CANMORE – Visiting the Bow Valley can be the experience of a lifetime, but often times the trip can be underwhelming thanks to the hordes of tourists that flock to the mountains.
In a bid to get away from the crowds and offer something different, Ryan Strohmaier and Mike Kearns recently launched Moose Trail Overland, a local tour company that is taking people off the beaten trail.
“It’s about bringing people together and trying to get them away from the mainstream tourism spots,” said Strohmaier, adding they have partnered with several local companies in the Bow Valley to help make the experience the best it can be.
“I feel like everyone is always taking the same selfies or photos, but there’s way more out there and nobody knows about it.”
Using a 14-passenger van, the company offers a variety of different excursions that range in activity and price.
The most popular tour is called The Best in the Rockies and offers people an option to float down the Bow River, or use a stand up paddleboard to explore Canmore’s teal-green reservoir.
Following that passengers are whisked off to Wild Life Distillery to enjoy a sample of gin and vodka before being taken into the heart of Kananaskis for a three-course meal at Mount Engadine Lodge. The tour costs $249 per person for a full-day trip, or $199 for a half-day trip. The half-day trip does not include a stop at the distillery.
“We really love K-Country,” said Strohmaier. “It’s a pristine area that they try really hard to keep that way and it’s unique. Not a lot of people really go there.”
For photographers keen to learn how to take picture of the dark sky, the company also offers an evening under the stars with professional photographer Matt Scobel who will teach them how to capture the stars, moon and the northern lights. The evening begins at 8:45 p.m. and wraps up around 7 a.m. the next morning. The tour costs $249 per person.
For both men, they decided to start the company because they felt there wasn’t anything catering to smaller groups and taking people off the beaten trail.
“It’s pretty hectic to be on vacation, especially when you have a lot of choice,” said Strohmaier, pointing to Brewster which takes thousands of people to the Athabasca Glacier on a daily basis.
“Brewster runs a good program, but you’re on a huge bus with 45 people. You’re never going to meet everyone on that bus, so the difference with us is it’s more intimate, you have a full-day and everything on that day is a new adventure.”
Both men currently work with Canmore Fire-Rescue and will be guiding people throughout the year, including the winter, which will include activities such as dog sledding or snowshoeing.
There will also be several programs in the fall including a three-day paddle board program for $199 and a three-day cycling experience.
For more information about the different tours visit the company’s website (www.moosetrail.ca), Facebook page or its Instagram.