My Itchy Travel Feet | The Baby Boomer's Guide To Travel

Touring the Canadian Rockies With Tauck

2009/12/15by Donna Hull

Alan photographs Bow Lake

Alan photographs Bow Lake

Bus tour. Does the term conjure up visions of a crowded vehicle with stays in a different city each night? Think again. How about mountain scenery, extended time for exploring and luxurious accommodations from an era when railroads ruled the travel world? That’ s what baby boomer travelers will find on a Tauck tour through the Canadian Rockies.

Alan and I had never toured by bus when, on a last minute travel whim, we crossed our fingers for good weather and booked a late September “Best of the Canadian Rockies” tour with Tauck. At the conclusion of our own driving trip through several of the more famous U.S. National Parks of the Western U.S., we parked the car in Calgary and hopped on a Tauck bus.

Why did we give up our independent road-tripping for a guided bus tour? It was time to let someone else do the driving while we enjoyed the view. Plus, this travel princess wanted to try the grand Canadian hotels—Jasper Park Lodge, Chateau Lake Louise and Banff Springs, all operated by Fairmont Hotels and Resorts.

Icefields Parkway

Icefields Parkway

So, what was it like to tour by bus? We had assigned seats, that rotated each day, giving all guests the opportunity to experience the best seats along with an introduction to new seat neighbors. Every other row of seats was left empty, giving riders plenty of space. Although baby boomers made up the majority of the group, our fellow travelers were a mix of ages, representing a variety of countries, couples, families and singles.

As the bus climbed over the Continental Divide, Andre, the Tauck tour guide, provided informative commentary interspersed with time to quietly enjoy the scenery. The well-planned itinerary included scenic photo stops, waterfall walks and a ride on the Ice Explorer atop the surface of Athabasca Glacier.

The trail around Lac Beauvert at Jasper Park Lodge

The trail around Lac Beauvert at Jasper Park Lodge

A two night stay at Jasper Park Lodge gave us time to explore on our own. Tour options included a hike in the Maligne Valley; wildlife tour to look for bear, elk and more; or a ride on the Jasper Tramway. Of course we could have added additional activities such as boating, fishing or horseback riding. One afternoon, Alan and I enjoyed a nature walk around Lac Beauvert at Jasper Lake Lodge, before settling into deck chairs to watch the sunset with a glass of wine.

The hiking opportunities continued at Lake Louise while at Banff we strolled through town exploring the shops, after a ride on the gondola. More active options included mountain biking, canoeing and golf.

Due to Tauck’s clout as a Canadian tour provider, our lodging came with the best views. Gratuities as well as most meals were included in the tour price. Alan and I enjoyed the freedom of dining options that Tauck provided. We chose where and with home to eat. The entire experience felt like an upscale land cruise.

Have you traveled on a Tauck tour? Post a comment to tell me about it. We’ll be scheduling another Tauck tour one of these days.


A boomer travel and lifestyle authority who is exploring the world one activity at a time. Besides writing and publishing My Itchy Travel Feet, she also writes about boomer travel for My Well-Being Powered by Humana, Make It Missoula and is the author of My Itchy Travel Feet: Breathtaking Adventure Vacation Ideas.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

shannonlane
Twitter:
December 15, 2009 at 5:54 am

The Canadian Rockies are on my list. It sounds as if Tauck may be an option to make that happen. I do like solo travel, but sometimes a bus trip can be very interesting as well.

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aTravelAroundTheWorld December 15, 2009 at 8:11 am

One of my dreams is actually visit Canada, your pictures are just amazing.

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Fida December 15, 2009 at 10:57 am

You ventured through my neighborhood. Next time you come you have to let me know ;-)
I never took a bus tour – I love my freedom too much! But it sounds like you had I good time and I suppose that staying in those great hotels would have been much more expensive if booked on your own.

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MelanieHaiken December 15, 2009 at 1:08 pm

It's been many years since I visited Banff and Jasper, and I remember looking at those gorgeous hotels and wishing I were staying there instead of camping and being cold! This Tauck tour sounds like a great option for incorporating top lodging options at an affordable price. I used to hate tours until I went on one; then I realized it was a lot more informative than poring over a guidebook, and you take much better photos when you're not the one doing the driving!

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Mark H December 15, 2009 at 3:41 pm

I drove this area a few years ago with two friends (though our hotels weren't as luxurious) and was blown away by its majesty and beauty. Sparkling turquoise lakes reflecting snowcapped mountains, wildlife wandering freely, glaciers tumbling down hillsides and nature at its best and most beautiful. I particularly liked the little town of Jasper that had some real character to it with lots of walks and a peaceful town center. Your story brings back all those great memories.

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Barbara Weibel December 15, 2009 at 4:46 pm

Sorry Donna, but a bus tour sounds like a fate worth than death to me. I am way too much of a wanderer to stick to this kind of schedule. But glad you enjoyed the trip!

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heatheronhertravels December 16, 2009 at 4:03 pm

It sounds like you had the ideal combination of letting someone wlse take the hastle of driving and getting there but some freedom and flexibility to explore too.

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heatheronhertravels December 16, 2009 at 10:03 pm

It sounds like you had the ideal combination of letting someone wlse take the hastle of driving and getting there but some freedom and flexibility to explore too.

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Travel Guide January 11, 2010 at 6:42 am

wow.. you have some great picture..

I think you have good skill at photography :)

thanks for your post

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