If you're thinking about spending all or part of your gap year exploring the Canadian Rockies, chances are you're considering activities like climbing and skiing. However, one great way to see the region is by canoeing your way through it.
There are now many Canadian Rockies tours available that offer the opportunity to travel through sections of Alberta and British Columbia by river, with one popular route looping out from Seattle in the US through western Canada and back again.
Opt for this itinerary on your gap year and you'll have the chance to see several national parks and take part in a variety of activities. As well as canoeing, you can enjoy pursuits ranging from horse riding and mountain biking to glacier walking and white water rafting - all against the magnificent backdrop of the Canadian Rockies.
Take a look at our guide to see what you can expect from this type of Canada holiday.
Yoho National Park
If you cross the US-Canada border from Seattle, chances are your tour will lead you to Mount Revelstoke National Park. While this is a great attraction in its own right, the star of this leg of your trip will be your next stop, Yoho National Park. Here, you'll be offered the opportunity to negotiate the rapids of Kicking Horse River in a canoe, although you can also hike your way along the river if you wish.
With an area of 507 square miles and a location on the western slopes of the Canadian Rockies, the park provides the ultimate way to experience this mountain range - 28 peaks are situated within the site. See the 833 ft Takakkaw Falls - one of the highest waterfalls in the country - before taking in the sight of the Burgess Shale Formation, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that contains the fossilised remnants of over 120 species that lived 515 million years ago.
Banff and Lake Louise
Banff National Park lies to the east of Yoho and was the first park of its kind to be founded in Canada. It's a popular destination for skiers, but those who prefer to take to the water will also find much to occupy their time. Canoeing trips in Banff will allow visitors to get up close to the creatures that make their home here, while nearby Lake Louise is perfect for a paddle towards the impressive Victoria Glacier.
Make sure you take the opportunity ride up to the top of Sulphur Mountain in the Banff Gondola and relax in the hot springs - while activity holidays are definitely for those with lots of energy, there will be times when you'll want to just lie back and stay still for a bit!
Wells Grey Provincial Park
From Lake Louise, you will travel on to Jasper National Park, where you'll make your way across a landscape filled with glaciers, forests, valleys and animals such as wolves and grizzly bears. While there are plenty of activities to enjoy here, it's your next stop, Wells Grey Provincial Park, that will offer the chance to take to the water once more.
This spectacular site encompasses forests, mountains, canyons and - most importantly! - fast-flowing rivers. Drive all the way through the park and you'll come to the 28 km Clearwater Lake. Seize the opportunity to paddle across this body of water to take in the unforgettable sight of the Azure, Zodiak and Goat Peak mountains towering over the lake.
Whistler and Vancouver
Whistler is best known as a mecca for skiers, but come the summer there are many more activities to participate in, including tours by canoe or kayak, biking, bungee jumping and horse riding. Once you've had your fill of the available action here, it's time to move on to Vancouver.
You're unlikely to do much canoeing at this point in the tour, but that doesn't mean you won't have an enjoyable time as you start to loop back towards Seattle. Vancouver is a vibrant city packed with things to see and do, and will offer a welcome diversion from the occasionally strenuous activities you've taken part in on your holiday so far!
Check out the Capilano Suspension Bridge, go for a stroll by the sea and soak up the sights and sounds of areas like Little India, Little Italy, Granville Street and Chinatown before finishing up your tour by travelling back to your starting point over the border.