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Guided Hikes

Ohio
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Guided Hikes

My husband and I are looking for moderate level guided hikes & reputable & reasonably priced companies. We are also interested in canoeing & possibly horseback rides.

We are 70 and 57 years old and are active. Our desire with guided hikes is to learn about the area, guarantee a "group" to avoid bears, & maximize our time hiking. We will be in Banff Sept 5-9 & nights of Sept 10 & 11 at Lake Louise.

Any advice or reviews of guided hikes & companies for the following areas:

1. Sunshine Meadows.

2. Lake Louise Tea House

3. Johnson Canyon

4. Other hike options worth considering?

5. Places to canoe

6. Horseback rides

For Sunshine Meadows do we need a guide?

Any thoughts on the guided hikes offered through the Lake Louise chateau?

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Banff
Banff
Banff National Park, Canada
Lake Louise
Lake Louise
Banff National Park, Canada
Calgary, Canada
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for Canadian Rockies
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1. Re: Guided Hikes

You really don't need a guide for any of those hikes. All are very popular with lots of other people on the trails and are on well market, well signed trails. None of the three have minimum group size requirements, and as long as you take regular bear precautions, I wouldn't be worried. (FYI, there is no LL teahouse - the two teahouses are Lake Agnes and Plain of Six Glaciers). Your bigger issue will be finding parking at Johnston Canyon.

Only certified guides can guide in the national & provincial parks, so quality and pricing tends to be fairly consistent. If you are staying at the Chateau Lake Louise, they can arrange guided hikes. I believe they use Great Divide. GD gets excellent reviews, but if you don't go through CLL, it may be hard to find openings at this point (https://www.greatdivide.ca/). The other company I'm familiar with is White Mountain Adventures, which is based out of Canmore (http://www.whitemountainadventures.com/). It's usually $60-90 for a group trip, more for a private trip. I'd book ASAP - guides may be booked up by now, especially around the holiday.

You can canoe on Moraine Lake, Lake Louise, the Bow River and Emerald Lake. Depends on your budget and the weather. September can be beautiful or we can get an early dump of snow. If you are staying at the Chateau Lake Louise, guests get first dibs on the canoes, so might be a good choice.

There are horseback rides at Lake Louise and Banff. All will be your typical nose to tail type rides. Again, with only a few companies, pricing and quality don't very much.

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2. Re: Guided Hikes

>> It's usually $60-90 for a group trip, more for a private trip. I'd book ASAP - guides may be booked up by now, especially around the holiday.

That's *per person*, by the way. And yes, that's pretty standard pricing - the interpretive/hiking guides up here in Jasper charge rates in the same range - normally the higher end of that range.

As mentioned, you don't really need a guide for those busy trails, but wanting to have someone to offer you an interpreted hike would be a good reason to hire one. Another reason would be that you might be able to hike at Lake O'Hara, in Yoho National Park, not far from Lake Louise by road (and just over the mountain backdrop of Lake Louise on the other side of the continental divide) - there is a daily quota on the number of hikers who can take the shuttle bus to Lake O'Hara, which sold out months ago for the entire summer, but there is also an allotment of shuttle bus seats for the commercial guides leading hikes there.

I am not sure if you are planning to be up in the Athabasca Glacier area of southern Jasper National Park, on the Icefields Parkway, but one truly awesome guided hiking experience is the Ice Walk on the glacier. I did it this time last summer and HIGHLY recommend it. I know that Banff-resident DE, "banff", has also done it and highly recommends it too. I do a lot of hiking here in the Rockies and it is one of my all-time "top ten" hiking experiences. www.icewalks.com

Another guided hike experience that you might want to look into is the Burgess Shale hikes in Yoho National Park. Info is on the YNP website, I believe. www.pc.gc.ca/yoho I have yet to do this, but it's on my "wish list".

With any guided hike, I would recommend booking as soon as possible. It's a very busy summer here this year, with free admission to the parks as part of the "Canada 150" celebrations, and business of all types are extra busy and booked up this summer.

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3. Re: Guided Hikes

Hello Q4UALL,

Some great suggestions above! Some other companies that offer guided hikes include Discover Banff Tours https://www.banfftours.com/, Canadian Rockies Alpine Hiking, http://www.canadianrockiesalpine.com/ and Nature in Focus http://natureinfocus.squarespace.com/. Hiring a guide is a great idea especially if you have never hiked in the area before. The Lake Louise Summer Sightseeing Gondola and the Sunshine Gondola both offer interpretive hikes with a guide. Either of these would be a great way to learn a little more about the landscape, wildlife, and general area.

Canoeing is spectacular on Lake Louise as well as on the Vermilion Lakes. Canoe rentals cost $105/per hour in Lake Louise for non-guests of the Chateau and $40/hour with the Banff Canoe Club. These are both first-come, first-serve.

Horseback riding is provided in Banff by the Banff Trail Riders https://horseback.com/. There are two trail riding companies in Lake Louise. One is Timberline Tours http://www.timberlinetours.ca/ and the other is Brewster Adventures http://www.brewsteradventures.com/.

Hope this helps and that you have a memorable stay in Banff and Lake Louise!

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Ohio
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4. Re: Guided Hikes

Thank you all so much for these excellent recommendations.

We are planning to head up to the Athabasca Glacier. We have basic hiking boots/ shoes. For the ice walk, do you need any special gear?

Also, at Sunshine Meadows, are the interpretive guides free as part of the lift ticket or are they part of the guided hikes offered by White Mountain or Discover Banff?

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Sunshine Meadows
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390 Reviews
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5. Re: Guided Hikes

IMO, I'd join a guided tour to go to Larch Valley (Valley of Ten Peaks), b/c of the group of 4 restriction.

Sunshine Meadows hiking trails are closed now due to fire. Their status in 4 weeks? I am hoping to hike a trail there in 3 weeks myself.

Short of finding a guide, a hiking guide book such as Patton/Robinson Canadian Rockies trail guide or Copeland's Don't Waste Your time Canadian Rockies could accompany you on the trail for interpretive purpose.

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Sunshine Meadows
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Jasper, Canada
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6. Re: Guided Hikes

The company offering the ice walk provides all the equipment needed, including micro-spikes to put on your boots so that you have good grip on the ice. Note that you should not go onto the glacier on your own, unguided. Be sure to book the hike well in advance.

There doesn't seem to be a group of 4 restriction in effect this year on the Moraine Lake and area trails - I have just checked (again) the Banff National Park website, both the trail report and the bulletins and closures page, and there is nothing noted for Moraine Lake, only Lake Minnewanka.

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7. Re: Guided Hikes

My husband and I looked at all of your recommendations and they all sound incredible. Lots to consider.

For sunshine meadow, which trails do you recommend?

Banff, Canada
Destination Expert
for Banff, Lake Louise
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8. Re: Guided Hikes

Sunshine Meadows does offer some of their own short guided hikes. All the details are available on their website: https:/…guided-hikes. The longer guided hikes at Sunshine Meadows are offered by White Mountain Adventures. As Daniel Y suggested, check the status of the trails closer to when you are visiting to see if they have opened back up.

The group of four restriction is not in place yet but could be by the time you arrive. Check the Parks Canada website before you head out https://www.pc.gc.ca/apps/tcond/cond_e.asp… Parks Canada still recommends you travel in groups of four and carry bear spray.

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Sunshine Meadows
Sunshine Meadows
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Banff, Canada
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Ohio
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9. Re: Guided Hikes

Thank you everyone for your wonderful suggestions. Very detailed and insightful.

10. Re: Guided Hikes

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