Continental Divide Ride

Alberta Canada: (RTAB18-S)
URL: https://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/ab_kananaskis_continental_divide.aspx

Introduction
Alberta Canada
The Kananaskis Continental Divide Ride is designed for keen riders who are up to the challenge of covering between 170 and 200 km of rugged mountain trails in Kananaskis Country. 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.

Starting from the foothills, we move progressively westward and deeper into the mountains. Trails vary from difficult game tracks that require a knowledgeable guide to find, through to some that are suitable for cantering. We normally move camp 3 times , which allows us to remain for 2 days in two of the prettiest valleys in the Rockies, and do some horseback exploring unencumbered with pack horses and unconcerned about breaking and resetting camp. This also allows us the opportunity to do more or less difficult rides depending on the interests and ability of the group.

Elevations range between 4400′ at the Ranch, to over 8400′ at Paradise Pass. Routes may vary due to a variety of natural conditions. On some sections of trail the riders are required to dismount and walk their horses for safety. There are other destinations that require the horses be tied and people hike the last mile or so to reach an alpine lake, so a reasonable level of personal fitness is required.

Explore beautiful lakes that invite for a refreshing swim, snowcapped mountain passes, and lush meadows with clear streams running through.

Accomodation


Accommodations

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

Description
The first and last night of the trip will be spent at the ranch, and the remaining 7 nights will be spent camping in 4 different campsites.

Accommodation Itinerary - subject to changes
Night 1: Ranch
Night 2: Mount Barell Camp
Night 3-5: Elbow River Camp
Night 6: Tombstone Backcountry Camp
Night 7-8: Paradise Valley Camp
Night 9: Ranch


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. We have an outdoor fireplace with picnic area.
Smoking is prohibited anywhere on the property except for around the outdoor fire pit. There is no TV 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.
Laundry is available for an additional fee at certain times of the day.


Camping
On the trail we stay in simple but comfortable camps, their locations are well chosen within the given geography. We will be utilizing 4 different campsites.
In 1 of the campsites, we sleep in large wall tents (on cot beds), which are big enough for 4 people. There are several tents so the group can split up if necessary. 
The other campsites are primitive camps where you can sleep under the stars in a cozy lean-to. 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.

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


Meals
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


Riding Experience
The Kananaskis Continental Divide Ride is designed for riders who are up to the challenge of covering between 170 and 200 km of rugged mountain trails in Kananaskis Country. This vacation is for riders with intermediate to advanced experience and a keen sense of adventure. Since the packhorse train uses different trails than the riding guests we will often canter wherever 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. 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.

Pace
5-7 hours per day will be spent on trail covering normally about 20 - 30 kilometers.

Horses
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.

Guides
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.

Requirements
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.

Itinerary

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 approximately a 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 and 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): Mt Barell 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 near Mt Barell

Day 3 (Tuesday): Mt Barell 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 & 5 (Wednesday & Thursday): Elbow River on Horseback
We stay in this comfortable and scenic camp for the next 2 days. It gives us the opportunity to move without packhorses and explore the highlights of the valley.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight camping near Elbow River

Day 6 (Friday): Ride to the Mountains
After breakfast, we will break camp and depart the valley up the valley heading for the pass. We may camp here and explore the lakes around the pass or push on to a camp in the next valley.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight camping near Elbow River

Day 7 & 8 (Saturday & Sunday): Paradise Valley on Horseback
Reaching the camp in Paradise Valley, we again have the chance to explore the now more rugged wilderness. The mountains are steeper, the ground even rockier, the river runs fast and cold. The highlight is a ride to Paradise Pass, a 8,400′ with a sweeping view across the peaks of the Rockies.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight camping near Paradise Valley


Day 9 (Monday): Ride back to Elbow River Valley
After breakfast, we break camp for the last time, pack the horses, and ride down the valley where we will be met by the truck and trailer. After 8 days of riding through Kananaskis Country, you will return to civilization, where you can enjoy a shower and a nice dinner in the company of your new found friends.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at the Ranch


