DAYS 19 – 35: CANADA (ALBERTA, BRITISH COLUMBIA & YUKON TERRITORY)
From Montana you cross into Canada and spend your first night camping along the Milk River. The next day your overland journey continues to the city of Calgary where you will have two nights and the chance to explore the city which lies on the Bow and Elbow Rivers.
Calgary is the gateway to the Canadian Rocky Mountains, and this is where you will be heading next. A short drive will take you to Banff where you will be based for two nights. You will have the option to hike Tunnel or Sulphur Mountains or take the Banff Gondola up for views over the town and surroundings. There are also options to go rock climbing, hire canoes and much more! That evening you will have an included visit the Banff Hot Springs to soak your weary bones. The next day you will have an included visit to the beautiful Lake Louise and Moraine Lake with another round of Rockies hiking, and a drive down the Bow Valley Parkway.
From Banff your North American overland tour will travel along one of North America’s most picturesque drives, the Icefields Parkway. Make sure your camera batteries are charged because your camera will be firing non-stop with all the breathtaking views over glaciers, lakes and waterfalls. You will stop off many times during the day to take short walks to viewpoints and stop for a multitude of animal sightings!
At the end of the Icefields Parkway lies Jasper. Less touristy than Banff, Jasper is no less an entertaining little town. Located in the heart of the Rockies, Jasper has plenty of adventure activities available including hiking, mountain biking and other activities are available. The town is well worth a wander with its charming downtown, and historical buildings including the Jasper National Park Information Centre, train station, post office, old fire hall, Jackman House and Robson House.
From Jasper you will traverse Alberta and cross into British Columbia along the Yellowhead Highway. Surrounded by mountains and river valleys, you follow the Fraser River through the history of the Cariboo Gold Rush and Fur Trading Post area, camping for the night alongside Fraser Lake, known as the “White Swan Capital of the World”.
The following day you will visit the ‘Ksan Historical Village. The ‘Ksan village is a great example of how the Gitxsan First Nation has continued to survive in harsh environments and keep their culture alive for centuries. You will have the chance to see original totem poles and learn about Indian history.
Making your way to Meziadin Lake you will have a good chance of seeing bears as the junction at the Meziadin Lake Provincial Park has a large concentration of black and brown bears fishing along the many creeks. You will also take a visit to the massive Bear Glacier that filled the Bear River Pass only 50 years ago.
Your overland tour of North America will then travel along another of the continent’s most scenic drives which is also known for its prolific wildlife so keep an eye out for black bear or moose. The road passes deep canyons, high glaciers, mountains and can be rough at times, but the reward of travelling roads like this will truly give you a feeling of being out in the wilderness! “Into the Wild” is an understatement!
The next stop will be Teslin, home of the Tlingit First Nation, whose livelihood is centred around traditional hunting, trapping and fishing. Make sure to get your creative side out for the “Sign Post Forest” at Watson Lake – there are already 100,000 signs from around the world! If you want, bring one from home! Camping along the Nisutlin Bay and visiting the Northern Wildlife Museum will give you a great perspective of the Tlingit First Nation.
Your overland tour then heads west, to the frontier town of Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory, where there are more caribou than people! Whitehorse is located on the Yukon River where you can check out the old paddleboat, the SS Klondike. A canoe / kayaking trip on the Yukon River is included!
Your last stop in Canada is Dawson City. No visit to this lively and historic city is complete without visiting Diamond Tooth Gertie’s Klondike Gold Rush, Midnight Dome, Robert Service Cabin and the Jack London Museum. The brave might even try the Sour Toe Cocktail! This small town was once home to over 40,000 gold-fevered prospectors and you’ll get the chance to try your hand at a little gold-panning to try to strike it rich!