Kananaskis Explorer

Alberta Canada: (RTAB18)
URL: https://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/ab_kananaskis_explorer.aspx

Alberta Canada
A shorter 7-day wilderness getaway into the breathtaking mountain wilderness of the Kananaskis range - in the foothills of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. It will typically cover 100-120 km of both foothill and mountain topography in Kananaskis Country.

This is a  rugged, minimum impact wilderness adventure, in small groups where everyone can get personal attention and develop their abilities and confidence. We will typically cover 100-120 km of both foothill and mountain topography in Kananaskis Country. We may start from either the Ranch or Little Elbow Trailhead, and normally move camp twice during the week. Five days gives you lots of time to develop an affection and appreciation for both your horse and the Canadian wilderness, though almost everyone agrees that the time flies quickly and they are left with the urge to return and explore other untracked valleys and ridgelines.

This trip normally runs Sunday through Saturday. On Arrival day we meet at the ranch to map out the route for the next 5 days, match you with a horse according to your riding abilities and answer your questions. You will spend the first and last night in the guesthouse at the ranch.

This is not are not a big "corporate" ranch or pack outfitter. Indeed "big" is incompatible with our desire to leave as small as possible a footprint on the wilderness. We don't offer opulent luxury with simulated but tightly scripted "adventure". We don't stage mock gun-fights or hold-ups for the amusement of "tourists". This is a genuine, real-life adventure, breathtaking scenery, camaraderie of the trail, excellent camp-fire cooked food and the opportunity to learn as much as you can about horses, riding and living with nature.



This is a pack trip so nights will be spent at different campsites.

The first and last night of the trip will be spent at the ranch, and the remaining 4 nights will be spent camping in 2 different campsites.

Accommodation Itinerary - subject to changes
Night 1: Ranch
Night 2: Threepoint Camp
Nights 3-5: Elbow River Camp
Night 6: Ranch


The ranch lies in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, 13km south of the picturesque hamlet of Bragg Creek and roughly 60 kilometers southwest of Calgary - a wilderness area stretching to the Continental Divide! Landscape changes from one of rolling ridges and open forests to one of high alpine meadows, thick primal forests, and shear limestone cliffs.
The heart of the guest quarters is a large, bright communal space where we socialize, eat, cook, listen to stories or just enjoy the view over the horse pasture.
The guesthouse has 5 rooms (2 single rooms with one double bed, and 3 rooms with king bed, two twins, or two double beds). There are 2 full bathrooms, which are shared amongst all guests. We provide all bed linen and towels, but please bring your own soap and shampoo. There is a hairdryer in each bathroom.
Smoking is prohibited anywhere on the property except for around the outdoor fire pit. There is no TV or cell service in the guest house, but there is complimentary WIFI. You are welcome use the i-pod docking station, boards games, and a large selection of books and magazines available. There is a telephone in the guest house that can be used for local calls or long distance if you bring a calling card.
Laundry is available for an additional fee at certain times of the day.

On the trail we stay in simple but comfortable camps, their locations are well chosen within the given geography. We will be utilizing 2 different campsites. Tents, sleeping bags and mats are provided. We always camp within easy walking distance of a clear stream or river where you can swim or wash yourself. Bathroom facilities are pit latrines dug in each camp a short walk from the tenting area. They aren’t quite out-houses (only tarps for walls), but they have toilet seats. There is no electricity in camp, we recommend power bars or solar chargers.

Please, note that due to COVID-19, four tent posts might have to be replaced by smaller individual tents.

Room Occupancy
The single supplement fee will be waived if you are willing to share. Note there are only 2 single rooms available at the ranch.
Note we don't normally offer private tents unless people want to bring their own. Space on the packhorses is limited.

All meals are included from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on the last day.

At the Lodge: Full breakfast and dinner, prepared with local and fresh ingredients. Breakfast is typically served around 8.30 AM, dinner around 6.30 PM.

In camp: all meals are cooked over an open campfire and prepared with fresh ingredients. The menu changes daily. The menu changes daily and offers typical local dishes but also internationally inspired cuisine. Ingredients include locally raised organic beef and pork, fresh vegetables and fruits. Breakfast is typically hot and dinner is typically a main course with a salad and dessert. Lunch is picnic-style with sandwiches or wraps, fruit and granola bars. Coffee, teas, water, juice for breakfast, and hot chocolate are complimentary while you stay with us.

Please note that we do not serve alcohol, but feel free to bring your own as well as any other favorite drink you like.

Dietary Restrictions
We cater to most dietary restrictions with prior notice. Gluten-free requests are $10 extra per day.

This trip includes and can accommodate special dietary requests.


