During this 7-day retreat, you’ll venture into the heart of Banff National Park and its neighbor to the east, Kananaskis Country. Drawing from our local knowledge and deep personal connections to this enchanting destination, we’ve designed an itinerary that truly maximizes our scenic rewards and avoids the heavily trafficked tourist hubs.
We’ve teamed up with locally based female professional running guides to design an incredible itinerary that takes you to some of the park’s best trail running trails offering incredible views of glaciers, turquoise lakes and jagged peaks. You will stay in off-the-beaten-track cabins and lodges that capture the charm of the Canadian Mountain West and are nestled deep within forests and meadows so stunning that you won’t even notice the fact that your cell phone is useless. Embrace the digital detox!
We’ve minimized the time we’ll spend driving from place to place in order to maximize your time to truly relax, or as the Nordic people call it, “hygge”. You’ll have opportunities to soak in your private jacuzzi tub, lounge around the campfire next to a mountain stream, snuggle under a wool blanket with a good book next to a wood-burning fireplace or drink wine in a rustic log cabin with a group of amazing women. And we’ll cap the week with an afternoon of Scandinavian-style hydrotherapy at the Nordic Spa, where you can feel your body heal from the week of trail running as you cycle through the warm, hot and cold pools and saunas designed to flush out toxins and speed recovery. You’ll return home invigorated and refreshed despite having run six days in a row!
Canadian Rockies Trail Running + Wellness Retreat Itinerary
Day 1 | Calgary Arrivals and Retreat Opening
We ask that you book your flight to arrive before noon, otherwise arrive the day before. We will rendez-vous at the Calgary International Airport at midday, then meet our driver for the two-hour drive to Lake Louise in Banff National Park. Upon arrival, we will check into our rooms and have some time to freshen up before we convene for the Official Retreat Opening Meet and Greet followed by a short shake-out run, and later, dinner at the lodge.
Overnight at Baker Creek Mountain Lodge
Time on Trail: 60 minutes approximately
Day 2 | Icefields Parkway Alpine Run
After breakfast at the hotel, we will gather and drive with our guide about 45 minutes north of Lake Louise along the Icefields Parkway, named for the numerous glaciers throughout the area. Today’s out-and-back run of a approximately 7 miles rewards our initial uphill efforts with spectacular alpine views including lakes, glaciers, wildflowers and snow-capped peaks. After our run, we’ll enjoy lunch on the shores of turquoise-blue Bow Lake. Then we’ll return to Baker Creek, where we will have a relaxing afternoon, followed by another gourmet dinner at the Baker Creek Bistro.
Overnight Baker Creek Mountain Lodge
Run time: 2 – 3 hours on rooty, rocky trails that are largely uphill for the first half, and mostly downhill on the return trip.
Day 3 | Alpine Lakes Run
After breakfast at the hotel, we have a very short drive to the nearby trailhead, where we will being our alpine lake tour. We’ll savor the solitude and serenity of this lesser-known trail connecting a series of crystal-blue lakes that are arguably just as stunning as those overrun with tourists. At the run’s end, we’ll have a picnic lunch. This afternoon, we’ll relax back at Baker Creek Mountain Lodge, where you can choose your favorite way to hygge: around a campfire next to the river, in the jacuzzi tub, curled up with a book by a wood-burning fire place, a solo stroll through the woods … it’s up to you until we meet up for dinner at the Baker Creek Bistro.
Overnight Baker Creek Mountain Lodge
Run time: 3 to 4 hours (including breaks) on rolling mountain single track that will involve a mix of hiking and running
Day 4 | Castle Mountain Lookout
After breakfast at the hotel, we’ll pack up our bags and say goodbye to Baker Creek Mountain Lodge. We have a short drive to today’s run which is a rewarding out-and-back to the Castle Mountain Lookout, where we’ll enjoy (weather permitting) unparalleled views of Banff National Park. After a picnic lunch, we’ll leave Banff, driving 1.5 hours into Kananaskis Country, just south of Canmore.
Upon arrival at the secluded Mountain Engadine Lodge, you will be greeted with afternoon tea service (including nibbles and wine) and free time to settle in to your lodge room or cabin (depending on which package you booked). We’ll have a short wellness workshop followed by dinner at the lodge.
Overnight at Mount Engadine Lodge
Time on trail: 3 to 4 hours (including breaks) on rocky singletrack trail with some exposure to heights.
Day 5 | High Rockies Trail
After breakfast, we’ll experience one of the region’s premier new trails, the High Rockies Trail, recently completed in time for Canada’s 150-year birthday celebration. We’ll run a scenic portion of this spectacular long trail that showcases stunning views of Kananaskis Country’s sprawling peaks and expansive blue lakes. You can choose to between a shorter or longer variation of today’s run, thanks to the many bail-out points along the way. After the run, we’ll return to the lodge for a relaxing afternoon including our final Wellness Workshop followed by dinner.
