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Backpacking

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Skoki Circuit
Photo by Adam Greenberg

Banff Highline
Photo by Adam Greenberg

Esplanade Track - hut to hut hiking

Canadian Rockies Hiking by Yamnuska offers scheduled hiking and backpacking trips to different areas of the Canadian Rockies, each with its own unique ambiance, beauty and challenge. These trips can be arranged for private groups if our dates don't suit you.

Canadian Rockies Hiking by Yamnuska's backpacking adventures are great escapes. As days pass you fall into a rhythm, you relax and sore muscles firm up. Hiking at an easy pace you soon forget that you're moving at all as you become absorbed with your surroundings:  a waterfall breaks through the cliffs above, an orchid peeps through the moss on the forest floor, clouds scud past the peaks high above. The mountains provide endless distractions.

After a couple of days you realize that the next campsite is not the objective, it's the journey that counts!  Reaching the end you're tempted to take a sharp turn, head up the next valley and just keep walking!

Best of the Rockies Backpacking Trips:

Backpacking allows us to get into remote areas and to enjoy a total outdoor living experience. We carry everything we need with us as we move from campsite to campsite day by day. In our packs we have our personal clothing, sleeping bag and mat plus a share of group food and camping gear.

Long Weekend Backpacking Series: Want to get out and enjoy some of the best backpacking in the world, but don't have the time for one of our extended trips?  This series of three progressively more challenging backpacking routes on each of the summer's long weekends will give you a chance to expand your backcountry skills and get out to enjoy the wonderful mountain ranges surrounding Banff and Canmore! 

Mount Robson Hike: Mount Robson, monarch of the Canadian Rockies, towers over Berg Lake and the extensive sub-alpine forests and tundra stretching to the northwest. It is the constant backdrop on this, our most relaxed backpacking trip.

Bluerock Country: In June we hike in the Front Ranges of the Canadian Rockies where a drier climate allows us to travel here when the meadows of the Continental Divide are covered in snow! A delightful easy to moderate trip totally evocative of the region.

Skoki Circuit: In the Canadian Rockies, not far to the east of Lake Louise lie vast alpine meadows linked by forested valleys and narrow passes. The Skoki region has been a favorite with mountain travelers to the Canadian Rockies for well over a century.

Mount Assiniboine: Fantastic scenery as we hike from one of the World's best hiking areas, through Banff National Park to Sunshine Meadows & Banff. Includes helicopter flight to Assiniboine.

Rockwall Highline: Passes & meadows flank the mighty ramparts of the 'Rockwall' in Kootenay National Park. Arriving at Floe Lake you'll bask in the surreal beauty of this mountain paradise and realize you've completed one of the world's great walks.

Banff Sawback Traverse: Join us for a unique trip into the Front Ranges of Banff National Park. From spectacular Johnson Canyon we head north to Lake Louise via Pulsatilla Pass and Baker Creek with a visit to high and wild Badger Pass. Private departures available for individuals, groups, and families.

Banff Highline: A Rockies Classic! Follow the Great Divide Trail from Vermilion Pass across high alpine meadows, along the shores of azure mountain lakes all the way south past the shadows of Mount Assiniboine to finish in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park near Canmore.

Jasper Highlands: A fabulous hiking circuit in Jasper National Park. Features an extended sub-alpine meadow section, chances to glimpse rare woodland caribou and the northern lights in the fall.

Highwood Circuit: This is one of our challenging trips to a remote and little-travelled region of Kananaskis country just South of Canmore. We traverse a four-day circuit of the Highwood Range of the Canadian Rockies.

Kananaskis Highlands: This five-day trip across the South and North Kananaskis Passes offers varied scenery with lots of lakes, glaciers and spectacular canyons gouged through the rock. Private departures available for individuals, groups, and families.

Adventure Trekking Programs:

Wapta Ice Hike: The Wapta Icefield provides a unique opportunity for fit walkers and hikers to enjoy amazing mountain scenery normally reserved for mountaineers in the course of a three-day traverse. We start at Bow Lake and hike up to and over the Bow Glacier to the Peyto Glacier staying in alpine huts en-route.

Custom Trips: Organized for you and your group specifically, when and where to suit.

Backpacking FAQs

How old are participants?
We get people from all age groups, parents with teenagers to fit hikers in their sixties.

Which is the easiest trip, which is the hardest?
Visit our Trip Difficulty Comparison Chart.

How fit do you need to be?
These trips are designed for people who live normal healthy lifestyles that include regular exercise. Our trips vary in difficulty and you don't have to be exceedingly fit for many of them. Most people who join us live in cities. The guides will set a regular and steady pace that conserves energy, is not too fast and which allows you to enjoy the trip. If you are completely out of shape you may  find it very tough for the first days. We cannot emphasize enough that training pays great dividends in enjoyment. We suggest you train by jogging or hiking (ideally in hilly terrain). If it is hard for you to train before you come you should consider coming a few days early and doing some day hikes on your own to get ready.

Please consult us if you have any doubts.

What type of food do we provide?
We try to keep the food as light and tasty as possible without jeopardizing nutritional needs. It tends to be a mixture of pre-dried meals and meals constructed from basic ingredients. We cater to vegetarians and those with food allergies (e.g.. peanut allergy). In case of more complicated diets a surcharge may apply. You need to let us know your special needs when you book.

What gear does Canadian Rockies Hiking by Yamnuska supply?
We supply tents, camp stoves, pots and pans and anything that is used by the entire group.

What do participants need to bring?
You will need to bring your own clothing, backpack, eating utensils, sleeping bag and sleeping mat. Lists are attached to each program page. Equipment can also be rented our purchased.

Rental Gear
Canadian Rockies Hiking by Yamnuska has the following items for rent: sleeping bag, sleeping mat, backpack, raingear. Make sure to order these from us when you book or well in advance.  Please visit our Rental Gear page.

What do you have to carry?
You have to carry your own personal gear (sleeping bag, clothing, personal effects) plus a share of group food and equipment (camping stoves, pots and tents).

How much do you have to carry?
This varies with the trip and with how light your personal gear is and how many extra items you bring (camera, books etc). Before you start the guides can go through your gear with you and advise you on what to bring and what to leave behind so you don't carry anything unnecessary.

To learn more about lightening your load, please read Lightening Your Load and Making Backpacking More Fun.

Can porters be used?
Yes! This service is offered as an add-on and costs at least an extra $240 per day. A porter may not be needed for the whole trip. Ask us for details.

Can Canadian Rockies Hiking by Yamnuska organize a private trips on demand?
Yes. Please visit our Custom Tours page.