The Icefields Parkway.
The Icefields Parkway is considered one of the most delightful highways in the world. However, wayward Canadians do not agree with this opinion at all and consider this route the most beautiful ever.
Indeed, there are 230 kilometers of excellent highway stretching from the south to the north, along the eastern ridge of the Rocky Mountains, through an endless chain of snow-capped peaks and lakes like turquoise saucers, deep canyons and rapid mountain rivers, streams and brooks fed by gray-haired millennia-old glaciers.
The variety of fantastic landscapes and the purest intoxicating mountain air will take your breath away. You will not dare to shoot here at once as none will be able to believe in the reality of these colours...
The route will cover three national parks: Jasper, Yoho and Banff. We are going to travel on a relatively small area of these parks, in the Rocky Mountains, for 14 days, discovering the most wonderful season here – the Indian summer. This is the time when the first snow may fall down high up in the mountains, decorating the pointed peaks with snow-white sugar powder, and the blue saucers of the lakes will reflect larches coquettishly trying on their new golden dresses.
This photo tour is really unique not only because we have gathered in one program traditional and mandatory locations, such as: Two Jack Lake, Moraine Lake, Lake Louise and so on, – but because we have also added Assiniboine, O'Hara Lake and even overnight stays on Spirit Island which is unique in itself. These three locations are so beautiful and popular that many international agencies offer each of them as a separate route for a photo tour to Canada.
If you become a member of our group you will visit each of these places within one of our tours.
We will organize a helicopter journey to Assiniboine as there is simply no other way to get there except the 30 km mountain track. We will stay in this wonderful place for two nights and almost two full days.
The second unique place is Lake O'Hara. It is so beautiful and popular among tourists and photographers from all over the world that rangers restrict the possibility of visiting this lake, and tourists' stay there is strictly limited to daytime. We will not reveal all details of the preparation but we have managed to make some bookings in Lake O'Hara Lodge at a cost of $755 per room.
At the beginning of the program we have prepared two days with unusual activities for a photo tour to Canada. We have planned a real water trip on Maligne Lake, and our goal is Spirit Island. This place is as beautiful as it is hard to reach. Considering the usual tourist way, you can't get here earlier than 10-11 am by a large excursion boat together with other 20-30 tourists. Moreover, time spent on Spirit Island as part of such a tour will be limited to 30-40 minutes only.
But we have never been and will never be a regular tourist format. We are going to spend two whole nights on Spirit Island, staying in tents. We have received the permit, so now it will depend on the weather.
We will travel to the island by canoe for 13 kilometers in 3-4 hours. But take our word, when you are surrounded by mind-blowing landscapes, these 13 kilometers will become a fleeting moment for you. We tried it during our last visit. Now it's your turn!
On our behalf, we'd like to add that this is the first photo tour to Canada in the kind of format when all most complex and beautiful locations are united in one program. We will do our best to make sure that these 14 days will remain forever in your memory, and that you will be able to spend long, long winter nights telling your friends about this most unreal, almost fantastic adventure that could ever happen to you, hardly picking up words.
We're almost ready to pack our bags. And you?
Beginner level. The longest walk you will have to take up is about 3.5 km, with a slightest elevation gain, located on Assiniboine. The track is very simple and dry.
The water trip to Maligne Lake which is 13 kilometers long (one way) will take place along the lake shore, a few metres from the coastline, and only if the weather is favourable. The lake is surrounded by mountains on all sides and waves on the water is a rare phenomenon there.
Each participant of the water trip will be wearing a life jacket. And even if you haven't had any experience of water trips, after a few minutes of practice you will be able to cope with the boat. There will be two people in each canoe and we will take turns in controlling the boat. We will cover the distance of 13 km in 4 hours, possibly faster. On our way, we will stop several times to have a rest and to take photos.
If the weather is unfavorable for travelling by water and for camping during these two days we will be able to flexibly change our plans and to organize a light version of shooting on the lake and the surrounding areas.
The canadian Rocky Mountains are famous for their unpredictable weather. You should be prepared for temperatures from -5C to 0C at worst and +5C to +15C at best. On Assiniboin, light night frosts are 100% likely. Of course, your clothing should protect you not only from the autumn cold, but also from possible precipitation.
We recommend that you should choose a flight to Calgary to get there by 2-4 pm on the first day of the program.