Day 10 (Tuesday): Departure
After breakfast, it’s time to say good bye. The shuttle will pick you up around 9.30am to take you back to Calgary. With you will be the memories of an unforgettable adventure in Kananaskis Country.
Meals included: Breakfast

Note: Elevations range between 4400' at the Ranch, to over 8400' at Paradise Pass. Routes may vary due to a variety of natural conditions.
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 Continental Divide Ride

Rates include:

Accommodations, All meals, 8 riding days & Transfers
All camping gear, sleeping bags, mats, and duffels provided. Oil-slicker cost $5 per day per person.

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescriptionCan$ ~US$
    A
    202110 day trip - 7 nights camping and 2 nights Lodge, AP (High)Can$4045$3155
  • B
    202110 day trip - 7 nights camping and 2 nights Lodge, AP (Low)Can$3885$3030
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 0.78

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:



 DescriptionCan$~US$
2021 Transfer from/to Calgary Airport at 4:00pm included Can$ 0 $0
2021 Transfer from/to hotel in Calgary at 5:00pm included Can$ 0 $0
2021 Special diet (gluten-free) supplement Can$ 100 $80
2021 Single supplement (requested) Can$ 150 $120

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
B 2021 06/27 - 07/06 10d / 9n 10 day trip - 7 nights campi... 3 /8 Reserve
A 2021 07/18 - 07/27 10d / 9n 10 day trip - 7 nights campi... 3 /8 Reserve
A 2021 08/15 - 08/24 10d / 9n 10 day trip - 7 nights campi... 3 /8 Reserve

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Alcoholic drinks, Special diet request, Taxes & Gratuities

Note:

Due to COVID-19 Corona virus pandemic and certain travel restrictions we are applying some temporary policy changes to some of our tours.

For Kananaskis Continental Divide Ride (RTAB18-S):

We share your anxiety for the summer holidays. With so much unknown we are not cancelling any trips yet, but are continuously evaluating the situation. We will make a “go/no go” decision one month before each scheduled ride.
If you are unable to come this summer but plan to reschedule your holiday for the 2021 season, we would be happy to postpone your trip.

We hope our August trips will go as scheduled, although they are still very vulnerable to border closures. Though all the scheduled July rides are cancelled, we are open to doing custom ones for groups of 4 or more.

New safety precautions include:

  • We have stopped using large group tents. People will be given single/double/triple pup tents so they don’t have to share sleeping space with people outside their own cohort.
  • For now we are only renting the lodge to people in one cohort (i.e. not mixing strangers). That will likely change in August.
  • Personal hand sanitizer bottles are now being given to all guests.
  • Hand washing will be made easier & encouraged more in camp
  • Food will be plated rather than “self-serve”
  • Since masks are required when in confined space with others, like driving in a company truck, people should bring one. Our first aid kits now have masks in case emergency treatment of someone is required. We don’t use them otherwise.
  • People who show covid symptoms are asked not to come riding. If people need to cancel on short notice due to either illness or border closures we are refunding all but 10% of payment if we get notice before the trip begins.

For more information please visit our COVID-19 Updates page at https://www.hiddentrails.com/article/covid19update.aspx

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

Climate:
                                            Bragg Creek area


Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

30

36

41

50

59

66

72

71

62

54

40

32

Average Low Temperature (°F)

1

7

13

23

31

38

41

40

32

24

11

4

Average High Temperature (°C)

-1

2

5

10

15

19

22

22

17

12

4

0

Average Low Temperature (°C)

-17

-14

-11

-5

-1

3

5

4

0

-5

-11

-16

Average Precipitation (days of rain)

4

4

6

7

10

10

8

8

7

5

4

3

Source: NOAA


Seasons
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 you personal gear will have to go into this duffle bag including mat and sleeping bag.

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) **we have helmets to borrow should you request one
- 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)
* If you have any medical condition like allergies, or are on medication, please tell your guide.

Available to rent for additional fee
- Rainwear (oil-skin slicker)

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.