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High-Country Riding: February 2018 issue of the Western Horseman

A 95-year-old riding club celebrates the beauty and frontier history of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Story and photography by CHRISTINE HAMILTON

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What The Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies is About.

3 Minute Video




The Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies (TRCR)

for an outdoor adventure that our previous riders have said will be “the best vacation of your life.”

Release your inner cowboy/cowgirl with a Holiday on Horseback and have a life changing adventure!

Few things say Western Canada more than heading out on a horseback riding vacation into the breathtaking and majestic Rocky Mountains! Say goodbye to the city and say hello to the most memorable “bucket list” adventure you’ll ever have. These trail rides in Alberta are one of the best ways to see the Rockies, in relative comfort and is a complete horse riding and travel package. Enjoy mountain peaks and green valleys, crystal clear lakes and beautiful mountain trails that meander through the most spectacular country in the world.

After 94 years of leading beginners and seasoned riders from all over the world into our tremendous backcountry we know how to give you a dream vacation… and that “hidden gem” you’ve been looking for? Well,…..you just found it!

We are a non-profit club of enthusiasts who enjoy taking new guests to explore these spectacular mountains with the comforts of home. Enjoy teepee and tent accommodations while savoring delicious homemade meals on these first-class, six-day, professionally guided getaway adventures. After a day on the trail, enjoy educational talks and live western cowboy entertainment around a roaring campfire in our wilderness base-camp. (complete with a hot shower too!) Don’t know how to ride a horse? No worries…. If you like horses and are willing to learn, it will become second nature to you in no time. Our horseback riding vacations are rated as the best in Alberta (see Trip Advisor Reviews).

Join Us This Summer

as we explore the Castle Wildlands area, northwest of Waterton Lakes National Park. The TRCR rode in here ten years ago, and we are back because of the popularity of our wilderness camps and the Castle area of south western Alberta.

A Note To Our International Guests

Unleash your inner cowboy/cowgirl in the “heartland” of the majestic Canadian Rockies! The Province of Alberta (the size of Texas) in Canada is known as one of the most scenic places in the world. Indeed, several media outlets (The New York Times, National Geographic Explorer, USA Today and Lonely Planet) all rated “Canada” as the number one travel choice destination for 2017. What is the best way to see our incredible Rockies especially with a limited schedule? There are several options: Trail rides in Alberta are varied; there are guest ranch vacations, horseback riding packages, cattle ranches and other horse riding products. What the TRCR offers, is a very unique trail ride in Alberta; in fact the most unique of any other kind of trail riding holiday. Back country travel in our Rocky Mountains is restricted to hiking or horseback riding; there is simply no other way to see this majestic country. Your options are either backpacking (with all the necessary gear, expertise and physical endurance) or come with us on a horseback riding vacation that is like no other. We spoil you from “dawn until dusk” and take you to places that not even the backpackers go! We have licensed professional interpretative guides; our meals are first class and our camp, although rustic (this is wilderness camping) has all the amenities for a great horse riding vacation. Our evenings are filled with our friendly famous western Canadian hospitality (with live cowboy entertainment) as we endeavour to immerse you in our historic western cowboy culture; it is horseback riding in a league of its own. Come and join us for, “the best vacation of your life;”™ a true western holiday! You will never be the same again on this holiday on horseback!

A suggested itinerary? Enjoy the world famous Calgary Stampede, join us on a riding trip through the Castle Wildlands, then hop on the Rockymountaineer Train to Vancouver and fly home from there, or jump on a cruise to Alaska! Need help with travel plans? Just call or email us and we will be more than happy to help you plan your trail riding holidays into our famous majestic Canadian Rockies.

We would like to recommend the Flight Network for your flight and hotel arrangements.

285 kms

of trails in Castle Provincial Park and Wildland Area.

80,000 hectares

Size of the Castle Provincial Park and Wildland Area.

200 rare species

such as dwarf alpine poppy, grizzly bear, wolverines and harlequin ducks.

