When it’s the journey that you seek, not necessarily the destination, modern train travel offers travel seekers a relatively slow, unique, and luxurious experience that can’t be found any other way. Meandering up a mountainside, or rolling along a powerful river, the nation’s rails can bring you a view of the world you miss 30,000 feet in the air. Coupled with world-class cuisine and decadent lodgings, the train traveling today may remind some of what it was like on board luxury cruise ships in days gone by.
What Is The Rocky Mountaineer?
Rocky Mountaineer is a Canada-based travel company that provides just such experiences. They currently run trips along three routes, offering travelers varying ways to travel between Vancouver, Banff, and Jasper. The trips vary in direction, so you can choose which city to start and end your journey. Traveling aboard a luxury train is unlike any other travel experience. First of all, you will appreciate the 360-degree views thanks to their custom-designed glass-domed coaches and spacious outdoor viewing porches.
The original three routes allow each traveler to choose their own adventure.
First Passage To The West begins in Vancouver, and travels northeast to Kamloops, British Columbia, and then east to Banff and Lake Louise. Along the journey, you’ll travel through the legendary Spiral Tunnels and wind along mountain passes and gorgeous canyons.
Journey Through The Clouds also begins in Vancouver and travels northeast to Kamloops but then travels northeast to Jasper. Along the journey, you’ll travel through breathtaking valleys, along the Fraser River, and through an area called Hell’s Gate. You will also get an amazing glimpse of Mount Robson, the Canadian Rockies’ highest peak.
Rainforest To Gold Rush begins in Vancouver but travels north to the mountain area of Whistler. The tracks will take you to see hidden lakes and canyons few get to experience. You will see Mount Robson as well. From Whistler, you continue north along the Fraser River Valley toward Quesnel. From here you’ll travel southeast to Jasper, passing through some of the roughest and wildest areas of northern British Columbia.
In 2021, Rocky Mountaineer is ready to debut its fourth route -- and its first in the United States. Rockies to the Red Rocks will take you from Denver, Colorado, to Moab, Utah, over two days, with an overnight stay in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Initially, the route will launch with preview trips that will run for 10 weeks beginning in August of 2021.
As you travel, you’ll be treated to a first-class experience, and that means eating well. Rocky Mountaineer plans each trip’s menu with the route's destinations in mind, treating you to local-inspired cuisine. For example, while rolling along the Fraser River, you may be served salmon from the river itself along with wines from the Okanagan region.
You’ve probably heard of train sleeper cars, and there are probably some first-class cabins all over the world, but on this journey, seeing the most beautiful views is the goal, so all the touring is done by day and passengers sleep in beautiful hotels at each stop at night.
As for the services available, Rocky Mountaineer offers you two levels to choose from. The SilverLeaf option features engaging hosts with stories about historic sites, gourmet breakfasts and lunches, complimentary alcohol and nonalcoholic beverages, and all the views you can handle from a single-level domed car.
The GoldLeaf option features the same but also includes access to a bi-level dome car with seating above and dining below, plus gourmet a la carte meals in the lower-level dining area.
How Much Does It Cost And How To Buy Tickets
Depending on the package you select, the number of days traveled, and the level of service you require, prices range from as low as $1,287 USD, to as high as $5,500 for a multi-week experience. Ticket packages and promotional offers are plentiful, and your cost is only limited by your creativity. All prices and promotions can be found on the Rocky Mountaineer website.
Know Before You Go
Rocky Mountaineer understands that luxury train travel may be new to many American travel enthusiasts. They have a page on their website that’s dedicated to guiding you through the pre-trip experience, highlighted by the following:
- Make sure your travel documents are in perfect order. This includes your itinerary, hotel information, and possibly your passport.
- Pack for the region. Alberta, British Columbia, Colorado, and Utah all have temperatures that will vary by time of day and season.
- To ensure that everyone has a perfect journey, each guest is assigned a specific seat and coach while on board the train.
- With the addition of the Rockies To The Red Rocks route, there are now three towns where overnight lodging will take place. All guests will need to overnight in the assigned towns to ensure that rail journey takes place in daylight.
- The company encourages all guests to travel with comprehensive insurance including cancelation and medical coverage. Be sure to check your coverage before departure.