This pack trip is an awe-inspiring ride through the magnificence of the Ghost River area on the edge of Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. Explore Black Rock Mountain, climb the shoulders of Yamnuska Mountain and wonder at the vista of Orient Peak on this adventurous horse riding holiday. This trek is suitable for all levels of rider, more important is an appreciation for natural splendour and an enjoyment of the outdoors! The terrain and pack horses naturally limit the pace of this ride, and there may be occasions where you will have to walk alongside your horse, but this only allows more time to appreciate the stunning landscapes and spot the different plants and animals that surround you. Western cuisine and accommodation in rustic cozy log cabins really add to the authenticity of this adventure.
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Arrive at Calgary International Airport and transfer to your hotel for the evening (dinner not included).
Start your morning with a complimentary breakfast at the hotel followed by a short drive to the ranch. Today's adventure is 6 to 7 hours of riding over the ridge of Mount Yamnuska, a Native name meaning "Wall of Stone" or “End Mountain”. The trek trip starts off with a climb onto the ridge of Mount Yamnuska, (approx. 5,500 feet) on well-kept switchback trails. With a breathtaking view of the Bow Valley, you continue over the back side of the mountain travelling through wooded areas. The terrain here can be steep and rough so you will moving at quite a steady pace. Your guide will take you through quiet creek crossings, over majestic ridges with spectacular views, and finally through dense forests to a quaint cabin site named after an old family friend of the ranch, who had the original cabin in this private mountain location. Spend the evening around the campfire recounting stories of the old times, and enjoying a traditional cowboy dinner. When you are ready to retire for the evening you can head for your cabin, already made up with bedding and a comfortable place to lay your head.
The backcountry adventure continues as you head northwest to a local ranch which has been the winter grazing grounds since the early 1900’s. Over the years the family has run as many a 600 head herd, but today only runs about 150. Thoughts today will wonder back to a time long ago as you continue to live the lore of the West. You will climb mountain passes, keeping an eye out for Rocky Mountain Big Horn sheep, deer, elk, and possibly even wild horses! Traveling through meandering river bottoms, you might encounter beaver dams as well, so there is plenty to see all day. After 5 to 6 hours (including a stop for lunch) you will arrive at the next cabin site, with its panoramic vista of Black Rock Mountain and surrounding mountain ranges. Enjoy a few stories around the campfire under a beautiful starlit sky.
Today you can choose to take a 6 hour ride to the Black Rock view point, or stay in camp for a rest day.
Again, today offers the choice between a 4 hour ride to the Leisueur Creek view point or a rest day at the camp.
Not wanting to leave this magical place, you will take some time explore the natural beauty of the area before starting back to the original cabin site. Southward and across the Ghost River, with rugged peaks as a magnificent backdrop, you travel the old horse trails exploring the splendor that is the Canadian Rocky Mountains. One last night is spent in the cabins, recapping the adventure and drinking in the sights and sounds of a night in the wild.
Pack up after a last camp breakfast and ride out on to the trail one more time. Today you travel along grassy ridges beneath the watchful eye of ancient snow covered peaks, back to the ranch with a host of wonderful memories and a picturesque view of Mount Yamnuska. You will be transferred back to the hotel for the evening were you can enjoy a warm shower and hot tub (dinner not included).
After breakfast you will be transferred to Calgary International Airport for the flight home.
Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.
There are 40 horses available at the ranch, guests will be matched up according to their riding experience and horse preference. The horses are all trained and fit for the mountainous terrain and length of rides. The horses range in size from 15hh to 16.1hh and are all mellow and laid back in temperament. Western tack is used and the horses are ridden using neck reining.
The riding is all at a walk due to the steep and rugged terrain and use of pack horses. The trail includes riding on mountain trails and crossing rivers, creeks and valleys. On some days it may be necessary to dismount and walk alongside the horses when the terrain is particularly steep or rocky.
This ride is suitable for all riders from novice onwards. Riders should be able to get on and off without help. The minimum age is 8 years old and minimum height is 4'4" (1.3m). Maximum weight is 250lbs however depending on height and riding ability there is some flexibility.
Some walking is required of approximately 20 minutes per day. A reasonable level of general fitness is recommended for this ride, some days can include up to 7 hours in the saddle although the pace is generally quite gentle. Experience over steep/rough terrain is helpful but not necessary. Riders do not need to assist in the preparation of the horses.
Riders will be required to sign a waiver before departing for the trek. All guides have first aid and guides training and a first aid kit is carried on all rides.
The weight limit for this ride is 18 st/250 lb/114 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.
The first and last nights of this trip will be spent in a local hotel with private bathroom and breakfast in the hotel before your hosts pick you up. On these nights, dinner is not included but you can either eat in the hotel or ask for recommendations in the local area. It may be possible to arrange single rooms on these nights for an additional supplement, please discuss this with your travel consultant if you would like a room to yourself in the hotel.
During the pack trip you will be staying in rustic back-country log cabins along the Old Horse Drive Trail. Each camp has a different set up regarding beds and rooms so guests need to be willing to share, sometimes with more than 1 other person. Each camp is equipped with outhouses and a kitchen cabin. All cabins are equipped with sleeping bags, sheets and pillows. There is also a washstand area for you to clean up after your ride, and a camp fire where you can relax and share stories in the evening. The camp sites are right in the heart of the wilderness and have wonderful views!
