You can visit Banff National Park by plane, car or bus, but there’s something special about taking a train ride. The Rocky Mountaineer runs on the historic tracks of Canada’s first trans-continental railway line, and the landscapes it passes through are stunning. It’s an experience that everyone should do at least once. The trip isn’t cheap, but it’s worth every penny. You’ll get the best seats on the train, delicious meals and a lot of included amenities to make your experience even more memorable.
You start your trip from Vancouver or Banff (depending on which direction you’re going). From there, the train heads west over the famous Continental Divide. Rainwater that falls east of the Divide flows to the Atlantic, while water falling west of the Divide heads toward the Pacific. The train also travels along the arid Fraser and Thompson Rivers, as well as over the iconic Stoney Creek bridge and Morant’s Curve. You might even see bald eagles and osprey on your journey, and your guide will point out the sights to you in your Gold Leaf cabin.
The train winds through ranchlands, along rocky lakeshores, into forests and over mountain passes. The highlight is crossing the Continental Divide at Craigellachie, where a small monument and wooden sign mark the division between Alberta and British Columbia. You’ll also see the forested inlands of Rogers Pass, Kicking Horse Canyon and Fraser Canyon, as well as the Spiral Tunnels.
At the end of the day, your train pulls into Kamloops and motor coaches transfer you to hotels in the city. While you’re in town, you might want to check out one of the two evening entertainment shows that are available for passengers.
You’ll spend the night in Kamloops and then board the Rocky Mountaineer this website again for your return journey to Banff. The train crosses the scenic Rocky Mountains on its way back, so be sure to look out the window again for the view. If you’re feeling up for it, you can also opt to take part in an optional sleigh ride or snowshoe adventure.
The Rocky Mountaineer offers a variety of packages that include both your train ride and time in Banff and Lake Louise. Prices range from $600 for a one-way ticket to around $1200 for the most inclusive package. If you’re traveling with kids, there are special rates and activities for them as well.
Canada Rail Vacations
1400 Kensington Rd NW #206