THINGS TO DO:
In the Canadian Rocky Mountains, travelling by train in style and comfort through the remote wilderness of high mountain passes, glacial waterways and forested canyons is definitely bucket list material. Luxury train travel – the specialty of the Rocky Mountaineer – provides a unique perspective, with opportunities to explore Alberta’s cities, alpine towns and pristine national parks.
Ride the Luxurious Rocky Mountaineer
For me and my wife, it’s astonishing to realize we are fulfilling our history buff dreams, retracing the steps of 19th century explorers in Alberta. But the only walking we’re doing today is from our comfy lounger seats aboard the luxurious Rocky Mountaineer train to its exceptional glass-domed observation car.
As onboard storytellers and guides explain the local wildlife and historic highlights, a cluster of mountain goats seems to appear on cue. Out come the cameras as the surefooted animals pick their way up a rocky crag.
Try Western Canada Cuisine
The Rocky Mountaineer is known for its exquisite five-star dining. I swear we put on five pounds by the end of the trip. Go for the Gold Leaf Service, where talented chefs aboard the train prepare three-course à la carte meals featuring delectable regional cuisine such as prime Alberta beef, along with superb wine pairings.
The white linen and fine china of the dining car provides the perfect setting to swap tales with fellow travellers. And the service, as you would expect, is second to none.
This adventure is proving to be everything we expected it to be and more. The Rocky Mountaineer is listed by Lonely Planet as “One of the World’s Ultimate Experiences” and we can see why!
Experience the Canadian Rocky Mountains
Work with the Rocky Mountaineer folk to customize your trip. Here’s an example: on a six-night trip through the Canadian Rockies (the train travels only in daylight) you will come to know the city of Calgary and the mountain destinations of Banff and Lake Louise.
You’ll depart from Calgary, Alberta, home of the 1988 Winter Olympics and just an hour from the Rocky Mountains. Enjoy your time in Banff National Park, part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the birthplace of Canada’s extensive national parks system. Soak in a natural hot spring overlooking the town of Banff. Ride the gondola to a mountain top with gorgeous 360 degree views. At Lake Louise, you’ll gaze upon an ancient glacier reaching for the shores of this turquoise gem and hike to an alpine tea house.
Other Rocky Mountaineer routes and packages can include the Alberta mountain town of Jasper in Jasper National Park, depending on points of departure. The Rocky Mountaineer runs from April through early October.