(This story was originally published in 2012 and has been updated to reflect changes in classes of service aboard the Rocky Mountaineer.)
Now that our “Travel Canada” series has completed its tour of British Columbia, it’s time to head to the Canadian Rockies and the gateway cities of Calgary and Edmonton which lie just to the east.
Two rail companies can carry you east: The Rocky Mountaineer, an excursion train that runs between British Columbia and Alberta, and Via Rail Canada, which offers coast-to-coast rail service.
The Rocky Mountaineer gives you four choices for traveling by day along the sea to mountain corridor, while spending nights sleeping in a hotel bed rather than a train berth.
The “First Passage to the West” route runs between Vancouver, Banff and Calgary, while the “Journey Through the Clouds” line links Vancouver and Jasper. You can ride either westbound or eastbound, with an overnight stop at Kamloops, in central British Columbia. Trains depart three times a week from the end of April through early October.
The “Rainforest to Gold Rush” route runs through British Columbia’s Cariboo Chilcotin region and connects Jasper to Whistler, north of Vancouver, and site of 2010 Winter Olympics events, with a sleep-over en route in Quesnel. The “Whistler Sea to Sky Climb” runs between North Vancouver and Whistler, Thursday-Monday. Trains travel these two routes from mid-May to the end of September.
Railroading in Style
There are two classes of service on the Rocky Mountaineer:
- GOLDLEAF SERVICE: Reserved seating in bi-level, glass domed coaches, with panoramic views on the upper level and a private dining room on the main level, where specially prepared à la carte breakfasts and lunches are served.
- SILVERLEAF SERVICE: A single-level dome coach, with assigned seating and hot meals served at your seat.
In all classes of service, Rocky Mountaineer staff provide commentary on the history and ecology of each regions that the train passes through.
Here’s what your rail travel experience would be like in Goldleaf service:
Sightseeing Excursions & Packages
In addition to rail travel over its four train routes, the Rocky Mountaineer offers variations vacation packages.
The Condé Nast Traveler 2011 Reader’s Choice Awards rated the Rocky Mountaineer among the “Top 5 Trains in the World,” and in the same year Travel + Leisure magazine called a rail journey aboard the Rocky Mountaineer “One of the Best Life Changing Trips.”
Now let’s go for a virtual ride on the Rocky Mountaineer:
Ready to take a real rail journey? Click here for more details about Rocky Mountaineer fares, routes and packages, and to book your rail vacation online.
(Photos and videos provided courtesy of Rocky Mountaineer.)
Before booking transportation, tours, vacation packages, or lodging for any trip, Tales Told From The Road highly recommends that travelers carefully read the travel provider’s written policies on cancellations and refunds, and consider purchasing trip insurance to cover any non-refundable deposits or payments, or other expenses that might be incurred due to trip interruption, cancellation, delay, or illness or injury.