Author: Lisa Crockett/Thursday, March 12, 2020/Categories: Travel News
Fantasy’s unique Alberta and Glacier National Park tour combines the frenzy of the Calgary Stampede in Alberta, Canada with the tranquility of our natural treasure, the Rocky Mountains of Glacier National Park in Montana. It all adds up to a wonderful frontier adventure.
Hold your horses as we ride through the 5-day Calgary Stampede portion of the tour. Fantasy’s convenient Rally site is right next door to direct, 24-hour C train access to the Stampede grounds, so Rally guests can come and go as you please! Arrival day features Fantasy’s traditional Orientation, Get-Acquainted Party, Welcome Dinner and Honorary Calgarian ceremony (Hint: White Hats). Mornings are spent exploring the crazy cow town of Calgary. We’re back at the Stampede grounds each afternoon to take our reserved seats for The World’s Richest Rodeo trials and the raging Rangeland Derby Chuckwagon Races.
Day 2, we’re out and aboot early for breakfast at the Calgary Sky Tower and a panoramic 360-view at the top of this iconic building. We visit the Glenbow Museum for its interpretive displays of Western Canada’s rich and diverse culture. Friday, July 3 is parade day downtown, the official opening of all Stampede festivities. Think chuckwagon pancakes and buckaroo fun in Rope Square. The afternoon rootin’ tootin’ rodeo trials feature barrel racing, bareback riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, steer riding, saddle bronc, bull riding and bareback. This is some serious giddy-up and it all culminates in a $2 million purse. If the rodeo doesn’t provide enough Ya-Hoo! just wait for the Rangeland Derby Chuckwagon races! A mighty “A-WOOGAH” blast from a klaxon horn kicks off nine heavy heats of terrifying chuckwagon racing every night.
In between the daily rodeo trials and chuckwagon races, there’s plenty to see, eat, do and shop on the Stampede grounds. And it’s all extreme – the rides, entertainment and craft shows all define the Saddledome and Midway activities. But nothing screams Midway Carnival like the extreme food. “Monster Bug Bowl” was the crunchy new darling of 2019: ice cream topped with silkworms, grasshoppers, and a big June beetle. We’re definitely not in Kansas anymore!
Our fitting last day in Calgary is spent appreciating our northern neighbor at Heritage Park, Canada’s beloved living history museum. A charming guided tour includes historical reenactments and a steam engine ride. Our last night explodes when a dazzling laser show, contemporary music, dance and a posse of pyrotechnics all ignite the starlit sky at the Entertainment Extravaganza in the Grandstand.
We leave Stampede City behind and travel on to Glacier National Park, where the deer and the antelope play in beautiful big sky country. First stop is Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta. We’ll cruise from Canada to the United States on a boat tour, marveling at all the natural beauty the Rocky Mountains have to offer.
En-route to Cardston, Alberta, we stop at the Remington Carriage Museum commemorating horse-drawn transportation in North America. A carriage ride in one of their meticulously restored 240 carriages is a must.
Nestled at the base of the Rocky Mountains is the spiritual UNESCO World Heritage Site, Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump. This massive precipice overlooking an endless prairie cradles 6,000 years of Plains Buffalo history. Some say that the massive cliff still cries with the thunder of buffalo hooves and the voices of their hunters. A guided tour and lunch are scheduled here. Afterwards, we tour nearby Fort Macleod, birthplace of the North-West Mounted Police. An unforgettable Musical Ride demonstration, or “ballet on horses” is presented to us by Royal Canadian Mounties before dinner at the Cobblestone Inn.
Glacier National Park is our final destination. First, Fantasy offers a free day to explore East Glacier before we head to West Glacier. During our 4-day visit, we travel over the Hudson Bay Divide on a shiny “Red Bus” from the 1930’s. The sweeping views from this vintage open-top motor coach hug you from all sides.
We’ll revel in the absolute glacial majesty of the Continental Divide aboard a wooden boat cruise on the deep emerald waters of Lake McDonald, the largest lake in Glacier National Park. All too soon it’s time for our Farewell dinner and goodbye Campground Breakfast.
From the mountains to the prairies, in the United States and Canada, Fantasy’s Alberta and Glacier National Park tour is an unbridled celebration of the mighty West in all its rugged glory.
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