Escape to CMH Cariboos This Summer, Canada’s Ultimate Wilderness Adventure
This article was produced in partnership with CMH Heli-Skiing & Summer Adventures
With the holidays officially in the rearview, and a new year of opportunity on the horizon, it’s prime time to start dreaming of summer. It may seem far off now, but it’s never too early to book a trip of a lifetime—and it certainly doesn’t hurt having something to look forward to, right?
If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to try something unique in 2022, allow us to introduce you to CMH Summer Adventures. A global leader in heli-access guided wilderness experiences and mountain hospitality, the company operates three remarkable lodges in the summer: Bobbie Burns, Bugaboos, and Cariboos. Today we’re honing in on that last property to give you a better idea of what to expect during a transformational stay at CMH Cariboos.
This summer, immerse yourself in a high-alpine escape hidden in the northernmost reaches of Canada’s Columbia Mountains. Venturing off the beaten path to this rarely visited, exclusive spot in the Cariboos, you’ll encounter all types of travelers—friends on getaways, couples on romantic retreats, and families on the adventure of a lifetime.
From heli-hiking along glaciers to chasing waterfalls by way of via ferrata, CMH Cariboos pairs incredible experiences with otherworldly landscapes that will leave you speechless.
A quiet corner in the main lounge at CMH Cariboos backcountry lodge. Jesse TamayoAccommodation
You’ll be surprised how quickly you settle into your new home away from home at CMH Cariboos Lodge. Despite being nestled seemingly in the middle of nowhere, the lodge is fully equipped with modern amenities and extends every possible comfort to its guests. Perched at 3,600 feet, this high-country hideaway strikes the perfect blend of classic coziness and thoughtful attention to detail. Consider it laid-back luxury at its best—it’s a retreat enveloped by snow-capped peaks, ancient glaciers, and undulating cedar forests as far as the eye can see.
Welcoming you on arrival is a 28-room lodge jam-packed with perks and amenities. There’s tons to do on-site (more on that in a minute) and your room is well-equipped for post-exploration relaxation. Your trip also includes three meals per day—plus all the snacks you can eat in-between. From hand-selected packed lunches and après-hiking snacks to chef-prepared, family-style dinners in the lodge dining room. The entire CMH staff is made up of people who not only love the mountain lifestyle but also understand exceptional hospitality. Whether it’s your first or fourteenth visit, you’re welcomed with open arms.
A balmy afternoon at the swimming pond at CMH Cariboos. Jesse TamayoWhat to Do
Drive the Icefields Parkway: Your CMH adventure begins with a jaw-dropping journey along Canada’s Icefields Parkway, which consistently ranks as one of the most scenic drives on the planet. Winding through Banff and Jasper National Park, the route is marked by glacial peaks, rock spires, emerald lakes, roadside waterfalls, and ice fields. Guests can choose to self-drive and relish every moment, making pitstops along the way—or opt to board a private CMH coach to relax and enjoy the views before reaching the helipad in Valemount, British Columbia. From there, it’s a 15-minute flight over the alpine canopies before landing at the secluded lodge—the perfect start for the journey ahead.
Guests enjoy a field of summer wildflowers on their heli-hiking adventure with CMH. Jesse TamayoHeli-Hiking Adventures
Heli-hiking has deep roots in the Cariboos. It all began in the late 1970s when CMH Heli-Skiing & Summer Adventures founder Hans Gmoser teamed up with Arthur Tauck to extend business beyond the bustling winter ski season. They began offering hiking excursions throughout the summer months, using helicopters to bring guests to unspoiled, remote regions deep in the Columbia Mountains. The idea caught on in a big way, swiftly becoming a beloved tradition for outdoor enthusiasts from all walks of life. Today, professional guides continue to lead incredible heli-hiking adventures throughout these isolated alpine landscapes. Legendary routes from the Cariboo Lodge include Zillmer Glacier, Crazy Horse, 9th Hole, Buehler Lake, and iconic landmarks like Canoe Glacier.
