Horse riding pack trip holiday in Canada
Horseback pack trip vacation in Canada
Horse riding holiday in Chilcotin
Horseback vacation in Chilcotin
Wildlife viewing horse riding holiday in Canada
Wildlife viewing horseback vacation
Horse riding in wild Canada
Horseback vacation in Canadian mountains
Horseback vacation in wild Canada
Wildlife study in Canada
Horse riding holiday in wild Canada
Horse riding holiday in Canadian Rockies
Horseback vacation in Canadian Rockies
Horseback vacation Canada
Horse riding holiday Canada
Pack trip holiday in Rocky Mountains
Pack trip vacation Rocky Mountains
Horse riding holiday in Canada
Horseback vacation in Canada

Experience nature through the eyes of people who know it best on this fascinating horse riding pack trip through this incredible area of British Colombia. On these rides you can learn the instincts and habits of an abundance of wildlife including bears, eagles, mountain goats, moose, cougars and wolves. The knowledgeable guides will take every opportunity to show off the incredible ecosystems in action as you ride through the wilderness, making this a much more interesting and meaningful holiday than simple wildlife viewing.

Available throughout the summer months, these 4 or 7 day pack trips set out from a traditional dude ranch set 1,100m in the mountains of Canada. Staying in canvas tents, you get really close to nature on these exploratory-type trails, but not too close! If you like a little more comfort please see our Ranch Stay with Wildlife Research holiday. The idea is to see the native animals in their own habitat behaving naturally, and to learn how they all contribute to the thriving ecosystem as a whole. The local area also hosts Native Indian pow-wows and villages, a historic mining town, many cattle ranches and a small rodeo in town every weekend through the summer. Riding through the mountainous terrain you ride up as high as 3000m offering some incredible views across the Park.

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Please note: It is recommended that you arrive in Vancouver the day before your ride stars and spend the night in a hotel in Vancouver for the early morning pick-up. The shuttle will collect you from the Sheraton Guildford hotel at approximately 06:15.

Canadian Wildlife Research Pack Trip
Day 1

You will be collected at approximately 06:15 from the Sheraton Guildford in Vancouver and transferred to the ranch in time for a hearty family lunch. The shuttle will stop on route to allow guests to purchase any extra supplies they need to look at points of interest along the route. There will be an introduction to the ongoing research projects currently active on the ranch as well as conservation activities and sustainable practices you will need to adopt during your stay. You will then meet the horses and learn the saddling and riding techniques used on the farm. An introductory trail ride will allow you to get comfortable with your horse and the style of riding, and start looking out for wildlife around the ranch. Over dinner your guides will give you an overview of the trip to come followed by a map orientation. They will show you which trails you will be taking and the best wildlife viewing locations along the route. You will then be provided with a mountain duffel bag to repack your personal items into (try to pack as lightly as possible but take all essential items!) before turning in for the night on the ranch.

Day 2
After a filling breakfast on the ranch, you saddle your horse and help load up the pack horses and set out on your wildlife adventure. Your guides will help you as you scout for wildlife and record your sightings. Enjoy lunch in a wildflower meadow with only the sounds of birds, insects and the horses grazing around you. Continue on and revel in each awe-inspiring moment, from 360-degree mountain views to sparkling lakes, always looking out for the incredible creatures that call this stunning landscape home. The afternoon’s ride will bring you to your camp in the mountains. You can help the guides take the horses to their grazing meadows if you would like a walk, or simply relax in the camp until dinner and admire the radiant sunset painted across the sky. Overnight in canvas tents.

