Canadian Pioneer

Average Rating:
4.2 out of 5
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Canadian Pioneer

Beautiful hidden gems

Reviewed May 2020

The people, the tour leader, and the places we went on this tour were phenomenal, the time of year we went meant there was alot of international camp counsellors just finishing there placements, and there was alot of discussion of this making the group bond well. Our tour leader Mike was bloody fantastic! And a great chef too. He had local knowledge as well as being very excitable about all the places we went. The only semi-bad thing we experienced was the weather at times, but obviously as great as Mike was he's not a miracle worker. He was very supportive of everything everyone wanted to do, which is great as I've had other tour leaders who can become judgemental of those not following the crowd. Some of my favourite places we went were ones I'd never heard of, Acadia national park being of particular highlight- I with it was on more tours because I would go back again and again! Thankyou Michiel and trek America for this experience!

Canadian Pioneer

A good intro to USA + Canada

Reviewed July 2019

As someone who only recently started travelling and is very much a city boy, but with deep love for nature, I think this trip has the right amount of both and I've never felt uncomfortable throughout the whole trip.

Everyone I met along the trip was super friendly and accommodating, and camping was a breeze. Got the chance too see some Moose, plenty of squirrels, eat 3 kinds of poutine, go on a canoe trip with the most gorgeous weather I've ever seen outside of Portugal, and a chance to see puffins, whales and seals up close. Waking up at 6AM might be tough at first but it's worth to hike a trail in the early morning. Niagara falls is always a must see whenever you're in this part of the USA/Canada. Less enjoyable part? Mosquitos. Be prepared.

The cities are very different from Portugal (no actual skyscrapers here) but I've never felt overwhelmed by their sheer size and surprisingly easy to walk the streets. Best part? No Mosquitos. Be prepared.

In summary, it's very good, really enjoyable, no stress, plenty of time to look around and explore and discover just a hint of how Canada and the USA really are.

David Clarke
Canadian Pioneer

Enjoyable cities and a mix of different cultures

Reviewed June 2019

From a person who prefers National Parks to cities, I surprisingly enjoyed this trip more than I expected.

Each of the few cities we went to had it's own unique style and made them interesting to explore.

With the drives being short it gave us more time to explore each location. In every place, there was a lot to see and do.

Iz Lowe
Canadian Pioneer

Wilderness, cities, wildlife and adventure - all of my favourite things!

Reviewed May 2019

This was such a fab trip, it was so lovely meeting all the like minded people that came along and the tour guide was brilliant! There was a perfect balance between bustling city life and ‘middle-of-nowhere’ wilderness so there was definitely something for everyone. Perfect length, perfect route, would love to do it all again!

Past Trekkers Review
Canadian Pioneer

A trip that started a fire inside

Reviewed March 2016

This was my first trip with trek america and to be honest I had no idea what to expect. would i like the people i was on trek with? would i even get on with them? was it going to be all guys or all girls or both? i just had no idea and that was all part of the excitement. Am i even going to like america? or canada? or is the van going to be comfortable! so many un answered questions. But you know what it didn't matter. I had the most amazing time, our leader had the best little local secret spots and tips. We drank, we ate, we partied, we explored, we saw a bear and a moose, a gigantic waterfall and so much more, I could sit here all day and tell you about how amazing the trip was but wouldn't you rather find out for yourself? so be quick and go and book one! I promise you wont regret it!

Past Trekkers Review
Canadian Pioneer

Such an amazing experience!

Reviewed June 2015

I was worried about booking this as I had never been camping before, but I needn't have worried! I survived (even through huge thunderstorms and torrential rain) and it made the trip so much better than staying in hotels, motels or hostels! The tents were easy to put up and take down quickly once you had got the hang of it!
Our trek leader (Phil) was awesome and would look things up for us to do in all of the cities. He gave us a mini introduction to each place which was cool!
Breakfast was good each day and for lunches we had picnic type stuff. The groups split cooking, washing and cleaning the van each day.
The tour had such a good itinerary and we saw so many amazing things and places! My highlights were Niagara Falls, Canoeing in the Wilderness in Algonquin PP and Jet Boating in Montreal!
If you are thinking about booking this, don't think just do it! You will love it! :)

Past Trekkers Review
Canadian Pioneer

A combination of great cities and the great outdoors

Reviewed April 2015

Acadia National Park was superb, bar harbour on the Atlantic Coast was a great place. Algonquin was so isolated, the skies were bright, it was stunning! Quebec was beautiful, great history. Niagra's maid of the mist was great too although the back drop was not as I imagined.

