posted on November 23, 2021 (up to date on February 7, 2022)
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Rocky Mountaineer is excessive on many Canadians’ bucket lists, together with ours. Final month, Cat had the pleasure to hitch her associates on an epic Rocky Mountaineer practice journey and will triumphantly cross it off her nice Canadian record.
Questioning what it’s prefer to journey on a Rocky Mountaineer practice? Right this moment, we’ll spill the beans, inform you all about Rocky Mountaineer, and share Cat’s expertise on the Vancouver to Jasper practice journey!
Why take Rocky Mountaineer?
Rocky Mountaineer shouldn’t be an peculiar practice. It presents ultra-luxurious practice journeys in Western Canada and the American Southwest for vacationers to expertise a number of the most spectacular surroundings North America has to supply. It’s a actually once-in-a-lifetime journey for nature lovers.
Its three Canadian rail routes take you thru world-famous Canadian Rockies cities together with Jasper, Banff, and Lake Louise. Among the areas are solely accessible by rail so you’ll not get to see the identical surroundings as you’d on a Vancouver to Jasper street journey!
How luxurious is the practice? Properly, learn on to search out out extra!
What to anticipate on a Vancouver to Jasper Prepare Journey with Rocky Mountaineer
Many individuals have pushed between Vancouver and Jasper and thought they’ve seen all of the picturesque areas have to supply. Did they actually, although?
This Fall, I launched into a 5-day a technique Rocky Mountaineer practice journey with my associates. On the Journey by the Clouds route, GoldLeaf Service coach, not solely did we witness the unparalleled vistas in Western Canada as we travelled from Vancouver to Jasper, we additionally skilled first-hand how Rocky Mountaineer orchestrates a world-class, life-changing rail journey.
Our first-hand expertise on the Journey by the Clouds route
Our Rocky Mountaineer rail journey was a memorable one from begin to end. However I’m not gonna deny, earlier than the ‘huge day,’ I had many questions and worries about practice journey.
First off, how secure is it? Afterall, we’d be sitting in an enclosed house with folks we don’t know for a chronic time. Are all of the passengers vaccinated? How are we certain they’re COVID-free?
Secondly, what will we do with our baggage? How are we going to be transported from the practice station to the lodge and vice versa?
Third, are we going to be hungry on this journey?
Pre-Journey: Testing and Test-In Process
A few week earlier than our journey, an e mail rolled into my inbox and had my concern about security resolved. It was about COVID-19 speedy screening, together with different pre-trip logistics.
I used to be made conscious that along with receiving double vaccinations, all visitors and Rocky Mountaineer staff members should endure speedy screening for COVID previous to the beginning of the journey. Face masks are additionally required when transferring across the rail automotive. Figuring out that there are strict well being and security protocols Rocky Mountaineer adheres to eased my thoughts.
On the day previous to the journey, we arrived on the testing centre, conveniently situated inside our Vancouver lodge, and took the speedy screening take a look at. Whereas ready for our outcome, we checked into the practice, confirmed our itinerary with the employees, and obtained our boarding cross and baggage tags.
Identical to boarding a flight, we needed to connect tags to items of baggage we needed to examine in. The tags inform the dealing with employees which lodge to ship the bags. By the point we received into our rooms on the finish of the day, our baggage was ready for us.
Not lengthy after check-in, I obtained an e mail notifying me of my take a look at outcome. Thank goodness, it was unfavourable! Now, all I want to fret about is what to put on for my huge day.
Day 1: First Impression Onboard
It’s D-Day and we began darkish and early, at 6:55 am. We bid goodbye to our baggage and mentioned hello to new associates. Pleasure, awkwardness, and silence stuffed the air as we received transported by a motorcoach to the Rocky Mountaineer Vancouver practice station.
As we walked out the door of the station, the legendary, clear and shining Rocky Mountain practice patiently waited for us. A flowery pink carpet led to the practice, with our pleasant hosts standing on all sides. Wow, I felt like a celeb!
