THE MOST COMMON MYTHS ABOUT HELI-HIKING (AND WHY THEY’RE TOTALLY WRONG) 

In Advice, Summer
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June 20, 2024 | Words by Tyson Newell

We’ve heard our fair share of misconceptions about helicopter-accessed hiking.

Everything from the truly bizarre, out-there theories to the more quiet, seemingly intuitive ideas people have about accessing mind-bending hiking terrain by helicopter.

And we get it—it’s an activity that’s anything but ordinary. That’s why we’re here to dispel the six most common myths about heli-hiking. Let’s set the record straight, shall we? 

READ NOW: What is heli-hiking? 

An adult couple crouched beside a landed helicopter.

1. YOU MUST JUMP OUT OF A HOVERING HELICOPTER 

The incessant thud-thud-thud of the spinning rotors fills your ears and a craggy, pointy peak with sweeping cliffs on either side lies six feet below the hovering helicopter. Tom Cruise (in full Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell regalia) gives you the thumbs-up, urging you to make your jump. You can almost hear Kenny Loggins shredding ‘Danger Zone’ as you steady yourself, ready to leap…  

Nope! Our professional pilots work with our guiding team to find safe, level areas to land the helicopters. You’ll only depart the heli once it has landed on solid ground. Exiting the machine takes one easy step down, much like getting out of a truck or navigating the final step of a ladder. Not to mention, your guide will help everyone exit (and enter) the helicopter safely. Stand down, Maverick!  

A still photo of a luxurious lodge room with two beds.

2. YOU’LL BE ROUGHING IT

Can you hear that? The rickety ‘ol tent flapping desperately in the wind? Oh, and it’s soaked from the rain. Wait, is it wet in here…? Is this what you must endure to get amongst the deep Canadian wilderness?  

Double no, folks. Release any visions of ‘roughing it’ from your minds right now. We’re talking duvets, not sleeping bags. All our three locations feature beautiful mountain lodges, flush with modern comforts: spa facilities, fully stocked bars (and wine cellars!), indoor climbing walls, wi-fi, and yoga mats. Each room is appointed with a private shower, toilet, shampoo, conditioner–the works! Oh, and our lodges have some of the most ridiculous hot tub views on the planet.  

Tour our lodges 

A plated meal of food, accompanied by wine and dessert.

3. THERE’S NOTHING BUT CAMPFIRE HOT DOGS ON THE MENU  

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a good ol’ campfire hot dog. In fact, it’s iconic. However, that’s not what you’ll experience on a CMH menu.

Our food is as famous as our mountainous terrain, and our culinary team (including a dedicated chef and pastry chef at each lodge) takes pride in ensuring you’re fuelled for adventure while also delighting your tastebuds. Think thoughtfully sourced ingredients, multi-course dinners infused with complex flavours, and packed field lunches for hiking adventures. And all this paired with delicious wines from well-stocked cellars and craft cocktails made by onsite bartenders. Not bad, eh?  

A middle aged couple hiking in the mountains.

4. HELI-HIKING IS RESERVED FOR THE EXTREME, INTENSE ADVENTURERS 

Wait. Helicopters? Towering peaks? Primeval glaciers? The only kind of people suited for THAT kind of adventure are the sorts of rock-climbing, ultrarunning, wingsuit-wearing heroes you see in the Banff Mountain Film Festival, no?  

Definitely not, though they are certainly welcome to come join. Our guided heli-hiking trips are designed for any and all abilities. Our guiding team matches group objectives to fitness levels, preferred paces and comfort levels. With many alpine meadows and accessible hikes available, there’s something for everyone here. Wingsuits not required.  

A group of hikers traversing a ridge in front of an epic mountain setting.

5. HELI-HIKING IS CHEATING 

You always get dropped off at the top of the mountain, don’t you? You don’t even have to work for it, right? Where’s the fun in that?  

Lies. The helicopter is merely a tool to help access remote zones deep in the many mountain ranges of western Canada, far from crowds. It’s a small part of your day, getting you to and from the start of your hike.

If you’re seeking a challenge, the helicopter will land at a lower elevation and you’ll hike up, up, up. To get up to the tippy top of those mountains is up to you and your two feet. Our guides love exploring these peaks, too. So they’ll put you through your paces to reach even bigger objectives if that’s what you seek. And that’s all without mentioning the chance to climb via ferratas next to rushing waterfalls, traverse zip-lines over canyons and navigate sky-high cable bridges. Heart beating quickly yet?  

On the flip side, if you’re less inclined to hike hard, the helicopter will land higher up, so you can traverse ridgelines or alpine meadows without a mega effort.

In short, heli-hiking can be hardcore or easygoing, and everything in between.

A young woman smiling, surrounded by fellow hikers.

6. HELI-HIKING IS NOT FOR SOLO TRAVELLERS  

If you can’t coordinate vacation/work/softball/farmers market schedules to get a whole group of your own friends and family together for a heli-hiking trip, you certainly can’t join on your own. Right?  

That, ladies and gentlemen, is wrong. We get plenty of individuals hopping on our trips. The best part is that everyone headed out heli-hiking is united by the love of adventure. So even if you arrive on your own, we’d put money down that you’ll leave with new friends, forged in the mountains.  


A WHOLE NEW PERSPECTIVE ON HELI-HIKING 

There you have it, hikers. A litany of heli-hiking myths dismantled and disproved. With that out of the way, you might be considering a heli-hiking trip of your own a little more seriously now. We’re not mind readers, but we had a hunch.   

Questions? We’re here to chat. Contact us when you’re ready.