If you truly want to feel the Rockies in your bones, you’ll need to get on a saddle. Specifically, the saddle of a horse that departs Banff Trail Riders twice a week each summer on a six-day adventure to the century-old, off-grid Halfway Lodge. No previous riding experience is required for a slow ride through the forests that will redefine your relationship with the backcountry. Riding above the tree line, surrounded by an amphitheatre of dramatic limestone peaks, is pure Canadian bucket list.
Cost: From $2659 per person for the 5-night trip, based on double occupancy. Check the official website for the latest prices.
Best Time to Go: 3 or 6-day rides to the backcountry lodges run throughout summer. Late summer gets a little cooler, but there are less bugs.
Where to Stay: Accommodation includes two nights at Sundance Lodge, and 3 nights at Halfway Lodge. Bedding and towels are provided.
Where to Eat: All meals are included at the lodge, with packed lunches provided or BBQ’s on the trail.
Official Site: https://horseback.com/tours/canadian-geographic-5-nights/
Getting There: The ride departs from Banff Trail Riders (formerly Warner Stables) located just outside of the Banff townsite.
Notes from Robin: It costs a little more and takes a little longer, but the 5 night trip to Halfway Lodge that includes Allenby Pass is totally the way to do it. It also includes a fabulous hike to Lake Matthias, which is like having your own private Lake Louise. Allenby Pass is without doubt the spectacular highlight, so it would be a pity to ride to Halfway Lodge and miss it. The link above (and the trip captured in the video and book chapter) is a Can Geo Adventures departure, which means you’ll be in the company of a Canadian Geographic Travel Ambassador, adding an extra special flavour to the trip, and lots of stories around the campfire. There’s no galloping or trotting, and the horses are exceptionally well-trained and looked after.