The vast expanse of vivid blue water beneath you reflects a mirror image of the untouched forest at its edges, and the mountains slowly turning deep blue with distance. On the other side of your luxurious train a massive, craggy cliff soars skywards.
At every turn you congratulate yourself on extending your Canadian holiday to include one of the world’s most iconic train journeys. To miss this trip through the most dramatic landscapes of British Columbia and the Canadian Rockies would have been folly indeed. And with four routes to choose from, there’s always next year, too.
Vancouver – Kamloops
Your rail adventure begins at the Rocky Mountaineer Vancouver Station when you board your sleek, blue train and head for the far distant horizon. The rich agricultural plains of Fraser Valley are first to demand the attention of your camera, followed by the towering peaks of the Coast Mountains.
Then come the plunging walls of Fraser Canyon with the thundering waters of the appropriately-named Hell’s Gate. Next the Mountaineer twists and turns its way along the banks of the Thompson River before arriving at historic Kamloops.
Stay: One night in Kamloops.
Kamloops – Lake Louise, Banff or Calgary
Kamloops is the gateway to the beautiful interior of British Columbia – as you’ll discover when you re-board your train. The Rocky Mountaineer glides you effortlessly across vast ranchlands and along the South Thompson River.
At Craigellachie you pass a moment of railway history; the last spike of the great Canadian Pacific Railway was driven in at this point. Then come the breath-taking tunnels, snow sheds and shimmering glaciers of Rogers Pass. The tracks then begin a monumental climb though the Spiral Tunnels – a high point for rail enthusiasts – and over the Continental Divide to Banff National Park.
Will you stay here, or stampede off to Calgary? Alternative route: Vancouver to Jasper.