Linking alpine cirques, lakes and meadows, the Esplanade Track follows the skyline of one of British Columbia’s most beautiful ranges. Running parallel to the Canadian Rockies, the Track offers exceptional panoramic views of the Rockies’ most famous peaks: Robson, Columbia and Assiniboine.
Add comfortable huts, home-cooked meals and light daypacks to get a walking experience that is pure mountain enjoyment!
Access is exclusively by helicopter, a great way to start and finish the trip.
The Esplanade Track is known for its beautiful and extensive subalpine meadows and lovely ridges. The huts are located in alpine basins filled with meadows, lakes and scattered stands of spruce and fir. Linking these basins (and the huts) are long flat-topped ridges with marvellous panoramas of the peaks of both the Canadian Rockies and the Selkirk Mountains. If that’s not enough, small peaks rise adjacent to the track providing non-technical hiking objectives for those who want to get a view that is just that much better. Both trips are scheduled for when the wildflowers are at their best.
Day 1: At 6:00 pm we will meet you in the lobby of your hotel in Canmore then travel to our office at #200, 50 Lincoln Park in Canmore. We’ll discuss the itinerary with you and then check clothing and gear to make sure everyone is properly equipped for the trip. We’ll answer your questions, check the weather forecast and get ready for an early departure the next day.
Day 2: After breakfast, we drive 3 hours west on the Trans Canada Highway through Banff and Yoho National Parks then past Golden in British Columbia to the helicopter staging area which is just west of Glacier National Park. Following a helicopter safety briefing, we fly in groups of five to the most northern point of the trip, Vista Hut sitting at 2150 meters (7050 ft.). After getting settled and receiving some brief instructions on hut use, we will head out for a hike to explore the surrounding area. Later that evening, enjoy a relaxing sauna or take in the evening stars.
Day 3: After a hearty breakfast we begin our traverse from Vista to Meadow Hut. Leaving the forested, rocky lakeside behind we ascend to the barren alpine of the ridge allowing for panoramic views of the surrounding flower-speckled meadows, alpine lakes and the majestic Mount Sir Sandford, the highest peak in the Selkirks. As we begin our descent and approach tree line, Electric Blue Lake radiates in the distance and guides us to our destination for the night. The hut is surrounded by lake-filled meadows with dramatic peaks in the distance providing a breathtaking backdrop.
Day 4: We leave the valley basin once again, gaining elevation to reach our trail for the day along Paradise Ridge. With the Rocky Mountains to the west, we head south with views to the Purcell Mountains. Cupola Peak stands midway as the highest peak in the Esplanade Range reaching 2632 meters (8635 ft.) Eventually, we descend to reach our final destination, Sunrise Hut at 2134 meters (7000 ft.) sitting on the shores of Sunrise Lake.
Day 5: This is the last day of living high above the valley bottoms. We rise early and watch the sunrise. Enjoy the morning relaxing around the lodge or take a short hike in the area. We then fly again by helicopter to the parking area and drive back to Canmore via Lake Louise arriving late afternoon. Then it’s time to meet at a local restaurant to celebrate life in the mountains and plan for more!
Day 6: Complimentary breakfast at the hotel.
Meeting Place and Time
Unless you are otherwise notified we will meet you at 6:00 pm on Day 1 in the lobby of your hotel in Canmore then travel to our office at #200, 50 Lincoln Park in Canmore. Detailed accommodation directions will be included in your booking confirmation.
Please ensure that you have your hiking equipment with you.
Guides and Group Size
There will be a maximum of twelve guests and a minimum of seven. Your guide will be a fully-trained professional hiking guide. Please note the minimum age is 19.
Accommodation and Meals
The first and last nights of each trip will be spent at one of our partner hotels in Canmore. We will arrange a pick-up from the hotel on the first night of the meeting at the Yamnuska office. Typical hotels used for this program are the Coast Hotel, the Canmore Rocky Mountain Inn, and the Chateau Canmore hotel. We will provide detailed accommodation directions when you book on this program.
Accommodation is double occupancy. Accommodations in the field will be the Sunrise, Meadows and Vista Huts (shared accommodation only). These are simple but functional backcountry huts. These huts have single and double bunks and bedding is supplied. Heating is by a wood stove and propane is used for cooking and lighting. There is no running water but each hut has a sauna for relaxing after the day and for washing.
