Paradise on Earth is a big statement, but for sheer scale of unspoilt wonder and sense of freedom, the Canadian Rockies certainly come close. A land of majestic, snow-capped peaks, crystal clear inlets, simply bursting with wildlife, a trip here is like tonic for the soul. And it’s all within striking distance of one of the world’s great cities.
Rocky Mountain tours have been being run out of Vancouver for years, and in that time have been refined into a fine art. So whether you’re interested in trekking into the hills, touring them by coach, or taking part in the main adventure activities you’ll find within them, then look no further. We’ve assembled five of the best, which cater to all tastes, below.
10-day Rocky Mountains Whistler Big West Tour from Vancouver
A trip for the adventurously inclined. This ten day tour takes you by bus through some spectacular scenery, then offers you the chance to leap out into it: if you want literally. There’s ziplining and bungee jumping on the itinerary, as well as white water rafting and kayaking on vast lakes. Accommodation is in mixed-gender dorms with the other people taking the tour, so be prepared to get to know your fellow travellers very well, and perhaps make friends for life.
Circle West – Canadian Rockies Round Trip Bus Tour From Vancouver
A shorter more sedate tour, which will nevertheless take your breath away. You’ll be driven out into some of the most spectacular landscapes of the Rockies, and invited to head on short walks out into their vastness. Waterfalls and glaciers await, as do pre-arranged meals and comfortable pre-booked accommodation, meaning there’s no administrative stress getting in the way of your enjoyment of this magnificent environment’s bountiful wonders.
Canadian Rockies 7–Day National Parks Group Tour
Delving deeper into the mountains, this seven day coach tour for wilderness explorers takes you out along the Icefield Parkway – regarded by many as one of the most beautiful roads in the world – and invites you to kayak out on the glacial waters of Moraine Lake, to cycle off into the wilderness, even to strap on a set of crampons to set foot on Athabasca glacier. Accommodation is in pre-booked hotels, though for lunches you’ll have to fend for yourself.
Vancouver: Private 6-Day Rocky Mountain Explorer Tour
If you’ve got the cash to spare and want to go private, this is the tour for you. Have all the spectacular landscape of the Rockies introduced and explained to you by your own personal guide as you ascend into the wilderness: complete with a dip in hot springs, a winery tour, and a gondola ride to the top of a mountain. Note that the accommodation and meals for this tour are not included, which on the upside means that if it’s luxury you’re after, there’s nothing holding you back. The tour company will of course help plan these elements of the trip.
Whales & Bears of British Columbia
Because as well as its sumptuous scenery, this part of Canada is also a wildlife spotter’s dream. From salmon hunting grizzly bears to pods of cresting orcas, a trip here can feel like being in the midst of your very own nature documentary, as long as you know where to look. This trip offers exactly that, taking you up the coast from Vancouver and into a wilderness where as well as bears and whales, there are seals, elk, and a vast menagerie of bird life all awaiting the snap of your telephoto lens.