A very under rated tour, so much variety.

Past Trekkers Review
Canadian Pioneer

A good trip but could've been so much better

Reviewed January 2014

This was my third trip with trek America and I was really looking forward to the mix of Canadian cities and national parks. My previous trips were absolutely amazing so I had no doubt about booking this trip with my boyfriend as I’d told him how amazing the whole trek experience is. Unfortunately I was left somewhat disappointed as it had the potential to be an amazing trip.

The first day didn’t start off well, which was a shame as it was my birthday. Our trek leader showed up late and it took forever to get through all the necessary paperwork, we were the last trek group to leave the hotel. Our first night was spent in the Finger Lakes and we were told that we would have lots of time to go wine tasting, walking or swimming once we got there. Unfortunately we got there and it was almost dark so we didn’t even get a chance to see the Lakes although I have been told they are stunning.

The part of the trip I was most looking forward to was seeing Niagra Falls and going on the Maid of the Mist and I’ve wanted to this for a very long time. They certainly didn’t disappoint however lots of messing around led us not getting to the dock until five minutes before the last departure of the day and almost missing out - this was a general trend of the trip.

In Toronto we went up the CN tower which was probably the highlight of the city. We visited Ottowa, Montreal and Quebec which got progressively more French the further east we travelled. An unexpected highlight in Ottowa was the city’s light display which was beamed onto the parliament buildings which was brilliantly done. I really enjoyed exploring Montreal’s old town and Mount Royal. O Noir (dinner in the dark) was cool and another highlight. Algonquin Park was stunning and the canoe trip was particularly amazing.

The final night was spent in Portland at the Riverside campground, and this was awful. The campground was waterlogged so we pitched on the only real dry bits of ground. When the camp manager eventually showed up she was really rude and aggressive, forcing us to move our already pitched tents so that there was about an inch between each tent.

This was my third trip with Trek America and I believe there are three things which make for an excellent trip; the itinerary, the group and the trek leader. Until this trip I didn’t realise how important it is to have a trek leader who is organised and enthusiastic. The itinerary of this trip is brilliant, the group was friendly, however the big let down was the trek leader and we spend most of the trip having to look up things to do on someones ipad. The list of optional activities looked impressive, however the majority of these weren’t even offered or mentioned. I’d think carefully about using Trek America again, which is a great shame as I’ve sung Trek America’s praises over the years.

Past Trekkers Review
Canadian Pioneer

Waste of time and money!

Reviewed September 2013

Having finished an amazing trek I expected nothing less from this experience. I couldnt have been more disappointed. I was greatly looking forward to the amazing mix of the outdoor and city experiences. There was none of this. Whilst wondering around the hotel lobby at 7:30 I managed to find 12 fellow trekkers eager and waiting to begin this fantastic two week experience, unfortunately there was no leader... when he finally showed up he was polite and friendly. Thats about all he had going for him though. The first day according to the itinerary should have seen some scenic walks followed by a swim in the finger lakes. Arriving at the camp site and setting up after dark there was clearly no time. The next issue came the following day. I thought it very odd when again, the 13 campers sat packed and ready to go, only to find the trek leader fannying about. We ended up leaving camp well after 10, but I figured he knew what he was doing... apparently, barely! The last maid of the mist cruise left at 5:45... we arrived at 5:40. Ill spare you the rest of the details but the rest of the tour went along the same lines. We never left camp before 10, he knew nothing about any of the cities we visited and he couldnt organise a piss up in a brewery. The only outdoor activities took place on the day we spent in algonquin. We went on a beautiful canoe trip with beautiful scenery followed by an hourlong hike in the woods. We almost had another outdoor experience in Acadia but he refused to book the kayaking trip... fortunately for me (unfortunately for everyone else) I went and found the shop and booked it myself. It was amazing, I recommend everyone doing it. In the cities it was just up to us to find things to do. In montreal i recommend going to mont royal. Its beautiful, I found it on the top ten things to do in montreal.