The cooks will travel with you to each camp and provide hearty authentic backcountry meals to keep you going along the trails. Breakfast is usually a buffet served at around 8am may include eggs, bacon, sausage, French toast, pancakes, cereal, juice, coffee and tea. A lunch of sandwiches, fruit and biscuits is made up for you and carried in saddle bags or on the pack horses. You will usually stop around midday and have your lunch picnic style while you admire the view. Dinner is served buffet style and may contain chicken, steak, pork, salad, potatoes, rice, dessert, juice, tea and coffee.
Alcohol is not included but guests are welcome to take their own along.
Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.
Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip. If Visa’s are required the requirements can change from year to year depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country. Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate on request. General information: All travellers are required to provide details online 72 hours prior to travel.
Visa-exempt foreign nationals who fly to or transit through Canada are expected to have an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Exceptions include U.S. citizens and travellers with a valid Canadian visa.
To visit Canada, you will need to meet some basic requirements, such as:
• have a valid travel document, such as a passport,
• be in good health,
• have no criminal or immigration-related convictions,
• convince an immigration officer that you have ties—such as a job, home, financial assets or family—that will take you back to your home country,
• convince an immigration officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your visit, and
• have enough money for your stay. (The amount of money you will need can vary. It depends on things such as how long you will stay, and whether you will stay in a hotel, or with friends or relatives.)
Citizens of a few countries may also need a:
• medical exam and
• letter of invitation from someone who lives in Canada.
For further information please visit http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/eta.asp
The Canadian High Commission in the U.K is at Macdonald House, 1 Grosvenor Square, London W1K 4AB. Telephone: (020) 7258 6600. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The British Consulate in Canada is at 80 Elgin Street, Ottawa, K1P 5K7. Telephone: + (1) (613) 237 1530. Email: generalenquiries@BritaininCanada.org.
Summer is generally 15-30 Celsius each day with cooler mountain mornings. It is warmest in July and August. The climate here is generally dry. Stunning autumn colours are best seen in September.
Giardiasis is present so do not drink water from streams. Tap water is safe to drink. Rabies is endemic in Canada, do not approach stray dogs. Lyme disease can be a risk in wooded regions; it is a rare tick borne disease. Check with your doctor for details but apart from general precautions against tick bites no prophylaxis is usually required.
For up to date information on specific health concerns please contact the Medical Advisors For Travellers Abroad. Their website can be found at www.masta.org and the Deprtment of Health also gives medical advice on their web site at www.dh.gov.uk
The voltage is 110-120V, 60Hz in Canada as in the USA and you will need a flat blade plug and possibly an adaptor depending on the appliance.
There is no electricity available during the ride so please pack spare batteries or a powerpack for cameras.
Riding boots, paddock boots or riding sneakers - must have heel and be comfortable to walk in
Half Chaps (with sneakers or paddock boots)
Riding helmet or sunhat with wide brim and string - a variety of sizes are available from the ranch but we recommend taking your own.
Jodhpurs or jeans for riding – must be comfortable in the saddle for long periods of time!
Long sleeved shirts - lightweight
Lightweight rainwear including waterproof trousers
Informal wear for evenings
Sweater or Sweatshirt
Personal toiletries and medications
Chaps and saddlebags are available for rent at $25 per person
Because everything must be loaded on pack-horses, please pack as lightly as possible. Some items can be packed in saddlebags. Bags must be soft and not have a hard frame of any kind.
This is an 8 day/7 night programme with up to 6 days riding available on request between June and October.
2019: On request between June and October for a minimum of 2 riders.
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Banff and Canmore are very busy tourist towns. Golfing, rafting, hiking and sightseeing are all available near by.
Bears, deer, wild horses, moose, coyotes, eagles and hawks
People migrating from Asia crossing the Bering Strait first settled the North American continent. They formed a number of tribes that can be distinguished by language: the Algonquian in the eastern sub-arctic and maritime areas spreading into the prairies and plains of the mid-west; the Iriquioian speaking tribes mostly in the St Lawrence Valley and around Lakes Ontario and Erie; the Salishan, Athabascan and other linguistic groups lived along the rivers and coastline of British Columbia. Small, isolated Inuit bands developed a unique culture in the harsh environment of the Arctic.
John Cabot, a Venetian working in the service of the English sailed to Newfoundland in 1497. This and later explorations formed the basis of the English claim to Canada. The Frenchman Jacques Cartier undertook a series of explorations, mainly along the route of the St Lawrence River during the 1530s and 1540s and he claimed the land for France.
It's the edginess between Canada's indigenous, French and British traditions that gives the nation its complex three-dimensional character. Add to this a constant infusion of US culture and a plethora of traditions brought by migrants, and you have a thriving multicultural society.
Canada is between 3.5 and 8 hours behind GMT depending on where you are in the country. They use the metric weights and measures system, so kilometres and kilograms instead of miles and pounds. There is approximately 1.6 kilometres in a mile and 2.2 pounds in a kilogram.
The international dialling code is +1.