Banff Hut to Hut Glacier Backpacking and Hiking
Join us on a Banff Canada Hiking + Hut-to-Hut Backpacking Adventure for women only! During your 6-day trip, backpack hut-to-hut in the remote backcountry of Banff National Park. Enjoy day hikes through the towering mountains and glacier fed lakes of the Canadian Rockies. This is not the maple syrup harvest your aunt went to that one time. This is Wild Canada, sister!
Guided Hiking in Banff, Canada National Parks
First, spend three days hiking in and exploring nearby national and provincial parks. The town of Banff is surrounded on all sides by them, boasting some of the most beautiful landscapes that Canada offers. Experience the iconic hiking trails in the surrounding parks, the atmosphere of the quaint mountain town, and the quiet backcountry bliss amongst flanneled femmes.
Day-hike to turquoise glacier fed lakes, past waterfalls, along pointed mountain ridge lines, and through luscious green valleys. Snap an iconic photo by Moraine Lake to add to your Instagram feed. You’ll feel as if you’re in a fairy tale admiring the chateau from Lake Louise.
Also enjoy exploring lesser known trails as our local guides share their favorites hikes. You could be hiking to glacier fed lakes in Banff National Park, past stunning waterfalls in Yoho National Park, up and over a mountain pass in Kananaskis Country and more.
Exploring Downtown Banff
Each evening, we’ll return to our downtown Banff hotel, roll on some deodorant, and head out on the town to dine as a group. In your free time, soak your beautiful bones in one of the outdoor hot tubs or curl up cat-like beside the outdoor fireplace. Buzzed storytelling is encouraged.
Canadian Rockies Hut-to-Hut Guided Backpacking and Glacier Crossing
On the final three days of your adventure, we leave behind the hustle and noise of Banff and its tourists. Load up a 70L backpack with glacier crossing gear and all of the essentials for a hut-to-hut trek across the Wapta Icefields of the Canadian Rockies.
The Icefields are rolling, gentle glaciers that you will trek up and over during the course of three days. Experience first hand a rapidly disappearing mountain landscape while immersing yourself in a truly remote and unique, backcountry environment. Your destination each evening is rustic, remote alpine huts high up in mountains. There aren’t many backcountry treks that you can get the alpine trifecta—glaciers, mountains, and cozy alpine huts!
All Major Backpacking and Glacier Crossing Gear Provided
- 70L backpack
- sleeping bag
- mountaineering boots
- climbing harness
- climbing helmet
- ice axe
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- Explore the Canadian Rockies in Banff and the surrounding National and Provincial Parks that will lead you to turquoise lakes, past waterfalls, along pointed mountain ridge lines, and through luscious green valleys.
- Snap your Glamour shots with the backdrop of Moraine Lake, Lake Louise, and Peyto Lake.
- Venture down the lesser known trails of the area on local led day hikes.
- Enjoy the ambiance and buzz of a mountain town from your centrally located hotel in Banff for 3 nights.
- Leave behind the noise to hike hut to hut high in the Canadian Rockies – an experience usually reserved for mountaineers.
- Strap on crampons and a helmet, grab an ice axe, and rope up with our group to trek across glaciers and the Wapta Icefields.
- Relish in the pristine mountain environment and tranquility for 2 evenings from your backcountry alpine hut.
- Disconnect and reboot high in the alpine backcountry of Banff National Park where there is no Wi-Fi, cell reception, or electricity.
- Simply show up to a fully-planned hut to hut trip with a backpack, sleeping bag, helmet, mountaineering boots, crampons, harness, and all other safety gear provided.
- Relax with a comprehensive itinerary that makes the logistics, transportation, navigation, meal planning, lodging, and everything between easy.
- Private Explorer Chick, small group, women only tour. Embark on your adventure with an encouraging and supportive group of bold women!
- 3 nights downtown Banff Hotel accommodation with mountain views, 2 outdoor hot tubs, steam room, sauna, outdoor fireplace, Wi-Fi, hot breakfast, and within walking distance to local shops and restaurants. Shared 2 per room.
- 2 nights backcountry alpine huts in Banff National Park
- Backcountry huts sleep up to 30 guests in bunk style accommodation. Bunks are in one room, mixed gender. There will be other outdoor folks sharing the hut with us.
- No electricity. Composting toilets. No Wifi. Remote and Rugged!
- Helping with meals and clean up is expected and part of the mountaineering experience.
- All meals as indicated in itinerary: B-5, L-6, D-5
- All tips for included meals and local guides
- All necessary mountaineering gear to complete the 3 day Hut to Hut Icefields hike: 70L pack, sleeping bag, mountaineering boots, climbing harness, climbing helmet, crampons, ice axe, ropes, and all group safety gear.
- Guided hiking throughout with a local expert(s) and your Explorer Chick leader
- All National and Provincial Park entry fees
- One to two local female local backcountry guides certified by the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides with extensive glacier crossing experience
- A commemorative Explorer Chick shirt.
- Private Explorer Chick land-transportation throughout itinerary
- A detailed Travel Guide with everything you need to know for your trip
- One experienced Explorer Chick Leader ensuring your trip is seamless and unforgettable!