Riding Experience
This vacation is for riders with intermediate or better experience and a keen sense for adventures. Four to seven hours per day will be spent on trail, though people wishing to spend a day or two doing other activities such as hiking or relaxing will have that option. The horses have been chosen for their endurance, spirit, and sure-footedness in the mountains. Since the pack train uses different trails we will often canter where the trail is suitable. This is why it is important you are well balanced and comfortable at trots and canters! Over the duration of the trek you will learn the basics of horse packing, wilderness horsemanship, low impact horse camping and a myriad of other skills to fully enjoy horse trekking.

There are some trails we use where it is necessary to hike over rocky terrain, either to avoid undue risk or to enjoy a vista that cannot be ridden to. For most people this is a refreshing change that allows them to stretch their legs. We recommend that you bring or wear comfortable footwear that you can hike for a kilometer or two in.

The horses have been chosen for their endurance, spirit, and reliability in the mountains. Our horses are trained western style (neck-reining), but most English trained riders adapt very quickly to this style of riding with a bit of instruction and advice! The guests are expected to help in tending to the horses and other camp duties. Most horses will be fitted with western style saddles but those with a distinct preference for English riding may be accommodated.

Interesting and entertaining guides share their knowledge of the different areas we visit. You can learn about horsemanship, back-country navigation, survival skills, and living in nature.
 Depending on the group size you will have one or two backcountry guides with you at all times. Wranglers lead the packhorses with your gear into camp, usually on a different, easier and less scenic route than the one the group takes. We all share the same love and pride for this country and are delighted to pass it on to our guests.

We consider 8 to be optimal maximum group size for our back-country trips, but can handle groups as large as 10 if you are one big group who book together!
The minimum age for pack trips is 8 years old. Anyone under 15 should be a regular and enthusiastic rider and be adventurous, and must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. We have  also had people in their 70's on pack trips, but again, they were fit, in good health, and rode regularly prior to their holiday. We ask that you judge yourself (and your children) honestly in this regard, as we will take your word for it and plan the trip accordingly. 
The maximum weight for riders is 220 lbs. Exceptions may be made for very experienced/athletic riders!
For all age groups: It is important that you feel fit and healthy before going on the trail. We are traveling in the wilderness, and medical services (beyond first aid) will not be readily available.


Sample Itinerary - subject to changes

While we have a route planned at the outset of every trip, changes are sometimes forced upon us by weather, bear activity or other environmental hazards. The guides reserve the option of changing the day's activity from the published schedule based on any concern they have for the safety of the party. In these cases, various alternatives will normally be presented to the group and a decision made in consultation with them.

Day 1 (Sunday): Arrival
We will arrange pick-up from Calgary in the afternoon, either from the international airport or a hotel. The exact pick up time will be coordinated with you directly, but typically we don’t schedule pick-ups before 4:00pm. After a approximately 1 hour drive, you will be dropped off at the Ranch where we have a welcome meet & greet BBQ with all guests and the staff to give you and us the chance to get to know each other a bit, ask questions and – most importantly – go over the plan for the next days, including weather forecast and reminders of what you need to bring. We will talk to you about your riding skills, preferences and dislikes in a horse so we can select a good match for you to ride over the next days. You will then be issued a sturdy duffel bag, sleeping bag, and mattress. After you check into your room, you will have time to pack and prepare for the trip and socialize with the other guests.
Meals included: Dinner
Overnight at the Ranch

Day 2 (Monday): Introductory Ride
After breakfast it’s time to meet your horse! We carefully pick a companion from our herd to match your abilities and physical size. While grooming and saddling, you get the chance to acquaint yourself with your new friend. After a short test ride in our arena we will pack a lunch and leave the ranch – either on horseback or by loading them on a trailer and departing from a near trailhead. We take it easy the first day and ride through the forests and meadows of the Foothills until we reach our first camp. When arriving in camp, we take care of the horses, groom and feed them, and then have time to rest ourselves with a good cup of cowboy coffee or tea. The camp is located near a small river that is refreshing on a hot day for those who like to take a splash! Dinner is made over an open fire. We have put up large wall tents that offer enough space and shelter for the group.
Riding approx. 4-5 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight Camping at Threepoint Camp

Day 3 (Tuesday): Threepoint Camp to Elbow River
If the weather for the day is favourable we will break camp after breakfast and depart for our longest day of the week. A breathtaking ride through the foothills and across a mountain range will take the better part of 7 hours to get top our next camp. This ride can’t be done in poor weather conditions.
Riding approx. 7 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight Camping near Elbow River

Day 4 (Wednesday): Ride around Elbow River Valley
After a long day we will take a little break and explore the valley we are camped. A short ride will take you to scenic views, there is a waterfall that can be explored as well. On a hot day, it’s great to spend some time at the river and relax or go for a swim. We are not moving camp today.
Riding approx. 4 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight Camping near Elbow River

