One-Night, Two-Day, Learn to Camp in the Backcountry
This program is for those families looking to get into backcountry camping with a relaxed experience and a focus on learning. With less distance travelled and a shorter itinerary, we keep pack weights manageable and will access an easier location in a world-class setting. In our packs, we will carry personal clothing, a sleeping bag and a mat plus a share of group food and camping gear. The focus of the program will be on how to efficiently make a night in the backcountry a success. The whole family will be involved in bivy site selection, cooking and prepping backcountry meals, setting up tents and understanding the rules and etiquette around camping in National and Provincial Parks.
Potential venues include Exshaw Creek towards Mt. Loder, Up Cougar Creek past the Canadian Fork or out in Kananaskis or Banff National Park at one of the many amazing venues these destinations have to offer.
At 8:00 am we meet up at the Yamnuska Mountain Adventures office in Canmore. We’ll go over the trip with you and check to see that you are properly outfitted before leaving for our adventure. We will teach you how to pack light and fit everything you need for your trip prior to heading out. Once packed up we will head to the trailhead and begin our approach to where we will spend our night. When we find our bivy site the whole family will come together to help prepare the site for an amazing evening out in the backcountry. Some duties will include:
- Tent site selection and set up
- Preparing stoves and meals
- Site etiquette
- Treating and dealing with water
- How to be bear aware
After an epic night out, the team will come back together to prepare another meal. After a great breakfast, you will learn how to tear down camp and return the site to its pristine conditions. Once packed up you will finish the adventure with a beautiful hike out to the trailhead where you and your family will have created memories that will last a lifetime. This will also give everyone a great sense of accomplishment and will hopefully be the start to many more family adventures in the mountains.
Meeting Place and Time
We will meet you at our Yamnuska Mountain Adventures office at 8:00 am on the morning of Day 1.
Our office is located at 200, 50 Lincoln Park, Canmore. See this map for location.
Please ensure that you have your hiking equipment with you.
Accommodation and Meals
On the trail you will be staying in modern, lightweight 3- and 2-person weather-proof tents.
All meals, snacks and drinks are supplied from lunch on Day 1 to lunch on Day 2. For guests with dietary restrictions, we can modify the program food pack to meet your individual needs. As food pricing and preparation for these diets is more costly, we have implemented the following surcharges. For vegan, gluten-free, lactose-free, soy-free, nut-free or any similar type of single restriction menu requests, there will be a $17/day surcharge. For a diet requiring any 2 restrictions a $26/day surcharge will apply. For any 3 restrictions, a $31/day surcharge will apply. Vegetarian meals will not be surcharged. For more complex diets our kitchen staff will assess the restrictions to inform you if the diet can be accommodated and what surcharge would apply.
Accommodation in Canmore is not included. A variety of accommodation options exist in both Canmore and Banff, including campsites, hostels, all levels of hotels as well as condo style accommodation with kitchens or suites. We recommend that you book your own pre and post-trip accommodations well in advance as all levels of accommodations in the Bow Valley fill quickly.
Excess luggage can be left at your hotel or our office.
Guides and Group Size
Yamnuska Mountain Adventures is licensed by Parks Canada and Alberta Provincial parks to conduct hiking tours in both the National and Provincial Mountain Parks of the Canadian Rockies.
Your guides are experienced professional hiking guides who live here, in the Canadian Rockies. They are certified by the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides and from the Mountain Parks Heritage Interpretation Association. Your guide has advanced wilderness first aid training. They will be carrying full emergency gear including a first-aid kit, bear spray and a portable radio. Most importantly, they are chosen for their enthusiasm and interest in sharing their knowledge of these mountains.
The minimum group size will be 4, maximum 8. Programs will be run with a single-family or cohort.
Getting to Canmore and Transportation
Canmore is situated 100km (65miles) west of Calgary on the Trans-Canada Highway. It is well served by scheduled bus lines both from Calgary (airport and downtown), Banff (20km west) and points further west. Calgary International Airport is well connected to major cities throughout North America and Europe. Once in Canmore, we will supply all the transport needed for the trip.
Frequent shuttles connect Calgary International Airport and Canmore. Banff Airporter is the best way to get between Calgary Airport and Canmore/Banff. When you book with Yamnuska Mountain Adventures you will receive a 15% discount on Banff Airporter Scheduled Services.
Equipment and Clothing
We supply group camping and cooking equipment, as well as an emergency communication device, trip food, bear spray, water purification equipment and a full expedition emergency first-aid kit. You will need to bring personal backpacking equipment and clothing. When purchasing gear consider both functionality as well as weight. Lightweight packs, sleeping bags, sleeping mats and clothing are readily available and will lighten your load substantially.
What you bring will have a big impact on the quality of your experience. Please take the time to read the information below, and cross-check with our Traveling Light and Making Backpacking Fun. The list below will keep you very comfortable in the field. Make sure you have all your clothing and gear before you arrive, and reserve any rentals with us in advance. Your guide will go through your clothing and gear with you prior to the trip.
When hiking in the mountains, it is important to be able to adjust to the changing conditions. We recommend bringing clothing that can be layered to achieve comfort as you change from periods of activity to periods of rest. We discourage cotton clothing as it causes rapid heat loss when wet.
You will need to bring:
- Wool or fleece hat/toque
- Sunhat – Wide brim or baseball style
- Long underwear top and bottoms – Lightweight synthetic or merino wool
- Socks – Preferably a synthetic/merino wool blend. Bring at least three pairs.