Day 3 -5
Enjoy waking up in the wilderness and having a peaceful breakfast before collecting the horses from their overnight grazing and preparing for another day of riding to new wildlife viewing locations. Along the way you might be able to assist in preservation and protection projects that the ranch is working on. You will mostly be riding through the mountains where each twist of the trail brings a new opportunity to spot wildlife with the reliable and sure-footed Mountain Cayuse horses watching the trail, leaving you free to look all around. Every moment brims with the possibility of another breathtaking encounter, each more memorable than the last. By now you are learning to spot traces of the different animals and pick out the tracks which will lead you to another animal in it’s natural habitat. You have the freedom and maneuverability to cross the varying terrain to follow mountain goat trails to the north facing bluffs, or observe black bears grazing in the meadows, or perhaps to join the regal moose as they wander through the willow forests. Each night you return to the campsite to relax and have dinner in the peaceful surroundings of the Bridge River Valley. Make sure you take the opportunity to appreciate the dazzling night sky out here where you are well away from any light pollution.

Day 6
After breakfast you pack up and mount up for your last day’s riding in the Mountain Park. Explore more striking landscapes such as the alpine basins and towering ridgelines of the South Chilcotin Mountains on your way back to the ranch. You will arrive back in the afternoon and untack the horses for a well-deserved break. Have a hearty dinner at the ranch and spend the evening relaxing around the fireplace or out on the deck as you review your memories from the trail.

Day 7
Enjoy a leisurely ranch breakfast and then enjoy one of the onsite ranch activities. You can choose between a bareback horse riding lesson or target shooting instructions and practice. You will then be served a farewell lunch before transferring back to Vancouver, arriving in the evening. Please do not book flights departing before 22:00.


Grizzly and Black Bear Tracking and Conservation Pack Trip
Day 1

You will be collected at approximately 06:15 from the Sheraton Guildford in Vancouver and transferred to the ranch in time for a hearty family lunch. There will be an introduction to the ongoing research projects currently active on the ranch as well as conservation activities and sustainable practices you will need to adopt during your stay. You will then meet the horses and learn the saddling and riding techniques used on the farm. An introductory trail ride will allow you to get comfortable with your horse and the style of riding, and start looking out for wildlife around the ranch. Over dinner your guides will give you an overview of the trip to come followed by a map orientation. They will show you which trails you will be taking and the best wildlife viewing locations along the route. You will then be provided with a mountain duffel bag to repack your personal items into (try to pack as lightly as possible but take all essential items!) before turning in for the night on the ranch.

Day 2
After a filling breakfast on the ranch, you saddle your horse and help load up the pack horses and set out on your wildlife adventure. Your guides will help you as you scout for wildlife and record your sightings. Enjoy lunch in a wildflower meadow with only the sounds of birds, insects and the horses grazing around you. Continue on and revel in each awe-inspiring moment, from 360-degree mountain views to sparkling lakes, always looking out for the incredible creatures that call this stunning landscape home. The afternoon’s ride will bring you to your camp in the mountains. You can help the guides take the horses to their grazing meadows if you would like a walk, or simply relax in the camp until dinner and admire the radiant sunset painted across the sky. Overnight in canvas tents.

Day 3-5
Enjoy waking up in the wilderness and having a peaceful breakfast before collecting the horses from their overnight grazing and preparing for another day of honing your tracking skills and learning to spot signs of grizzly activity. You will explore quiet valleys and wildflower meadows frequented by grizzly bears and their cubs and discover the power of a true encounter with nature. Riding along the same mountain trails used by early pioneers and explorers you can also explore the majestic mountains teeming with other wildlife. Lunch will be taken each day on a scenic mountain perch or in a quiet alpine meadow, always surrounded by the beautiful Canadian wilderness. Each night you return to the campsite to relax and have dinner in the peaceful surroundings of the Bridge River Valley. Make sure you take the opportunity to appreciate the dazzling night sky out here where you are well away from any light pollution.

Day 6
After camp breakfast you will pack up and begin to ride back to the ranch. Pass through tranquil river valleys and over rugged trails that zig-zag along steep mountainsides, arriving in the late afternoon. The horses go off for a well-deserved break while you enjoy a family dinner at the ranch.

Day 7
Enjoy a leisurely ranch breakfast and then enjoy one of the onsite ranch activities. You can choose between a bareback horse riding lesson or target shooting instructions and practice. You will then be served a farewell lunch before transferring back to Vancouver, arriving in the evening. Please do not book flights departing before 22:00.

