Join us for, “the Best Vacation of your Life!”
This summer we will have one four-day ride, two five day rides and two six-day rides in Waterton Lakes National Park (a World Unesco Site) in southwestern Alberta, Canada. (Note: More rides may be added as demand warrants it.) Our base camp, known as “Teepee Town” will be located in the Waterton Lakes area on private land, a few minutes drive from the border of Waterton Lakes National Park. (Parks policy will not allow our camp to be built inside the park). Our camp, although “rustic and wilderness,” has private accommodations for individuals, families and friends, in walled tents and native Indian style canvas teepees, complete with raised cots and mattresses. Our hot home cooked meals are served in a large kitchen/dining tent and we have plenty of hot water, washbasins, a hot private outdoor shower, and dry toilets.
The traditional “Doughnut tent” is where we gather in the evenings around the campfire for our traditional “sing-song” or perhaps music, entertainment, and educational talks. All this fun while the professional staff look after the food, the horses, and your safety and well being. It is a complete holiday package!
Note: Please see General Ride Information and Logistics for important details
Day 1 Morning 7:00 AM Acclaim Hotel, Calgary, Alberta
Transportation Between the Acclaim Hotel and Waterton Lakes National Park:
The bus between the hotel and the trailhead has been arranged and is included in the cost of your ride. The bus departs from the Acclaim Hotel early Monday morning at 7:30 AM to start your adventure, so please arrive at 7:00 AM for check-in (and have a hearty breakfast first).
Your Emcee will be on board to register you, give you waivers to sign, brief you on details for the week and answer your questions. ALL guests must sign waivers to indemnify the T.R.C.R. and our outfitter (Alpine Stables Ltd.) from damage and/or lawsuits.
As part of introducing you to our western history and culture, our first stop will be, the famous Head-Smashed-in-Buffalo-Jump a World UNESCO Site, where we will have a 90-minute tour, included in your ride fee.
Next we are off to our camp where you will be able to select your tent or teepee and unroll your sleeping bag before heading into our dining tent for a hearty lunch. Saddle bags will be available to you there for your insect repellent, camera, binoculars, energy bars, water bottle, gloves, sunglasses, and an additional sweater will come in handy for your ride. Bring your rain slicker and keep it separate as it will be tide to your saddle.
After a short ten-minute drive to the corral you will meet the staff; there will be a safety orientation, and then you will be introduced to your horse. Horses are matched to riders according to the specifications that you will have given in your online registration.
Then we “saddle up” for a spectacular 3-hour “pre-ride warm up” ride. (details below) Our shuttle will then take us back to camp.
Day 1 Evening – 6:00 pm Waterton Springs T.R.C.R. camp (aka “Teepee Town”)
After this exciting ride, you will settle in to your comfortable accommodations and perhaps clean up and get ready for “happy hour” and dinner. The chefs will prepare a multi-course dinner that quickly wipes away those hunger pangs. You will be surprised what our chefs can prepare: (alternating) roast chicken, BBQ steaks, baked ham, roast turkey, and prime roast beef. Sides include: potatoes, vegetable, salad, coleslaw and of course dessert! (Note: this is a set menu; please let us know of allergies and or dietary concerns. Accommodations may be made where possible)
After dinner, as the sun dips below the mountains, a roaring campfire is started in our “Doughnut tent” (weather dependent). As you enjoy your favourite beverages, you may be entertained with music for a campfire sing-a-long, story telling, educational talks, squaring dancing, and/or cowboy poetry. With a full belly of food and drink and some good laughs with new friends, everyone turns in for the evening.
Days 2 – 4 (4-day trip), Days 2 – 5 (5-day trip), Days 2 – 6 (6-day trip) 8:00 am Waterton Springs T.R.C.R. camp
The breakfast bell will ring for all to gather in the dining tent for a hot and hearty breakfast (alternating) – eggs, bacon, sausage, hot biscuits, pancakes, bacon, fruit, fresh muffins, French toast with fruit, cinnamon rolls, and yogurt. Your morning ritual will include hot coffee in the dining tent and perhaps a wash at our rustic washstand with plenty of hot water.
After breakfast, guests will prepare their own picnic lunches choosing from a variety of breads, cold cuts, drinks and snacks. Next everyone will be shuttled to the corral where the cowboys and the head guide will greet you with a smile and a “how ya’ doin this morning?” The cowboys saddle the horses, check the cinches, and by 8:30 AM we are off on the trail.
Each day will find you exploring lakes, valleys, glaciers or mountain pass. This area actually gives us more options than we have days to ride! The high, uninhabited valleys of the Rockies offer peace and contentment combined with the thrill of majestic vistas. There is a sweep of majesty to this land, a towering grandeur and nobility of face, so powerful in its vast silence. This alpine land abounds in larch, spruce and fir trees, mountain animals and birds, incredible alpine flowers, meadows and parklands leading to the nearby snow capped peaks and ridges. Waterton Lakes National Park is a unique area, abundant in deer, elk, mountain sheep and goats, bears, eagles and hawks….you name it!
