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Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies
Trail Ride to Halfway Lodge (6 Days)
Note: Please see General Ride Information for important details
This is a 6-day adventure visiting two backcountry lodges in Banff National Park, deep in the Rocky Mountains of Canada with side trips to a high mountain pass and a quiet alpine lake.
Day One – Backcountry ride to Sundance Lodge
The adventure starts by meeting at 9:30am at Warner Stables (there’s free parking at the stables and it’s fine to leave your vehicle for the duration of the tour – the stables are on Sundance Road in the town of Banff). You’ll meet your personable expert guides, fellow riders and the horse we have specifically chosen for you. Your horse will know just where to step even on the most precarious of trails, so you can trust them to get you where you are going.
This 6 day expedition gives you a chance to really unwind and relax into the rhythms of the Rockies. Leave your phone behind and escape from the constant ping of emails – it’s the perfect opportunity to clear and reset your mind.
Don’t worry if you are a complete greenhorn, our trusty horses, knowledgeable staff and talented cooks will ensure you are comfortable every step of the way. Things happen on “Western Time” here so we may not leave right on the dot and you’ll have time to get to know your horse and ask any questions.
Once we have organised the gear and saddled up, we will begin the 10 mile journey to Sundance Lodge – following the rushing waters of the Bow River and Healy and Brewster Creeks. On the way we’ll stop for a cowboy cook-out along the banks of the river – the perfect fuel to give you energy for a day on the trail.
You’ll saunter into Sundance Lodge at around 4:30pm, where you will be greeted by the friendly lodge host and shown to your room where you can freshen up with a warm shower and settle in. Your lodge host will cater to your every need and make you feel welcome at the lodge, like you are a guest in their home.
This is no simple, basic lodge – you’ll be pampered in backcountry luxury, sleeping in a comfortable bed and dining on gourmet cuisine whipped up by your talented host in the professional kitchen. You’ll be surrounded by the beautiful backcountry of Banff, yet you’ll still enjoy the luxuries of life.
Day Two – Ride the Erling Strom Trail to Halfway Lodge
The adventure continues as you journey 9 miles southward to Halfway Lodge. The rugged peaks of the Sundance Range loom over the eastern horizon as you follow the winding historic Erling Strom Trail. You’ll be following in the footsteps that the early explorers of the Canadian Rockies took nearly a century ago. We’ll stop along the way for a picnic in the fresh air of an open mountain meadow.
Tonight we’ll stay at Halfway Lodge, located at the midway point between Banff and Assiniboine Mountain where weary riders have been stopping to rest since the 1920s. As you approach you’ll notice the trees start to thin out and the mountains peeking up above the treeline all around you. It is tucked into a postcard-perfect setting, with a striking cauldron of mountains all around it.
This lodge was constructed by Erling Strom in the 1920s as a stopover spot for the guests he lead on trips from Banff to Mount Assiniboine. With propane lanterns and candles providing lighting and a woodstove providing warmth, it hasn’t changed much in the last 80 years. The only big change occurred in 1967 when a second story was added, due to a bear making a surprise entrance through the roof!
“What an amazing week! 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!”
“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. 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!”
“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 will definitely return next year!”
“So many good people are involved to make this a truly wonderful memory… but for me I was not disappointed with anything the rustic accommodation the food the horses the people the scenery all of it just the best time. Recommend highly.”
“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!”
“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 would recommend this wonderful riding vacation to everyone!”
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.
“I was so excited to complete a bucket list item the first time, had a lifelong experience the second time and can’t wait for the third time in 2018!! I might add that I have not laughed this hard in years!! New friends for life!”
“If you are looking for a fantastic outdoor adventure, this is it.
If you are looking to do and see things that love never dreamed of, this is it.
If you are looking to be around some amazing people and be cared for like family, this is it.
Thanks for making our family vacation a memorable one.”
“You don’t have to be an expert rider to be awe-inspired by the great horses and scenery you will enjoy each day. As one of our ride companions said, you get to feel a teensy bit like a cowboy, and who doesn’t want that??”
