In one of the best cowboy comedies of all time, City Slickers, Billy Crystal and his two pals are all suffering a mid-life crisis. Their cure? A two-week cattle drive on horseback. At the end of their hilarious and heart-warming adventure the men find courage, friendship, and a new lease on life.
Thanks to a 91-year-old non-profit organization - The Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies - you too can trade your mini-van for a mare and hit the mountains. The breathtaking beauty of the Rocky Mountains awakens the adventurist in all of us. Carpets of wild flowers and majestic lodge pole pine provide the back drop of what many believe is the most beautiful scenery in the world. Your sure-footed horse watches the trail as you traverse canyons and climb mountains, keeping watch for the many types of wildlife that grace the area. The high, uninhabited valleys of the Rockies offer peace and contentment combined with the thrill of majestic vistas. This “walk in the park” (world famous Banff National Park) is like no other you will ever experience.
The organization runs six separate six-day professionally-guided luxury trail rides from mid July to early September. In 2014 the rides will be in the Cascade Rive area of Banff National Park, one of the most iconic and picturesque backcountry destinations in the Canadian Rockies. Unlike most backcountry horseback trips, the Trail Riders set up a main camp and, at the end of each day on the trail, return to the camp for “happy hour,” a gourmet dinner, and some much-needed shut-eye in the cozy tents and teepees, complete with cots and mattresses. A hot shower is available. Expect the evening to include any combination of: camp fire singing, cowboy poetry, square dancing, story telling, educational talks, horse packing contests, skits and music. If you can stand a week of this fun and frivolity, you will become a member in this historic and western cultural society.
While many outfitters would charge thousands of dollars for such an experience, a six-day ride with the Trail riders is just $1800. Horse experience is not essential as this is a “dude operation” with over 60% of the guests returning each summer from previous years. Put it this way; if there ever was a quintessential, “bucket-list” Western Canadian trip, this is it.