Authored by Max Augustine
I wanted to have an adventure. She wanted to travel by train. So we compromised. At least that’s what I like to tell myself. The trip I took with my wife through the Canadian Rockies was absolutely amazing, and I’ll graciously admit that this was one argument I was glad to have lost.
When considering a trans Canadian adventure there are lots of possible journey’s, but only one possible response: Wow. No matter which trip you choose, I guarantee you’ll sit nose pressed to the window as you’re transported through a world like no other. A world of magnificent coastal mountains, vibrant canyons, and daring white water rapids. Oh and rest assured, they clean the windows thoroughly after each and every trip! Canada train.
We landed in Vancouver, BC and rushed over to the station. We had scheduled our flight to arrive only a few hours before boarding commenced for the train, and of course, we were delayed. So when we did land we had to make haste. Our route was to take us through scenic valleys, the Coastal Mountain Range and the Fraser Canyon with its spectacular white water and dramatic landscape. A highlight was to be the majestic Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. Travel through Canada by train.
This is an account of our experience exploring the Canadian Rockies by train.
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Exploring the Canadian Rockies by Train
There are two “services” to consider when booking a train journey with Rocky Mountaineer – GoldLeaf or SilverLeaf. At every service level, Rocky Mountaineer hosts attend to your needs. They will welcome you with a morning toast, serve up delicious meals and entertain you with interpretive storytelling.
The car we rode in was the GoldLeaf bi-level coach, with an eating area downstairs and a wonderful viewing dome up top. “I want one,” my wife said to me in regards to the train car. I agreed! Rocky Mountaineer review.
The ride up to Kamloops was spectacular. We traveled side by side with the Fraser and Thompson river, Canada’s largest salmon route. You really feel the enormity of the land. We then swept north bound. Though it was difficult to decide whether we focus our attention on the stunning scenery or the cuisine!
We got off the train in Kamloops and stayed the night at the Hampton Inn. Hotel options are offered for each level of service, and you have the flexibility to change or upgrade your hotel experience as desired.
The following day the train slowed as we passed Craigellachie, where the last spike of the Canadian Pacific Railway was driven. We climbed over Rogers Pass, Kicking Horse Canyon, the Spiral Tunnels and, of course, the glaciers and snow-capped peaks of the Canadian Rockies. Train travel in Canada.
On arriving in Banff, we disembarked the train to explore the surrounding area. Being a bit of a history buff, I dragged my wife to the Banff Park Museum. In return, she made us stay at the stunning Fairmont Banff Springs hotel for the night. A little costly, but well worth every penny. As they say, marriage is all about compromise! What it’s like to travel around Canada by train.
On our third day we were ferried to Jasper in a motor coach for an Icefields Parkway tour. We didn’t believe it possible, though the scenery only continued to get better. Best train journeys in Canada. Canadian rockies by train.
This was a full day sightseeing tour that traveled through a landscape carved by glaciers and opened by pioneers. It is rated as one of the most scenic highways in the world for the ability to marvel at glaciers remaining from the last ice age.
Our fourth day allowed for half a day exploring Jasper before boarding the Via Rail train to Toronto. While there are many ways to spend a day in Jasper, we opted for the Glacier Skywalk. Train trips in the Canada Rockies.
Our feet seemed to float on the glass floor that juts over the Sunwapta Valley, the wind rising as the river rushes far below. Overlooking mountains and glaciers, the Glacier Skywalk is an hour south of Jasper, and the views are beyond words. Best train trips in Canada. Travel through Canada by train.
Jasper – Toronto
The sheer variety of terrain we saw from Jasper to Toronto was just as wonderful as the climb through the Canadian Rockies. From the plains of Saskatchewan to the lakes of Ottawa, the four day train ride was spectacular. The area around Sioux Lookout was especially beautiful, and we recommend organizing a stop there to play in the lake. Train travel in Canada.
We had less than two days to spend in Toronto, and while the largest city in Canada requires a vacation all it’s own, it’s definitely possible to fit a lot in if you’re short on time. What are Canada’s best train trips.
The CN Tower was a highlight, though once we reached the observation deck, I about had a panic attack. I am only mildly afraid of heights but with a view 342 m (1,122 ft) straight down, even those not afraid of heights might need a little help when it comes to the Glass Floor. See Canada by train.
Think you can handle it? Wait till you get here and see if you feel the same way.
Pro Tip: Save 42% off admission to Toronto’s 5 best attractions, including the CN Tower with Toronto CityPASS, plus skip most ticket lines! Buy online now or onsite at the CN Tower the day of your visit.
The next morning we packed our things, ate breakfast in the hotel and headed over to the airport. With a heavy heart we boarded the plane heading home and with one last look said goodbye to Canada (for now).
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Photo credits: Featured photo by Juliane Schultz. Pinterest Images by James Wheeler & Juliane Schultz. Rocky Mountaineer Gold Leaf bi-level Coach & Cuisine; both photos by Mark & Andrea Busse. Fairmont Banff Springs hotel at a distance by canterbury. Fairmont Banff Springs hotel at night by Gregg Jaden. Jasper Glacier Skywalk by Kenneth Cole Schneider.