There is nothing more relaxing than a train ride through the Canadian Rockies aboard Rocky Mountaineer. I was extremely lucky to experience this luxury train adventure on July 19 & 20 where my husband and I did the First Passage to the West.
Rocky Mountaineer has been offering train journeys for more than 30 years. They have several routes that wind through the most scenic regions of British Colombia and Alberta.
During our adventure aboard Rocky Mountaineer, we passed through canyons, lakes, and mountains from various vantages points. I was even lucky enough to spot a bear along the way and many other wildlife including bald eagles, deer and elks.
Our first day started with breakfast at Fairmont Vancouver. Normally we would have breakfast on the train, however, due to the wildfires raging in British Columbia, the first portion of our trip from Vancouver to Kamloops was completed by motorbus. Rocky Mountaineer did their best to keep the guests happy and entertained as we experienced this change to our itinerary. Of course, we were deeply disappointed but understood that safety comes first, and this was a necessary modification.
Normally the train from Vancouver to Kamloops would have been 10-11 hours. As we took the bus, the route was much quicker. We arrived in Kamloops just shortly after 1 pm. We checked into our hotel – the Delta Hotel by Marriott Kamloops and had a complimentary lunch at the hotel. After lunch, we were free to explore Kamloops and we decided to experience a wine tour of the region. Something we would not have been able to enjoy if we had taken the train (making lemonade out of lemons!). The wines at Harper’s Trail Estate Winery and Monte Creek Ranch Winery were so good we even bought a few bottles to enjoy after the tour.
Our second day is when we were able to board the train and the adventure really began. The train itself is absolutely gorgeous. We were in a Gold Leaf Car which meant we had a full-dome for optimal viewing on the second floor and a full dining room on the first floor.
The seats in the Golf Leaf Car were so comfortable – definitely not like an airplane seat! They were leather-like lounge chairs with the ability to lean back, place our feet up and had lumbar support. The seats were even heated for when we found the AC to be a little cool.
Rocky Mountaineer splits the group into 2 for dining. The first half of the car will go downstairs for breakfast while the second half are treated to coffee/tea and scones. When the first group was done with breakfast, we were able to go down and enjoy our breakfast. The menu was extensive with a variety of options including avocado on toast (this is what I got), egg souffle, eggs benedict, buttermilk pancakes – a total of 7 options to choose from. The menu is Golf Leaf service offers a great variety of options while Silver Leaf has slightly fewer options.
The process for lunch was similar where we were treated with some sweet or savoury snacks first and then the opportunity to have lunch and enjoy a locally sourced menu after the first group of diners were done. I selected the Fraser Valley Chicken which was wrapped in bacon and it was absolutely delicious. Menu options included Pacific salmon, Alberta striploin steak, grilled pork chops, for a total of 6 available dishes. Dessert was the chef’s creation and we were treated to a trio of chocolate torte, chocolate cake and chocolate mousse. After lunch, we were even treated to cheese, crackers and fruit. Needless to say, we did not go hungry while on the train!
The journey from Kamloops to Banff was about 12 hours. During this time we were treated to amazing vistas and storytelling onboard hosts who told us all about the history of the area as the train travelled the historic CP rail. We passed over rushing rivers, went through tunnels and travelled along sky-high mountains. My favourite spot on the train was the outdoor viewing platform which was at the rear of the car. On this platform I could feel the wind in my hair, smell the fresh mountain air and spend some time truly enjoying the outdoors. As the train travels at very moderate speeds, it was never uncomfortable. However, I do recommend a light sweater for the summer months, and a jacket for the spring/winter.
Riding a Rocky Mountaineer train truly is one of that must-do, once-in-a-lifetime experiences. As a Canadian who has travelled very little within my own country, this experience was definitely a unique way to explore the Rockies. There were moments that were truly breathtaking. Check out my YouTube video which can be found HERE for a full review.
Are you interested in a luxury Rocky Mountaineer Train Journey? I can assist with planning! Be sure to schedule a consultation HERE. We can discuss the available itineraries, the best time to take the journey and share all the personal tips and tricks that you won’t learn elsewhere (i.e – like where to be seated on the train to get the most awe-inspiring views!)