East Glacier On the road to the Glacier National Park in the United States. Stop on the way for the visit of Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump where we’ll learn more about the lifestyle of Native Americans who lived the region and their close relationship with buffalo. Cross the US border and installation in the camping bordering the park.
    Day 12: Exploring the East Glacier. This area provides access to alpine meadows, blue lakes and numerous glaciers. The region is conducive to watching grizzly bears, mountain goats and eagles. (2B, 2L, 2D)

    Accommodation : Camping

  • Day 15 East Glacier - Lake Macdonald

    East Glacier - Lake Macdonald We reach Lake McDonald by the famous road "Going to the Sun" from Hidden Lake. The landscape is breathtaking. We cross the watershed line separating rainwater flowing into the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic. Hiking and views along this road. Installation in camping near the park. (B, L, D)

    Accommodation : Camping

  • Day 16 Lac Macdonald - Missoula

    Lac Macdonald - Missoula Always in beautiful mountains views, lets go to Missoula. Walks and swimming around Flathead Lake. Installation to a hotel in the late afternoon. (B, L)

    Accommodation : Hotel

  • Days 17 to 19 Missoula - Yellowstone

    Missoula - Yellowstone On road to the most famous American parks: Yellowstone. Afternoon devoted to a first approach to its wonders and its extremely rich fauna. Excursion on the terraces of Minerva, basins on the petrified unreal colors in the Mammoth Hot Springs area. Walk between the most famous geysers, Old Faithful, gushes at fixed times. Hiking in Yellowstone Canyon and if we're lucky, unusual encounters with impressive local wildlife: bears, elk , buffalo ... (2B, 3L, 3D)

    Accommodation : Camping

  • Days 20 to 21 Yellowstone - Grand Teton National Park

    Yellowstone - Grand Teton National Park Departure to Grand Teton National Park, south of Yellowstone Park named for the characteristic shape of its mountains. Possibility of hiking in the area of ​​Yellowstone Lake or Lake Jackson side of Grand Teton Park. Installation in a camping.
    Day 19: Hiking day to Cascade Canyon for wildlife watching. Deer, bears and foxes roam the canyon. By late afternoon, visit Signal Mountain for a view of the plain, the Snake River and the peaks of the Grand Tetons. Opportunity to visit the village of Jackson Hole. Back at the campsite in the evening. (2B, 2L, 2D)

    Accommodation : Hotel

  • Day 22 Grand Teton National Park - Bozeman

    Last moment before going to Bozeman City and go to the airport.

    Accommodation : Hotel

  • Day 23 Bozeman

    Transfer to the airport.

Dates & prices

Departures for French-speaking groups:

No departure for now

Trip code: GRP-UCAWEST

Notes

The cost includes:


· Transportation in passenger van
· Camping gear (except sleeping bag)
· Hard-foam mattress
· Admission to the National Parks
· Camping fees
· Services of a guide
· 22 nights accomodation including 16 in camping
· 61 meals : 22 breakfasts, 21 lunchs, 18 dinners
· Applicable taxes

The cost does not include:


· Air travel
· Personal expenses
· Alcoholic beverages
· Non-included meals
· Shower in some camping
· Tips
· Sleeping bag

Practical info

Staff

You will be supervised by a French-speaking guide-driver (for a group of 9 or more participants, one guide is added). It is important to note that you are expected to participate actively in the preparation of the meals and the installation of the camp.

Food

Meals: During overnight stays in camping, all the meals are included. We offer breakfast in the morning, a picnic for lunch and a hot meal made with local products is prepared for dinner. We enjoy numerous grilling over the campfire or BBQ. We provide cooking equipment and utensils. Your help will be greatly appreciated during the preparation of the meals. Meals taken out are not included. 

Drinks: Don’t forget that you can buy duty free products at the airport of embarkation. Alcohol is always appreciated after a long day of walking. Stops are planned throughout the trips to buy drinks. They are not included in the price.

