All aboard the Rocky Mountaineer
The Rocky Mountaineer train is an iconic symbol of Canada. A trip aboard is widely regarded as one of the best train journeys in the world. I’m lucky enough to have travelled on the most famed route: the ‘First Passage to the West’, from Banff to Vancouver.
Against the backdrop of the Rockies, I waited for the arrival of the train in the small station of Banff. You could feel the excitement of all of the passengers on the platform as The Rocky Mountaineer made it’s way slowly into the station. This also allowed for some fantastic photo opportunities.
Banff to Kamloops
The journey from Banff to Kamloops takes around ten hours, depending on traffic (freight trains having priority over the Rocky Mountaineer). After an overnight stay in a hotel in Kamloops, the onward journey to Vancouver is another eight hours or so.
I travelled in the Gold Leaf carriage, although all of the classes are extremely comfortable and offer a fantastic service. There’s a kitchen that serves meals, as well as custom-designed, heated seats which recline and swivel 180 degrees for your enjoyment. The BEST selling point of the Gold Leaf class is its an incredible full glass dome. So you can relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings in complete luxury. This was particularly amazing when we passed the unbelievably tall mountain ranges. There’s also a large outdoor viewing platform so that travellers can enjoy the fresh mountain air (and take photos without the window panes!).
View and Wildlife
As the train makes little noise and travels slowly, there are superb wildlife spotting opportunities to be had. Passengers are alerted by the crew to wildlife so that they know where to look.
On my journey, we were lucky enough to see a black bear and a grizzly bear among the trees, and a bighorn sheep, very close to the tracks. We even saw several eagles fly over the train.
Throughout the two day trip, the landscape changed from the heart of the Rocky Mountains themselves through to lush greenery, mountains, vineyards and magnificent lakes. Passengers also experience the infamous ‘Spiral Tunnels’, an incredible feat of engineering considered to be one of North America’s most scenic train experiences.
Once in a Lifetime Journey
The Rocky Mountaineer is a once-in-a-lifetime journey and a real highlight of any visit to the beautiful country of Canada. No pictures or stories can do this incredible trip justice; you have to experience it for yourself.
Our Majestic Rockies by Rail and Road itinerary includes the two-day journey on the Rocky Mountaineer and an equally scenic drive along the Icefields Parkway.
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For travellers who don’t want to miss a thing, there’s nothing better than a trip on Rocky Mountaineer. Include this iconic rail journey in your tailor-made Canada holiday.