Discover the Canadian Rockies by RailItinerary
Day 1: En Route from U.S. / Arrive in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Wednesday, July 3, 2024
After settling into your hotel, venture out to capture the sights and sounds of this bustling metropolis. Or perhaps indulge in the luxurious amenities at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. Known as the “Castle in the City,” the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver received a 2021 Forbes Travel Guide four-star rating and TripAdvisor's Certificate of Excellence.
This evening, meet fellow travel companions for a welcome reception.
Overnight: Fairmont Hotel Vancouver (R)
Day 2: Vancouver
Thursday, July 4, 2024
Following breakfast, depart for a guided tour of Vancouver and Gastown, Vancouver's oldest neighborhood. Covering 12 city blocks, this stylish area blends hip with heritage. It's best known for beautiful Victorian-style architecture, where visitors of Water Street find cobblestones, vintage lamp posts, and a statue of the man who started it all, Gassy Jack Deighton. Stop to see the city's infamous attraction, the whistling Steam Clock, along with a mix of souvenir stores, boutiques, restaurants, clubs, and art galleries.
Then enjoy leisure time to explore Granville Island on your own. Art lovers will enjoy the island's dozens of galleries and studios highlighting work from local artists, plus the opportunity to witness the creation of jewelry, leather goods, and more. Shoppers can browse the Railspur District, featuring extensive collections of pottery and ceramics in addition to other handmade (and even delicious) goods. Outdoor enthusiasts can take joy in the forest, ocean, and city at the same time by walking the seawall, a path that extends for miles along Vancouver's waterfront. Birders have an opportunity to spot the island's many varieties of ducks, mergansers, geese, and cormorants. Architecture and history buffs will appreciate Granville Island's original buildings, preserved and repurposed to house boutiques, artisans, and vendors of today.
Overnight: Fairmont Hotel Vancouver (B)
Day 3: Vancouver / Rocky Mountaineer / Kamloops
Friday, July 5, 2024
Early this morning, board the Rocky Mountaineer for freshly baked scones and a welcome toast on your way to Kamloops through Fraser Canyon and the fertile Thompson Valley. Riding the rails through the Canadian Rockies is an adventure like no other, combining breathtaking natural beauty and delicious samplings of regional cuisine with insightful educational content. Your enthusiastic Canadian hosts will tell you stories and describe in detail all the places you pass. This train and its world-class staff are beloved by Canadians, and you'll see people coming out to wave at you all along the route. They love the smiles and waves back!
Sit back and unwind, perhaps trying some Canadian libations served at your seat from the open bar. Canada's national cocktail is the "Caesar," which is similar to a Bloody Mary. At its simplest, this drink is made with vodka, Clamato juice, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce, served in a glass rimmed with celery salt and garnished with a stalk of celery. For those wishing to kick that up a notch, throw in a tablespoon of horseradish to the classic recipe. The train also has a selection of Canadian wines to consider, all complimentary in your gold-class seating.
Upon arrival, settle in to your hotel room in Kamloops for a restful night's sleep. If a "nightcap" is desired, grab a local craft beverage and experience Canadian life at such small town favorite pubs as The Noble Pig or the Frick and Frack Taphouse.
Overnight: Kamloops Lodging (B,L)
Day 4: Kamloops / Rocky Mountaineer / Banff, Alberta
Saturday, July 6, 2024
Gliding from the interior of British Columbia, embrace the dramatic changes in scenery from the outdoor viewing platform—a perfect spot to capture photographs of the enigmatic landscape and take in the fresh Rockies air. There will be no shortage of images worth capturing and remembering on this special trip.
Today’s highlights include Craigellachie—where the last spike of the Canadian Pacific Railway was driven, the climb over Rogers Pass, the Spiral Tunnels, Kicking Horse Canyon, and the glaciers and snow-capped peaks of the Canadian Rockies.
Keep a keen eye out for wildlife. Animals often spotted along the rail route include grizzly and black bears, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, elk, and eagles. Your engineers and onboard hosts are also on the lookout, and they will notify guests when any creatures are spotted.
Later, arrive at the acclaimed Rimrock Resort Hotel, ideally situated directly across from Banff Hot Springs. As free time allows, perhaps visit the nearby thermal waters for an authentic heritage experience, a treasured activity of both locals and visitors. There will be free time on the afternoon of day five for added flexibility to enjoy these waters.
Overnight: The Rimrock Resort Hotel (B,L)
Day 5: Banff
Sunday, July 7, 2024
Today, soar to the top of Sulphur Mountain in a modern, fully enclosed four-passenger gondola cabin and bask in endless views of six magnificent mountain ranges, the Bow Valley, and the town of Banff. During free time at the top, visit the interactive interpretive center and the Sulphur Mountain Boardwalk, or grab a snack at one of the restaurants. From the observation decks at the summit complex, viscerally experience just why Banff is a part of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Return to the base of the mountain by gondola and enjoy leisure time strolling Banff's charming Main Street to peruse the quaint shops and boutiques. Afterwards, enjoy a free afternoon to explore why this town of less than 8,000 people counts more than four million visitors a year and is a jewel in the Canadian Rockies.
Overnight: The Rimrock Resort Hotel (B)
Day 6: Banff / Lake Louise / Moraine Lake
Monday, July 8, 2024
An hour's drive takes us to Lake Louise—a pristine setting world famous for its turquoise lake set amongst the Victoria Glacier and marvelous peaks. Enjoy free time to walk along the lakeshore and take advantage of photo opportunities. Head inside the iconic Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise for a delicious lunch. Elegant and polished, yet relaxed and inviting, the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and recognized globally for progressive environmental stewardship and responsible tourism.
Set in the rugged Valley of the Tean Peaks, Moraine Lake is surrounded by mountains, waterfalls, and rock piles, creating a scene so stunning it almost seems unreal. Take pleasure in this stop by admiring the intense blue-green hue of the water up close, or venture up the path to get an overhead view.
This evening, join fellow travelers (and new friends) for a farewell dinner commemorating this memorable tour.
Overnight: The Rimrock Resort Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 7: Banff / Calgary / Depart for U.S.
Tuesday, July 9, 2024
After breakfast, guests departing during the suggested time take the complimentary group transfer to Calgary International Airport for flights home. (B)
B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, R = Reception
The majority of the program's activities will take place outdoors, and you can expect a fair amount of walking on varying terrain. Many of the parks have dirt trails, but they are usually fairly smooth for walking. Some have paved pathways and boardwalks.
We expect that guests on this program can enter and exit a motor coach without assistance and be sure-footed on inclines and varying terrain. Guests also should be comfortable boarding and disembarking trains without assistance, walking and moving between coaches while the train is in motion, and navigating stairs to the upper level of the coach.
If you can walk a moderately paced mile, you will be able to enjoy all of the excursions. Also, keep in mind that you will experience altitudes rising up to 7,705 feet. You may not be accustomed to these higher elevations, and it will be important to keep hydrated, get plenty of rest, and not overexert yourself.