By noon, we have reached our destination and after lunch, riders can fish, stroll, visit or stretch out for a nap in the hot mountain sun. A camera for these trips is a must! By late afternoon, it’s back to camp for “happy hour” before enjoying a four-course dinner.
Subsequent Evenings Waterton Springs T.R.C.R. camp
Refer to Day 1 evening for description.
Note: The last night in camp is our traditional awards, induction of new members, and skit night so keep this in mind during the week so you can create the best skit, poem, or tall tale ever! This is a T.R.C.R. tradition and great fun!
Final Day 10 am – A shorter ride and then return to Calgary
The great thing about travelling with Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies is that you don’t need to worry about moving camp on a daily basis. Unfortunately, however, all good things must come to an end and today we pack our duffle and after another spectacular days ride, we return via bus to Calgary.
(Note: Do not expect to arrive in Calgary until 9:00 pm) Hopefully you have already booked your nights accommodation, unless you are planning to drive home that night. It is not recommended that you make travel plans Saturday night, but rather stay in Calgary. These accommodations before and after the ride must by booked by you and the cost is not included in your ride fee.
Note: There will be no official “after the ride dinner,” but riders staying the night in Calgary, often gather for dinner or drinks and one last get together before they go their separate ways.)
By then it is tears, hugs with newly made friends and sad farewells as we leave each other with promises of, “See ya next year!”
Where are we Riding?
Day 1 Afternoon, 3-hour “pre-ride warm-up”
From Waterton Lakes Stables, we will follow the trail along what is known as the “wildlife habitat loop” followed by a nice meadow where we will gather for an educational talk and tips about riding etc. Expect to see fantastic vistas and mountain flowers. Alternatively, we may ride through an Aspen forest and along lower Waterton Lake.
Subsequent Riding Days
Bring your binoculars and camera every day!
The attractiveness of using our outfitter (Alpine Stables) and riding in Waterton Lakes National Park is there are so many options! More places to ride than there are days to do it! Subsequently, the T.R.C.R. has the ability to “customize” each day of each ride, based upon any of a number of factors: weather, trail conditions, Parks Canada polices, wildlife notifications etc., the riding ability of the guests which may include dividing into two groups. Each morning the Emcee and head guide will customize a trip based upon these factors. In short, every day is different and every trip is different. Here is a list of possibilities:
New for 2017!
Alderson Lake/Carthew Summit
The trail begins in Waterton Village and after a gradual ascent of about 7 km., you will see a beautiful turquoise lake set against one of the highest sheer cliffs in Waterton. Trout fishing is available. (Note: Parks Canada licenses are required). Beginner riders can return to Waterton on the same trail while the hardy and adventuresome riders, can continue after lunch to Lower and then Upper Carthew Lakes, then up screed slopes to the Carthew Ridge that reveals a truly spectacular view. You can see clearly into Glacier National Park in the State of Montana as well as looking towards the praireis of Alberta. Descending through an alpine forest you will arrive at Cameron Lake where the shuttle will return you to camp.
Wishbone Trail to Loon Lake
From the Waterton stables this is a good beginners ride or one to take on a bad weather day. Riding through an Aspen forest, the “Wishbone trail” is used to take riders to Loon Lake for a lunch stop. Expect to see black bears and elk!
This will be for the experienced riders only and will entail switchbacks and at the base of Avion Ridge there lies a delicate subalpine lake, Goat Lake, surrounded by a mix of forest and meadows. The mountain goats and bighorn sheep for which the lake was named, live among the cliffs and scree slopes above the lake. We ride through the cool canopy of a mature forest with a spectacular variety of wildflowers; Indian Paintbrush in a dozen shades thrive in the summer as do the creamy Mariposa Lilies and Yellow Columbine. There is one steep stretch of about 200 yards where we will take a break from riding and lead our horses before arriving at the Lake for lunch. After our picnic, you are welcome to hike the area and again experience incredible alpine vistas and wildflowers. (Note: it will be the head guides discretion as to which riders will capable of going on this trip. The trip is also weather dependent.)
An easy to intermediate ride, the Lone Lake Trail branches south from the junction at the end of the Blakiston Valley Trail from Red Rock Canyon. One of Waterton’s features is its abundant wildlife. The scree slopes and meadows around Lone Lake are part of the summer range of bighorn rams. Unlike mountain goats, bighorn sheep spend the winter congregated at lower elevations, but come summer, most rams leave the and ewes lambs and head back to the high alpine regions. After lunch at the lake, we will return down through Blakiston Valley.