 

Rider weight restrictions Please note that any rider over 230lbs (104kg) will be required to pay an extra charge for a spare horse. There may be restrictions on the activities available for riders over 260lbs (118kg).

 

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.

Horses & Riding

There are currently 29 horses available for riding, ranging from ponies to full-size Draft horses. The herd is made up of Draft X Mountain Cayuse (horses from the Cariboo-Chilcotin where the wild herds still roam) which makes for a great temperament - the Draft makes them calm and relaxed and the Cayuse makes them surefooted and gives stamina. They are patient and gentle with small children and adults alike and they know their job well.


The riding style is Western which you will be taught if you have never experienced it before. 'Mountain' style is used in the mountains and again, this will be shown to you during the mountain riding orientation. The horses are ridden on a loose rein and are neck-rein trained. Mountain trails are taken at a fast-paced walk - the goal is to travel long distances and reach the tops of the mountains rather than galloping around in the valleys. It is more about tackling rough, technically challenging trails instead of riding faster.


The terrain on the trails ranges from flowering alpine meadows to mountain tops with stunning views, there is always a 360 degree view guaranteed to take your breath away!


 

Rider requirements

All abilities of rider are catered for, from novice rider to advanced. The minimum age is 7 years old and the maximum age is 89 years old. The weight limit is 260lbs - there is an extra charge for riders over 230lbs as extra horses will be used.

Riders should be physically fit and ready to spend around 6-10 hours in the saddle per day. An adventurous nature will really help and riders must be able to mount and dismount unaided. Your hosts are passionate about bringing nature closer to the people, and living in Grizzly country, lay great emphasis on stewardship and conservation. Guests are included in the research projects, such as collecting Grizzly hair or Mountain Goat hair.

As the camps are already set up, riders are not required to help with camp chores.

There will be times during the pack trips where riders will be required to dismount and walk besides their horse. This is usually done when walking steeply downhill and can be for around 1 hour, depending on the camp. Steep 'drop-off's' may also be encountered en-route.

Riders are matched according to similar abilities, age and interest to create a atmosphere of camaraderie and excitement. Families get matched with other families, couples with couples and young travellers with young travellers. Making new friends is often one of the highlights of the trips.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 230 lb/105 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

Pack Trip Camp:

The first and last nights are spent at the ranch base (see below). At the camps, the A-frame canvas 'Prospector' tents are situated on wooden platforms allowing them to be furnished with comfortable camp beds, dressers and chairs. Foam mattresses are provided. There are between 1 and 3 camp beds per tent, depending on the group set-up. The camps are in well established spots in the territory where your hosts know that there is good shelter, water and grazing for the horses. Flushing toilets are provided in an outhouse. They all have log cabins with cooking facilities and a bear cache with non-perishable supplies. Guests can wash in nearby creeks or lakes. The camps are equipped with water as well as picnic tables and a fire pit - perfect for evenings around the campfire. The meals provided at camp are the same as at the ranch - all hearty and homemade. 


The Ranch:

The bedroom are situated in the main ranch house and have either queen beds and en-suite bathrooms or twin beds with shared bathrooms. Full bathrooms are shared between 2 or 3 bedrooms. The maximum capacity at the ranch is 30. The bedrooms are comfortable with down duvets and fantastic views. There is also a communal dinning hall/living room area where guests take their meals and can relax.

 

Meals are served at approximately 08:30am, 12 noon and 18:00pm. The meals are pre-made at the ranch and carried to the campsites on the pack horses. All meals are homemade including the breakfast granola and various types of bread and cakes. The meals are healthy and hearty and include mains such as lasagne, shepherd's pie, BBQ chicken and roast beef. Vegetarian, gluten-free and lactose-free diets can be accommodated with advanced notice. 