On the last day of the program, we plan to be in Calgary airport by 12 am - 1 pm. After that you can check in for your flight or stay in Calgary if your departure is scheduled for the next day. In that case, do not forget to make hotel reservations.
September, 13. Our group meets in Calgary airport around 3 pm. We get into cars and set off towards the small cozy town of Banff which will become our shelter for the night. The journey will take us about two hours. We check into the hotel. And at sunset we will catch the reflection of Rundle peak in the mirror of Lake Vermilion. Then we will meet for dinner and talk for hours on end about what we are going to do in the next few days. (//)
September, 14. Right after breakfast and the morning shooting at Vermilion we set out for Jasper. Our almost 250-kilometer long way will be along the most beautiful highway in the world. Evening shooting, if we have time, at Pyramid Lake. (B//)
September, 15. In the morning we will travel to Lake Maligne. We will rent canoes and sail towards Spirit Island. This journey by water will take about 4 hours, depending on our speed and the number of stops for shooting. But the place we're going to is worth it. It is not for nothing that it was called the Island of Spirit. We'll set up a camp, have lunch and plan locations for the evening shooting. (B/L/D)
September, 16. Spirit Island. (B/L/D)
September, 17. After breakfast we pack our things and set off. We return the boats and leave in the direction of Lake Louise. In the evening, if we are still alive, we will get to the place of our morning shooting on Lake Moraine and choose locations for the next morning. (B//)
September, 18. Lake Moraine will be the dish of the day today. While it is still dark, we will approach the planned shooting points. Perhaps not everyone knows that the view we are shooting today is one of the most photographed canadian landscapes. Local people jokingly call the Valley of the Ten Peaks which lies beyond Lake Moraine "A Twenty Dollar View" because from 1969 to 1979 this landscape was printed on canadian 20-dollar banknotes. The peaks, gray-haired with the first snow, are reflected in the turquoise mirror of Lake Moraine. You may hold your breath or run out of memory cards in your camera but you will never get tired of admiring this landscape. After breakfast we will drive to one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Canada. It is located in the nearby Yoho Park and is called Takakkow which means "amazing" in the language of the local Cree Indian tribe. About 15 tons of water falls down from the height of 254 meters every second, turning into billions of tiny drops that glow in the sun rays when they reach the earth. Wrapped in this sparkling cloud, the waterfall looks solemn and mysterious. The day will end up with shooting the rapid mountain flow hiding in the clefts of the mountain range, or on Emerald Lake. (B//)
September, 19. After breakfast and morning shooting at Emerald Lake we will buy food for the next two days and continue to move inland, away from civilization. We are travelling to the unique Lake O'Hara. Lake O'Hara is so popular that rangers have restricted the access of tourists crowds to this wonderful place. You can only come here during the daytime by the park's transport but never by your own. But there are no impossible tasks for us, and our group will stay on this lake for 2 nights. (B / L/D)
September, 20. Lake O'Hara. Clouds glowing crimson in predawn mist and golden larch trees looking coquettishly into the frozen mirror of the lake... To see this, we are ready to stay awake 24/7. Morning shooting at our favorite locations. In the afternoon we will walk around the lake from the south and climb up to the observation point above it to choose locations for the evening photo session. Evening shooting. Drop off to bed. (B/L/D)
September, 21. Morning shooting. Breakfast, and we're ready for the park rangers to take us out of here. We are going to Banff along Icefield Parkway. (B//)
September, 22. We are going to the picturesque Lake Two Jack for the morning shooting. And immediately after breakfast we will travel to the helicopter landing point! Today our three-day adventure in the mountains, near the most beautiful peak of the Rockies, Assiniboine, will start. After the helicopter lands we will check into a 6-person hut with a stove. Evening shooting from a panoramic point, high above Lake Magog, with a view of Assiniboine Peak, sparkling with mysterious brilliance. Return to the hut. Early drop off. (B//)
September, 23. Assiniboine. (B//)
September, 24. In the morning we will set off for the most favourable shooting points chosen in the previous two days. And after breakfast we will pack to return to "civilization". A helicopter will come to pick us up around 2 pm. After landing we will return to Lake Louise. (B//)
September, 25. Morning shooting at Pieto Lake, or elsewhere as we wish. Departure to Banff. (B//)
September, 26. This is our last day in Canada. After breakfast we will go straight to Calgary. We have to be at the airport by noon. We will return our car and fly home. (B//)
IMPORTANT!!! Confirmation and implementation of such a tour depends on a number of factors, including weather. We reserve the right to make the following changes to the program of the photo tour to Canada:
Changes during the program or 180 days before the program starts:
- Replacing 1 or 2 nights in tents on Meligne Lake with a hotel room (bed and breakfast) without changing the price;
- Adding 1 water excursion to Spirit Island by boat, during the daytime, without changing the price;
- Replacing a water trip on Meligne Lake with a shooting session in Jasper area;
- Changing the order of visits to any locations without changing their number;
- Replacing a hotel stay in Banff on the first day of the program with a hotel stay in Jasper.