- The freedom to enjoy your vacation and mindlessly wander!
- Small Group experience! Your Explorer Chick Adventure is exclusive and limited to 12 women
*Packages do NOT include your rendezvous hotel, departure hotel, airfare, airport transportation, alcoholic beverages, travel insurance, Explorer Chick Leader Tips, meals exclusive of itinerary, or costs for additional activities.
*Does NOT include your Explorer Chick Guide’s Tips – Tipping your Explorer Chick Guide is optional, but customary. If you wish to recognize your Explorer Chick Guide for exceptional service, we recommend you tip them 10-25% of your trip costs.
Day 1 – Welcome to the Canadian Rockies!
Welcome to Calgary! Your adventure begins on Day 1 at 8:00 am at our Rendezvous Hotel located in Calgary. Be sure to eat a hearty breakfast before meeting up with the group. You’ll be greeted by your Explorer Chick Leader in the morning with an official orientation to follow. We’ll then hop into our Explorer Chick Private Transport for our 1.5 hour drive to our first day hike in Kananaskis Country.
On your first hike in the Canadian Rockies – Tent Ridge Loop, you will loop through some of the most dramatic mountain landscapes Canada has to offer. Your first hike has it all – colorful meadows, shimmering lakes, alpine ridgelines, and mountain views in every direction. You’ll even muster of some courage for a bit of scrambling high above Spray Lakes. We’ll wander for roughly 6.2 miles through a remote area of the Canadian Rockies that doesn’t see very much traffic. Afterwards, we’ll hop in our transport and head to the quintessential mountain town of Banff.
Every evening over the next 3 nights, you’ll return to our downtown, centrally located Banff Hotel. Feel free to relax in one of the outdoor hot tubs or next to the outdoor fireplace with mountain views on the horizon. We’ll head out on the town each evening to dine as a group at a local restaurant.
Time: 5-6 hours
Distance: 6.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,114’
Highest Elevation: 8,252′
Accommodation: Downtown Banff Hotel
Meals: L, D (Note – Breakfast is not included on Day 1)
Day 2 – Yoho National Park: Waterfalls, Ridgelines, and Alpine Lakes
We’ll enjoy a scrumptious breakfast at our Hotel before loading up our daypacks and heading out for today’s hike! We’ll transfer north to Yoho National Park. Today’s loop hike – Iceline Trail Loop – will take you past thundering waterfalls and through alpine meadows with glacier-clad peaks on the horizon. You’ll ascend 2,380 feet in the first 4.5 miles to earn the best views. You’ll get up close and personal with glaciers. From our highpoint at 7,310 feet, you’ll hike along ridgelines enjoying bird’s eye views from each direction. The rest of the hike is all downhill boasting views of distance lakes, valleys, and waterfalls with a different view around every bend in the trail.
Time: Around 9 hours
Distance: 13 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,380′
Highest Elevation: 7,310′
Accommodation: Downtown Banff Hotel
Meals: B, L, D
Day 3 – Banff National Park: Lush Valleys and Glacier Fed Lakes
We’ll have a leisurely morning at our hotel enjoying breakfast and coffee with mountain views from our hotel. We’ll then head north to Banff National Park to explore one of the most picturesque lakes in the Canadian Rockies – Moraine Lake. Your guide will take you to the best spots to photograph the lake while getting your Glamour Shot in front of the turquoise waters. Afterwards, we’ll take a moderate trail through the valley behind Moraine Lake. You’ll follow a babbling creek up the valley catching glimpses of Mount Temple peeking through the trees. We’ll enjoy a packed lunch on the shores of an alpine lake before returning the way we came.
You’ll have a few hours of free time today after we return to Banff to rest up for the backcountry portion of our trip, explore the town of Banff, or sip a local brew soaking in the mountain town feels.
Time: Around 5 hours
Distance: 8 miles
Elevation Gain: 850′
Highest Elevation: 6,510′
Accommodation: Downtown Banff Hotel
Meals: B, L, D
Day 4 – Bow Lake to the backcountry of Banff
It’s an early morning packing up all of our gear for the next three days. You’ll be outfitted with a 70L backpack, mountaineering boots, crampons, a helmet, harness, ice axe, shared gear, and more. Don’t worry if you are a beginner. You’ll learn how to use all of your gear. Just be sure to show up strong having trained with a weighted pack and your boots.
Afterwards, it’s an hour and a half drive north to the trailhead at Bow Lake. We start on the main trail which follows the lake shore to the head of turquoise colored, Bow Lake then up the river flats beyond. We’ll leave behind the main trail by a small, but spectacular gorge the river has cut into the limestone. Then, you’ll cross over the gorge bridged by a enormous boulder to reach the mountaineer’s trail. The trail leads us past old moraines then up through the forest until it opens out into a massive alpine cirque surrounded by peaks and glaciers. The last section is in the rough and rocky alpine until our final ascent brings us to our Alpine Hut. From your home for the evening you’ll have magnificent views of the surrounding peaks, glaciers, and down the canyon to the valley where we started our day.
