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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.
Take in panoramic views of Canada's magnificent Rockies from the glass- domed, Gold Leaf-service cars of the Rocky Mountaineer train.
Explore Banff, Yoho, and Jasper National Parks in myriad ways, including a lake cruise, nature hikes, and a thrilling skytram excursion.
Settle into some of the most iconic hotels of the Canadian Rockies, including the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge.
Learn about the geology of the powerful Athabasca Glacier on a trekking excursion with an expert guide.
Itinerary - 8 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 as 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)
Days 4 & 5 — Jasper National Park
Get immersed in the pristine beauty of Jasper National Park's glacier-sculpted landscapes over the next two days. Travel through the Park to Maligine Lake, watching for moose, elk and caribou along the way. On a scenic boat cruise, skim across the lake's turquoise water taking in a back drop of staggering peaks. Enjoy dinner in town or at the lodge on your own. The next day, soar into the mountains via the Jasper SkyTram reaching a lookout point over 7,000 feet above sea level. Take in the 360 degree views that include six surrounding mountain ranges, glacier-fed lakes, rivers and the town of Jasper. Venture out for an optional hike this afternoon before dinner together this evening.
Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge (B,L; B,L,D)
Day 6 — 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 historic 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 7 — Banff National Park/Yoho National Park
Spend the day exploring Banff and Yoho National Parks. With your guide's knowledgeable interpretation, delve into the spectacular landscapes surrounding Lake Louise on a series of hikes through stretches of wildflowers to pristine lakes. Discover Moraine Lake whose surface mirrors a sky-scrapping set of ice-clad summits, and Emerald Lake, fringed by fragrant pine forests. Stop for a picnic lunch and take in the view of the Spiral Tunnels of the Canadian Pacific Railway, an engineering feat dating back to 1909. At the Yoho National Park Visitor Centre browse the interactive exhibits about the Burgess Shale, one on the most important fossil deposits ever discovered. Tonight enjoy a farewell dinner back at the Lodge. The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise (B,L,D)
Day 8 — Calgary
Transfer to the Calgary airport to catch your flight onward. (B)
Kitty Coley is a geologist, wildlife naturalist, and avid birder who has led expeditions for National Geographic for more than a dozen years, including several to Yellowstone during both winter and summer. Since Kitty was a child, she has been visiting and camping throughout the Northern and Canadian Rockies. Her lifelong love of the region has played an important role in her following the career path she has. She is deeply knowledgeable about western ecology, the unique geology of Canada's mountain parks, and their amazing wildlife. Kitty’s interactive and enthusiastic approach make traveling with her a delightful way for you to learn about and appreciate the destinations you'll visit on this expedition.