Combine a 3-night stay in search of the aurora borealis at Fort McMurray - one of the best places in Canada to view this natural phenomenon - with a leisurely exploration of the Canadian Rockies. Offering great chances of seeing the northern lights as well as visiting Banff, Jasper and Lake Louise, this itinerary offers the very best of winter in Alberta!
- Witness the northern lights from a designated viewing site
- Expert photography and astronomy instruction
- Guided snow-shoeing excursion to Marble Canyon
- Ice walk at Jasper’s Maligne Canyon
- Evening sleigh ride at Lake Louise
Northern Alberta’s Fort McMurray is renowned for reliable northern lights activity. Situated 450 km north of Edmonton and under the southern edge of the auroral oval, during your 3-night stay in Fort McMurray your time will be focused on aurora hunting with nightly visits to the designated viewing site. Here a local astronomy expert will be on hand with information on the aurora borealis and the constellations that can be seen from Fort McMurray, as well a professional photographer who will provide assistance with camera instructions and lessons on taking aurora and dark sky imgaes. During the days your time is at leisure to relax or to enjoy your choice of optional excursions that explore the surrounding spectacular northern wilderness.
Following your stay in the north, fly to Calgary for an independent, scheduled-coach tour through the incredible snow-covered mountain scenery of the Canadian Rockies. On this tour you’ll explore by snowshoe the dramatic colours of Marble Canyon as well as discover the frozen Maligne Canyon’s ice-clad limestone walls on an Ice Walk. On days when the Ice Walk isn’t possible you’ll take a guided Wildlife Tour, exploring the lower valleys’ dramatic backdrop for the elk, deer and wolves that are present here in winter. You’ll wrap up your holiday at Lake Louise, where you’ll enjoy an evening horse-drawn sleigh ride in picture-postcard surroundings, before enjoying a day at leisure to explore.
Please note that whilst this is not an escorted tour, your excursions are not on a private basis and you will travel with other travellers during your coach tour and on the included fully-guided excursions.
Contact our Canada experts now
We had a really wonderful time. Thank you for all the arrangements you put in place which all worked like a dream.Peter & Carolyn Stott, Tailor made self-drive
Itinerary & Accommodation
- Day 1: Fort McMurray
- Arrive Fort McMurray and transfer (included) to your hotel. The balance of the day is at leisure. This evening transfer to the aurora viewing site for some memorable night-sky watching. After the aurora viewing you will be transferred back to your hotel.
- Days 2-3: Fort McMurray
- Days at leisure to enjoy the many optional winter activities that Fort McMurray has to offer. Optional day tours can be booked in advance - these include a guided city tour of Fort McMurray and guided oil sands tour. Each evening you will be transferred to the viewing building for night-sky watching, and, conditions permitting, aurora viewing. A professional photographer will be on-site to provide camera instructions and lessons on how to take aurora / dark sky photos. Or join the aurora and star interpretive presentation given by a professional astronomer on site. Complimentary snowshoeing and Boreal Forest interpretive walk are available during aurora viewings.
- Day 4: Fort McMurray - Calgary - Banff (flight not included)
- This morning your aurora viewing experience ends with an included transfer to Fort McMurray airport. Fly to Calgary (flight not included), where you will board an express coach to the vibrant resort town of Banff, in the heart of the Canadian Rockies.
- Day 5: Banff
- Marble Canyon is a great introduction to snowshoeing and provides insights into the fur trade and its impact on Western Canada. Snowshoe on an easy trail through the Vermilion River Valley while listening to stories of Banff’s indigenous people, the explorers and the fur traders who lived in and travelled through the Rockies, until you reach Marble Canyon, a cultural treasure within Canada’s National Parks. This tour covers mostly flat terrain and you will have a chance to search for snowshoe hare, moose, and wolf tracks while exploring. Finally, near Marble Canyon you’ll be rewarded with a unique Canadian treat - hot maple taffy!
- Day 6: Banff - Jasper
- Travel north along the Icefield Parkway to Jasper today. This spectacular drive through glacier country will be highlighted by massive snow covered mountains, frozen waterfalls and broad reaching valleys.
- Day 7: Jasper
- An opportunity to view the wonders of Maligne Canyon from the ground up! The canyon has withstood 10,000 years of erosion and has created a 50m gorge. Certified guides will lead groups of no more than 12 along the frozen canyon floor and its ice-clad limestone walls. Super soles and winter boots will keep you warm and secure as they explore this wonderland of rock and ice.
- Day 8: Jasper - Lake Louise
- Return south to spectacular Lake Louise. Included this evening is a wonderful 40 minute Sleigh Ride that takes place beside the lake.
- Day 9: Lake Louise
- Lake Louise is the most famous glacial lake in the Canadian Rockies and one of the most beautiful in the Western Hemisphere. The lake, named for the Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, daughter of Queen Victoria, is 1,730 metres (5,680 feet) above sea level. Spend the day at leisure exploring Lake Louise.
- Day 10: Lake Louise - Calgary
- Depart the Rocky Mountains for the Great Central Plains and your onward journey from Calgary Airport.
Brewsters Mountain Lodge, Banff
- Grade: Simple
- Type: Hotel
A family-owned lodge-style hotel, this 77 room lodge pro…
Fairmont Banff Springs
- Grade: Deluxe
- Type: Hotel
Few hotels in the world rival the majesty, hospitality a…
Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge
- Grade: Standard
- Type: Hotel
Overlooking Lac Beauvert just outside the township of Ja…
The above is a selection of accommodation available for this holiday. Other options are available based on your preferred category. Please contact us for further details.
Prices & Dates
Prices from £1,273 per person, based on twin share standard accommodation. Prices vary subject to departure date.
|Departure Month||Departure date |
|December 2017||08, 15|
|January 2018||05, 26|
Airport transfers • Standard hotel accommodation for 9 nights • 3 nights in search of the Aurora with an expert astronomer and photographer, including return transfers to private viewing site, hot drinks, hot meal and photography instruction • scheduled express coach from Calgary through the Rockies as per itinerary • Snowshoeing at Marble Canyon, Banff (16 Nov - 15 Apr) • Maligne Canyon Ice Walk (15 Dec - 30 Mar; replaced with Maligne Wildlife Tour on days when Ice Walk is not possible) • Sleigh Ride at Lake Louise (10 Dec - 18 Mar) • National park fees • Exclusive travel documentation
International and domestic flights & airport taxes (please contact our team for best available fares – we recommend booking your domestic flight in conjunction with your international airfare for best value) • Additional meals and excursions not specified above • Personal travel insurance • Gratuities & items of a personal nature
How to book
So that we may send you a personalised quote and confirmation of availability, please click on the link below and complete our Enquiry form. One of our Travel Specialists will then be in touch to complete your booking or answer any further questions you might have.
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Speak to a specialist: 01737 214 250Book this trip
Our team of Travel Specialists have extensive first-hand knowledge of our destinations and are passionate about travel.