Day 5 (Thursday): Scenic Ride
We have several options for this day, one is a longer ride around a mountain range. It is a long (7 hour) but very scenic ride that will stay in your memories for a long time.
Riding approx. 7 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight Camping near Elbow River

Day 6 (Friday): Last Ride
After breakfast, we will break camp and depart the valley that we have grown to love. Again, several options are possible for this day, from an easy 3 hour ride to a 5.5 hour route that takes us over a ridge line with phenomenal views. In the afternoon, we reach the trailhead where we will be picked up by the trailer. After a short drive back to the ranch you can relax, shower and let the memories settle before we all get together for a final dinner in the lodge.
Riding approx. 4-5hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Ranch 

Day 7 (Saturday): Departure
After breakfast, it’s time to say good bye. The shuttle will pick you up around 9.30 AM to take you back to Calgary. With you will be the memories of an unforgettable adventure in Kananaskis Country.
Meals included: Breakfast

Note: There are some trails we use where it is necessary to hike over rocky terrain, either to avoid undue risk or to enjoy a vista that cannot be ridden to. For most people this is a refreshing change that allows them to stretch their legs. We recommend that you bring or wear comfortable footwear that you can hike for a kilometer or two in. A reasonable level of personal fitness is required.

Rates and Dates for Kananaskis Explorer

Rates include:

Accommodations, All meals, 5 riding days & Transfers from/to Calgary at set times
All camping gear, sleeping bags, mats and duffels provided

Packages and Options

GST (VAT): 6% (12% for Canadian Resident) * prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy
    GST (VAT) 6% (12% for Canadian Resident)

Transfer and Other Charges:

2023 Transfer from/to Calgary Airport at 4:00pm included Can$ 0 $0
2023 Transfer from/to hotel in Calgary at 5:00pm included Can$ 0 $0
2023 Single supplement (requested) Can$ 300 $230
2023 Special diet (gluten-free or dairy-free) supplement Can$ 70 $55

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Alcoholic drinks, Special diet request, Taxes & Gratuities

Other Info
Meeting: Bragg Creek
Airport: Calgary International Airport (YYC)
Transfer: Calgary Airport/ hotels

                                            Bragg Creek area














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Source: NOAA

During the riding season of June to September, temperatures will range widely, with the hottest daytime temperatures reaching 30 C (85 F). We are riding at elevations ranging from 1400 m (4400') to well above the tree line at 2700m (8400'), so wide fluctuations in temperature can be expected. This region always cools off at night, and frequently experiences frost even in mid-summer. We always take our rain gear with us on the saddle. Even if it doesn't rain, it may be necessary to cut the wind when we're above the tree line

What To Bring:
On day 1 you will receive a Duffle bag with a warm sleeping bag and mat. All your personal gear will have to go into this duffle bag including mat and sleeping bag.
The duffel bags are waterproof (length is 30”). Maximum weight allowed in the duffel bag is 11kg or 25lbs and that would include sleeping bag and thermarest mattress provided.

We suggest to bring
- 2 pair of jeans or riding pants
- 3 long sleeve shirts
- Fleece or sweater (fleece is lighter)
- Jacket or vest as wind breaker
- Brimmed hat (protects from rain, sun and low branches) 
- Healed, ankle-high, water-repellant boots
- Gloves
- Toque (warm hat)
- Warm socks (1 pair per day)
- Underwear (1 set per day)
- Towel and swimsuit (optional)
- Personal hygiene items
- Comfortable camp shoes
- Warm underwear
- Camera (please not that there is no possibility to charge batteries!)
- Flashlight
- Knife
- Chaps (if available)
- Reusable water bottle 750-1000 ml- plastic or steel only- (no glass)
- Sleeping bag rated to at least -5 degrees Celsius or warmer (you can borrow one from us at no extra charge)
- Therm-a-rest / sleeping pad (you can borrow one from us at no extra charge)

* If you have any medical condition like allergies, or are on medication, please tell your guide.

Available to borrow (no extra charge)
- Rainwear (oil-skin slicker)
- Riding Helmet

Weight of Gear
Because everything must be loaded on pack-horses, guests must pack their gear in 1 standard sized duffel bag, weighing no more than 25 lbs (11 kg) - not including what you wear and carry on your saddle horse.
If you have luggage that is not required for the horse trip you may leave that at the ranch

Saddle bags
Your trail horse will have 2 saddlebags tied to the saddle. One is for your personal items to carry on the trail, such as camera, sun protection, water bottle, extra layer of clothes, etc. The other bag is reserved for "group items" such as lunch or first aid kit. Your rain wear will also travel with you tied behind the saddle.