Overnight at Mount Engadine Lodge
Time on trail: 2 – 3.5 hours (including breaks) on mostly smooth, runnable, rolling singletrack that may include bridges.
Day 6 | Hygge at the Kananaskis Nordic Spa
After breakfast, we’ll have an easy run right from the lodge. At the run’s end, we’ll enjoy a picnic lunch, then drive about 1 hour to Kananaskis Country. After checking into our rooms at the Crosswaters Resort, ease into relaxation mode at the Nordic Spa. Experience the rejuvenating power of hydrotherapy at this modern, Scandinavian-style outdoor spa. Cycle through hot, warm and cold pools, dry sauna, aromatherapy steam baths and end with a DIY full-body exfoliating salt scrub. Spend as much time as you’d like here until we meet for dinner this evening.
Overnight at the Crosswaters Kananaskis Resort
Time on trail: 1.5 – 2 hours (including breaks) on technical singletrack.
Day 7 | Retreat Closing and Transfer to Calgary
This morning we have an optional recovery run of a few miles along the valley floor (no big climbs today!), followed by breakfast. After breakfast, we’ll have our official Retreat Closing Meeting. After checking out of your hotel room and loading your luggage into the van, we board the van for our private transfer to the airport, arriving at the Calgary International Airport around 1:00 p.m. (this arrival time is not guaranteed and is dependent on traffic volumes. Please plan your travel accordingly). From the airport, check in for your flight departure, or if you booked additional hotel nights in Calgary, take a shuttle, bus or taxi to your hotel.
Optional Run: 30 – 45 minutes out-and-back on flat dirt paths
The total run distance for this retreat will be between approximately 35 and 45 miles. Each day’s run in this itinerary is represented by time spent on the trail rather than miles run because the mileage covered will depend largely on your run pace. Faster runners will cover more mileage than slower runners on some days. These run times include breaks to enjoy the views, take photos, eat and drink. The precise route and trails run may change due to changes to trail closures, weather conditions, guide recommendations and other safety considerations.
Note that the footing in the alpine trails can be challenging at times, and you will be exposed to heights, rocky, loose rocky trails and narrow mountain trails.
About the Nordic Spa
Kananaskis Nordic Spa is a different take on modern wellbeing. Inspired by Scandinavian wellness traditions and the bold ruggedness of its Canadian Rocky surroundings, it is a Canadian-designed alpine sanctuary created for nature-lovers looking to recharge. This alpine sanctuary spans 50,000 square feet of contemporary indoor-outdoor space including five outdoor pools, four steam and sauna cabins and an exfoliation room. The relaxation areas feature heated hammocks, fireside lounges, eight treatment rooms and a wellness bistro.
Part I: Stress and Runners
Where does your energy go? Do you ever feel too tired to run? Do you ever feel so overwhelmed at the prospect of starting a training plan that you give up before you’ve begun? Do your long runs or hard workouts so wiped out that you’re pretty much useless the rest of the day? Discover what feeds your energy and what depletes your energy and how to stop the energy leaks.
Part II: Mitigating the Effects of Stress
How do you know if you're doing enough to build your fitness and reach your goals, but not so much that you're becoming depleted? You’ll design your own mindful running practice that will allow you to fulfill your goals and run with confidence. Discover how mindful breathing improves your running efficiency and dial down the stress response in any situation.
Part III: Values Inform Intentions
Running is an important part of your personal self-care routine, and yet, it can be so hard to prioritize sometimes. Fulfilling your potential is about living in alignment with your values. These mindful intention-setting exercises allows you to align your approach to running with you values around wellness, self care and fitness. Come away with a clear approach to balancing health with life's demands.
Natural Running Form Clinics
Part I: Power Posture
Use proper alignment to make gravity do more of the work. This reduces the muscular force involved with running so it feels easier and less strenuous on muscles and joints.
Part II: Focus on Efficiency
Use natural running techniques to drastically improve efficiency. You'll practice changing stride length, cadence and tempo on various types of terrain.
Part III: Find Flow
Put the pieces together to achieve the ultimate trail running experience. Learn to cultivate the circumstances for flow to occur by being relaxed and mindful.
About Your Retreat Leader, Elinor Fish
Elinor Fish has worked in the travel, tourism and running industries since 1999. The Canadian expat, who now calls Colorado home, has long been an avid trail runner, writer and champion for women’s trail running. She spent four years as the managing editor of Trail Runner magazine, during which she founded Run Wild Retreats + Wellness in 2010. After witnessing the positive impact those early retreats had on the participants, Elinor started offering more running tours in some of the world’s best trail-running destinations.
