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Rocky Mountaineer

Last updated: 21 March, 2024

Since its inauguration in 1990, there has been no better way to enjoy the fabulous mountain landscapes of the Rockies in British Columbia and Alberta than from the three Rocky Mountaineer trains.

The sheer scale of the Rockies never fails to impress. Mountains are never out of view, and often the train hugs a water course which the railway builders chose to follow. On sighting wildlife, the engineer obligingly slows and radios the train crew to tell them to look out for a bear on the right, an elk on the left.

The modern, casual train has been designed to maximise window area and provide space enough for people to move round and chat with others. The whole experience is greatly enhanced by the convivial atmosphere, but also the knowledge and passion of the train crew in relaying stories and information.

Logistics

Price from: £1500
Minimum age: 0
Age suitable: 13+
When: All year around
Duration: 2-5 days

Getting there & doing it

All trains start and/or finish in Vancouver. It’s a seated service, with overnight stop-overs at hotels en route.

The bi-level dome cars of the ‘GoldLeaf’ service provide panoramic views and an open observation balcony, with excellent gourmet meals cooked on board and served in a dining room. The cheaper ‘SilverLeaf’ package has seating on the lower deck, with at-your-seat dining.

Itineraries range from 2-5 days. ‘Journey through the Clouds’ heads northeast to Jasper past Pyramid Falls and over Yellowhead Pass, while ‘First Passage to the West’ heads east to Lake Louise and Banff, taking in Shuswap Lake and the white waters of Illecillewaet and Kicking Horse rivers.

The ‘Rainforest to Gold Rush’ route offers a greater variety of landscapes than either of the journeys through the heart of the Rockies.

You can also opt for a package with a cruise along the Inside Passage.

When to do it

The trains operate from April to October.

In April and May flora and wildlife begin to emerge and there’s often still snow on mountain peaks. Go in May and June if you want to tie in with a cruise. The autumn months see a return of snow on peaks and the salmon run, attracting bears and eagles.