“If you are looking for something different with some challenge and the most breathtaking vistas you will ever see then do this trip. The TRCR staff is fantastic, the food is delicious and plentiful and the experience will absolutely change your life. We will be returning next year and many more.”
“We enjoyed our annual horseback rides in the Canadian Rockies for thirteen years. Each year we did not think it could get better, but it usually did. If you enjoy an outback adventure to see breathtaking panoramic vistas from the back of a horse and meeting new people from around the world, you will LOVE riding with TRCR. Food and accommodations were amazing in the wilderness!!!”
“This ENTIRE adventure was more than we ever expected. More than a dream but a life long satisfaction. WE WILL BE BACK!!”
“We just completed a terrific week with the TRCR. We would never have been able to access this fantastic country if it were not for this organization. One of our best vacations ever!”
Day Three – Climb Allenby Pass on horseback to 8,100 feet
After a hearty breakfast you can leave your belongings at the lodge and set off on another adventure.
Today you’ll make the thrilling climb up Allenby Pass on horseback, an elevation of 8,100 feet. For many this is the highlight of the trip, as you’ll get a breathtaking view of the jagged rock formations, the enormous amphitheatre of mountains stretching out all around you.
It’s mind-boggling to imagine that Allenby Pass was a seafloor millions of years ago. If you look closely, you can still spot fossils of sea creatures visible among the rocks.
At the end of the day, you’ll return to your familiar room at Halfway Lodge, where you already feel comfortable and at home. As the sun sets behind the mountains, you can sit back and relax, drink wine and share stories and photos with your fellow adventurers.
Day Four – Rest time to enjoy the backcountry
Today is a rest day at Halfway Lodge. An optional hike is available today to a shimmering glacial fed lake at the end of the valley, where you can enjoy views of the valley below.
But if you’d rather relax, there’s no pressure. This lodge is a lovely place to find some quiet time, far away from the pinging of notifications and the pressure of your endless to-do list.
It’s a chance to take a breather, perhaps by sitting on the deck while getting lost in the pages of a good book. You may even take some time to groom your horse, who has no doubt become your best friend by this point.
Day Five – Follow Brewster Creek to Sundance Lodge
Say goodbye to the lovely staff at Halfway Lodge, it’s time to hit the winding trail along Brewster Creek back to Sundance Lodge. Be warned: you won’t want to leave Halfway Lodge once you have experienced this gorgeous retreat in the Rockies.
Your guide will lead you through the backcountry on a scenic and exciting trail, criss-crossing the valley in the historic footsteps of the early pioneers and stopping for lunch along the way.
You’ll arrive back at Sundance Lodge again, a luxurious retreat you will have fallen deeply in love with. Pamper yourself after your ride with a warm shower and a glass of wine, then enjoy another delicious meal prepared by your professional chef lodge host.
Day Six – Return to Warner Stables
It’s your last morning at Sundance Lodge, which by now will feel like home due to the warm hospitality of your host. Wake up in your comfortable bed one last time, gather around for a delicious breakfast and wave goodbye as you begin the journey back to Banff.
It’s your final day on the trail – a gentle 9 mile ride from Sundance back to Warner Stables. Your guide will lead you through the backcountry along winding river trails and through the thick pine forests, with the jagged peaks of the Rockies always standing proudly on the horizon. You’ll stop along the banks of Healy Creek for a lunch of fresh sandwiches, baked goods and fruit.
You’ll return at approximately 4:30 pm, with plenty of great tales from the backcountry to tell your family and friends.
After the ride is over
Hopefully you have already booked your night’s accommodation, unless you are planning to drive home that night. It is not recommended that you make travel plans on the night you finish, but rather stay in Banff, Canmore or Calgary. These accommodations before and after the ride must by booked by you and the cost is not included in your ride fee.
There will be no official “after the ride dinner,” but riders often gather for dinner or drinks and one last get together before they go their separate ways.
COME RIDE WITH US!
Book now for our upcoming ride or contact us for more information.