- Light Synthetic Shirt
- Jacket – A midweight synthetic
- Insulated Jacket – synthetic or down jacket
- Waterproof / Breathable Rain Jacket
- Rain Pants – Also waterproof/breathable. Ideally with side zips, so they can be put on without taking off your boots.
- Hiking Pants – Preferably windproof and quick drying. No blue jeans or cotton pants.
- Light Gloves / Mitts
- Light Footwear – Crocs, Tevas, or running shoes for the occasional creek crossing and use around camp.
You will need to bring:
- Boots and Hiking Shoes – Spend some time walking around in your boots or shoes before you arrive for your trip and get used to how they feel. They should have good ankle support and tread, with sturdy soles. Your boots and shoes will make or break your holiday so some time getting used to them is time well spent. Ensure they have been waterproofed or have a good waterproof liner material.
- Gaiters – Recommended early & late season. Really help to keep feet dry, keep socks and pants clean from mud and keep debris out of your boots.
- Medium Sized Backpack – This should be between 45-55 litres capacity depending on the bulk of your personal gear and length of the trip. In it, you will carry your clothing, sleeping bag and mat, plus your share of group camping gear and food which is typically an extra 10 – 20 litres of space. Lightweight packs with good suspension are recommended. If bringing an additional day pack, this should be very light and compressible in order to fit inside the bigger pack on the approach hike.
- Pack Cover – This should be waterproof and large enough to cover the outside of your pack to keep the contents dry in a rainstorm. You can also line the inside of your stuff sacks with plastic bags to keep gear dry.
- Sleeping Bag – We recommend a ‘3 season’ bag rated 0ºC to –6ºC as temperatures can drop to below freezing at night. Make sure you bring a stuff sac lined with a plastic garbage bag that will reduce your bag to its minimum size (i.e. one with compression straps). This will provide enough space in your pack for everything else. A down bag will be lighter and more compressible for the weight than a synthetic bag.
- Sleeping Mat – Lightweight “Therm-a-rest” mats are recommended (Not Required on Wapta Ice Hike and Lake O’Hara Hiking Tour).
- Pillow – A small, compressible pillow or a spare stuff sack into which you can stuff extra clothes to create a pillow.
- Trekking Poles – Must be collapsible.
- Sunglasses – With 100% UV protection and a hard case.
- Headlamp – With fresh batteries
- Water Bottle / Bladder – 1-2 litre capacity.
- Blister Kit – Moleskin, Second Skin, etc.
- Personal First Aid Kit – Our guide carries a group first aid kit so keep this small. Band-Aids, Tylenol/ibuprofen, etc.
- Sun Block & Lip Balm – Extra strength with UV protection.
- Eating Utensils – Bowls, sporks, a large mug, light pocket knife, etc. (Not required on the Lake O’Hara Hiking Tour)
- Personal Toiletries including hand sanitizer– Keep to a minimum with no scented items.
- Insect repellent
Please book as early as practical to avoid disappointment. A 35% deposit CDN (including GST) is required at the time of booking. The final payment is due eight weeks before the start of the trip.
For detailed Booking Instructions and Conditions, click here.
Please note that you will be required to sign our waiver before commencing the trip. Click here for a waiver copy.
There are two basic types of insurance that most travellers need to consider: Medical and Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance. We offer our guests coverage for both and highly recommend you purchase it.
Emergency Medical Expenses Insurance:
It is wise to ensure that your health plan will cover you in case of illness or accident during your trip. Obtain extra coverage if necessary. There is no charge for rescue in the National and provincial Parks, however, costs such as air or ground transportation, long-term care and other services are not covered.
Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance:
We recognize that our guests’ schedules may change for many reasons; business, family, flight delays, injuries and other unplanned events. For these eventualities, Trip Cancellation/Interruption insurance is a great way to protect your investment.
For all your travel insurance requirements we recommend the Simpson Group. This agency offers a wide range of travel insurance options including Trip Cancellation/Interruption, Travel Medical and Personal Effect Loss for Canadian Travelers. We highly recommend purchasing this insurance. For more information and to purchase a plan, visit the Simpson Group’s website.
Please note that this coverage is for Canadian residents only. For guests who are not from Canada and who are interested in the ‘Visitors to Canada’ insurance package please contact the Simpson Group directly at JSimpson@simpson-group.com and reference your Yamnuska Mountain Adventure’s trip.
Departures will be set up on a private basis for families, or groups. Please contact us if you would like to arrange your own departure
Please note that this program is being run with a single-family or cohort.
$399 CDN per person includes instruction, camp fees, out-trip meals, group camping gear GST is extra.
Trip Cancellation Insurance is available through the Simpson Group.
How difficult is it?
How fit and experienced need you be?
This is an easy hiking tour. It involves hiking between 4-6 hours per day where daily distances can range from 2km to up to 8km. Elevation gains of up to 600m for some hikes. Participants will be carrying an overnight pack containing spare clothing, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, tents split up amongst the group, food and drinks for each day. Hikes will be chosen to best suit the group.
Expect a slower pace. We will stay as a group while hiking. Any training you can do before you arrive will enhance your experience. No previous mountain hiking experience required. We suggest you train by walking or hiking in hilly terrain (use flights of stairs if in the city).
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need to know anything else about this program.