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Canadian Rockies by Rail and Trail

  • Trip Type: Train/Land
  • 7 Days | Vancouver to Calgary
  • Group Size: Max 25

Expedition Details

 

Rising along the border between Alberta and British Columbia, the Canadian Rockies are a wonderland of twisting peaks, jewel-colored alpine lakes, and glaciers that pour down from towering heights. Watch the temperate rain forests of Vancouver give way to awe-inspiring natural wonders as we journey into this mighty mountain range aboard the iconic Rocky Mountaineer. Delve deeper into the pristine wilderness of Jasper and Banff National Parks with a National Geographic expert, taking in their beauty from every angle—amid wildflowers in lush valleys and atop powerful glaciers and craggy peaks. Set out on a breathtaking trip by train and stay in historic lakeside hotels in the heart of the Canadian Rockies.

Trip Highlights

  • Take in panoramic views of Canada's magnificent Rockies from the glass-domed cars of the Rocky Mountaineer train.
  • Experience Jasper National Park from many angles, cruising Maligne Lake and soaring to its summits in a skytram.
  • Trek across Athabasca Glacier and learn about the geology of this powerful ice mass.
  • Explore Banff National Park on foot, hiking across wildflower-blanketed meadows and along the shores of impossibly blue lakes.

Itinerary - 7 Days

Day 1 — Vancouver, Canada

Arrive in Vancouver midday and set off on an afternoon excursion through the city. Surrounded by snow-dusted mountains, lush forests, and sandy beaches, this modern metropolis is enveloped by natural beauty. Explore Stanley Park, a stunning urban green space crisscrossed by a network of nature paths. Walk the famous Seawall—lined by temperate rain forest and the shimmering blue waters of Vancouver Harbour—for incredible views of the skyline. This evening gather with your fellow travelers for a welcome reception and dinner.
Wedgewood Hotel and Spa (D)

Day 2 — Rocky Mountaineer/Kamloops

Transfer to the train depot this morning and board the Rocky Mountaineer, settling into one of its two-level, glass-domed coaches. As you ride the rails in luxury accommodations, enjoy breathtaking views of the Canadian Rockies. Highlights along this leg of the journey include the thunderous rapids of Fraser Canyon, where up to 200 million gallons of water can flow per minute, and the steep slopes and rock sheds along the Thompson River. Disembark at Kamloops and spend the evening exploring this mountain town at your leisure.
Hotel 540 or Sandman Signature Kamloops Hotel (B,L)

Day 3 — Rocky Mountaineer/Jasper National Park

The Rocky Mountaineer brings us farther north today, entering the Canadian Rockies by rail and offering increasingly dramatic panoramic views. We’ll ride by Pyramid Creek Falls, a glacier-fed cascade that flows out of a hanging valley, and over the Continental Divide at Yellowhead Pass. Our train voyage culminates in the moments we glide by Mount Robson; with craggy peaks reaching heights of nearly 13,000 feet, this behemoth boasts the tallest summit in the Canadian Rockies. This evening, arrive in Jasper National Park and check in to our lakeside lodge, nestled within a forested valley in the heart of the park.
The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Jasper National Park

Get immersed in the pristine beauty of Jasper National Park’s glacier-sculpted landscapes today. Travel through the park to Maligne Lake, watching for moose, elk, and caribous along the way. Upon arrival, embark on a classic boat cruise and sail across the lake’s turquoise waters, framed by the staggering peaks of the Rockies. Then soar into the mountains via the Jasper SkyTram, reaching a height of over 7,000 feet above sea level. From the lookout point, take in 360-degree views that include six surrounding mountain ranges, glacier-fed lakes and rivers, and the town of Jasper. Tonight, we dine in town at a local restaurant.
(B,L,D)

Day 5 — Athabasca Glacier/Lake Louise, Banff National Park

Travel along the scenic Icefields Parkway toward Banff National Park, stopping en route at the Athabasca Glacier. This ice mass is part of the Columbia Icefield and is the largest in a chain of glaciers along Canada’s Great Divide Trail. Set out with a skilled guide on a trekking expedition across the glacier and get an up-close look at its fascinating geology. This afternoon, arrive at your accommodations at the iconic Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, situated on the dazzling alpine lake in Banff known for its sparkling blue waters. Take time upon your arrival to walk the grounds and lakeshore trail before enjoying dinner on your own at one of the many dining options on the property.
The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise (B,L)

Day 6 — Lake Louise

Today, explore Moraine Lake, whose sapphire waters mirror a soaring set of ice-clad summits, and Emerald Lake, fringed by picturesque pine forests. Enjoy a picnic lunch and then discover the fascinating viewpoint of Spiral Tunnels, a favorite stop for railroad aficionados. Then delve into the spectacular landscapes surrounding Lake Louise, exploring the area on a series of hikes, and walking through wildflowers to pristine lakes and hidden waterfalls. Tonight we enjoy a farewell dinner back at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.
(B,L,D)

Day 7 — Calgary

Transfer to the Calgary airport to catch your flight home.
(B)

Related Trips

National Geographic Expert

Jeremy Schmidt

Jeremy  SchmidtFew people know the Rocky Mountains and North America's national parks better than wildlife biologist Jeremy Schmidt. He has worked in and around Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons for more than 30 years, including stints as a park ranger, a naturalist, a photographer, and an author, writing several articles for National Geographic and National Geographic Traveler magazines. He has also written several books for National Geographic, including titles on Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and the Northern Rockies. His knowledge and passion for Western Canada's national parks and rugged landscapes will enrich your experience.

Jeremy will join the following departure:

Sep 25 - Oct 01, 2017

SEE OTHER EXPERTS »

Dates

2017
  • Jul 03 - 09, 2017
  • Jul 31 - Aug 06, 2017
  • Sep 04 - 10, 2017
  • Sep 25 - Oct 01, 2017

Expedition Cost

2017

$8,770

Price is per person, double occupancy. For a single room, add $1,990 on 2017 departures. International airfare to Vancouver and return from Calgary is not included in the expedition cost.

Featured Traveler Photo

Extend Your Stay

Extend your trip in British Columbia with a stay at Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort or Siwash Lake Wilderness Resort, two members of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World collection. Please call for details.