In the remote reaches of western Canada and the Canadian Rockies, black bears go about the business of foraging the canyons and eagles soar gracefully in the thin air overhead, unaware of the awestruck human voyeurs rolling by their wild habitat. The Rocky Mountaineer luxury train winds through the rugged terrain carrying passengers at a leisurely pace. From the vantage of picture windows, glass domes, and a covered, outdoor platform, travelers enjoy inspiring views of bubbling mountain streams, towering snowcapped peaks, and foaming waterfalls.
The Rocky Mountaineer is a scenic train trip for your bucket list. It’s a seven-time winner of “World’s Leading Travel Experience by Train” and travel heavy hitters like National Geographic, Travel + Leisure and Lonely Planet deem it an “ultimate experience” and “one of the World’s Greatest Trips.”
Rocky Mountaineer Routes
Rocky Mountaineer offers three routes through the magnificent Rocky Mountain scenery to the Pacific Coast. They are two- or three-day, all-daylight train rides with overnights in hotels.
The legendary First Passage to the West between Vancouver, Lake Louise, and Banff with an overnight in Kamloops is the most popular route. It’s the only passenger service on the historic track that united Canada’s east and west, passing important railway landmarks along the way.
On the Journey through the Clouds route from Vancouver to Jasper via Kamloops, a highlight is the majestic Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. The remote vistas are simply breathtaking.
Rainforest to Gold Rush takes a northern route through the rarely seen wilderness from Whistler to Jasper with an overnight in Quesnel. The extreme landscapes include the largest temperate rainforest in the world and the rugged desertification of Fraser Canyon.
Each of the routes runs in both directions and they can also be combined to make a circle trip, including motorcoach transportation from Lake Louise to Jasper via the Columbia Icefield. Multi-day packages that include scenic rail, hotel extensions, helicopter flightseeing (only through 2021), and various tours are available if two or three days of unparalleled beauty just isn’t enough. Travel Maestro tip: Rocky Mountaineer journeys make a fabulous pre- or post-Alaskan cruise extension!
A fourth route taking in the American Southwest, Rockies to the Red Rocks, is a two-day train journey between Denver, Colorado and Moab, Utah with an overnight stay in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. The breathtaking scenery is complemented by vibrant storytelling, regionally-inspired cuisine, and impeccable service. Multi-day package extensions are also available here.
Rocky Mountaineer Service Levels
Travelers choose from two levels of service on the Rocky Mountaineer: GoldLeaf Service and SilverLeaf Service. The award-winning GoldLeaf Service is the lap of luxury with five-star dining and attentive service. The bi-level coach offers plenty of room to move about. The observation level is on the top with expansive views through the glass-domed top. Luxurious seating turns around so guests can mix and mingle. Downstairs is an exclusive dining room with large picture windows so you never miss a minute of the scenic beauty when dining. An onboard chef prepares a gourmet hot breakfast and lunch included each day. A covered open-air deck is perfect for snapping scenic photos and enjoying the pure mountain air. Three onboard attendants provide attentive service, complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and gourmet snacks, and give ongoing commentary during the ride. GoldLeaf Service includes complimentary luggage delivery to deluxe hotels for the overnight stop.
SilverLeaf Service is in a custom-designed, single-level, glass-domed coach with oversized windows. A choice of hot entrées for breakfast and lunch are served seat-side since there is no dining room. Complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and snacks are also available throughout the journey. Two attendants in each SilverLeaf coach regale guests with stories and history along the way. SilverLeaf Service includes complimentary luggage delivery to popular hotels for the overnight stop. Beginning in 2016, SilverLeaf Service will be available on all routes.
The Rocky Mountaineer Season
The Rocky Mountaineer runs from April to October, with April, May, and October giving early/late season savings. June is springtime in the Rockies with snow still on the mountain tops and flowers beginning to bloom. July and August are the warmest months.
Mere words simply cannot do justice to the jaw-dropping scenery of the Canadian west; you need to experience the grandeur in person. The Rocky Mountaineer should be on the bucket list of every nature-lover, train aficionado, and luxury devotee! For schedules and prices of this luxurious scenic rail experience, please contact Covington Travel.
* Originally published 3/11/16; updated 2/16/17, 4/8/21.