Elinor’s magazine articles, public speaking presentations and retreat workshops about mindful running have since helped thousands of runners make their running a mindfulness practice to reduce their stress, overcome obstacles to consistent running and improve their overall well being.
About Your 7-Day, 6-Night Retreat Package:
Package Per Person
$4,300 – $4,450
Package Per Person
- What's Included
- Room Type Package Options
- Other Important Things to Know
- Is This Retreat Right for You?
• Three nights at Baker Creek Mountain Lodge
• Two nights at Mount Engadine Lodge
• One night at Kananaskis Crosswaters Resort
• Pick up and drop off from Calgary International Airport
• Banff National Park Entry Fee
• Daily breakfasts, picnic lunches and full dinners
• Daily trail runs with professional ACMG-certified guide and retreat leader
• Private van transportation each day to trails
• Wellness Workshops
• Natural Running Form clinics
• Trail snacks/energy food
• Luggage transfer between hotels
• Day pass to the Kananaskis Nordic Spa
• Run Wild Retreats souvenirs
• Comprehensive Retreat Planning Guide
- Alcoholic drinks
- Spa treatments
- Other incidentals
- Guide gratuity
- Travel/cancellation insurance
- Anything else not listed under “What’s Included”
We are offering three different retreat packages for this retreat based on room types. Click here to download a side-by-side comparison of the three packages to help you select the right one for you. If you have any questions about this retreat package, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The retreat package includes single- or double-occupancy rooms (two beds) in charming eco-lodges. All of the hotels include private bathrooms and on-site restaurants. You may purchase a spa treatments for an additional fee. You may request a roommate (if you are traveling with a friend), otherwise we will pair you with another solo traveler.
Wifi and Phone Access
There is very limited cell phone reception for the first five days of the retreat. There is (weak) wifi offered via satellite at Baker Creek Mountain Lodge, and there if only wifi in the public spaces of the main lodge at Mount Engadine. Of course, land lines are available for urgent phone calls. There are also no TVs at the Baker Creek Mountain and Mount Engadine lodges. On day 6, we transfer to the Crosswaters Resort in Kananaskis, which has TVs, strong wifi and some cell phone reception. Enjoy the digital detox!
Planning Your Travel
There are many flights directly from, or connecting to, Calgary International Airport from major U.S. cities. Plan to arrive either the day before the retreat begins, or on the morning of Day 1 at the latest (around 11 am or earlier). We will meet at 12:30 p.m. at the airport and will walk together to our chartered van with our driver. We will send you an email 10 days before the retreat begins with details about the meeting point and confirm the meeting time.
On Day 7 of the retreat, we will aim to drop you off at the Calgary International Airport by 1 p.m. (though this time cannot be guaranteed and depends on road conditions and traffic). Allow yourself at least 3 hours for check in prior to your flight’s departure. If your flight departs the following day, you can take a shuttle from the airport to your hotel.
This retreat is rated Level II. This means it’s suitable for you if:
- You’re comfortable running/hiking six days in a row for around 2 to 4 hours (including hiking sections, water breaks and photo ops).
- You are physically able to hike long uphills and steep downhills on rocky terrain.
- You’re OK with running/hiking on trails with loose dirt, rocks and some muddy sections.
- You’re comfortable on high and exposed, and at times narrow, trails.
- You’re game for potentially running in the rain or light snow (we provide you with a comprehensive packing list).
- You have (or are willing to acquire before the retreat) trail running shoes.
July 18 - 24, 2020
Sorry you missed it this time!
Registration for this retreat opens spring 2020.
Our runs take place generally between 4,000 and 7,000 feet in elevation on well-established trails. All runners–not only those coming from sea level–find it necessary to adjust their running pace to account for the elevation. We have accounted for this slower pace in our allotted run times, giving you plenty of time to run and hike at the speed that suits you best.
July is the warmest month of the year here, with daytime temperatures usually between 50 and 75 degrees. However, since we’re in the mountains, weather can change rapidly, so we’ll want to have lightweight waterproof jackets with us in case of some precipitation or even snow.
Throughout the retreat, you’ll enjoy authentic Canadian Cuisine from locally and regionally sourced ingredients, including wild-caught Vancouver Island salmon, AAA-grade Alberta beef, fresh Okanagan-grown fruit and vegetables. Breakfast each morning is simple buffet-style served in the main lodge with a variety of hot and cold options, while lunches will be pre-packed picnics of sandwiches and wraps with fruit or a cookie. Portable energy snacks for use on the trail, such as trail mix, energy chews, salty chips and cookies, will be provided. We can accommodate those who are vegetarian, vegan, diary- or gluten-free.