23 September 2016 by Heather Harris
Big, beautiful and surprisingly hard to define, Canada is a traveller’s dream. Culturally it’s a cross-stitch of a thousand threads, combining indigenous traditions and a mix of European, Asian and other immigrant influences. Its cities are exciting and varied – each with their own distinct character and charm – while endless wild landscapes offer a varied topography and abundant animal life all waiting to be observed.
For many visitors, the best way to get to grips with the world’s second largest country is on an iconic rail journey, which allows travellers to take in wide vistas and watch the landscape change from their own carriage. The famous Rocky Mountaineer train has been carrying passengers in style and elegance across Canada’s west for over 25 years, allowing you to discover British Columbia, Alberta and the majestic Canadian Rockies.
The unparalleled experience aboard the all-dome fleet offers rich, historic storytelling from your expert hosts, world-class cuisine and a first-hand look at the vast and untouched beauty of the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada.
With multiple routes to choose from, Rocky Mountaineer’s unforgettable adventures offer romance and history, and a reminder that travelling is as much about the journey as it is the destination. Whichever you decide upon, you can expect to skirt turquoise-green lakes, plunge through old growth forests and hop over snow-troubled passes on wooden trestle bridges. It’s the stunning home to everything from bald eagles to grizzly bears, wildlife that your train driver will stop and point out.
A Wexas favourite is the Canadian Rockies Highlights, where travellers climb into that colossal hunched backbone of the Canadian west. Here, you’ll find hot springs, jewelled lakes and the cragged peaks of the Canadian Rockies before reaching one of the country’s finest national parks – Banff. Here, hiking trails and helicopter tours will acquaint you with its stunningly crumpled geography while further highlights include the region’s natural stone bridges, monolithic glaciers and great lakes, including the shimmering Lake Louise.
Alternatively, go a little further in depth with the Rocky Mountaineer Grand Circle Tour. You’ll follow the same route but, after marvelling at Lake Louise’s shimmering reflection of its mountain ring, you’ll continue on to Jasper, Banff’s national park rival. Here, you’ll be able to ride out onto the colossal Athabasca Glacier, one of the largest south of the Arctic Circle. Then, after exploring the Rockies’ mountain towns, you’ll reach Whistler via the desert-like landscapes of Fraser Canyon and one of the world’s highest railway bridges. For something a little different, you can start your Rocky Mountaineer journey from Seattle before joining one of the routes from Vancouver, or combine your trip with an Alaskan cruise.
Travelling in a custom-designed, bi-level glass dome coach puts Canada’s incredible scenery centre stage and allows for optimal viewing of soaring eagles, spawning salmon, and the occasional black bear or elusive moose.
Gourmet a la carte cuisine is prepared on board by internationally acclaimed chefs and served in the lower level private dining room. Revel in nature’s wonders unfolding outside your window as Rocky Mountaineer Hosts entertain with colourful tales of the passing regions to complement the journey.
Additionally, an exclusive outdoor viewing vestibule provides access to the crisp, mountain air and an up-close view of the magnificent Rocky Mountains.
Gold Leaf Dome Coach
Travel in style in the spacious single-level glass dome coach, with plush seats and extra-large picture windows providing exceptional views as you pass through the Canadian Rockies.
Canada’s wild beauty – thick forests, glacier-capped mountain peaks, and tumbling waterfalls – act as the perfect backdrop while you enjoy a culinary adventure and exceptional service.
All Rocky Mountaineer journeys stop in Vancouver, so you’re able to experience the best this cosmopolitan city has to offer; shop at local markets, dine in vibrant restaurants and stroll along its sweeping coast.
Silver Leaf Dome Coach
When to visit
Rocky Mountaineer operates between April and October. Travelling during this time of year ensures that you can take full advantage of the daylight hours on board, before overnighting in comfortable accommodation.
June is ‘Springtime in the Rockies’ with snow on the mountaintops and flowers beginning to bloom. April, May and October offer savings while July and August offer you the warmest weather, important for when you’re at altitude. However, the sunshine also brings the crowds, so we recommend you book early to avoid disappointment.