Time: 3-5 hours
Distance: 4.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,310 ft
Accommodation: Alpine Hut at 7,710′
Meals: B, L, D
Day 5 – Crossing the Ice Fields
We’ll get an early start and commence one of the most scenic stretches of Banff National Park. We’ll lace up our mountaineering boots and strap on our crampons to cross the Icefields. First, we’ll walk the gentle slopes of the Bow Glacier below the remarkable crag of Mt. St. Nicholas to top out on the flat expanse of the Wapta Icefield. The Bow Glacier is the source of the Bow River which flows down valley through Lake Louise, Banff, Canmore and finally out onto the plains then past Calgary to eventually join the south Saskatchewan River. Then it’s a side trip to Polaris Peak where you’ll enjoy spectacular panorama views with peaks in every direction. We’ll then continue across the glacier to our second alpine hut that sits on a flat part of the mountain with glacier views below.
During our glacier trek, we’ll be wearing a harness and roped together for maximum safety. As a group, we’ll be walking slow navigating crevasses as a group and taking in the views. Walking on the glacier is fairly easy and suitable for beginners who have been properly training on inclines with weighted packs.
Time: 4-6 hours
Distance: 3.8 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 1,020’/770′
Accommodation: Alpine Hut at 8,200′
Meals: B, L, D
Day 6 – Peyto Lake to Calgary – Departures
The hike today is mostly downhill as we descend to the tongue of the glacier. We’ll share in the gratitude to be on a backcountry trek that maximizes our exposure to a quickly disappearing landscape. The opportunity to see glaciers up close in this environment will not be as abundant in the future. You will witness first hand the effects of global warming as Peyto Glacier is in full retreat. Our local guides will be our resource educating us as to where the glacier was recently and sharing how the glaciers preserve elements of the past. We’ll leave behind the glacier to cross over to the main trail and down the moraine wall track. Eventually, we reach Peyto Lake – one of the most photographed lakes in the area. Here our trek ends as we join the paved tourist trail and take a shuttle back to the Bow Lake trailhead.
After returning gear, we drive the 1.5 hours back to Calgary. Plan to fly out of Calgary after 9pm or anytime on the following day.
Time: 4-6 hours
Distance: 6.5 miles
Elevation Loss: 1,900′
Meals: B, L
*Explorer Chick reserves the option to modify trip itineraries at the discretion of your tour director as necessary due to weather, conditions, illness, injury, group dynamics, or other unforeseen incidents.
You will receive a travel guide attached to your booking confirmation with the Rendezvous hotel and all of the information you’ll need to prepare for your epic trip.
Your adventure begins and ends in Calgary, Canada.
Day 1: Group Rendezvous at 8am in the hotel lobby. Rendezvous hotel information will be provided in your Travel Guide. You are responsible for booking your arrival hotel and airport transportation.
Day 6: Return to our Rendezvous Hotel in Calgary. You can fly out of Calgary anytime after 9pm. However, it is recommended to fly out the following day in case there are road delays or issues on the trail. You are responsible for booking your departure hotel and airport transportation.
We require a minimum of 5 Explorer Chicks for this trip. Please confirm your trip is guaranteed before booking airfare.
Just as you would a marathon, you must train prior to your adventure. On the final 3 days of your adventure, your pack will weigh approximately 30 lbs. You will be responsible for carrying your own gear plus shared gear on your trip. You will be hiking in alpine environments that will include boulder fields and scree. Please be aware of hiking distances as described above.
Keep in mind that you’ll be hiking at a higher elevation than you may be used to. Our day hikes could lead us to ridge lines around 10,000 feet. During our hut-to-hut hiking portion, the elevation tops out at 8,200 ft.
You should be training with a pack gradually adding weight to it to allow your body to adapt. You can easily add weight using gallons of water, wrapped cat litter, bags of charcoal, or weights.
You should be training on rough and rugged terrain – not perfectly paved sidewalks. Train how you play! Also, find steps, a hill, or the Stairmaster and get to climbing! Your quads, booty, and calves will thank you. Train in all the weather – This even means rain! Please consider the physical demands carefully as it is for the safety and enjoyment of the group.
Train your tootsies! Do not show up with brand new hiking boots or trail shoes. You should be spending hours upon hours in your boots leading up to your adventure to break them in. Better to suffer blisters at home than to miss out on a hike due to painful hot spots on your feet. This is our number one injury. Do not let it happen to you!
All Explorer Chicks will be required to sign an Acknowledgement of Physical Demands as part of their waiver upon booking.
Prepare for your Banff Canada Hiking and Hut-to-Hut Backpacking Adventure
How to Train for Hiking and Backpacking Trips
How to Layer for Your Winter Hike
Still not convinced that THIS is the adventure for you?
We’ve rounded up some of our most popular blog posts, so you can get to know us a bit better and learn what really goes down on your Explorer Chick Adventure.
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- The Power of Explorer Chick
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- We are ALL IN
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You can always reach us by email with more questions! Info@ExplorerChick.com
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