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North America’s Top Ten Experiences from The Independent Traveller

6th July 2013 Print
The White Pass and Yukon Route Narrow Gauge Railway

North America is bursting with off the beaten track treasures – migrations, festivals and art galleries, courtesy of Mother Nature, fuelling our passion for adventure. Wander across this richly rewarding continent with The Independent Traveller, the tour operator showcasing ten of its most popular experiences.

Malcolm Peasnall, Managing Director of The Independent Traveller, comments “We have been creating bespoke fly-drive holidays in North America for over 35 years. Our itineraries feature all the “must see” sights and more remote pit-stops, our complete collection incorporating several of the world’s greatest journeys, for example, the Alaska Marine Highway Ferry.”

1. Alaska’s Sawyer Glacier is best viewed on a boat trip to Tracy Arm. Watch as thundering sheathes of calving ice fall into the water, life size, "Lego" blocks floating on the surface. Also a wildlife haven, harbour seals, bears, and a variety of birdlife including, the arctic tern inhabit the frozen landscape.

2. Watch a twice-yearly aerial ballet courtesy of thousands of snow geese in Quebec. Visit Montmagny in the autumn and combine the feathered migration with the Snow Geese Festival – art exhibits, films and performances (in cooperation with the Montmagny Migration Educational Centre) celebrating their arrival.

3. Experience “The Canadian” – VIA’s flagship rail journey starts in Toronto and ends in Vancouver, the train covering over 2,700-miles and five provinces. Forests, mountains, lakes and vast prairie grasslands sweep across your field of vision: travelling across the Rocky Mountains listed as a major highlight.

4. Whistler may be renowned for ski, but zip trekking is a great way to explore this wilderness in the summer months. Old growth rain forest, second growth rain forest, steep cliff faces and lush forest floor make this a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Five incredible zip lines are joined by a network of suspension bridges, boardwalks and trails leaving you with a bird’s eye view of the wildlife including, the occasional black bear.

5. The best way to see the real Alaska, cruise across one of the world’s last known wildernesses, on the Alaskan Marine Highway Ferry. Towering tundra slopes, glaciers, fjords and active volcanoes run along the Inside Passage, and during the summer, the tail slapping humpback whales make their annual migration.

6. Seeing stars in Alberta – In October, Jasper will celebrate its third dark skies festival (Oct 26-27, 2013), the national park a world heritage site and also the world’s largest dark sky preserve. VIA Rail’s Dark Skies Train experience, from Edmonton to Jasper, brings the stars to life – on board astronomers hosting workshops using binoculars, books and iPad apps.

7. Alaska by raft! Enjoy a leisurely rafting trip in the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve. A must do excursion at Haines, summer marks the start of the salmon run, the resident birds of prey fighting over their watery feast.

8. One of the world’s top ten train journeys, and known as the scenic railway of the world, the White Pass and Yukon Route Narrow Gauge Railway connects the past to the present, and Alaska to the Yukon, the track built in 1898, during the Klondike Gold Rush. The train climbs nearly 3,000-feet in 20-minutes, a breathtaking panorama of waterfalls, tundras, glaciers and historic sites gazed upon from the comfort of vintage parlor cars.

9. National Geographic Traveller ranks Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula as a top coastal destination. Head south and journey across the Irish Loop, the world's largest population of humpback whales and over 2-million seas birds making their home in this region. Take a boat ride and view million year old icebergs that have escaped from arctic glaciers and the famous Atlantic puffin.

10. Head for Ontario and view the Niagara Falls from the Canadian side – Still the biggest draw in the province, the falls are spectacular at any time of year. Highlights include viewing the Maid of the Mist, hiking behind the falls and exhilarating helicopter flights over this mesmerising force of nature.

The Independent Traveller is a leading Canada expert. The tour operator also offers holidays in South Africa. Prices (including flight and ground prices) & departures on request. For more information, visit or

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The White Pass and Yukon Route Narrow Gauge Railway