Helicopter sightseeing and heli-hiking have become popular summer activities.
Depending on the location, passengers can soar over scenic canyons and majestic mountains, view the aftermath of forest fires or get face-to-face with spectacular glaciers.
Here are some helicopter adventures available in the Inland Northwest. Rates are dependent on the number of passengers. A helicopter usually can carry four people. The listed prices reflect the cost for each person, when there are four paying passengers. Canadian flight rates (including GST) have been converted to approximate U.S. dollars.
Banff/Canmore/Lake Louise region
Helicopter companies serving this area of southwestern Alberta offer several adventure choices. Guided heli-hiking tours set down guests down at alpine meadows located outside the boundaries of the regions’s national parks and return to pick them up. Morning and afternoon departures are available from major airports and from Kananaskis Village, located in the four-season recreation region called Kananaskis Country. A five-hour heli-hiking adventure costs about $180.
One of the most popular sightseeing flights is the Mount Assiniboine Glacier tour. The 11,870-foot mountain is often referred to as the “Matterhorn of the Canadian Rockies.” The average price for this 30-minute flight is $90.
The companies offer daily departures year-round.
Canadian Helicopters Ltd; (403) 678-2207.
Assiniboine Heli Tours; (403) 678-5459.
Alpine Helicopters, Canmore; (403) 678-4802.
Travelers heading to the Glacier National Park region of northwest Montana have an opportunity to fly over the park and surrounding wilderness. This is a great way to add some special aerial shots to the family’s vacation photo album. A 30-minute tour costs $85, and a 60-minute tour costs $139.
Glacier Helicopter Tours is based in West Glacier. Call (406) 387-4141 or (800) 879-9310 (May 15 - October 15).
Leavenworth-bound vacationers can see the results of 1994 wildfires, as well as colorful fruit orchards in the foothills of the Cascades. Rates range from $30 for a 12-minute flight to $130 for a 60-minute flight. The one-hour tour is more customized, depending on the desires of the passengers.
Cascade Helicopters is based in Cashmere, Call (509) 782-2915 (year-round) or (509) 548-4759 (summer months).
Visitors to the Puget Sound region can see the area from a different perspective. Sightseeing flights can be arranged, as desired. The hourly flight rate for one person is $165. A four-passenger, one-hour tour costs $475.
Puget Sound Aviation Group flies out of the Renton Municipal Airport, (206) 226-0300.
Olympic Peninsula travelers can fly over glacier peaks, rain forest and pristine beaches. A 30-minute flight costs $60, and a 60-minute tour costs $100.
Olympic Flight Seeing operates from Forks, (360) 327-3696.
Popular sightseeing tours over the Columbia River National Scenic Recreation Area, offered by Columbia Gorge Tours (800-886-4416) based at Cascade Locks, will not be available for this summer only. Tours will be offered again in 1996.