Our regular Rides from 2016 and 2015
Lions Head/Vimy Peak
The trail follows an old wagon trail through a dense aspen and poplar forest then breaks out into the open near the shore of Lower Waterton Lake before heading to Stoney Creek Flats. Our horses will start to climb Vimy Ridge passing beneath an impressive limestone outcropping known as “Lionshead”. We will enjoy spectacular views of the Waterton Valley and Mount Cleveland. We will enjoy spectacular views of the Waterton Valley and Mount Cleveland.
Twin Lakes or Avion Ridge
From Red Rock Canyon we ride up to the Snowshoe Warden’s cabin and then travel the Castle River Divide Trail and beyond to the Snowshoe Park Warden cabin. From there we ascend Avion Ridge only to be blown away by both the wind and the spectacular views! This ride could easily be the highlight of the week! Alternatively, for the beginner riders an leisurely ride into Twin Lakes, one the most stunning places in the park.
“Even as a novice horse rider, I had a fabulous trip and the staff took care of our every need.”View All Testimonies
The horses and guides will meet us outside of Waterton Lakes National Park in an area north and west of our camp. From there we will ride into Blue Lake for our lunch stop, and then ride into Waterton Park climbing Spionkop Ridge for spectacular and amazing views of much of Waterton Park and Glacier National Park to the south in the U.S.A. This is the day for long distance vistas! This is one of the most incredible places the T.R.C.R. has ever been. Bring your swimsuit for a dip in Blue Lake!
A great beginners ride, from the stables along the Akamania Parkway, the trail will take us into the Blakiston Valley before heading into Crandall Lake where we will have our lunch stop. Continuing the “loop” we will return to the corral via the Red Rock canyon road trail.
We will be taken by van down the Akamina Parkway and met there by our guides and horses for a trip into Rowe Lake. The creeks of Waterton are considered by many to be among the most beautiful in the Canadian Rockies and Rowe Creek is no exception. The trail follows alongside the Creek, which cascades through a chute of red argillite. The combination of motion and colour give the trail an incredible beginning. Next we ride through the cool canopy of a mature forest with a spectacular and variety of wildflowers; Indian Paintbrush in a dozen shades thrive in the summer as do the creamy Mariposa Lilies and Yellow Columbine. Next the trail goes left to the Lower Rowe Lake set against an impressive 150 ft. cliff; the lake is inhabited by small Eastern Brook Trout. After lunch at the lake you are welcome to hike the short distance to the upper Lake and again experience incredible alpine vistas and wildflowers.
From Waterton Lakes Stables, we ride to the Parks Bison Paddock through open prairie (you will get that cowboy feeling of “ridin’ the range”) and stop for lunch. Who knows, we might see the Bison! Next we ride on mountain terrain up to the Horseshoe Basin cirque following the Indian Springs area. Native Indians commonly used this stretch of the valley as a campsite. The trail will crest the shoulder of Bellevue Hill offering sweeping views across the prairie to the mountains of Waterton and Glacier National Park (in the U.S.A.). The trail heads across a grassy meadow with views of Mnt. Galwey, and is an excellent habitat for elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep, cougar and bear. Completing a circle we will return to the Bison Paddock and be bused back to camp, a very short distance.
Boat Cruise or One of Two Rides
Today there is an option of taking a break from riding while enjoying a two-hour leisurely cruises of Waterton Lakes.
Join us for a scenic cruise from Canada to the United States. Enjoy some of the most spectacular mountain scenery the Rocky Mountains have to offer. View majestic towering cliffs, unique geological formations, beautiful waterfalls, snow clad mountain peaks and the International Border. Bring your camera; tour boats make photographic and wildlife stops. Bald eagle, bear, moose, deer, mountain sheep and mountain goats are often seen.
The shoreline cruise vessels feature indoor and outdoor seating, twin powered motors for safety, and are Coast Guard Certified each year. The flagship is the Historic M.V. International, which has been in service since 1927. Step aboard this classic vessel and cruise back into the history of the International Peace Park. The cruise is accompanied by an informative and entertaining commentary given by experienced local tour guides. The duration of the cruise is 2¼ hours, which includes a ½ hour stop at Goat Haunt – the northern gateway to Glacier National Park. Debark at this beautiful, sheltered, uncommercialized area to experience the Visitor Centre, which exhibits park history, flora and fauna.
Note: Riders may choose an optional complimentary hike to Rainbow Falls offered by the U.S. Park Ranger Service. This will require you departing on the 10:00 am cruise, but returning on the later 2:20 cruise. Note: You must have a Canadian or U.S. passport for the hike, but not the cruise.
Next we will explore the Village of Waterton Lakes with complimentary lunch before an earlier return to camp for happy hour!