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How to go heli-hiking with teens in the Canadian Rockies this summer

Last updated 4th March 2024

If you want to hike the Canadian Rockies but don’t want summer crowds, heli-hiking could be the answer. Celeste Moure gives us her quick guide to planning the adventure with teens.


Banff National Park

For some hikers, the ultimate adventure is to fly by helicopter to a remote wilderness area in the Canadian Rockies and explore it on foot. They get to enjoy miles of unspoiled mountain scenery with no trails, no crowds, and no traces of human activity. This type of wild hike, called heli-hiking, was practically born in south British Columbia.

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What is the best time to hike the Canadian Rockies?

You can go on heli-hiking trips in the Canadian Rockies from late June to early September. If you want to see flowers like valerian and anemones at their peak, as well as fluffy summer marmots and cute pikas looking for food, the best time to book a hike is in late July. You can also enjoy the Banff Summer Arts Festival before or after hiking, which offers free concerts, indigenous art events, literary readings, and visual art exhibits all summer.


Banff main street, Alberta

How to get there and get around

Banff is the main hub for heli-hiking outfitters in the Canadian Rockies. You can also hike in Banff National Park, which is walking distance from the town center.

There are many heli-hiking operators, but Canadian Mountain Holidays (CMH) was the first one to offer heli-hiking trips in the Canadian Rockies, starting in June 1978. Their trips include everything and last from two days to a week.

See our recommended family hotels in Banff

Where to stay for heli-hiking in the Canadian Rockies

CMH operates their trips from two isolated wilderness lodges in the Canadian Rockies, which have modern facilities such as sauna, fireplace, full-service bar, and Wi-Fi.

Guests at Bugaboo Lodge can enjoy hikes in larch forests, around cirques, and on sharp ridges that give huge views of the famous Bugaboo Spires.

At Bobbie Burns Lodge guests can walk through flowering meadows and wooded valleys and follow goat trails to high ridges that show views of Conrad Glacier.

CMH provides all meals, which are filling and served family style. Guests enjoy drinks from the wood bar, where they can chat with guides and try different cocktails.

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