4 days exploring Rockies with Calgary Tours (How the rockies look like during winter, what package we got and my review)

I was fortunate enough to start 2019 with an adventure.

My dad and I went to explore the Rockies during the first week of the year. We booked our 4 day trip with Calgary Tours since we were a bit scared of driving on our own during the winter season. Initially, we were puzzled because no one wrote about booking with Calgary Tours nor their experiences with the agency so my dad and I just prayed that the experience won’t be bad.

From Vancouver, we rode a local plane to Calgary. Part of the tour offered airport pick up and drop off services so we were very happy about that part.

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you’ll be given this envelope as soon as you meet with the person assignedΒ  to pick you up, it’s your “itinerary” but it’s just a hard copy of what was sent to you by Calgary Tours via email

DAY 1

Calgary Tours gave us the whole day to explore Calgary or to join their optional tours. We chose to explore Calgary. Since the hotel that was booked for us was close to the airport, the only mode of transportation was booking a cab. Thank goodness the driver who picked us up at the airport told us that Calgary has Uber services! Uber was our saviour that day.

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The hotel that was booked for us was Ramada Plaza & Conf Center by Wyndham Calgary Airport (I think the shorter version is Ramada Airport Hotel). The room of the hotel was a bit old but since we were just staying for a night, my dad and I didn’t mind.

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With much time to kill during our first day, we went to explore downtown Calgary!

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Calgary Tower

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DAY 2

We had the earliest call time during the next day because we had to pick up the other people who joined the tour.

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The order of places we went to for day 2 was:

  1. Bow Falls
  2. Banff Sulphur Mt Gondola
  3. Banff Town (for lunch)
  4. Surprise Corner
  5. Banff Hot Springs
  6. Banff Town (check in at hotel)

Before I share how the places look, I’ll start with where we stayed just like what I did for day 1.

The hotel that was booked for us at Banff was Banff Aspen Lodge.

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Sharing with you some photos of the places we went to by order.

Bow Falls

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everything was covered in snow
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literally

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see the mini falls on the right side? that’s actually Bow Falls! I decided to take a screenshot from the video I took using my phone

 

Banff Sulphur Gondola

You have an option of riding the gondola up the mountains or not. Since we’re staying there for an hour and a half, my dad and I decided to ride the gondola.

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didn’t expect to be able to visit the highest Starbucks in Canada at the same time!

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view from the cable car

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during the warmer season, you can hike this trail
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while waiting for the bus to leave, my dad and I took photos outside
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there’s also a bonfire so you can warm yourself

 

Banff Town

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there are a lot of food and shops
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around this little town

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there are a lot of stores where you can buy souveniers! I suggest that you buy souveniers when you’re in Banff Town

Surprise Corner

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the place is just an area where you can view Fairmont Banff from a distance
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the view was still beautiful!

 

Banff Hot Springs

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the pool was filled with a lot of people!! my dad and I decided to skip this part of the trip
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we just drank coffee at the shop on the second floor while waiting for our other tour mates

DAY 3

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For day 3, this was the order of where we went to:

  1. Lake Louise (we did snowshoeing here)
  2. Lake Louise Town (for lunch)
    **wasn’t able to take a photo of town sorry! it was smaller than Banff Town**
  3. YOHO National Park
  4. Emerald Lake
  5. Natural Bridge

I’ll start with where we stayed for day 2.

The hotel that was booked for us at Lake Louise was Lake Louse Inn.

 

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the room was big but the lights weren’t enough when it becomes night time

Lake Louise

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if you only knew the struggle for taking pretty photos at Lake Louise!! (I also had to make my own path since the snow was too tall and too thick)

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met this furry fellow while walking!
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def the highlight of the trip! Lake Louise was too stunning
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Fairmont made ice castles! The top is supposed to be a maple leaf but it’s already covered in snow

 

Emerald Lake

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Natural Bridge

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DAY 4

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For day 3, this was the order of where we went to:

  1. Lake Louise Ski Resort (Tuber/Sightseeing Gondola)
    *you’ll have lunch inside the resort, the chili cheese dog and cheese pizza was good!
  2. Johnston Canyon
  3. Lake Minnewanka

No hotels for day 4 since we were flying back to Vancouver that day.

Lake Louise Ski Resort
(Wish I was able to ski here! Time was too short 😭)

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among the group, my dad and I were the only ones who chose to ride the gondola. The rest went tubbing
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we can’t see anything when we were at the peak! The snowfall was too heavy
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and there were no one there besides people skiing and snowboarding down

 

Johnston Canyon

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since we were given a short time, the tour guide told us to take the lower falls trail
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en route!

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Johnston Canyon!
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it’s so hard to to take a photo because the place was small and cramped and there were a lot of people

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some of our tour mates got lost so we had to wait under the sudden heavy snowfall!

Lake Minnewanka

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post card perfect!
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we walked on so many frozen lakes!!
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I can’t wait to really come back and see the beauty of the place during the warmer seasons

all photos taken using an iPhone / Fujifilm X-A3 18-55 mm


Final review:

My dad and I had fun even if all the people we were with were Chinese people. Most of them were from mainland China but are residing in Canada.

They weren’t the unruly or the noisy type. We got lucky with our group. They were on punctual with time so we did not have any delays during the tour. We just wished breakfast was included in the payment.

My dad and I did not get the “group meal” option for the tour since we wanted to explore on our own and from experience of joining a tour with other people, we didn’t usually like the food.

Will I recommend booking with them? Yes if you don’t mind having people from mainland China as your tour buddies!

Here’s the direct link of the tour package we got from Calgary Tours:

http://www.calgarytours.ca/index.php/en/rockie-mountain/from-other-city/4-day-tou/rockies-winter-fun-4-days-tour-iro04w


I can’t wait to be back to explore the Rockies during Spring and/or Autumn season! I’m sure it will be as breathtaking as Winter season.

πŸ’š, R


Read about my other Canada adventures

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