Banff Backcountry Riding Adventure

About the Experience

Ride into Banff National Park to experience the wild side of Canada’s first national park. With your sure-footed horse, you will be in the midst of ancient game trails, glacier-fed rivers and wild flowering meadows. This area’s combination of glaciated terrain and imposing 3000-metre peaks create unparalleled vistas.  You travel on horseback along historic pack trails that wind through the craggy Sundance and Cascade Ranges, venturing to places most Banff visitors never get to see.

Inhale the heady floral fragrance as the wild blooms paint the broad hillsides with their palette of royal blue lupines, bright white and yellow alpine lilies, and deep red indian paintbrushes. Here, the California bighorn sheep, mountain goat, grizzly, black bear, moose, mule deer, bison, cougar and wolf still reign. Witness eagles gliding on mid-day drafts or peer down into lush valley bottoms to see mother and cub grizzlies feeding on shoots of cow parsnip and horse tail.

On this 7-day horse riding mountain adventure, you’ll find yourself surrounded by sweeping mountain vistas and panoramic views of wide open valleys. Be gently awoken out of your reverence by songbirds and hot cowgirl coffee. Overhead, blue skies are made more vibrant by the white of the mountain-tops dusted by snow.

The deluxe amenities of fresh alpine air, pristine glacial water and azure blue skies are all just part of the service. Here, Mother Nature has surpassed herself and you are absolutely invited.

Click here to see the full itinerary!
Banff Backcountry Riding Adventure

About the Experience

Ride into Banff National Park to experience the wild side of Canada’s first national park. With your sure-footed horse, you will be in the midst of ancient game trails, glacier-fed rivers and wild flowering meadows. This area’s combination of glaciated terrain and imposing 3000-metre peaks create unparalleled vistas.  You travel on horseback along historic pack trails that wind through the craggy Sundance and Cascade Ranges, venturing to places most Banff visitors never get to see.

Inhale the heady floral fragrance as the wild blooms paint the broad hillsides with their palette of royal blue lupines, bright white and yellow alpine lilies, and deep red indian paintbrushes. Here, the California bighorn sheep, mountain goat, grizzly, black bear, moose, mule deer, bison, cougar and wolf still reign. Witness eagles gliding on mid-day drafts or peer down into lush valley bottoms to see mother and cub grizzlies feeding on shoots of cow parsnip and horse tail.

On this 7-day horse riding mountain adventure, you’ll find yourself surrounded by sweeping mountain vistas and panoramic views of wide open valleys. Be gently awoken out of your reverence by songbirds and hot cowgirl coffee. Overhead, blue skies are made more vibrant by the white of the mountain-tops dusted by snow.

The deluxe amenities of fresh alpine air, pristine glacial water and azure blue skies are all just part of the service. Here, Mother Nature has surpassed herself and you are absolutely invited.

DAY ONE: BANFF NATIONAL PARK

Meet your group at the Hidden Ridge Resort in Banff at 4 pm today.

We do our introductions before driving over to Warner Stables. Next, you meet your guide and we have our trip orientation reviewing logistics and learning how to pack. Then the best part: meeting your horse! Enjoy a reception with a pre-departure toast.

Evening at leisure. Explore the town, discover the food or simply relax.

  • Overnight: Hidden Ridge Resort

 

DAY TWO: INTO THE MOUNTAINS

Meet your driver at 9:00 am to be transported to the Stables to begin your backcountry experience. Your adventure begins at 9:30 am at the backcountry check-in at the large barn at Warner Stables. Once you check in, you’ll meet your professional and friendly guides and get your slickers and saddle bags. You’ll have time to get to know your horse and ask any questions.

Once you and your horse are ready to go, we will mount up for the 10-mile ride along the banks of the sparkling glacier-fed Bow River, Brewster and Healy Creeks. We’ll stop along the way for a hot lunch on the river banks, then late afternoon we will arrive at Sundance Lodge. This elegant and luxurious lodge offers you a chance to experience the Canadian backcountry while relaxing in comfort.

You’ll arrive to a hot cup of tea or coffee, a warm shower, a soft bed, and the friendly greeting of your lodge host. Each host has a way of making the lodge their own, creating a comfortable atmosphere and cooking your delicious meals.

  • Riding Details: About 6 hours with breaks at a walk pace. You will ride up and down following waterways. Rocks, stream crossings and varying terrain provide interest and require attentive riding.
  • Mileage: Approximately 10 miles
  • Overnight: Sundance Lodge

 

DAY THREE: BACKCOUNTRY BLISS

After a deep and restful sleep in the peaceful quiet of the backcountry, you’ll awake to a hearty breakfast and a steaming mug of coffee.

