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Canadian Rockies by Rail & Train

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389
8 Days
Availability : Sept 2018 / Jul, Aug, Sept 2019
Vancouver, Canada
Calgary, Canada
National Geographic Expeditions
EXPEDITION OVERVIEW
  • Take in panoramic views of Canada’s magnificent Rockies from the glass- domed, GoldLeaf 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.

EXPERTS ON THIS TRIP

A National Geographic expert will accompany each departure to share insights and a rare behind-the-scenes perspective. Listed here are some of the experts that will be joining departures on this trip.

Kirt Kempter
Naturalist, Geologist
Jeremy Schmidt
Author, Biologist
 
ITINERARY

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.

 
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.

Meals Included:Dinner
Accommodations:Wedgewood Hotel and Spa
 
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.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodations:Hotel 540 or Sandman Signature Kamloops Hotel
 
DAY 3: ROCKY MOUNTAINEER/JASPER NATIONAL PARK

The Rocky Mountaineer brings us farther north today, entering the Canadian Rockies 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.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge
 
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 backdrop 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.

Meals Included:Day 4 (Breakfast, Lunch) / Day 5 (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Accommodations:Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge
 
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 our 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.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodations:Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
 
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 skyscraping set of ice-clad summits, and Emerald Lake, fringed by fragrant pine forests. Stop for a picnic lunch, then 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 of the most important fossil deposits ever discovered. Tonight, enjoy a farewell dinner back at the lodge.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
 
DAY 8: CALGARY

Transfer to the Calgary airport to catch your flight home.

Meals Included:Breakfast
 
WHAT TO EXPECT

This trip has an activity rating of light. Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking and sitting for extended periods. Excursions include a range of hikes, a lake cruise, a guided glacier walk and a gondola ride. We spend two full days aboard the Rocky Mountaineer in a Gold Leaf Service car.

Accommodations
Throughout the expedition, we stay in high-end hotels and historic lodges within the parks.

Expedition Team
A National Geographic expert and an expedition leader will accompany this trip, and local guides join us along the way.

ACCOMMODATIONS

The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge – Jasper, Alberta

Jasper Park Lodge is nestled between two lakes in a verdant valley within the Canadian Rockies. Like Chateau Lake Louise, the original lodge was built by a railroad company, Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. The “Tent City” of 1915 has since evolved into a village of charming log cabins, suites, and rooms with mountain views positioned around one of the best golf courses in the country. The lodge features a number of restaurants, a pool, a spa and fitness center, and a variety of shops. Open year-round, Jasper Park Lodge is an excellent base for canoeing and hiking in summer or skiing and snowshoeing during the winter.

The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise – Lake Louise, Alberta

Rising on the edge of Banff National Park’s dazzling Lake Louise and surrounded by steep mountain slopes, Chateau Lake Louise is graced with a magnificent setting and a fascinating history. The hotel began as a humble log chalet built in 1890 by the Canadian Pacific Railway as a refuge for hikers and adventurers. Today, it is a stunning property with 511 rooms, several restaurants, numerous shops, a large pool and fitness area, and elegant public spaces to take tea or a cocktails. Influenced by European architecture and landscaping and full of windows with gorgeous views, Chateau Lake Louise has been Canada’s premier mountain resort for more than a century, counting royalty and celebrities among their guests.

 
 
 
WHAT’S INCLUDED
  • Transfers upon arrival and departure
  • Accommodation as indicated in the itinerary
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • Daily activities and excursions as indicated in the itinerary
  • All gratuities
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED
  • Airfare to and from destination, as well as internal airfare where applicable
  • Trip cancellation insurance or any other travel insurance
  • Visas
  • Alcoholic beverages
Via Travel & Cruising
Via Travel & Cruising
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