Accommodation

you will be staying in a youth hostel in Vancouver and Lake Louise (multiple occupancy depending on the number of people in the groupe). you will be staying in a hotel in Calgary, Missoula and Bozeman.
For the rest of the trip, you’ll be staying in tents where showers will sometimes have to be paid for (around 1$-2$ CAD for 4 to 5 minutes.) there’s no showers in some non-equipped camping sites. During your trip, you will be able to do your laundry in some laundromat available in some camping sites (around 2$-3$ - washing and drying). We stay in three-place tents for more comfort. You must bring your sleeping bag. It will be with you all along the trip. Everybody is expected to participate in the collective tasks:  preparation of the meals, dishwashing, installation of the camp and loading of the vehicle.

Transportation

For transfers from park to park and village to village, we travel in a comfortable 15-passenger minibus. Luggage are carried inside the minibus or in a trailer pulled by the minibus depending on the number of participants.

Budget & exchange

Visa and Mastercards credit cards are accepted almost everywhere. You can also exchange euros. 1 Euro = 1,57$CAN (04/04/2018) 

Tips

In the United States and in Canada, service is never included in the prices. In bars, restaurants and all the places where service is provided, it is expected that you tip the waiter/waitress between 15% and 20% of the total sum. Note that a lot of employees working as waiters are paid by tips only. Not giving anything or not giving enough would be poorly received. Even when paying by credit card, you’ll indicate the sum you wish to give. On this type of trip, it is customary to tip the guide(s) 4$ to 5$ by persons and per day.

Supplied equipment

All the cooking and camping equipment (excepted the sleeping bag) is provided for this trip: dishes, portable stoves, canvas, refuge etc. tree-person tents with a vestibule and auto-inflating mattress are provided.

Vital equipment

From head to toe

Head :
  • Hat, fleece hood, caps 

Torso :     
  • Breathable underwear of synthetic fibers       
  • Shirts of breathable synthetic fibers     
  • Fleece     
  • Waterproof and breathable jacket fitted with a Gore-Tex typed membrane       
  • Poncho or rain cape 

Legs :       
  • Synthetic and breathable hiking trousers
  • Shorts
  • Swimsuit
  • Synthetic tights to create extra heat 

Hands :
  • Gloves of fleece Feet
  • Socks of synthetic fibers
  • High-upper hiking shoes
  • Hiking sandals 

To sleep : 
  • Down sleeping bag, sarcophagus shaped. Suggested comfort temperature : 14°F

Material

  • Toilet bag : biodegradable soap and shampoo, toothbrush, biodegradable toothpaste        
  • Bath towel of micro fibers      
  • A pair of sunglasses
  • Sunscreen (face and lips)
  • Flashlight or headlight with spare batteries
  • 1.5-liter to the minimum flask, light and isothermal
  • Pocket knife, multi-purpose preferred (to be placed in your checked-in luggage)
  • Hygienic gel

Helpful equipment

  • Waterproof case for your passport and/or your ID card, your driver’s license, your immunization record, your travel insurance, your credit card and your personal documents
  • Plastic bags to insure the waterproofing of your belongings, camera and clothes.
  • Dirty laundry bag, earplugs, notepads, books, card games.
  • Walking stick (optional). They are a precious helper to your knees during the ways down (up to 30% of your weight + your bag are carried by the stick) and maintain your effort during the way up (arms also help)
  • A pair of binoculars
  • Camera and battery charger
  • Socket adapter
  • A 32 Ft cord (0.5 in) to hang out on your bivouac.

Luggage

Your entire luggage must be divided into two bags. Avoid stiff bags and suitcases. Limit the weight to the maximum. 

Allow:
  • A flexible traveling bag with a zip on the side to give an easier access to its content. During the times of travel it will carry the belongings that you don’t need during the day
  • A little backpack (68 oz capacity) for the belongings needed during the day (sweaters, spare shirts, flask, glasses, lunch) 

Just in case, prepare what’s necessary to ‘’survive’’ for the first days in case of a late arrival of your checked-in luggage (toothbrush, shirts, walking shoes on …) 

Medicine

Your guide will have an emergency first aid kit.

It is nevertheless advised that you have your own first aid kit:
- Moisturizing sunscreen (body and lips)
- Estoplast and scissors
- Vitamin C
- Eye lotion
- Doliprane and/or aspirin
- Aintidiarrheal and intestinal antiseptic (immodium/intetrix)
- Healing cream and local antiseptic
- Common antibiotics (optional) 

Hygiene: You can drink the water in Canada. In remote regions, the guide will provide pellets to purify the water.