The inside of the practice exuded luxurious at each nook, from computerized doorways, leather-lined seats (with heating and adjustable recline?!) to a glass-domed roof. My coronary heart pounded arduous as adrenaline rushed by my physique. I couldn’t watch for our journey to unfold!
Earlier than the practice even moved, our hosts, Kelly and Travis, welcomed us with sizzling drinks, biscuits and cheese. What service!
Day 1: Surroundings and Landmarks
It didn’t take lengthy for the practice to tackle most velocity at round 50 km/hr (30mph). As we travelled eastbound to inside British Columbia, the practice adopted the Canadian Pacific Rail tracks alongside the Fraser River, house to BC’s largest salmon run.
We winded by towering forests, deep canyons, picturesque valleys and quite a few darkish tunnels. Ultimately rugged, desert panorama greeted us as we entered Kamloops. Alongside the experience, we loved many photograph alternatives. Highlights included Hell’s Gate (the narrowest a part of Fraser River), Cisco Crossing (the longest single-span bridge on the Canadian Nationwide Railway line), Rainbow Canyon (rocks in rainbow colours!), and Jaws of Loss of life Gorge (a favorite spot for whitewater rafters).
Day 1: Most Memorable Moments
The surroundings was jaw droppingly beautiful, however nothing beat the shock recognizing of wildlife. We noticed a black bear working by the hills, mountain goats feeding on grass, and bald eagles hovering — because of the crew’s laser-sharp eyes! I couldn’t ask for a greater day.
I additionally couldn’t imagine how nice the meals had been! The choice of dishes for breakfast and lunch was as intensive as you’d discover in a restaurant. Need eggs benny for brekky? Not an issue. Or have a longing for buttermilk pancakes? Proper up! All freshly ready within the kitchen by a devoted culinary staff!
Lunch was a full 3-course meal with 6 totally different choices to your essential. I couldn’t determine between Pacific Salmon and the Alberta Striploin Steak. Fortunately, the menu was the identical for the following day so I received to attempt each on this journey!
Oh, did I not point out we had limitless entry to wine and alcoholic drinks all day lengthy? Plus snacks in between meals?
Day 1: In a single day in Kamloops
It was 6:30 pm when the practice pulled up in Kamloops. The sky had already darkened by the point we received into our lodge room at DoubleTree by Hilton. I used to be so grateful my baggage was already within the room after I opened the door — no lifting and rolling required!
Usually my tummy can be grumbling and begging for dinner to be served. However we had been fed so properly all through your entire day that I felt like I may skip dinner for as soon as!
Properly, possibly some deep fried pickles and a drink earlier than calling it an evening 😛
Day 2: Surroundings and Landmarks
The panorama modified drastically as we crossed the Alberta border into the Canadian Rockies. Mile-high mountains and pristine lakes supplied a pointy distinction to the areas we left behind.
Some photogenic sights price noting embody Pyramid Falls (cascading proper beside the practice tracks), Mounts Robson (the best mountain within the Canadian Rockies), and Moose Lake (for its blue-green, crystal clear water).
Day 2: Most Memorable Second
Doubtless, it was the second we obtained the Rocky Mountaineer pins from our hosts. It was not only a memento for this once-in-a-lifetime journey, but in addition a badge to point out off our practice journey!
Day 2: In a single day in Jasper
It was one other lengthy and thrilling day on the rail. I couldn’t wait to take a sizzling bathe and roll into my mattress at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, probably the greatest locations to remain in Jasper Nationwide Park.
The check-in course of was seamless. The lodge employees shuttled us again to our cabin on a golf cart, and our baggage was ready by the door.
I might wait till the following day to discover the property. A morning stroll by the lakeshore, meet and greet with the resident deer and elk, and a dip within the heated swimming pool sounded simply fantastic!
