Rocky Mountaineer Train Guide: Tips for a Scenic Journey through the Canadian Rockies

For those seeking a unique and luxurious travel experience, the Rocky Mountaineer train offers an unforgettable journey through the Canadian Rockies and American Southwest. More than just a mode of transportation, the Rocky Mountaineer offers meticulously crafted itineraries that take passengers to several incredible destinations, both on and off the train.

Passengers are treated to stunning panoramic views of the beautiful landscapes outside the train’s windows, as well as the animated storytelling of the onboard hosts and delicious meals. The Rocky Mountaineer offers a multi-day rail journey that is all about delivering a luxury experience, making it an ideal vacation for travelers who understand that getting to their destination can be half the fun. In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about this unique North American train experience.

 

Rocky Mountaineer Routes

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Rocky Mountaineer offers four unique routes, each with its own stunning scenery and attractions. Passengers can choose from a two to three-day journey, or book a circle journey that combines two routes for a four or five-day adventure. Below is a breakdown of each of the four routes to help travelers decide which itinerary to choose.

First Passage to the West

The First Passage to the West is a two-day journey that begins in Vancouver, Canada. Passengers can arrive a few days early to explore the city before boarding the train. On the first day onboard, the train will travel through Fraser Valley, offering views of majestic mountains, green forests, and raging rivers. After a full day on the train, passengers will arrive in the riverfront town of Kamloops. Day two of the journey will continue east, passing by mountains and an idyllic lake. The highlight of the day is the iconic views of Castle Mountain before reaching the final destination in Banff. Passengers disembark in Banff and can continue their adventure with visits to Banff National Park, including the postcard-ready Lake Louise.

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Journey Through the Clouds

The Journey Through the Clouds is a two-day itinerary that starts with a similar route as the train takes off from Vancouver and stops in Kamloops for the night. On day two, the train will head northeast to Jasper. Along the route, passengers can enjoy the natural beauty of the Blue River, Pyramid Falls, and Mount Robson, the tallest peak in the Canadian Rockies. Passengers disembark in the charming mountain town of Jasper, which offers easy access to Jasper National Park.

Rainforest to Gold Rush

Rocky Mountaineer’s only three-day itinerary takes passengers on a different, but equally picturesque, route from Vancouver to Jasper. Day one starts with the train making its way around Horseshoe Bay and the beautiful fjords of Howe Sound before trading the water-filled vistas for the Coast Mountains. The day ends with an overnight stay in Whistler, where passengers can take a ride on the Peak-2-Peak gondola for the best views of the mountainous region. On day two, passengers will see a different type of Canadian landscape as the train passes through more arid scenery, including canyons where prospectors once searched for gold, and then stops for the night in the small city of Quesnel. Day three brings passengers to the final stop in Jasper after another full day aboard the train, admiring the area’s mountains, lakes, and rivers.

Rockies to the Red Rocks

Rocky Mountaineer’s newest route is the Rockies to the Red Rocks, which debuted in the fall of 2021. This two-day journey takes passengers between Denver, Colorado, and Moab, Utah, with an overnight stop in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. On day one, passengers will leave the city skyline behind and immerse themselves in the Colorado Rockies, crossing the Continental Divide and cutting through the impressive 6.3-mile Moffat Tunnel. By dusk, passengers will arrive in Glenwood Springs, where a visit to the world’s largest mineral hot spring pool is a must. The next day, passengers will continue their journey west, trading the Rockies for the unique red rocks of the Southwest, including incredible views of Mount Garfield and Ruby Canyon. By mid-day, passengers will arrive in Moab, the perfect home base for exploring Arches and Canyonlands national parks.

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With these four distinct routes to choose from, travelers can experience the best of the Canadian Rockies or the American Southwest.

 

Rocky Mountaineer Classes of Service

Rocky Mountaineer offers three classes of service: GoldLeaf, SilverLeaf, and SilverLeaf Plus. Each class offers a unique experience, and passengers can choose the class that best fits their needs and budget.

GoldLeaf

GoldLeaf is the highest level of service that Rocky Mountaineer offers. Passengers in GoldLeaf travel in a two-level coach with a dining room on the first floor and assigned seats on the second floor. The dining room has large panoramic windows that allow passengers to take in the views while enjoying meals prepared onboard by the chef. There’s also a large outdoor platform so passengers can admire the scenery and feel the fresh breeze. Passengers will spend most of their time in the comfort of their assigned seats on the second floor, where dome-shaped windows allow for nearly unobstructed views. GoldLeaf passengers also have access to an additional onboard host for enhanced service and more frequent storytelling.

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SilverLeaf

The SilverLeaf coach is a single-level railcar with large picture windows, great food, and ample room between the seats. Passengers in SilverLeaf enjoy their meals (prepared before departure and warmed up onboard) from comfortable seats while admiring the landscapes outside the large panoramic windows. For passengers in this coach, there is a small outdoor viewing area, where one to two people at a time can stand and peek outside an open window. SilverLeaf passengers also have access to storytelling from the hosts.

SilverLeaf Plus

SilverLeaf Plus is a class of service available only on the Rockies to Red Rocks route. Because this route passes through several tunnels, the usual two-level GoldLeaf coach is unavailable on this trip. Passengers looking for a more elevated experience can opt for SilverLeaf Plus instead. Like the SilverLeaf service, they’ll enjoy meals at their assigned seats while the stunning vistas roll by outside of large windows. They’ll also have access to a small, standing-only viewing area with an open window, plus a separate lounge car, where they can relax between meals and grab a drink at the bar.

When deciding which class of service to choose, passengers should consider their budget and the level of luxury they desire. GoldLeaf provides the highest level of luxury, with plush leather heated seats, a fully domed railcar with maximum viewing ability, and made-to-order cuisine with world-class presentation and taste. SilverLeaf is a more affordable option that still provides a high-quality experience, with comfortable seats, large panoramic windows, and great food. SilverLeaf Plus is a good option for passengers who want a more elevated experience than SilverLeaf but can’t travel on the usual two-level GoldLeaf coach.

Overall, Rocky Mountaineer offers a top-notch experience for all passengers, and each class of service provides a unique way to experience the stunning scenery of the Canadian Rockies.

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