We supply all meals and trail snacks from breakfast on Day 2 to breakfast on Day 7 except for the evening meal in Canmore on Day 6. Food is pre-packed and flown into the huts with us where it is prepared by our experienced backcountry cooks. For guests with dietary restrictions, we are able to 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.
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.
Clothing and Equipment
What you bring will have a big impact on the quality of your experience. Please take the time to read the information below. Make sure you have all the equipment beforehand and reserve rentals in advance if necessary.
You will need to bring:
- BOOTS: These should be ‘broken-in’ and have good ankle support and tread, with ‘Vibram’ soles or equivalent. Your boots will make or break your holiday so some time spent getting used to them is time well spent.
- DAY PACK: Enough room to carry your personal clothes and equipment for the week. (rentals available).
- TREKKING POLES these are highly recommended (rentals available).
- Small FLASHLIGHT or HEADLAMP with extra batteries.
- WATER BOTTLE (1 Liter)
- SUNBLOCK & LIP BALM
- SMALL TOWEL
Clothing must be durable to withstand mountain conditions, multipurpose to keep packs light and compressible to leave room for lunch food in your pack. Cotton clothing is NOT recommended as an insulating layer as it causes rapid heat loss when wet.
UPPER BODY LAYERS
- Wool or fleece HAT
- BALL CAP OR OTHER SUNHAT
- 3 TO 4 WARM LAYERS (1. Lightweight polypro top. 2. medium or expedition weight polypropylene top. 3. fleece jacket or sweater 4. optional additional warm layer)
- T-SHIRT for warm dry sunny days
- RAIN JACKET with HOOD (sufficient to withstand a day of rain or snow)
- GLOVES or MITTS
- BATHING SUIT and small pack towel for use in the sauna
LOWER BODY LAYERS
- 3 pairs of wool blend SOCKS
- SHORTS (quick-drying, preferably not cotton)
- HIKING PANTS (comfortable and quick-drying, not cotton)
- RAIN PANTS (sufficient to withstand a day of rain or snow)
- WARM PANTS FOR EVENINGS (fleece or polypro pants)
- RUNNING SHOES OR OTHER LIGHTWEIGHT FLAT FOOTWEAR (for use around the huts).
- GAITERS (optional for early and late season, help to keep feet dry when hiking in rain, mud & snow)
- LIGHT POCKET KNIFE
- CAMERA AND SPARE FILM
- PERSONAL TOILET ITEMS (keep to a bare minimum, no scented items as we will be in bear country).
- INSECT REPELLENT
Please book as early as practical to avoid disappointment. A 35% deposit is required at time of booking, $350 plus GST is NON-REFUNDABLE.
Special booking conditions apply to this program due to the use of backcountry lodges.
$350 + GST (non-refundable deposit)
Balance of Payment is due at 8 weeks
8 weeks – $350 + GST (non-refundable deposit)
6 weeks to 8 weeks – 60% of tour cost + GST / person
Less than 6 weeks – entire tour cost
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:
In the Esplanade Range you may have to pay for evacuation should you hurt yourself or fall ill (not astronomically expensive). It is wise to ensure that your health plan will cover you in case of illness or accident while here.
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, the 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.
$2880.00 Canadian includes 4 days hiking, hiking guide, 2 nights accommodation in Canmore, 3 nights hut accommodation, all meals except dinners on Days 1 and 5, helicopter access, and local transfers.
Not included: Gratuities for guide, Goods & Services Tax (GST).
Single Supplement – to guarantee a single room on the first and last night hotel accommodation an additional $370 plus GST will be charged. (optional)
Trip Cancellation Insurance is available through the Simpson Group.
Please note the minimum age is 19 years old.
Please note that guests are responsible for their own accommodation and meals in case of delayed flights due to weather conditions.
How difficult is it?
How fit and experienced need you be?
This tour involves hiking for up to 5 hours per day, distances up to 8km, elevation gains of up to 500m (~ 1500 ft.) Participants will be carrying a daypack containing spare clothing, camera, lunch and something to drink each day.
This program is designed for fit trail walkers. Any training you can do before you arrive will enhance your experience. No previous mountain hiking experience required. We suggest you train by hiking or walking in hilly terrain (use flights of stairs if in the city).
Visit our Trip Difficulty Comparison Chart.