Past Jasper: Icefield Parkway, Lake Louise, Banff Nationwide Park
Now that the practice journey has come to an finish, what occurs subsequent?
Our Rocky Mountaineer package deal contains three further days of exploring the cities of Jasper and Banff. Norm from the native tour operator, Solar Canine Excursions, was our information to assist us additional discover the mountain areas.
In three days, we hit up a number of the in style sights within the Canadian Rockies, together with Maligne Canyon, Pyramid Lake, Maligne Lake, and we even managed to squeeze in a ship cruise to Spirit Island!
And naturally, we didn’t miss the possibility to see Moraine Lake and Lake Louise, which is an absolute should if you go to Banff in Fall.
There are lots of alternative ways you possibly can journey on Rocky Mountaineer trains. Along with varied routes, there are additionally totally different lessons every with totally different facilities.
What are the totally different lessons of journey on Rocky Mountaineer trains from Vancouver to Jasper?
Rocky Mountaineer is an all glass-dome fleet, that includes two ranges of service coach: GoldLeaf and SilverLeaf. They’re totally different in a number of points, from coach structure and facilities, visitor providers, and culinary experiences.
Let’s begin with the structure and facilities.
- GoldLeaf Service coach has two ranges: the higher stage includes a glass-domed roof the place you possibly can admire panoramic views of the passing surroundings. It additionally has a eating space, outside viewing platform, and washrooms on the decrease stage. The seats are leathered, heated, and spacious with adjustable reclining options. They’ll even be turned 180 levels for socialization amongst visitors.
- SilverLeaf Service coach is single-level. Seats are much like these on airplanes, with the power to recline, simply not as a lot as these within the GoldLeaf service coach. Moreover, the coach has outsized home windows as an alternative of a glass-domed roof.
Relating to visitor service, each service coaches are staffed with devoted “hosts” who deal with the visitors. They do an incredible job fulfilling your requests to make sure you are snug and having fun with the journey. Now and again, they might level out vital landmarks you’re about to see (so you may get your digicam prepared), provide you with a warning when wildlife is noticed close by, and provide storytelling that’s related within the area.
One vital distinction between lessons is that the GoldLeaf Service coach comes with a devoted culinary staff. It additionally contains entry to limitless alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. So, if you need a glass of the basic Canadian caesar at wine o’clock, that’s no downside!
Lastly, we should talk about the meals. All meals, whatever the service stage, are ready utilizing locally-sourced merchandise impressed by the areas the practice travels by. You even have a choice of native wines, beers and high-end spirits to enrich the meal.
As a result of GoldLeaf visitors have a devoted culinary staff onboard, their meals are freshly ready and served to them within the decrease stage eating room. Meals for SilverLeaf visitors are pre-packaged and warmed earlier than being served on the seat. Additionally they have a smaller menu choice than GoldLeaf visitors.
How’s the meals onboard the Rocky Mountaineer trains?
O.M.G. Truthfully, my thoughts was blown by the meals. It fully modified how I assumed meals on rail would style and be introduced. Every thing– from appetizers, to mains to desserts, was all freshly made within the kitchen automotive with substances domestically sourced. This was actually mirrored within the healthful flavour. On prime of that, the presentation was top-notch as properly.
You do not want to fret about being hungry when touring on Rocky Mountaineer trains, particularly within the GoldLeaf Service coach. Meals is served continuous. Except for breakfast and a 3-course lunch, they provide snacks every now and then. By the top of the day, you would possibly want to present dinner a second thought.
What actions are there onboard the Rocky Mountaineer trains?
The spotlight of the Rocky Mountain practice journey throughout Canada is the ever-changing surroundings unfolding exterior the home windows, complemented by the participating tales shared by the Rocky Mountaineer hosts. You have to to pay shut consideration since you by no means know when wildlife will present up. On our journey, we noticed a black bear, mountain goats, and bald eagles!
