Backpacking in the Canadian Rockies

Departure information

Flexible departures from beginning of June to end of September

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Backpacking in the Canadian Rockies


Most of the activities in these experiences are based in 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 outing 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. Another example of our environmental sustainability on this experience occurs right at the wilderness centre itself, where begin and end all out-trips. 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.


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 weíve contracted out from surrounding communities, and are paid the standard rate based on current industry practices. 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 weíve 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 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 KotawÓ 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 Backpacking 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 14 Aug 2010 by

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

The most memorable part of our vacation were the views that we experienced. They were breath taking. Sitting on top of Tangle Peak after having just climbed up it was amazing. Robert was a very good guide on this trail and told us a lot about the history of the land with the First Nations. The other trails that we went on were guided by Troy who was the most amazing person. He knew so much and was very encouraging as this was our first hiking vacation. He set a good pace and was very safety conscience.

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

Book the guided tours, it is the best way to get to see the trails that know one really knows about as they are not in the guide books. They are very special to the centre and we did 4 trails that week and didnít see anyone else while on them. Be prepared to totally give yourself up to the whole experience of the vacation. We didnít travel outside the area and didnít rejoin the high road for a week. All the trails are off of a back road and you feel totally secluded from the real world. We have never felt so disconnected to our real lives while on vacation before and this was totally up to the beautiful surroundings and hospitality of the centre and their staff. Make sure you have a good quality camera as the mountains are amazing

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

Iím not too sure about the benefit s to local people but it definitely minimized the impact on the environment. The centre was low key and very natural. The source of energy is solar and the wildlife and forests were untouched. The camp site was built so it still felt very natural. You woke in the morning and the first view is of the Rocky Mountains. Breathtaking. Something I never got tired of looking at.

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

Excellent. It is very hard to explain the vacation to other people and even your photos do not do it justice. Thank you to the centre and we will definitely be going back.

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