Lumberjacks, moose and maple syrup – Canada is famous for many things but nothing so much as its spectacular scenery. That’s why rail tours are such a fantastic option, tracks passing straight through the awesome Rocky Mountains. Said to be the most spectacular train journey in the world, the panoramic scenery is both enchanting and sublime. Vancouver to Banff is thus an unforgettable journey, the Rocky Mountaineer train passing through cedar and fur forests, sprawling farmland and dizzying snow capped heights on a ten day adventure.
Vancouver is a fantastic starting point, where scenic parks and cultural centres proudly represent contemporary Canadian life. Gastown is a beautifully quaint area where traditional shops sell unique goods and cafes have a small town, friendly vibe. Be sure to sample the maple syrup pancakes and take a look in the traditional outdoor adventure shops. Chinatown is also a pleasure to explore in Vancouver for an alternative view of the city and a great meal out.
The stay in Vancouver leaves you fresh and comfortable, ready for the epic two day rail journey to come that takes you from Vancouver to Kamloops. Arguably the most spectacular train journey in the world, the scenery is wonderfully diverse and gives an impression of the sheer scale of the Canadian wilderness and countryside. Passing first through the open farm land of the Fraser River Valley, the train then travels along the walls of the narrow Fraser and Thompson River Canyons. Into the rhelm of mighty mountains and pristine lakes, the scenery to come is dramatic and breathtaking as the train winds through the heights of the Rockies. Kamloops Lake stretches out in sunlit splendour before the journey ends in Kamloops itself.
Glaciers and snow capped peaks decorate the view from the train window on the next stint, travelling through the Albreda Ice Fields. Mount Robson is the highest peak in the Rockies, and the train ride allow for a wonderful view of its 12,972 ft summit. Lush forests of vibrant greens stretch out in the lap of mountains, lakes and new vistas at every turn. Bear and elk roam throughout this region and are often spotted on the train journey so it’s worth keeping binoculars to hand.
Once at Jasper, the trip includes a visit to the awesome Maligne Canyon and Maligne Lake, one of the most photographed places in the world. It’s easy to see why, as the lake is photogenic from any perspective, so clear that it perfectly reflects the surroundings and sky.
On to a land of ice and snow, the Columbia Icefield is reached by road, and has the highest concentration of ice and snow outside of the Arctic Circle. Explore the ice of the Athabasca Glacier on a tour with insightful commentary from a knowledgeable guide. Stand on the ice, which has been created over thousands of years of snowfall in the region.
And finally, Banff is surrounded by the peaks of the Rockies with stunning scenery in all directions: a great place to relax, shop, and reflect on the epic adventure.