Mountain & Prairie Fall

Alberta Canada: (RTAB18-C)

Alberta Canada
Who says You can't have it all?

Ride 5 days in Kananaskis Country and finish with a ride in Writing-On-Stone Provincial Park, Southern Alberta. It is the perfect combination for all those who can't decide whether to enjoy the quiet wilderness of the Canadian Rockies or gallop across the Prairies and through the badlands of Southern Alberta. A wilderness getaway into the breathtaking mountain wilderness of the Kananaskis range - in the foothills of the Canadian Rocky Mountains – then you are off to the wide open plains for the prairies. This is a  rugged, minimum impact wilderness adventure, in small groups where everyone can get personal attention and develop their abilities and confidence. The first five days in the mountains give 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. After a short overnight rest at the B&B we are then off to ride across the open windswept plains of Southern Alberta.  It is excellent riding country, with unlimited opportunity for experienced riders to move at a faster pace.

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.

You will spend a total of 3 nights at the ranch, and the remaining 7 nights will be spent camping in 3 different campsites.

Accommodation Itinerary - subject to changes
Night 1: Ranch
Night 2: Three Point
Night 3 - 5: Elbow Camp
Night 6: Ranch
Night 7 & 8: Writing-on-Stone
Night 9: 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 3 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 favourite 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 intermediate to advanced riders, and a keen sense of adventures. Riders need to be comfortable riding at all paces, balanced at canter, and confident in the saddle.
Since the pack train uses different trails we will often canter where the trail is suitable, especially in the prairies. This trip is designed for keen riders who are up to the challenge. 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. The guests are expected to help in tending to the horses and other camp duties.

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.

5-7 hours per day will be spent on trail, riding up to 25 miles (40km) per day. We will spend 3 days in the Rocky Mountains showing you some of the best riding trails in this area. Then we change scenery and ride 140km in 5 days across the open plains of Southern Alberta. Walk over moderate to difficult terrain, many trots and canters for several miles, river crossings, grassy slopes.

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

Day 1 (Saturday): Arrival
Guests arrive in Calgary before 4:00pm, transfer to ranch, reception, accommodation at the ranch

Day 2 (Sunday): Introductory Ride
Training ride at the ranch, getting acquainted with the horse and ride to Threepoint Camp.
Riding approx. 5 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight camping at Threepoint Camp

Day 3 (Monday): Threepoint Camp to Elbow Camp
Riding approx. 8 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight camping at Elbow Camp

Day 4 (Tuesday): Ride to Box Canyon
Riding approx. 4.5 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight camping at Elbow Camp

Day 5 (Wednesday): Ride through Cougar Gap
Riding approx. 6 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight camping at Elbow Camp

Day 6 (Thursday): Powderface Ridge Ride
Pack up camp and ride with pack horses to trailhead (1 hr). Continue over to Powderface Ridge (4.5 hours) and return to ranch
Riding approx. 5.5 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Ranch

Day 7 (Friday): Transfer to Writing-on Stone Provincial Park
Transfer to Writing-on Stone Provincial Park (4 hours by car), set up camp and vet check for Competitive Trail Ride.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight camping at Writing-on Stone Provincial Park

Day 8 (Saturday): Competitive Trail Ride
Participation in Border Coulee Competitive Trail Ride (Novice or Intermediate Category, see below for details).
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight camping at Writing-on Stone Provincial Park

Day 9 (Sunday): Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park Ride
Leisurely ride through the Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park and transfer back to ranch in the afternoon (4 hours by car).
Riding approx. 2 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Ranch

Day 10 (Monday): Departure
Departure and transfer to Calgary after breakfast
Meals included: Breakfast

The "Border Coulee Competitive Trail Ride" is the name chosen for a competitive trail ride conducted at Writing On Stone Provincial Park, in Southern Alberta. 

In Alberta, Competitive Trail rides are sanctioned by TRAC. There is an explanation of sport on their website . The competition is very friendly and low-key, people are just trying to get the best performance from their horse. It is likely that we will enter you in the "novice" category, which is roughly 35-40 kms to be completed in 5 and a half hours. We will ride as a group, so even though we are scored individually, one of us will set the pace and coach as we go. We depart Bragg Creek on Friday before noon, drive 375 kms to Writing On Stone, set up camp and vet the horses in for the ride that evening. The competition ride itself is on Saturday. There is a big party Saturday night, and on Sunday the awards are presented and then we will ride some of the route again at a leisurely pace to pick up the trip markers and take some photos of a very interesting landscape. Then we drive home that afternoon, arriving back in Bragg Creek Sunday evening.

The competition has an entry fee (normally around $65-75/horse), and all participants must be members of the Alberta Equestrian Federation (AEF). This is already included in the tour package cost. If someone isn't keen to do this part of the program, we are happy to have them just do the Kananaskis Explorer Ride. It is an unforgettable experience!

If the Border Coulee Competitive Trail Ride is cancelled for some reason, we will discuss other fun riding options for the last 3 days of this program.

Rates and Dates for Mountain & Prairie Fall

Rates include:

Accommodations, All meals, 8 days of guided riding with historical and natural interpretation & Transfers
All camping gear, sleeping bags, mats, and duffels provided

Packages and Options

  • SeasonYearDescriptionCan$ ~US$
    202410 day tripCan$5295$4235
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 0.8

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:

2024 Transfer from/to Calgary Airport at 4:00pm included Can$ 0 $0
2024 Transfer from/to hotel in Calgary at 5:00pm included Can$ 0 $0
2024 Single supplement (requested) Can$ 150 $120
2024 Special diet (gluten-free or dairy-free) supplement Can$ 100 $80

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2024 09/14 - 09/23 10d / 9n 10 day trip 3 /8 Sold Out

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

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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.