Scaling the waterfall-framed Mt. Zillmer Via Ferrata. RobinO’NeillZillmer Canyon Via Ferrata
Do you want to get your adrenaline pumping? Enter the Zillmer Canyon Via Ferrata. For those unfamiliar, a via ferrata (“iron path” in Italian) is a protected route along the face of a mountain where climbers can harness up and use a system of steel cables, rungs, ladders, and other affixed anchors to navigate otherwise untouchable terrain. And while it might sound intense, it’s actually an excursion perfectly suited for beginners with little to no experience—although it’s worth noting the Zillmer Canyon Via Ferrata also offers more challenging routes for seasoned climbers. Prepare to trace along this jagged slot canyon carved over the ages by the rapids of a glacier-fed waterfall. During the exhilarating, multi-phased adventure, you’ll encounter a suspension bridge, zip-lines, balance beams, and more before emerging to sweeping views of peaks and waterfalls. Even better, your expert guide will customize the route to best suit your group’s comfort and skill level.
Unwinding with drinks on the deck after a day spent exploring. Robin O’NeillRelax at the Lodge
After an afternoon of mountain scaling, glacier hiking, and helicopter rides, you’ll crave a comfortable place to relax and recharge. Luckily, CMH Cariboos Lodge offers exactly that. Take a dip in the outdoor whirlpool, unwind with a sauna session, or treat yourself to a massage. Guests can jam out in the music nook or spend some quality time together in the games room. In the evening, expect to find the adults congregating at the full-service bar or perusing the impressive wine cellar. The climbing wall and bouldering cave are a great way to prepare for the endless outdoor adventures that await. Just don’t forget to swing by the gear and gift shop first.
Book with Confidence
The ever-evolving pandemic continues to throw curveballs, and it can feel like a bit of a gamble booking any sort of travel these days. But thankfully, the decision-makers at CMH completely understand. To alleviate some of that stress and apprehension, they’ve given their trip policies a considerate overhaul. Their flexible Peace of Mind booking policy includes refundable deposits up to 90 days leading up to your summer adventure. Travelers are also protected should any sort of unforeseen travel restriction go into effect, like a government-imposed border closure. And if you can’t depart on your planned dates, you’ll also have the chance to rebook the trip later on this, or next summer.
Booking the trip of a lifetime with CMH Summer Adventures really couldn’t be easier. Filter through their online platform by desired trip length, program, price, and other criteria. Still have questions? Don’t fret—the CMH sales team has you covered. Reach out directly at 1-800-661-0252 or shoot them an email at email@example.com and they’ll be more than happy to help.
All you need for a day of heli-hiking. Jesse TamayoAdditional Tips and Tricks to Keep in Mind
- Weather: Due to the high mountain environment, the weather can change quickly with very little warning, but summer temperatures tend to range from highs of 50˚F to 95˚F to lows of 26˚F to 48˚F.
- Packing: It’s best to dress in layers during your hiking excursions, so go for the tried-and-true staples like comfortable long- and short-sleeved shirts, zip-off pants, waterproof hiking boots, etc. You can also take advantage of their laundry facilities at no extra charge. Don’t forget to bring your sunglasses, insect repellant, water bottle, binoculars, and other necessities. Find the full recommended packing list here.
- Gear: To ensure comfort, CMH recommends guests bring their own gear like boots, raincoats, wind pants, and hiking poles. There are extras at the lodge to use in a pinch in the event you forget something.
- Ground Transportation: Ground transportation from select points of origin is also included in your trip—including Banff, Lake Louise, or Jasper to the CMH Cariboos helipad, and return to Jasper, Lake Louise, Banff, or the Calgary International Airport.
- Difficulty: Whether you’re a total newbie or well-seasoned daredevil, your heli-adventures will be tailored to match your levels of fitness, experience, and age.
- Guides: The CMH guides are truly the best of the best. All are highly trained and most are fully certified by the International Federation of Mountain Guides Association (this typically takes 10 years to accomplish); the rest are certified by the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides, which also holds guides to rigorous standards. Friendly and professional, each guide is fully trained in areas including first aid, wilderness rescue, emergency procedure and prevention, and more.
- Helicopter Trips: Wondering how many times you’ll get to ride in the chopper? On average, expect two or three helicopter trips per day, depending on your personal preference and weather conditions during your visit.