You’ll have the entire morning to wake up slowly and savour your time at this picturesque lodge. Sundance was built in 1991, near the original Ten Mile Cabin where the trail riders used to stop and rest on their way to Mount Assiniboine. (Ten Mile Cabin is still there and Sundance Lodge sits where the corral would have been.)

With no emails to answer or errands to run, your time is your own. You can sit on the deck, get lost in the pages of a good book, have a chat with your horse and get to know your fellow adventurers.

We will begin your ride back to Banff in the late morning. You’ll bring along handmade sandwiches for the journey, as well as fresh-baked goodies and fruit.

You’ll return to the stables at approximately 4:30 pm, with plenty of stories to tell about your adventure in the backcountry. Transport will be waiting for you upon your return to take you to your comfortable hotel for the evening. Dinner this evening is at your own leisure.

  • Riding Details: About 6 hours with breaks. You will ride up and down following waterways. Rocks, stream crossings and varying terrain provide interest and require attentive riding.
  • Mileage: Approximately 10 miles

 

DAY FOUR: BANFF’S WILD SIDE

Meet your driver at 8:00 am outside of your hotel for an arrival at the Stables at 8:30 am. We’ll hand out your slickers and saddle bags and you will leave all of your gear with your 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 at camp, your “duffel” will be waiting for you so that you can grab it and settle into your tent.

We jump into the van and head to the very fringe of the front country, the trailhead corral at Lake Minnewanka. With your trusty horse we’ve specially chosen for you, we head completely off the beaten track into Banff’s wildest places. Our first ride gives you the chance to settle into your saddle and start to bond with your horse.

You’ll pass through the cool, craggy peaks of Brewster Mountain and Cascade Mountain (with a lunch stop along the way where Stony Creek meets the Cascade River), then head down into Stoney Creek Camp. This 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 cowgirl 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.

  • Riding Details: Up to 8 hours
  • Mileage: Approximately 10 miles

 

DAY FIVE: EXPLORING THE BISON ZONE

After breakfast, you’ll 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 SIX: BACKCOUNTRY RIDING

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 or photographer 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.

  • Riding Details: Up to 8 hours with breaks at a walk pace. Today’s ride will be based on the group’s ability and interest. You will ride up and down following waterways. Rocks, stream crossings and varying terrain provide interest and require attentive riding.
  • Mileage: To be determined
  • Overnight: Flint’s Park Campsite

 

DAY SEVEN: STONEY CAMP RETURN

On our last morning at Flint’s Camp, it’s time to say goodbye to this stunning campsite but the trip is far from over! Once saddled up, you’ll ride 10 miles along a different river trail route on your return to Stoney Camp. Here, we’ll stop for a lunch on the banks of the Cascade River.

You’ll settle back into this familiar campsite, marvelling at how much you have seen and experienced in the few days since your first night here.

  • Riding Details: Up to 8 hours with breaks at a walk pace. You will ride up and down often following waterways. Rocks, stream crossings and varying terrain provide interest and require attentive riding.
  • Mileage: 10 miles
  • Overnight: Stoney Creek Campsite

 

DAY EIGHT: EMERGING FROM THE MOUNTAINS

Arise early and say goodbye to your pristine backcountry surroundings – it’s time to head back into Banff and rejoin civilization. You may feel reluctant to leave the isolated, tranquil beauty of the deep wilderness so breath deep and savour each moment.  

On the last day of your Rocky Mountain backcountry adventure, you’ll mount up for the 13-mile ride through the stunning scenery of Elk Lake Summit. This is the highlight of the trip for many. 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. 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 at the Norquay Corral endpoint to take you back to Hidden Ridge Resort. Say goodbye to your new four-legged best friend with whom you shared this unforgettable adventure into the wild.

Back at your hotel, freshen up before meeting your driver at 7:00 pm outside of your hotel for the final evening group dinner.

  • Riding Details: Up to 8 hours with breaks at a walk pace. You will ride up and down often following waterways. Rocks, stream crossings and varying terrain provide interest and require attentive riding.
  • Mileage: 13 miles
  • Overnight: Hidden Ridge Resort

 

DAY NINE: FROM ROCKIES TO HOME

Breakfast at the hotel. You can plan your departure from Banff at any time from your hotel, Hidden Ridge Resort.

 

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