A typical menu might consist of:

Breakfast: granola, yogurt, fruit salad, blueberry pancakes, fried eggs, toast

Lunch: turkey soup, rye bread, cheese plate, vegetable plate, dip. Dessert: cranberry loaf

Dinner: lasagne (meat and vegetarian), Greek salad, chick-pea salad, monkey bread. Dessert: lemon bars


Water, tea and coffee is provided. Guests are welcome to take along their own alcoholic and soft drinks.

Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info


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: ldn@dfait-maeci.gc.ca.

The British Consulate in Canada is at 80 Elgin Street, Ottawa, K1P 5K7. Telephone: + (1) (613) 237 1530. Email: generalenquiries@BritaininCanada.org.

Climate Summary

The South Chilcotins lie within a transition zone between the Coast Mountains and the Chilcotin Plateau. This favoured leeward position produces a rainshadow which means sunny skies and a dry climate with an environment that is almost bug-free.

With spring comes warmer days (10 to 15C) although the nights still cool down to freezing temperatures. The ground is wet from the melting snow so this is when the few mosquitoes and ticks come out. Although there are some rainy days, the weather patterns clear through quickly to give sunny skies.
The summers get quite hot in the mountains, with temperatures around 22-28C and the odd spike to over 30C in August. The skies are usually clear, giving fantastic views of the surrounding mountains. Nights can still get quite cool, so a good sleeping bag is a must.
In the autumn, the 'Indian Summer' lasts into October, with warm days (10-20C) and clear skies. Freezing temperatures at night bring on the foliage colour in the trees and meadows.
The winter gets cold around the ranch, with temperatures ranging from –8C to –12C and the occasional dip to –20C. Days are mostly sunny, although most of the precipitation comes as snow at this time of year. The snow pack at the ranch is normally about 2 feet deep.

Climate Chart
Health

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

Health (ride specific)

There are no specific health recommendations but please do take along all your necessary medications and health-related personal supplies. We also suggest a high factor sunscreen as, due to the altitude, it can be very easy to get burnt!

Electricity

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.

Film and Camera Equipment

Please bring plenty of batteries for electronic equipment, and a charger for when you are at the ranch. Electricity is only at the ranch so if you are on a pack trip there is a limited time to charge your camera.
There is no mobile phone reception at the ranch or on the trails. There is wireless satellite internet available at the main house and in the guide cabin. Payphones are available but only accept credit cards or phone cards. The guides will carry a satellite phone with them on the trails.

Packing List

• Practical clothing - expect to get dirty!
• Western hat, with brim
• Bandana for dust
• Toque (knitted cap) and/or headband to keep your head warm at night. The headband should fit under your hat for cold days.
• Jeans or comfortable riding pants
• Gloves for riding. Lighter in the summer, insulated other times of the year
• Sleeping bag. It can get quite cold at night, so a 3-season sleeping bag (rated to –10C) is recommended if you’re staying at a camp.
• Rain pants and jacket. No ponchos. Sturdier is better so it doesn’t get ripped when riding through trees.
• Rubber boots. Should be mid-calf height.
• Practical footwear. Hiking or work boots is fine, you want good support above the ankle for riding. The saddles all have tapaderos ('bucket' or hooded stirrups) for safety, so you don’t need a heel.
• Personal toiletries. Biodegradable soaps and shampoo are required for use at camps.
• Empty pillow case. To make a pillow of your jacket at camp
• Sunscreen
• Bug repellent. There are not many bugs, but the first few days after a rain there can be a few around.
• Flashlight
• Water bottle. No more than 650ml.
• Extra batteries for any equipment you bring that takes them

There is a small amount of rental supplies for sleeping bags, rubber boots and gloves but the supplies are limited. Bringing your own gives you the chance to get the right size and increase your comfort.

If you have any medications, be sure to bring enough for the duration of your stay. This would include vitamins, allergy medication, asthma puffers, epi pens, etc.

If you prefer to ride with a helmet please bring one. Binoculars and/or a spotting scope and cameras are not necessary but are nice
to have for the obvious reasons. For those new to riding, a pair of lycra shorts or padding bicycle shorts can help to prevent chaffing and saddle sores.