You received’t discover leisure like films or karaoke in your practice journey, however fortunately you received’t want it. If you’re determined for the written phrase, you will discover Rocky Mountaineer journal and newspaper known as “Mile Publish” in which you’ll be able to indulge and study all concerning the historical past and the numerous jaw-dropping sights within the areas the practice passes by.
How lengthy does it take to journey from Vancouver to Jasper by practice?
Rocky Mountaineer’s Journey by the Clouds from Vancouver to Jasper is a 3 days 2 night time itinerary. In contrast, a Vancouver to Jasper drive would take roughly 9.5 hours and also you wouldn’t see practically as a lot lovely surroundings and wildlife.
On the primary day, our practice embarked from Vancouver at 7:30 am and arrived in Kamloops, BC at 6:30 pm, the place we spent the night time. Then, the following morning, the practice took off from Kamloops at round 8 am, winding by forests and canyons and making its method to the Canadian Rockies, the place we completed off in Jasper, AB at round 7:30 pm.
What do you do together with your baggage?
Once you examine in to your practice journey at first of your journey, you’ll obtain baggage tags. The thought is to connect them on the bags that you just wish to switch to the motels. The baggage will probably be dealt with by the Rocky Mountaineer employees and delivered straight to your lodge, proper inside your room. They won’t be boarding the practice with you so you’ll not have entry to your checked baggage till you arrive at your lodge on the finish of the day.
You might be allowed to carry two items of baggage with you, with a most weight not exceeding 23 kg (50 lbs) per piece and a complete weight of mixed baggage 30 kg (60 lbs) max.
We advise bringing a day bag or backpack that’s sufficiently small to suit at your ft (there’s no overhead or beneath ft storage) onboard the practice. Something you want for the day like journey paperwork (ID and proof of vaccination), drugs, valuables, and cameras needs to be packed into this bag.
The place do you spend nights on a Rocky Mountaineer practice journey?
Rocky Mountaineer shouldn’t be a sleeper practice. It solely travels throughout the day. So on the finish of the day, we had been transferred to our motels in Kamloops and Jasper for an in a single day keep.
Rocky Mountaineer companions with the very best lodge in every of the locations so the motels are pre-selected and decided by your service stage (SilverLeaf or GoldLeaf) and availability on the time of reserving.
As GoldLeaf Service visitors, we stayed at a premium lodge (DoubleTree by Hilton Resort Kamloops and Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge) that had eating places and different facilities. There’s an choice to improve your room to get more room or distinctive views.
For visitors within the SilverLeaf Service tier, a typical room at a snug lodge is included within the package deal.
Be aware: The lodge choices at our midpoint vacation spot in Kamloops had been restricted and never as luxurious as these in different locations. However Rocky Mountaineer ensures the lodge they accomplice with offers high quality service and important facilities for a snug in a single day keep.
Is there WiFi on the Rocky Mountaineer trains?
Sadly, no. There isn’t any WiFi on the practice experience.
We’re linked to cell service in Canada, so we caught some cellular alerts because the practice handed by some small cities, however typically, we had been minimize off from the digital world.
The thought is to benefit from the surroundings and be current within the expertise. You shouldn’t be enthusiastic about engaged on this journey. Simply sit again and take within the beautiful vistas whereas onboard!
What’s the distinction between the Rocky Mountaineer and the VIA Rail practice?
The quick reply is: one is extra luxurious and satisfying than the opposite. VIA Rail is extra of a commuter practice – it’s less expensive and fewer snug. Rocky Mountaineer takes practice journey to a different stage, permitting you to journey in excessive type!
One other distinction is that Rocky Mountaineer travels solely throughout daytime so that you don’t miss a second of the ever-changing landscapes. This implies you’ll have to go off board on the midpoint vacation spot to sleep in a single day. VIA Rail Vancouver to Jasper trains, quite the opposite, have sleeper cabins (meals included).
