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Backcountry tent-based horsepack trips into Banff National Park


These backcountry horse pack trips explore some of Banff National Park's most spectacular backcountry. Theses wilderness tenting rides are perfect for those who enjoy being outdoors but are also looking for a vacation without the stress of planning a camping trip - meals are cooked for you, tents are already set up, you can be as involved or as laid back as you want to be.

Your experienced guides make this tent trip easy and comfortable, so you can relax and focus on the jaw-dropping scenery around you.

When night falls you’ll be warm and cosy 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. In the morning you’ll have a wash stand with hot water for freshening up and a tasty meal prepared for you in the kitchen tent – the perfect fuel to give you energy for a day on the trail.

Plus, 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.

STARTING AT
$969.00 CAD
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TRIP DETAILS
DESTINATION
EQUIPMENT/CLOTHING
ACCOMMODATIONS
MEALS & DINING
DATES & PRICING
ITINERARY
TRIP TYPE
Horseback Riding & Pack Trips
SEASON

June to September

DIFFICULTY
Easy / Moderate
MAXIMUM GROUP SIZE
12
GUIDE INFORMATION

Your guides have years of experience guiding in the area.

RESTRICTIONS

These tours are suitable for beginner to advanced riders. Minimum age requirement is 9 years old.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Requirements: Duffel bag, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, tarp. These items can be rented.

TRANSPORTATION

Trips originate and end in Banff Alberta.  Banff can be reached by taking Highway 1 west of Calgary, about 75 miles. 

WEATHER

Summer temperatures average between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius.  Mornings in the mountains may be cool.

REGION
Southern Rocky Mountains
PROVIDED EQUIPMENT

Riding equipment, tents, group camping gear, backcountry user fees.

SUGGESTED CLOTHING

Warm clothing suitable for a variety of weather conditions.  Rain gear, warm coat, hat, long pants, riding or hiking boots, sneakers, bathing suit, towel.

SUGGESTED ITEMS

Fishing gear, camera, binoculars, sunglasses, sunscreen, water bottle.

ACCOMMODATIONS

Accommodations are in tent camps along the route.

The camps you’ll be staying in go far beyond rustic. Curl up in an A-frame canvas tent set on a raised wooden platform and listen to the sounds of the forest as you drift asleep. In the morning, freshen up at the wash stand (complete with hot water) and then enjoy a meal prepared for you in the giant kitchen tent.

MEALS & DINING

MEALS & DINING

All meals are included and consist of hearty western fare.

3 day tour, available June 27, 2018 - September 5, 2018
$969.00 / per person - CAD
Wednesday departures.
6 day tour, available June 25, 2018 - September 3, 2018
$1949.00 / per person - CAD
Monday and Friday departures.
PAYMENT INFORMATION
Pricing does not include: 5.00% GST. 4.00% PST.



Balance of payment is due 30 days before trip commencement.
CANCELLATION POLICY & DETAILS
Payment is refundable with at least 15 days notice of cancellation.

3 day tour, available June 27, 2018 - September 5, 2018

Day 1

The adventure begins at the Stables at 8:30am. (There’s free parking at the stables and it’s fine to leave your vehicle for the duration of the tour.)  We’ll hand out the slickers and saddle bags and you will leave all of your gear with our 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. Be sure to check the “What to Bring” section of our website when packing your bag.

Once you’ve met your friendly guide and the trusty horse we’ve specially chosen for you, then you’ll mount up for the 13 mile ride through the stunning scenery of Elk Lake Summit. We 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.

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.

We 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, we 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.

Day 2

Stoney Creek camp is the jumping off point for many different rides into the backcountry, each more spectacular than the last. 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. Your guide will create a customized ride for your group today, tailored to your interests and experience. This ensures that your adventure is a bespoke, VIP experience that is just right for you.

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 civilisation. It gives you a sense of the immense scale and power of nature in the Rocky Mountains.

A cowboy trail lunch will be served along the way, 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.

Day 3

Arise early and say goodbye to your pristine backcountry surroundings – it’s time to head back into Banff and rejoin civilisation. Most of our guests are reluctant to leave the isolated, tranquil beauty of this off-the-beaten-track spot.

Unfortunately, every adventure has to come to an end. We’ll top off this trip with a thrilling 8 mile ride from Stoney Creek Camp to the Minnewanka Pack Station, stopping for lunch by the riverside along the way.

It’s time to say goodbye to your guide, your new friends and your horse. (Many guests say that the bond they formed with these gentle animal companions was something they will never forget!)

You’ll have plenty of wild Banff backcountry stories to tell and you will have earned the bragging rights to say that you spent 3 days deep in the Canadian Rockies. The shuttle will be waiting to take you back to the Stables for approximately 5pm, where you’ll say goodbye to the new friends with whom you shared this unforgettable adventure into the wild.

6 day tour, available June 25, 2018 - September 3, 2018

Day 1

The adventure begins at the stables. (There’s free parking at the stables and it’s fine to leave your vehicle for the duration of the tour.)  We’ll hand out the slickers and saddle bags and you’ll be transported via van to the trailhead corral at Mount Norquay.
Once you’ve met your friendly guide and the trusty horse we’ve specially chosen for you, then you’ll mount up for the 13 mile ride through the stunning scenery of Elk Lake Summit. 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)

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.

We 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, we 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.

Day 2

Today we will make our way along the winding Dormer Pass Trail, which is one of the most visually stunning trails we tackle on our 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 civilisation. 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 we will have these stunning mountain vistas all to ourselves – there 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.

Day 3

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.

Day 4

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, photographer or fisherman 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.

Day 5

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 travellers 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.

 

Day 6

Arise early and say goodbye to your pristine backcountry surroundings – it’s time to head back into Banff and rejoin civilisation. Most of our 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 6 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 6 days deep in the Canadian Rockies. The shuttle will be waiting to take you back to the Stables for approximately 5pm, where you’ll say goodbye to the new friends with whom you shared this unforgettable adventure into the wild.