Passport

Consular formalities for Europeans and Swiss nationals: 

Upon your registration, please transmit your passport information (name, first name, passport number, date of issues and expiration). Currently, to stay as a tourist for less than six months, a visa is not mandatory and a valid passport is sufficient with a validity exceeding by one day your stay in Canada.

Travelers must imperatively have an electronic travel authorization (eTA) to enter Canada. You will have to fill the form online and individually (one application per person) on http://www.cic.gc.ca/francais/visiter/ave.aspIt is essential that you have a valid email address. The 7 CAD fees are payable by Visa, Mastercard or American Express credit cards. The eTA is granted in just a few minutes but we advise you to apply for it as soon as your trip is confirmed. The eTA is an electronic document linked to your passport and stays valid for 5 years or until the expiration of the passport, depending on the first of these eventualities to occur. You must then travel with the passport used to apply for it. 

CAREFUL: for French women, the eTA must be filled with your maiden name. Hence, to facilitate the check-in at the airport, we ask travelers in Canada to indicate their maiden name for the booking of their tickets.

You travel with children:
Children and adults are submitted to the same obligations regarding passports and visa described above. Registration of minors on parents’ passports is now impossible; children must hold an individual passport. It is compulsory to apply for an eTA for each child individually. 

CAREFUL, from January 15th 2017 onwards, for all French minors traveling abroad alone, an authorization to leave the country is compulsory.
The child will have to submit the three following documents:
- The minor’s valid passport
- A photocopy of the signatory’s identity card, valid or expired for less than 5 years and the birth certificate
- The form, signed by one of the legal guardians, available online on https://www.service-public.fr/particuliers/vosdroits/F1359 

Concerning other nationalities, seek the Canadian consular authority of your country.

ARRIVAL IN CANADA VIA A TRANSIT THROUGH THE UNITED STATES :
CAREFUL, we can exceptionally use American airlines for travels bound for the American continent (North and South). 
They stop over in the US: you must possess an electronic or biometric passport which is still valid 6 months after your departure from the US (under ‘’passport’’, a rectangle under a circle meaning a secure symbol). 

You must also apply for an electronic travel authorization (ESTA) on the official website https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov. Valid for a duration of two years or until the expiration of the passport, this authorization must be requested at the latest 72h before your departure: we advise you to apply to it as soon as your trip is confirmed. It has to be paid for (14 USD online by credit card). The name you put on the form must be the same as the one that figures on your plane tickets and must of course appears on your passport. If the name used on the ESTA form is different from the one on your tickets, the airline can deny your boarding. Minors must also fill out an ESTA authorization. 

The Visa Waiver Program allows French nationals to enter the American territory without a visa, either via transit or for a stay of 90 days to the maximum. A visa is nevertheless necessary if you only have an emergency passport. Furthermore, travelers who went to Iran, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Yemen or Soudan since March 11th 2011 and people who are national of Iran, Iraq, Syria or Soudan cannot benefit from the Visa Waiver program anymore: more information on http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/conseils-aux-voyageurs/conseils-par-pays/etats-unis/

ARRIVAL IN THE US OR TRANSIT THROUGHT THE US :
Upon your arrival, the immigration service will take your photo and fingerprints. You’ll have to wait behind the yellow line and not cross it unless you’re told to, it can take some time. Customs controls will take place at the first access point to the territory (in case of a transit through a Canadian airport, it will be considered as a first access point to the US and the following process must be applied). Once you’ve been through the immigration service, you’ll get your luggage back from the conveyer belt and go to the customs. In case of a continuation of your trip, you’ll have to get your luggage back and bring them the baggage conveyer which serves.

Weather

Spring is a rainy season in the major part of Canada. During the day, temperatures generally get high but nights still cool. The median temperature is 12°C in March, April and the beginning of May. Summer officially starts on June 21st but for most Canadians, July and August are the real summer months. It is warm in most regions of Canada. In the South, they are above 20°C during the day and can sometimes pass 30°C. Autumn starts in September. Temperature gets chillier and leaves change color and fall. This season can be very rainy. In some regions, particularly in the North and in the mountains, it may start to snow towards the end of October. During the day, normal temperatures vary between 10 and 12°C in the major part of the country.

