Hiking in the Canadian Rockies

Departure information

Flexible departures from beginning of June to end of September

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Hiking in the Canadian Rockies


The day hikes in this experience are both based out of the wilderness centre itself, which we start from and return to each day, and enter us into remote and secluded mountain locations far from any other person or hint of civilization. In these locations our chances of encountering wildlife are significantly enhanced and as a result we ensure our guides are very familiar with the common species in our area, are aware of the red- and blue-listed species on the British Columbia Conservation List, and aware of the behaviors of those animals we are most likely to meet. Some of the wildlife in our area includes wolves, bears, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, cougars, lynx, bobcats, moose, deer, elk, many species of rodents, many species of small mammals, and many species of birds - songbirds, burrowers, waterfowl, and large predators such as eagles, hawks, osprey, and owls. Participants are met with by the guide before the outings so everyone together can go over appropriate viewing procedures and safety procedures. If out-trips overlap with any particularly sensitive times of year, such as mating season, then these areas are avoided out of protection and respect for the animals and our group. Our commitment to environmental sustainability on this experience also occurs right at the wilderness centre itself. The wilderness centre is completely off-the-grid and running only solar and hydro power that we sustainably generate ourselves. Furthermore, our heritage cabin water pressure is not pumped with an electric pump, but builds through a gravity-fed pressure system. Also, your heritage cabin is heated by log stove, for which we have gathered wood by recycling the scraps left behind by loggers in the area - we do not cut any trees down for firewood. Your cabin itself is a recycled heritage cabin built in the early twentieth century in an adjacent Rocky Mountain Park. We preserved them from being razed in the early 1990s by their original owners, who wanted to destroy them and replace them with newer, posh, larger cabins. We relocated them to their present location at our Centre, and by preserving and refurbishing them with their original integrity and charm in mind, we have also preserved their heritage and story as part of early Rocky Mountain Park history for all to continue enjoying in an environmentally-sustainable way.


This experience promotes social responsibility by offering local people good working conditions, a fair wage, and empowering them with training opportunities. Most of our guides - hiking guides, rafting guides, canoeing guides, climbing guides, and yoga instructors - are all local people we’ve contracted out from surrounding communities, and are paid the standard rate based on current industry practices. Our executive chef for this experience is also from the area and on top of a generous seasonal wage, gets his/her own cabin, all room and board paid for, days off when requested whenever possible, and the opportunity to join in on any of our programs and projects when available free of charge. We have also supplemented regular chef wages, and acknowledged work we’ve been very thankful for, with a bonus of flying the employee to a place of their choosing in the world for a vacation at the end of the season. If one of our employees or regular contracted guides has been with us for a while, or if some other trade with them has been discussed (which we are also very open to), we have also paid for training opportunities to upgrade or supplement their knowledge in an area relating to their job with us. Some of the training opportunities we’ve purchased for our staff and volunteers include: backpacking guide certification upgrade; yoga teacher training upgrade; wilderness first aid re-certification; and wilderness interpreter certification. We also frequently take-on volunteer workers - some of whom we may meet around the wilderness centre, or be joined by during the hikes in this experience - who get all room and board paid for, and frequent opportunities to join in on any of our intercultural sharing or outdoor programs free of charge, in exchange for helping out around the wilderness centre. We are also frequently asked to host and facilitate intercultural sharing work with youth groups, community organizations, and Aboriginal communities, often through non-profit work, and this we do gladly. These organizations and projects receive significant discounts from us, some of which this experience might help fund, and we have started up an affiliated non-profit organization called the Kotawî Foundation for Nature, Arts & Culture to help facilitate, design, and support similar projects at the wilderness centre and around Western Canada that focus on intercultural sharing experiences through empowering initiatives that are rooted in the arts and/or nature-based education.

Reviews of Hiking in the Canadian Rockies

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.

I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 19 Jul 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Walking over a snow wall and then sliding down an avalanche slope all in tea shirts with the sun blazing down on us, followed by a sighting of a grizzly bear.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Do not take too many clothes!!! There is plenty of time to wash your clothes and dry them in front of your log fire.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

We were using power and heating supplied by water, wood and hydro electricity.
We purchased gifts for family that had been made by the First Nation people.
We placed our rubbish in recycled bins at the centre and when visiting places.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

The vacation did what we wanted it to do and that was to introduce us to the wilderness of Canada. We had fantastic guides who had great knowledge of the First Nation people, the wild life and the area we were in. In one word it was FANTASTIC. We will be recommending it to our friends and thank you for introducing us to this wonderful company.

