What better way to experience the wild Canadian countryside than through one of the nation’s most revered train routes? When it comes to luxury train travel that spells sophistication and luxury, Rocky Mountaineer does it best. Whether you’re well versed in Canadian Rockies train travel or are looking to visit The Great White North for the first time, we’ve got you covered. Here is your guide to all things Rocky Mountaineer trips.
Ultimate Guide to Rocky Mountaineer Trips Through the Canadian Rockies
What is Rocky Mountaineer?
Rocky Mountaineer is the gold standard for Canadian train travel. They are not only the most beloved train company in Canada; they are also the largest privately owned luxury tourist train company in the world. The luxury train line has received countless awards and accolades for its world-class service and unparalleled experience. Among their achievements are a Gold Standard recognition by Deloitte and first place for Best Rail Experience Worldwide at the 2017 Travvy awards.
Choose From Three Main Rocky Mountaineer Trips
The Canadian Rockies are just a train ride away with either of these three award-winning rail options. Whether you’re looking for an epic 12-day adventure or a quick 3-day exploration, there are several options among the three routes.
First Passage to the West
This legendary rail route takes passengers from Vancouver to Banff or Lake Louise depending on your itinerary.
First Passage to the West Classic (3 Nights)
This trip spans four days and three nights taking guests from Vancouver to Banff with a stop in Kamloops. Day one is spent exploring Vancouver solo; guests have the entire city to themselves and can explore when and where they please. Depending on the service level selected, guests will have an overnight stay in Vancouver at Sheraton Wall Centre, Sutton Place Hotel or JW Marriott Parq Hotel.
On day two, guests will board the train to head for the heart of British Columbia. The scenery on this route is simply breathtaking as it winds through the lush green fields of Fraser Valley on to the peaks of the Cascade Mountains. Highlights along the way include the infamous rushing waters of Hell’s Gate, Fraser Canyon and the steep, unforgiving slopes along Thomspon River. After traversing the rich and vibrant scenery linking Vancouver and Kamloops, visitors will rest overnight at a hotel dependent upon their service status.
On day three guests will depart from Kamloops and continue their journey Eastward to Banff. Winding through the mighty Canadian Rockies into Alberta, travellers will be met with breathtaking scenery every inch of the way. From ranch lands, rocky lakeshores and sky-high mountain passes, passengers will experience first hand the majesty of the Candian Rockies. Be sure to keep an eye out for the Craigellachie, Kicking Horse Canyon and the glaciers that dot the surrounding landscape.
Day four concludes upon checkout from the hotel. We recommend using this day to soak up the very best of Banff by taking a hike around Lake Louise and enjoying a few pints at St James’ Gate Irish Pub.
Not ready to depart with Rocky Mountaineer just yet? This route offers itineraries that range all the way up to 12 days. See additional First Passage to the West Rocky Mountaineer trips here for the ultimate experience.
Journey Through the Clouds
Rocky Mountaineer’s Journey Through the Clouds option is every bit as spectacular as it sounds. This itinerary slinks passengers along the grand Fraser River, Hell’s Gate and the magnificent Pyramid Falls. Connecting Vancouver and Jasper, guests will also feast their eyes on Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
Journey Through the Clouds Classic (3 Nights)
Like the First Passage to the West route, guests will spend the first day in Vancouver taking in the city. The first night will be spent at Sheraton Wall Centre, Sutton Place Hotel or JW Marriott Parq Hotel based on the selected service.
Day two will take passengers northeast from Vancouver to the first stop, Kamloops. Full steam ahead, the train will wind through some of Canada’s most diverse landscapes from verdant green fields of Fraser Valley, dense woods, peaceful river canyons and more. This itinerary also highlights magnificent sights such as Hell’s Gate and the Thompson River. Finally, once the train arrives in Kamloops, it’s time to get some shut-eye before day three.
On day three, the train will fire on toward Jasper. Passengers will have a front-row seat to some of Canada’s best natural wonders such as Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Rockies and the spectacular Pyramid Falls. Along the way, passengers will be treated to breathtaking views of the Cariboo and the Monashee Mountains and the high peaks of the epic Continental Divide. The real sight, however, is the climb over Yellowhead Pass into Jasper National Park. Once in the cosy resort town of Jasper, it’s time to head in for the night at the selected accommodation.
Day four concludes the trip upon hotel checkout. Spend the day exploring Jasper National Park’s endless hiking trails.
The Journey Through the Clouds route offers other itineraries that climb up to 9 days. Check out more Rocky Mountaineer trips here which feature additional stops in Banff, Lake Louise and Calgary.
Rainforest to Goldrush
The Rainforest to Goldrush option truly marries Canadian history and landscape. From towering mountain peaks, hidden lakes and pristine canyons, passengers will marvel at some of Canada’s most beautiful sights all while learning about the nations unique gold rush history.
Rainforest to Gold Rush Classic (5 Days)
You know the drill; day one is spent exploring the oh so beautiful British Columbia gem that is Vancouver. After an overnight stay in your specific accommodation, it’s time to hit the road. Or the rail? Okay, hit the rail.
Day two consists of an epic journey between Vancouver and Whistler. Take in the sky high peaks known for their world-class skiing and wonder at the surrounding valleys far below. Along the journey, guests will experience some of Canada’s most fantastic attractions. Imagine marvelling at the breathtaking Howe Sound and Coast Mountains. Or about gawking at the infinite Brandywine Falls, Mount Garibaldi and the Cheakamus Canyon? Once arrived in Whistler, passengers have the freedom to explore the city before an overnight stay in their selected accommodation.