Aside from the abysmal leadership there is potential here for this trek to be really good, but check whether you are in season or out of season as most of the activities arent available after august. There is also potential for horrific weather conditions. It rained every day of the trek and the ground was saturated. On our final night we pitched our already waterlogged tents in a flooded campsite. Trek pay towards upgrading to cabbins in extreme weather conditions (as I experienced on my previous trek), but for some reason this wasnt considered despite the majority of the trekers asking not to camp here. So after a third night in a row of sleeping in waterproofs in a sodden sleeping bag, i was glad to see the back of this trek...

Following my previous trek I had already begun to look into which trek I would be doing next year. I now doubt whether I will ever use trek again. It's a shame since I honestly doubt I will ever beat the first experience I had with trek, but the chance of getting a trek like this again would be too much to handle.

Reply from TrekAmerica:

Hi Hannah,

First of all I am pleased your Southern Sun tour was rated by you as excellent, it is always wonderful to hear that travellers have had the time of their lives in America.

I am sorry to hear your following trip was not up to the same standards and some of your comments really surprise me, especially considering some of the excellent feedback we received about this tour. No doubt the weather can have adverse effects on the tour , especially on a camping trip and it sounds as though you encountered some fairly interesting weather. Unfortunately, once the camp grounds have been booked it can be hard to reclaim for services when cancelling last minute. We have seen on previous trips, travellers upgrade to cabins to avoid the rain whilst others have accepted it as part of the experience but I can understand a tour full of rain can affect overall enjoyment.

In each place visited, especially on this tour being so heavily city based, a selection of activities are offered to fill the free time. These would have been found in the brochure and online, and helps travellers to plan ahead for activities they wish to take on tour and plan their budget accordingly. Our leaders are always on hand to answer questions and provide information should you have specific options you wish to take.

I am more than happy to look further into this if you can provide some clear details. If is upsetting to hear negative feedback about a tour which has proven so popular and successful.

Should you wish to send any further details, please address these to Iain Shiels [email protected]

Past Trekkers Review
Canadian Pioneer

Excellent variety in Canada and contrast of cities and scenery.

Reviewed September 2013

I chose this trip as I've always wanted to see Niagara falls and go to Canada and experience the French influence there but this trip turned out to be so much more than that. An excellent mix of exploring cities, outdoor activities and scenery. 

I can honestly say I enjoyed every place and every activity we did. Maid of the mist and canoeing in Algonquin were amazing and I did lots of other optional activities too. Sunset canoeing in Acadia National park is unmissable and so was O Noir in  Montréal where we ate in the dark.  

This was my first trek and I loved it. I booked late so got 20% discount making the trip a bit cheaper. People have said (and I agree) that you could do this more cheaply on your own however, I would recommend doing a trek trip over doing that any day. 

Our trek leader's local knowledge and amazing attitude towards making every aspect of our trip memorable was invaluable. We would not have seen or done some of the amazing things without him. He went out of his way to take us to as many places as possible and  maximise the time in each place.  We also did lots of little detours to see things on the way: wine tasting, waterfall walks (my favourite) and many more! In my opinion, he went above and beyond his duties to ensure we enjoyed everything and the trip ran smoothly throughout. 

As for the camping and campsite cooking, we had everything you could possibly imagine in terms of equipment and I have never eaten so well in my life. This was down to being with a lovely group but also our tour leader Ben's influence as he's a definite foodie. Blueberry pancakes with maple syrup by Ben and our mammoth BBQ including Cajun corn, prawns, salmon and sausages were the highlights for me. Thanks to Ben, we also saw the changing of the guard in Ottawa which felt like you were in England or Scotland and we saw the amazing Cirque de Soleil for free in Quebec City.  ( Well done Ben Collier, our lovely leader) 

Algonquin PP and Acadia NP were beautiful and I think the special thing about this trip is the variety. We saw amazing scenery: the waterfalls, lakes, the sea, and the hiking coupled with the variety between the beautiful Canadian cities make this an excellent trip. 

For me, Quebec city was one of the highlights as it was so beautiful and it was such a stark change from Ottawa and Toronto where you see very little French. Then you get to Montreal where there is an increasing amount of French but still some English. It's a complete change of culture and feel when you get into Quebec City and you feel like you're in a beautiful French city. After this, you're back into the USA so culturally speaking it's a real mix! 

If you're thinking of doing this trip just go for it. It's amazing. 

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