If you wish to get from Vancouver to Jasper with out stopping, the VIA Rail in a single day practice can get you there in 19 hours. As a result of Rocky Mountaineer makes stops in Kamloops (for the Journey by the Clouds route), the journey from Vancouver to Jasper will take 2 full days.
Be aware: VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer go away from totally different stations in Vancouver. VIA Rail leaves from Pacific Central Station whereas Rocky Mountaineer has its personal practice station. Don’t be confused!
How a lot is the Rocky Mountaineer practice experience from Vancouver to Jasper?
Costs differ barely relying on the season, the kind of practice service, lodge selections, the size of journey, and in case you have any add-on excursions and lodge stays.
As a reference, a 3-day practice journey from Vancouver to Jasper value begins from CAD$2600 per particular person (SilverLeaf service) and CAD$3570 per particular person (GoldLeaf service). For an actual quote, please go to Rocky Mountaineer’s web site. There, you possibly can entry extra info on packages accessible and the Vancouver to Jasper practice schedule for 2022!
When is the very best time to go on the Rocky Mountaineer?
The trains run from mid-April to mid-October. You will note totally different surroundings in numerous seasons so it is dependent upon what you’d prefer to see. Mid-April is the borderline winter season in Canada so that you would possibly nonetheless see snow as you journey by the mountainous areas.
In the event you’d prefer to see spring-blooming flowers, you would possibly wish to take into account touring on Rocky Mountaineer round mid-Might to June. In the event you’d prefer to see fall foliage, September to early October is an excellent time to hop on a practice experience!
What’s there to see past Jasper?
Rocky Mountaineer trains don’t journey past Jasper so you will want to switch to automotive journey after this level. There are lots of simple hikes in Jasper to find if you’re within the space. Maligne Canyon is one which you shouldn’t miss. After the hike, be sure to take pleasure in wood-fire delicacies in Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen.
One among our favourite issues to do in Jasper in fall is taking a ship cruise out to Spirit Island and simply soak within the tranquility and wilderness. Then, wrap up the day with a go to to Pyramid Island, an ideal place to observe sundown and stargaze!
An excessive amount of work and planning? Don’t fear. Rocky Mountaineer works with native tour operators to curate trip packages. You may add on excursions, actions, and lodging to increase your keep within the locations. Truthfully, they make it stress-free so that you could simply benefit from the journey expertise.
What different Canadian practice routes does Rocky Mountaineer have?
Rocky Mountaineer has three Canadian practice routes.
Except for Journey by the Clouds (Vancouver to Jasper by way of Kamloops) and First Passage to the West (Vancouver to Lake Louise/Banff), Rocky Mountaineer additionally has a Rainforest to the Gold Rush rail route touring from Vancouver to Jasper passing by Whistler,Quesnel and Prince George.
Essential word: All Rocky Mountaineer itineraries could be reversed, that means you possibly can select to do Vancouver first or final. For instance, for the Journey by the Clouds route, you possibly can journey westbound from Jasper to Vancouver as an alternative of beginning your journey from Vancouver.
Which Rocky Mountaineer route is the very best: Vancouver to Jasper OR Vancouver to Banff?
This can be a arduous query – like asking-your-mom-who’s-her-favourite-child-hard. There’s no proper reply. Every Rocky Mountaineer route takes you thru its personal distinctive, one-of-a-kind panorama and presents gorgeous photograph alternatives as you journey by Western Canada. It is dependent upon your precedence.
Are you lifeless set on seeing Banff Nationwide Park as a result of it’s in your bucket record? Then, First Passage to the West touring between Vancouver and Banff is the proper practice route for you. It’s also Rocky Mountaineer’s flagship route and has been the preferred among the many guests from around the globe. The practice will journey by the legendary Spiral Tunnels!
Personally, we’d decide one of many two routes that begins/ends in Jasper Nationwide Park. It’s much less commercialized, much less touristy, and simpler to identify wildlife!
However irrespective of which one you decide, the Rocky Mountaineer practice journey is bound to depart you speechless.