Day three begins with a complimentary transfer to Pemberton station where the journey continues. Once aboard the Rocky Mountaineer train, it’s time to traverse through to the adorable rural town of Quesnel. Along the way, guests can expect highlights such as Pemberton Valley, Anderson Lake ad the Cariboo Plateau. One of the most memorable moments for guests is definitely the trip over one of the highest rail bridges in the world, Deep Creek Bridge. The day concludes in Quesnel.
Day four is set to be a feast for the eyes. Departing from Quesnel en route to Jasper, travellers will bear witness to marvels such as the Rocky Mountain Trench and the epic Mount Robson. Travelling along the Fraser River and into the thick forests of northern British Columbia, guests can rest assured they’ll never grow bored of things to look at. Be sure to keep a lookout for moose, bears and other wildlife along the way to get a sense of just how wild Canada truly is. Once in Jasper, day four is finished.
Day five ends on checkout from Jasper accommodation.
Vancouver is one of Canada’s best cities for its stunning coast, gorgeous mountains and vibrant city centre. Since each of the main itineraries begins with a free day in Vancouver, here are the things you’ll want to do to experience the bustling seaport to the fullest.
Visit Museum of Anthropology
Learn the epic history that surrounds the area by visiting the Museum of Anthropology. Vancouver and the Lower Mainland area has been occupied for a whopping 10,000 years meaning there are lots to be explored in the way of anthropology.
Feel Victorious After Climbing Grouse Grind
Aptly nicknamed “Mother Nature’s Staircase” a hike through Grouse Grind is just the thing you need before embarking on your journey. The trail leads hikers through 850 meters of alpine and is the perfect pre-beer activity. Once at the top, treat yourself to a scenic ride down the Grouse Gondola.
Have a Bite in Chinatown
It’s no secret that Vancouver is home to some of the absolute best Chinese food in the nation. Vancouver’s Chinatown happens to be one of the oldest and largest in the country, too. Be sure to pop into any one of the multi-generational restaurants for some generous helpings of dim sum.
Kayak Deep Cove
What better way to kick off a journey through some of Canada’s most gorgeous natural areas than an afternoon of kayaking between fjords and forests? Ocean kayaking is a bit of a religion in Vancouver, and Deep Cove is arguably the safest and most scenic places to do it.
Grab a Few Pints of Craft Beer
Vancouver’s craft beer scene is nothing short of legendary. A day in Vancouver simply would not be complete without at least a few raised pints. Head on over to the one of a kind 33 Acres to clink a few glasses. If you’re lucky, they may even have a pizza truck out front.
Additional Deets Onboard and Otherwise
What’s Can I Expect in Terms of Food?
Obviously, one of the most important things when travelling is food and the cost that comes with it. Each package offered by Rocky Mountaineer includes daily breakfasts and lunches while onboard. In the evenings when you’re free to roam the town, dinner is left to your expense. However, additional breakfasts and dinners may be pre-purchased through a special meal plan. For more info on the food, see Rocky Mountaineer’s dining page.
When is the Best Time to Travel With Rocky Mountaineers?
When trying to figure out the best dates for Rocky Mountaineer trips, it’s easy to get stumped. We’ll be honest with you; the Canadian Rockies are absolutely spectacular in every season. From the flowery meadows in spring to the fiery foliage in the fall, you can’t go wrong. If we had to nail it down though, September is ideal. During this time, the Salmon Run takes place drawing out bears and eagles from all corners. Plus, the autumn colours and crip weather just can’t be beaten.
How Do I Know Which Class of Service is Right For Me?
When it comes to world-class service, Rocky Mountaineer is a cut above the rest. From the base level right on up to the top, each guest is treated like royalty. However, certain service options provide you with even more perks onboard and are worth splurging on. The service options are mainly divied between Silver Leaf and Gold Leaf. Differences include large windows versus full glass domes, types of meals and the size of viewing platforms. To see a full comparison between the classes, head here.
Does Rocky Mountaineers Enforce a Covid Protocol?
Given the ongoing pandemic, it’s understandable that many are cautious about travel. Rocky Mountaineer prides themselves on keeping passengers safe and has implemented a whole host of Covid procedures. Some added measures include pre-travel screening and onboard modification to meet all social distancing guidelines. Additionally, the trains include a state of the art air filtration system, capturing 99.9% of airborne particles. Sanitization and disinfection is also a top priority.
You can also rest assured that the hotels Rocky Mountaineer partners with are all equipped to deal with Covid protocols.
To read their full health and safety guidelines, head here.
Why Does Rocky Mountaineer Only Run Between April and October?
Rocky Mountaineer’s biggest perk is that they offer all daylight tours. In order to ensure maximum daylight hours and best views of scenery, they only travel ruing the sunniest times of the year. This gives guests better chances for weather and more time spent on the rails surrounded by stunning landscape.
Rocky Mountaineer is Ultimately the Gateway to Canadian Wilderness
If it isn’t obvious by now, Rocky Mountaineer trips are the way to go if you’re looking to experience the raw wonder of the Canadian Rockies via rail. People around the world regard the Canadian Rockies as one of the most visually stunning and mesmerising places on Earth. From Lake Louise’s mindbending shades of blue to the copper coloured Painted Bluffs, it’s not hard to see why. All in all, Rocky Mountaineer provides a gateway into the very best of the Canadian wilderness. Browse the full selection of Rocky Mountaineer trips here.