Changes 180 days before the start of the program:
- Adding a 15th day to the program, at any of the locations, without changing the price.
The price of the photo tour to Canada includes:
- A double hotel room in Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper;
- Two nights at Lake O'Hara Lodge in a double room;
- Group accommodation in a wooden mountain cabin with bunk beds (you will need a warm sleeping bag and a pillow) on Assiniboine;
- Helicopter transfer with 40 pounds (18kg) of baggage when dropped off at Assiniboine;
- Meals according to the program;
- Rent of 2 off-roaders (4 people in a car) or of a minibus;
- Canoe rent on Maligne Lake (1 canoe for 2 people);
- Morning mists, grizzly bears, deer and mountain goats on the side of Transcanadian Highway;
- Running a race with a deer (remind us and we will tell you a story).
The price of the photo tour to Canada doesn't include:
- International airfare;
- Health insurance;
- Single room accommodation in Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper (+$700 USD);
- Single room accommodation at Lake O'Hara Lodge for 2 nights (+$700 USD);
- Lunch and dinner on days when it is not listed in the program.
Price: $5500 USD
Group limit: 7 guests maximum
Terms of payment:
Your deposit of $2000 USD will hold your place in the tour. Further payment of $2000 USD is due by September, 15, 2020. Final payment of $1500 USD is due by March, 15, 2021.
Cancellation and refund policy:
If you are unable to participate in the program, or if you cancel, and the group is complete, we will refund the amount you paid in full minus $200 USD service charge. If after your cancellation the group is still incomplete we will refund according to the following scheme, based on the full fee of the tour:
>180 days before the start of the tour: full refund minus $200 USD service charge;
>90 days: 75% refund;
>60 days: 50% refund;
<60 days: non-refundable.
A list of photo equipment for photo tour to Canada:
- A full-format camera, stable tripod;
- A wide-angle lens, such as Nikkor 14-24 or Canon 16-35;
- A standard zoom, for example 24-70mm;
- A telephoto lens, such as 70-200 or 100-400;
- 2-3 spare batteries for your camera;
- Optical care products.
A list of necessary camping equipment for photo tour to Canada:
- a tent (needed at Maligne Lake), but you can also rent a tent at Jasper;
- tracking boots with a hard fluted sole;
- light shoes to wear in the hotel;
- high rubber boots for shooting by the water (you will need them at most locations);
- thermal underware;
- waterproof pants;
- a windproof and waterproof jacket;
- a raincoat;
- a fleece jacket, or better two;
- a fleece or knitted hat;
- fleece gloves;
- warm socks, 2 pairs;
- a sleeping bag with a comfort temperature of -5-10 C (we will need it for 2 nights in a mountain cabin on Assiniboine and 2 nights on Maligne Lake);
- a tourist backpack (it is much more convenient than a suitcase) or a soft bag on wheels;
- metal tableware – a bowl, a mug, a spoon, a fork, a knife (we'll need them on Assiniboine and Maligne Lake);
- an inflatable camping mat (will be needed on Maligne Lake);
- a headlamp + batteries for it;
- personal first aid kit;
- personal toiletries.
Vladimir Kushnarev, mastermind and organizer of the ADVENTURETIME project, photographer, contest winner and prize-winner of international competitions.
First place, the National Geographic 2017, Contest in “night landscape” section;
First place, the National Geographic 2017, Contest “Planet Summer”;
First place, 35PhotoAwards International Contest in “day landscape” section;
Third place, PSA Arctic Awards 2016;
Second place, Epson International Pano Awards, 2017;
The winner of International photo contest of The Russian Geographic Society 2018;
Gold medal, TRIERENBERG SUPER CIRCUIT, 2019;
Third place, 35PhotoAwards International Contest 2020;
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