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“Wonderful Experience!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Great Divide Day Hikes

Great Divide Day Hikes
Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Alberta T0L 1E0, Canada
403-522-2735
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Ranked #2 of 13 attractions in Lake Louise
Type: Tours
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Attraction Details
Owner description: Great Divide Nature Interpretation provides informative guided hiking and snowshoeing in the Lake Louise and Banff areas. Nadine Fletcher and Joel Hagen have over 20 years experience and are certified “Master” interpreters. In summer, full day and half day walks/hikes. In winter, half day snowshoeing trips.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
North Easton, Massachusetts
1 review
“Wonderful Experience!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2011

This was our first trip to the Canadian Rockies and we didn’t know what to expect for hiking conditions. We had 3 days to hike in the Lake Louise area, and we wanted to make the most of the experience. We emailed Great Divide Nature Interpretation and told them a little about us (in our mid-fifties) and provided an overview of our prior hiking experience (mostly New England). Joel and Nadine suggested 3 hikes that complemented our skills and provided a good diversity in elevation, plants and wildlife.

Nadine guided our hike to “Bow Summit Lookout”. A fresh dusting of snow on this high elevation hike provided a great opportunity for identifying animal tracks. Joel guided our hikes to the “The Big Beehive”, which includes amazing views of Lake Louise, and “Stanley Glacier Valley” which provides an excellent example of a forest regenerating after a fire. We hiked “The Big Beehive” on September 25th and the larch trees were in their full fall glory, glistening gold in the sun.

My expectation was we were just hiring a guide to lead us on the different trails so we would not have to worry about where we were going. What we got was so much more. Hiking with Nadine and Joel is just plain fun and educational. They educate you about the plants, the wildlife, and the history in such an entertaining way, with a backpack full of visual aids and props that makes the hikes fun and memorable. We highly recommend hiking with Great Divide Nature Interpretation and will hike with them again the next time we travel to Lake Louise.

Visited September 2010
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204 reviews from our community

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English first
Calgary, Canada
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Friendly, knowledgeable, well organized”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2011

We took a guided snowshoe outing with Great Divide in early January 2011. Our guide, Joel, contacted us ahead of time to find out about us, our snowshoeing experience, level of ability, and interests. He did an excellent job of tailoring the outing to these considerations and also to the weather at the time. We had our 8 yr old son with us, and the morning featured a wind chill of -27 C. He had selected a trail that was well sheltered from the wind, with minimal elevation gain and good sun exposure. The day before, he had scouted it with his wife, to pack down the lose snow, and make sure there were no obstructions. These precautions made it possible for our son to enjoy himself, despite previously limited interest in snowshoeing.

Along the way he pointed out many different animal tracks in the snow, and taught us to identify them. We saw snowshoe hare, marten, coyote, hedge-hog, mouse and even moose tracks. Joel had a binder with pictures of all these animals, and used the tracks as an opportunity to teach us more about each animal. He seems to have a natural knack of relating to kids and getting them to share in his enthusiasm for animals and nature. Our son stayed glued to him and peppered him with questions well beyond the patience limit of many an adult. This also helped our son enjoy the experience.

Although we had our own equipment, the other family who joined us was fully kitted out with snowshoes and poles. The British teenager who was with us, who seemed to think sneakers were an appropriate footwear choice for a half day's winter outing in the Canadian Rockies, was also issued a type of over-boot that fit over his shoes, and, I suspect, also kept his toes from freezing off.

Having previously done a couple of years of snowshoeing on our own, my wife an I are coming to appreciate these types of guided outings more and more, because you see and learn so much more than if you just show up and go on your own. As a pair of city dwellers who grew up in the suburbs, we simply would not have seen all the things that were pointed out to us.

We would not hesitate to recommend you head out with Great Divide, even if you're a local. If you're a tourist or new to the area or to snowshoeing, the value of the services is even greater, since you get access to local knowledge, and well as having someone to make sure you learn the proper techniques and get you back safely. We plan to go back out with them, and will probably also ring them up for some guided hikes in the summer as well.

If you do go with them, think about what interests you and what you want out of the outing, and make sure you tell them.

Visited January 2011
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Rayleigh, United Kingdom
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
“Wonderful Day with Great Divide in Lake O'Hara”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2011

We booked a hike with Great Divide to Lake O'Hara during the last week of August 2010. When Nadine met us at our hotel we feared the day would be a washout as it was pouring with rain. By the time we had driven the 20 minutes or so to meet the bus to Lake O'Hara this had turned to snow. We were glad we were properly prepared with warm fleeces and down jackets, and waterproof over-trousers and a lightweight waterproof jacket to finish off. Even though we had our walking boots we decided to stick to what is known as the 'garden route' which nevertheless was sufficiently challenging and incredibly beautiful. The day turned to one of intermittent sun and snow showers. The fresh snow in the trees and the forever changing colours of the skies and mountain backdrop gave us some fantastic memories. Nadine was wonderful - very funny and very knowledgeable about wildlife and fauna. The humour was accentuated by her bag of props, which we will keep secret, so as not to spoil your surprise. Being a restricted area there were relatively few other hikers around which also helped us to feel that it was 'our special day'. We saw plenty of wildlife, especially pikas and hoary marmots which adapt brilliantly to the harsh conditions. While not cheap, we would recommend a Great Divide private hike as a special treat, and I'm sure their group hikes would be wonderful as well. Thank you Nadine - I know you love your work and will continue to make countless others very happy in this beautiful corner of the world.

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Calgary, Canada
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Excellent day in the snow”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2010

We had a guided snowshoe trip in the area near Lake Louise. The snow was great although not as deep as usual, but plenty deep enough to have fun on snowshoes. Everything was provided for us including excellent hot chocolate and home baked powerbars/cookies. Our guide, Joel, was knowledgeable and explained many things (with pictures) about the area, the landscape, the trees, and the animals and tracks that we saw. All in all a great way to learn something and to do something active outside in the winter.

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Calgary, Canada
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Simply Flabbergasting”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2010

Such a pleasure to Snowshoe with Joel. He has everything: gears, warmer gloves, snowshoe and poles, samples of all the discovery along the path...but most important the Knowledge of the nature that Joel contributes to Share. Heading to Continental Divide for 4 hours, stopping by each single details that attracts you :
- different types of lychens on the trees, footprints of animals, structure of the snow. ... and more to discover Addition to that a great break with warm home made chocolate or herbal tea and a "power snack". Snowshoeing has never been so interesting and so educating than going with Joel. Recommended ++++

Thank you Joel and looking to seeing you soon for some other tours (Emeral Lake or any other) with pleasure

Signed : a fun guy ;-)

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