A western theme for clothing is encouraged. There is a “no boots in the house” policy, so please take house shoes or slippers if you’d like. There is no smoking in the Ranch House.

Programmes

These programmes are available as 4 days/3 nights/4 days riding or 7 days/6 nights/7 days riding from May to November.

Departure Dates

2020: May to October. 7 day programmes start on Sundays, 4 day programmes start on Mondays or Thursdays.

Pricing
A single room can be booked for no extra supplement when available.
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
2020 Wild Bear Tracking Pack Trip 4d/3n4d/3n3double pp 1,755
2020 Wildlife Research Pack Trip 7d/6n7d/6n6double pp 2,775
2020 Wildlife Research Pack Trip 4d/3n4d/3n3double pp 1,609
2020 Wild Bear Tracking Pack Trip 7d/6n7d/6n6double pp 3,069
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
2020 Wild Bear Tracking Pack Trip 4d/3n4d/3n3double pp 2,105
2020 Wildlife Research Pack Trip 7d/6n7d/6n6double pp 3,329
2020 Wildlife Research Pack Trip 4d/3n4d/3n3double pp 1,929
2020 Wild Bear Tracking Pack Trip 7d/6n7d/6n6double pp 3,679
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
2020 Wild Bear Tracking Pack Trip 4d/3n4d/3n3double pp 2,445
2020 Wildlife Research Pack Trip 7d/6n7d/6n6double pp 3,865
2020 Wildlife Research Pack Trip 4d/3n4d/3n3double pp 2,239
2020 Wild Bear Tracking Pack Trip 7d/6n7d/6n6double pp 4,275
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
2020 Wild Bear Tracking Pack Trip 4d/3n4d/3n3double pp 21,975
2020 Wildlife Research Pack Trip 7d/6n7d/6n6double pp 34,795
2020 Wildlife Research Pack Trip 4d/3n4d/3n3double pp 20,145
2020 Wild Bear Tracking Pack Trip 7d/6n7d/6n6double pp 38,459
Recommended Reading

Your hosts have several websites which you may be interested in reading:
http://chilcotin-hiking-trail.com/
http://wildernesstrekkingcanada.com/
http://natures-way-of-life.com/
https://wilderness.stewardship.foundation/
http://www.stewardship.foundation/

Other Activities

On the pack trips there is the opportunity to hike, fish, view wildlife or just relax and take in the beauty of your surroundings!

At the ranch there are lots of activities on offer which are included in the holiday cost: these include riding lessons, target shooting, lasso throwing, bareback riding, grizzly den viewing and bear defense orientation.
Also available, at an extra charge, is guided fishing, archery, off-road driving and various horse-related lessons such as long reining, logging and shoeing.

Pack-tips are not suitable for non-riding companions as there are no vehicles that accompany the ride. There are however separate hiking, mountain and fishing trips which cane be arranged. Please contact your sales consultant for more information.

Wildlife

As you might expect, the wildlife is abundant on these trips. In the summer there are bears (black and grizzly), eagles, mountain goats, deer (some of the female deer like the human protection and raise their kids at the ranch), grouse (blue-, rough- and spruce-), sheep and moose - to name but a few!

Other Information

Within the area you might come across Indian pow-wows and villages as well as cattle ranches. The ranch is around a 20 minute drive to the nearest town which has a post office, general store and a hotel. There are small town rodeos that take place every weekend during the summer season which you are welcome to visit if you are staying at the ranch and have rented a car.

The area has over 100 years of history from the gold rush and is now an adventure tourism paradise, largely undiscovered from the masses who visit Whistler every year.

Other Country Information

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.

Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
The Sheraton Guildford Hotel, Vancouver
Transfer:
2020: Approx. £235 return per person from Vancouver to ranch on set dates. Special group rates available, please enquire. Additional charges applied for transfers at other times. Transfers are payable in advance.
Flight Guide:
London to Vancouver (YVR), from £500.
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