2544 m

Elevation of Windsor Mountain

No better place to ride

The Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies

To “encourage travel on horseback through the Canadian Rockies, to foster the maintenance and improvement of old trails and the building of new ones; to encourage the love of outdoor life, to study and engage in the conservation of birds, wildlife and alpine growth, to assist in every possible way to ensure the complete preservation of the National Parks of Canada for the use and enjoyment of the public.”

Trail Rides

2017 Trail Ride Vacations

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Want something shorter?

Book an all day ride up Vimy Ridge, or a shorter trip on the Wish Bone Trail. Bring your own picnic lunch and ride into one of the most beautiful spots in the Rockies on a day adventure. Book anytime you wish between June 15th and Sept. 15th. (Minimum of 3 riders needed) This is a great “primer ride” to prepare for your longer 6 day ride. (Note: ride departs from Waterton Lakes National Park.)


The Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies was an adventuresome vacation for my husband and I. We thoroughly enjoyed each and every day, whether it was raining or not. The scenery was magnificent, the trails well guided by FANTASTIC people, the food was like eating at a 5** restaurant, meeting new riders that we loved, laughing and enjoying each other every day AND night!! Even the shower that was built under the stars was delightful! Every day had its own world of wonder, turning a corner on the trail brought more and more magic. This ENTIRE adventure was more than we ever expected. More than a dream but a life long satisfaction. WE WILL BE BACK!!

June and ScottOrlando, Florida

We just completed a terrific week with the TRCR. Our group of fellow travellers gelled almost instantly and we had a lot of fun together. The campsite was very comfortable, the food delicious, the horses, wranglers, and rides incredible. As we are novice riders, this trip was at the edge of our comfort zone but everyone worked hard to make us safe and welcome. In addition, there were options that tested very experienced riders. We would never have been able to access this fantastic country if it were not for this organization. One of our best vacations ever!

JanLondon, Ontario

What an amazing week! My tween daughter, my mother and I just spent a week with Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies. The week we rode, we were a total group of 19 who came together as strangers and ended the week with deep and lasting memories of the time we spent together.
If you’re comfortable camping in the outdoors, you’ll feel like royalty! The camp is set up ahead of time and lodging includes tents or teepees, simple cots with mattresses (what? no rock sticking in my back from my deflated air mattress?). Camp cooks prepare fabulous, homemade meals, which is a total luxury after coming back from a long trail ride; entertainment is optional and fun; and the trail riding is challenging and rewarding.
Although many of us were fairly experienced riders, the beginners were treated to amazing trail rides options that were both scenic and met their comfort level.

Horses were great – energetic, confident and sure-footed. Guides were amazing, generously sharing their vast knowledge of the Rockies, the prairies and trail riding.

All around an 11/10!

BethVancouver, B.C.

Trip of a lifetime

This trip was a dream come true. My friend and I spent a lot of time planning and preparing for this adventure, and we’re so happy that we finally did it. We slept in teepees (giggling like kids) and showered ‘rough’ outdoors. (Does it count if there’s plenty of hot water? ) The food was WONDERFUL. Two delightful young women presented us with amazing, home cooked meals every day, and I was worried by the fact that I was eating enough for 2 wranglers – but decided to just enjoy it while I could. By the end of the week, my pants all seemed a bit loose, (?!) When I got home, everyone was amazed by how much weight I’d lost! Turns out that spending the day in a saddle burns more fat than anything else I’ve ever done. The horses were all wonderful – sure-footed, and willing. They were in beautiful condition, and obviously well cared for (a deal breaker for me if not). The scenery was spectacular. The guest speakers fun, and really interesting. Our guides, and the staff at the stables, along with our camp helpers, were some of the best people I’ve ever had the pleasure to spend time with. We were really sad to have to leave by the end of an amazing experience. If there’s a little cowgirl/boy deep inside of you, I highly recommend that you give them life before the chance gets away from you. Highly recommended!

AJ Italian Alps, Italy

A wonderful week!

