It’s long been known as “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.” For more than a century, the Calgary Stampede in Canada has attracted visitors from across the globe to a good old-fashioned rodeo, exhibition, festival and all-around multi-day hoedown. And this tour from Contiki — which they describe as “the one that gives you the best of Western Canada topped off with a rodeo stampede” — is exclusively for 18 to 35 year olds.
Contiki tours are sold all over the world and attract travellers from a plethora of countries — which undoubtedly means there’ll be an international flavour to your group and experience. From Vancouver you follow the Sea-to-Sky Highway to glorious Whistler, where your trip really begins — a mountain ski village and adventure capital, as well as host of the 2010 Winter Olympics. Try some hiking, maybe some epic ziplining or just kicking back and relaxing in an alpine party town, all before heading to Lillooet, a former gold-rush town, and Kamloops, then into Alberta and the Rocky Mountains via the Yellowhead Highway.
I guarantee you will “gawp” at the towering Rockies as you wind your way through the spectacular mountain range and into Mount Robson Provincial Park, where you might try whitewater rafting. Then it’s on to world-renowned Jasper National Park, where you can hike in Maligne Canyon and get snap-happy while gazing at azure alpine lakes.
Drive the legendary Icefields Parkway, hike to Athabasca Falls, explore the Athabasca Glacier and visit Lake Louise. In Banff National Park you take a gondola up Sulphur Mountain, or perhaps splurge on a heli-tour. Then it’s off to the Calgary Stampede — where you’ll have a rope-load of fun — before heading to Revelstoke and Glacier National Park.
Finally, you visit one of Canada’s finest wine regions, all before ending your trip back in Vancouver, with enough time to explore the city at your own leisure. This tour is a fantastic way to see some of Canada’s most spectacular geography!
Length/Depart: 13 days/July (annually)
Accommodation: Hotels, lodges, chalets
Price: $3,995 (save a space with a $200 deposit)
- By Simon Vaughan, Outpost Senior Editor and Special Travel Advisor