Canadian Rockies Wildlife Holiday, Alpine Flora & Fauna in Alberta & British Columbia with Greentours
The Icefields Parkway is said to be the most scenic road on Earth, a high accolade indeed, and a claim with strong substance. Vast forests sweep up to limestone cliffs that soar to inaccessible peaks. It is no wonder that there are so many large mammals wandering this land. Bighorn Sheep and huge-antlered Elk are common and we're very likely to see Moose and certainly Black Bear during our stay. Grizzly Bears are becoming easier to see in Banff and we can expect sightings on several occasions and Wolves too are more visible with sightings on our trips in each of the last three years.
We'll start at a very fine lodge lying on the Continental Divide between Kootenay and Banff National Parks, indeed, between British Columbia and Alberta. The forests and alpine meadows that start right outside our very comfortable cabins have an abundance of colourful Castillejas, Aquilegias, Tofieldias and Dryas. As we eat the lodge’s sumptuous breakfasts we only have to look up to see the burnished gorgettes of Rufous Hummingbirds and perky little Golden-mantled Ground Squirrels. Fabulous groups of Calypso Orchid adorn mossy dells and there's three species of Lady's Slipper to savour. Brilliant orange Western Wood Lilies illuminate forests where we'll look for Martens, Clark's Nutcrackers and Pine Grosbeaks. The wild ginger Asarum caudatum blooms with Dodecatheons and Mitellas and four species of Coralroot Orchid. Primula mistassinica, Elephanthead and several Platanthera orchids flower along lush lakeshores where butterfly highlights will include Hydaspe Fritillary, Lorquin’s Admiral and Tiger Swallowtails.
The Okanagan has dry prairies where we'll find lovely Calochortus macrocarpus in abundance, Clarkias, the gorgeous shooting stars of Dodecatheon conjugens, and the large pale pink blooms of Lewisia rediviva. Coyotes and Mule Deer roam dry slopes where California Quail and the gorgeous Lazuli Bunting are common.
The tiered blooms of Lilium columbianum provide splashes of colour amid lush old growth forests in British Columbia's Coastal Ranges. As Pileated Woodpeckers yodel from on high we'll find Candystick, Pacific Bleeding Hearts and Prince's Pine amongst an array of Violas and Wintergreens. Higher up, in the land of Hoary Marmots, Ptarmigan and Mountain Goats, the alpine meadows are at their best. Gray-crowned Rosy Finches fly in as we watch freshly emerged Clodius Parnassian butterflies on the wing among a kaleidoscopic show of rose-pink and yellow Monkey Flowers, Kalmias, Saxifrages, Phacelias and many lovely Penstemons.
Flowers, Mammals, Birds, Butterflies and Mountain Scenery.
No more than three or four miles a day, and usually on good trails, though occasionally part of a walk may be steep. Always at a slow pace, ideally suited to photographers.
Included in the Price
All flights. All transport, meals and accommodation in Canada. Services of your leaders. Please note: drinks, tips, visas, and items of a personal nature including insurance, are not included.
One leader for a group of up to 8, two leaders up to the maximum group size of 15.
We start the tour with four nights at wonderful Mount Engadine Lodge. Overlooking ‘moose-meadows’ and surrounded by majestic mountains and forest, this remote lodge is the only building of any sort between Canmore and the Kananaskis Lakes – a sixty kilometre stretch of road. The comfortable rooms all have large windows to enjoy the views and the wildlife. Moose, Black Bears, Grizzly Bears, White-tailed Deer and even Wolves are seen either from the lodge itself (there’s a natural salt lick below the main verandah) or along the road either side of the lodge. Meals are superb, the late afternoon charcuterie board a highlight! Next we’ve five nights in lovely log cabins at the Storm Mountain Lodge situated where the national parks of Banff and Kootenay meet. The cabins are well-equipped and very comfortable, each with a log fire, and the lodge has a truly superb restaurant. In the warm and sunny Okanagan we'll stay in the comfortable Avalon Inn in lovely Osoyoos close by some wonderful sites for flora and fauna.
The first night on the Vancouver Island Extension takes us to the Qualicum Beach Inn. The inn has large airy rooms and a most unusual circular restaurant with great views out over the bay. After a night here we’ve three nights in the wonderful Blackrock Oceanfront Resort in Ucluelet, a truly lovely hotel that combines contemporary comfort and quality service with an amazing natural setting. As its name suggest this hotel has wonderful sea views and the hotel design, with lots of space and natural light really seems to bring the environment right into the heart of the hotel. We follow this with two nights at the Moonwater Lodge in Malahat. This lodge claims to have one of the best views in Canada and as Canada has many of the best views in the World… The lodge has been designed so that all the rooms can enjoy the same marvellous panorama in superb comfort and each has a balcony too. The restaurant features fresh caught local fish and hormone-free and organic local produce.
All rooms/cabins on this tour and extension have en suite WCs/showers.
Outbound UK return flights are from London Heathrow, London Gatwick or Manchester* direct to Calgary (returning from Vancouver if you join the Extension). Other indirect routes from regional UK Airports* are available.
*These routes may incur a supplement.
Please contact us for prices of an upgrade to premium economy which is available on some flights.
Very variable. Often sunny and warm but sometimes cool and rainy, and the rain can sometimes be prolonged, especially on the west coast.
How to Book
Contact us to check there is availability for the number of places you require. Download a booking form or contact us and we will send one to you. Complete and send to us. You will receive confirmation of your place and then a detailed information pack will be dispatched to you about twelve weeks before departure. This will contain up-to-date health information. Flower, bird and mammal checklists are available.