The whole experience far surpassed my expectations: the scenery was spectacular; the horses were steadfast and well cared for; the other riders were lots of fun and full of enthusiasm; the Emcee, trail leaders, and guest speakers were very knowledgeable; the food was great; the list could go on.

I highly recommend this trip for those who love the Canadian wilderness and hospitality and want to experience a true trail ride. I will definitely return next year!

wils0n17Oshawa, Ontario

Just Amazing!

My first time in Canada first time horse riding as well, but what an amazing experience!
I was with a small group of wonderful ladies and our Emcee Larry had charm and patience. My friend & I chose to sleep in the teepee but tents were available, the cook Ashley was just so friendly and coming from Australia we had a laugh or two at my not knowing what some of the foods were, but we always had plenty to eat. The camp was open and the evening filled with Larry’s songs and laughter, the poet and his grandson just added to the whole experience. Joshua and Dee our guides on the rides were not just helpful with the horse side of things but informative about the flora and fauna along the trails, I don’t mind saying some of the cliffs we went on are so scary to me but their gentle encouragements and understandings just help put aside your worries and get the best experience ever!

So many good people are involved to make this a truly wonderful memory… but for me I was not disappointed with anything the rustic accomodation the food the horses the people the scenery all of it just the best time.

Recommend highly.

moonsyBrisbane, Australia

Outstanding Beauty and Adventure

5 days of riding wonderfully trained horses, Sleeping on cots in a teepee, scrumptious food, fantastic evening entertainment couldn’t ask for a more awesome adventure. Leave the city and stress behind, come on a ride with this great club!

T3505NWpatrickmSan Jose, California

My experience with the TRCR is one that I will never forget. I was given a special gift to go horseback riding, and I could not refuse. I had very little experience, and found myself searching ‘google’ for riding hints. I even took a few lessons ahead of time.

Very soon, I knew I was ‘out of my comfort zone’. I experienced mounting anxiety before going, and wondered if I had made the right decision.

However, I am truly glad that I decided to join the TRCR. This group made me feel so at home. The food was outstanding, the sleeping arrangements were really comfortable, and the entertainment was very informative. A real learning experience! I still remember some of the skits.

I never felt inferior to the more experienced riders. I was given the perfect horse, just for my abilities. I did not feel nervous, and in fact, I felt quite proud of myself for having overcome my fear of horseback riding.

I would recommend this wonderful riding vacation to everyone!

fi0nagtBeaconsfield, Quebec

Challenging, rustic, and rewarding!

Just as our photographs couldn’t capture the majesty of the mountains through which we rode, it’s impossible to adequately describe the TRCR experience in a “snapshot” review. In July of 2017, after much anticipation, I rode with my two sisters on a six-day adventure. The trip exceeded my expectations in every way. Once my initial anxiety over riding again was quelled, I was free to enjoy vistas only accessible by hiking or on horseback: wildflower-rich prairies, breathtaking peaks, glacial tarns, ever-present wildlife, and awe-inspiring vantage points. The company was congenial, the food hearty and delicious, the cultural and historical lessons amazing, the fun contagious, and the experience…absolutely memorable. I recommend it unreservedly.

Joan VNorth Carolina

Recharge your Batteries

What a great place to renew yourself. Nothing’s better than spending time on a horse in the beautiful mountains of Alberta, Canada with family and friends. Even if you come alone…you will make some new best friends on the trail. The horses, tack, wranglers are all first rate and are perfect for all levels of riders. The TRCR staff, cooks and guest entertainers are all willing to please and have made this an adventure of a lifetime. My daughter and I will be back to ride again with our new “family”…and look forward to introducing more people to this experience.

WildArt55Cincinnati, Ohio

Riding in the Rockies

This was my third year with the Trail Riders and each ride has its highlights in terms of scenery,challenge and outdoor camping complete with tents or teepees. Consistently, the food is great, company is congenial, and the outfitter, guides and volunteers are very caring persons who do their best to ensure a positive riding experience for everyone. Whether you are a beginner or more experienced, your time with the Trail Riders will be special and memorable.

mvalenti557Calgary, Alberta