Reviewed on 22 Aug 2010 by

For two weeks we immersed ourselves in life "un-plugged". No TV, no computers and no blackberry coverage... such a welcome change. Rob, Marilyn and Troy were wonderful hosts, as were the whole team. The location is stunning, nestled in the mountains with a river running through the centre of it. The peace is only broken by the sound of chipmunks berating us humans for invading their territory!

The accommodation was very comfortable with hot running water and a wood burning stove in each cabin. The decor of each cabin was individually designed to represent different aspects of life in the Rockies. We loved the fishing and lumberjack cabins! Delicious food was offered at every meal time which in turn offered all guests the chance to come together and chat and compare notes on hikes, rafts and sightings of animals as well as make new friends.

If you're a family like us, complete novices in the art of camping and who have never visited this part of Canada in the summer, then this is the perfect place to start. Rob and Troy were our guides on half day hikes, full day hikes, on our day of heli-hiking and on the "boy's day" of mountain biking. Their years of experience in the mountains leads you, the novice, to feel safe in "bear country". Their knowledge of the area is second to none. The trails they hike are well-kept secrets and as such the hidden lakes and valleys you discover with them are awesome. It was a privilege to be in their company and to have access to their most favourite and remote spots.

When we weren't hiking or eating or when the boys were throwing themselves down mountains on bikes, lead by Troy, we spent time with Marilyn in their yurt, making dream-catchers and painting river rocks. Hours easily pass by peacefully when you're engulfed in arts and crafts and when your teacher is as qualified as Marilyn. One evening we needed to wear our head lights as the sun set and we fell into darkness in the un-lit yurt, painting and beading!

We spent time on the river, fishing with a lovely man called Ron and family rafting (which is a tame version of white water rafting and as such is enjoyed by all age groups!). We camped (with Rob and Marilyn) for 2 nights in a beautiful location by a river and learnt how to filter river water, light fires, chop fire wood, cook smores and weenies over the fire and how to leave your camp ground perfectly clean. We learnt the names of trees, flowers and birds and how to make decent coffee over a camp stove! We hiked into the most beautiful and remote lake which remains the highlight of our trip. We swam in a different lake and sat in natural hot springs in a river too!

We took a couple of days to explore the area around and found Radium Hot Springs - a complex with 2 swimming pools, one hot, one cool with a diving board. We all enjoyed that. There are plenty of little towns to visit and Fort Steele, a reproduction mining town was interesting from a historical point of view.

We all thoroughly enjoyed our vacation and recommend it to families and couples alike. Well done and many thanks.

Reviewed on 20 Jul 2010 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Stunning scenery; wildlife; Elder's ceremony

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

The lodges are fairly luxurious; they are comfy, clean and lovingly decorated.
The walks are easy to moderately paced - the guides are flexible according to individual needs.

Be prepared not to have phone or internet access while you're there.
Take a camera - so much wonderful wildlife and breathtaking views.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Absolutely. The Patenaudes are dedicated to sustainable living, and their Wilderness Centre is testimony to that. Their interest in the land and the history of the land is integral to everything they do. The site extends to an Elders' lodge where guests might have the opportunity to attend a ceremony or sweatlodge.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

I enjoyed every moment, every story the guides told, every view we climbed to. The Patenaudes are wonderful and knowledgeable hosts, and yet they remain relaxed and easy around their guests. Guests are viewed as part of the family when they are there, but at the same time you have as much space as you want. The vacation was fantastic. The only reason I haven't rated it higher is that I would have liked more challenging trekking, otherwise it surpassed every expectation.

Reviewed on 05 Jul 2009 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The day hike to Lake Assiniboine.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Spend more time!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Reviewed on 03 Aug 2007 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Gosh I do not know where to begin for this question as it was all so memorable. As I say to people when they ask me "how was your vacation" I answer with....it was not a vacation it was an experience. It was all so memorable from sleeping out in a thunder & lightning storm, swimming in an alpine lake, reaching amazing view points, bumping into a grizzly bear, bathing in natural hot springs, hiking a glacier, white water rafting, participating in a native sweat lodge....gosh I think we done it all! And the accommodation was over and beyond what we expected the food that we got served up was the best that we eat any where in Canada, and we tried the fully range of priced restaurants.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Coming from Ireland we were a bit naive to the size and distances in Canada. So I would advise anyone who is planning on staying here for a while to definitely hire a car so that they can travel to the other amazing spots in the area

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes I do! Firstly there door is open to any native elders and people who wish to come along and share there knowledge with the people who are visiting. They are also all about informing and educating you in the natural surroundings you have entered into and about the ways of the first nations on the land. And as for minimizing the environmental impact, well the lodges are run from solar and hydro power, their setting has been left very natural which favours tracks rather then paved paths.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

It was not a vacation....It was an experience!!!

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