Unlike Europe, seasons are well defined in Canada. Temperatures can get higher than 30°C in summer and down to –30°C in winter. In fact, Canadian climate changes a lot from a region or a season to another. Canada extends from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and lies at the same latitude as Roma at his southern extreme, where it reaches the Arctic.  

To knoz the current climate and weather conditions by provinces and territories, go to www.meteo.gc.ca or www.meteomedia.com 

Spring : Spring comes as soon as February on the West Coast. In the rest of Canada, weather gets warmer at the beginning of April and lasts until June.

Summer : Summer in Canada bring cool to hot temperatures from the end of June to the end of September. The warmth of summer last from June to August, and July is often the hottest month.

Autumn : Autumn brings pleasant and cool temperatures, particularly in September and in October. It is the best time of the year to enjoy the spectacular beauty of Autumn leaves in the East of Canada, to take long walks while breathing fresh air.

Winter : A major part of Canada is covered with a white coat during winter, temperatures fall below the freezing point, and snowfalls start at the end of October. However, winters are very cool on the West Coast where the snow doesn’t stay long.


Electricity

As everywhere in the US, voltage runs at 110 Volts/60 cycles. New electric devices can be adapted o the current. It’s preferable to check whether or not your device is equipped with a current transformer. In general, it is a black box located between the electric plug and your device. If your device isn’t compatible with the 110-volt current, you’ll need to get a current transformer sold separately. As electrical plugs are flat, you’ll also need an adaptor to plug your device in. you’ll find it easily on the spot or before departure in a shop specialized in travels. A waterproof Zip Lock bag is a good way to keep your equipment in a dry place.

Local time

There’s an eight-hour difference between Paris and Calgary. When it’s midday in Paris, it is 4.00 AM in Calgary.

Sustainable tourism

Since the outset, Altai works for an eco-tourism and an organization of trips that respects equitable and sustainable principles.  

The harmonization of practices assures:
  •  A fair economical repartition
  • The improvement of local teams’ working conditions and their awareness of the protection of the environment
  • The information of travelers about respecting the local population and environment and the collection of their feelings at their return. 

You can also act in favor of an eco-tourism by adopting simple green gestures during your trips:
  • Avoid letting waste out, throw it in the trash can or bring it with you
  • Use potable water sparingly (take a shower instead of a bath and report any leaks) and avoid wasting it (use biodegradable soap to wash yourself)
  • Avoid damaging cultural sites: don’t touch the statues, don’t move the stones and objects
  • Exchange instead of giving (too Important gifts can destabilize the local economic stability of the country depending on their living standards)
  • When taking a walk, especially in some fragile ecosystems, observe the fauna from afar, do not go beyond beaten roads, limit stamping and do not bring any souvenirs: give up picking rare flowers picking fossils...
  • In some hotels, you can have  individual air conditioning. It is advised to systematically switching it off when you’re out of the room to avoid energetical overconsumption and greenhouse gas emission.

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Sarah

My local agent
Sarah

  • Specialist in Canada and USA
  • Holder of a tourism licence
  • An adventurer at heart
  • Fascinated by local culture and people
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Region
Alberta British Colombia Rocky mountains
Activity
Summer Trekking and hiking
Duration
23 days
Group
4 to 12 people
Code
GRP-UCAWEST
Price
From C$7,220
Level
3/5
Comfort
2/5
Language(s)
French

Strengths

  • A great discovery of the Canadian and American Rockies, from Vancouver to Bozeman
  • Wildlife viewing: bears, moose, elk
  • Camp in idyllic settings
  • Hiking in the most beautiful parks: Jasper, Yoho, Banff, Glacier, Yellowstone, Grand Teton


Required level


MODERATE

  • You will regularly practice a sporting activity.
  • 5 to 6 hours of walk per day.
  • If you are in the mountains: drop of about 800 m per day, and possibility to be at 3 000 m of altitude

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