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Canadian Rockies with Vacations By Rail®
Bordered on the west by the majestic Canadian Rocky Mountains, Alberta is a magnet for intrepid travelers. Well known as a winter playground, it is in the summer months that Alberta truly comes to life with enough activities and sights to fill any vacation itinerary. A Unesco World Heritage site, The Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks include glaciers, hot springs, rivers and yes, majestic, incredible mountains. Grab your sunscreen, camera and hiking books and prepare to be awed. The picturesque meadows, waterfalls, and stunning wildlife of Canada’s oldest park, Banff National Park, are known to do just that. Have a wish to fish? Banff National Park’s crystal clear alpine lakes are just waiting for you to cast a line. Hop on the Banff Gondola for a bird’s eye view of six mountain ranges, which may be more mountains in a moment than most see in a lifetime.
Crisp, clean mountain air. Spectacular, turquoise lakes. Breathtaking natural scenery. And of course, incredible rail journeys. Yup, Alberta, Canada is all that. It’s also one of the most beautiful places on earth and as vast as its landscapes, experiences and seasons. Known for the most comfortable overall weather in Canada, Alberta is the same size as Texas and twice the size of Japan. It’s home to 600 lakes, 245 rivers, lush boreal forests, fertile prairies, desert badlands and the stunning Canadian Rocky Mountains.
In the quaint European-style village of Banff, discover a cosmopolitan collection of galleries, boutiques and cafés. A town that makes you feel at home, and exhilarated with wonder at the same time, celebrates its heritage and never takes its backyard for granted. Vacationers will prize Banff’s authentic hospitality, mountain culture and relaxation. With more dining options than you’ll have time for, taste hot rock-style fondue, or authentic Canadian bison, maybe even two-step at Wild Bill’s Legendary Saloon. And if your full day of sightseeing earns some ‘me’ time, end the day luxuriating in the hot springs of a historic Banff spa.
North of Banff, rests the beautiful Lake Louise, a protected mountain hamlet. Set in a small glacial valley, this ‘Jewel of the Rockies’ is surrounded by ice-capped peaks and presided over by the world famous luxury resort, The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. Summer means canoeing on the same lake where ice skating rules in the winter. Along with horse drawn sleigh rides, each January sees an international ice-carving competition called Ice Magic. But warmer months bring their own brand of amazement. Leisurely walks around the lake, horseback riding, hiking mountain trails, rock climbing, relaxing paddle boating and unforgettable trips on the Lake Louise Gondola are all on the itinerary. Never seen a grizzly bear? You just might be treated to this rare and awesome spectacle. And if your trip brings you to Lake Louise in July, you’ll celebrate Canada Day’s polar bear dip and fireworks with the locals.
A quieter version of Banff, Jasper National Park is the largest in the Canadian Rockies boasting superb vistas, limestone caves, beautiful gorges and all the wildlife you can imagine. Get your thrill on with white water rafting, mountain biking or from a seat in a sightseeing helicopter. Explore the small mountain hamlet and soak in Jasper’s rustic, eclectic charm. From world-class festivals to world-renowned fishing, the Canadian Rockies have something for everyone. The best way to travel to—and through—the Canadian Rockies is by train. From the comfort of your train car, you’re taken into the heart of unspoiled natural beauty. Scenic vistas encompass verdant river valleys, dramatic rock sheds, lush forests and deep canyons with the peaks of the Canadian Rockies looming high above. From rugged snow covered peaks, emerald green lakes and glittering waterfalls to glimpses of moose, elk and bear, traveling by train to the Canadian Rockies surrounds you with some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet.
Vacations By Rail offers a comprehensive selection of rail vacations to the Canadian Rockies. Choose from all-daylight rail journeys into the heart of the Rockies or their classic overnight vacations that include rail and hotel accommodations in the most popular destinations.
Travel aboard the acclaimed Rocky Mountaineer for an all-daylight rail adventure along historically rich rail routes into the heart of the Canadian Rockies. Travelers can select from three classes of service including the elegant GoldLeaf Service aboard a bi-level coach featuring panoramic views on the upper level and an elegant private dining room serving gourmet meals on the lower level. One of Vacation By Rail’s most popular vacations aboard the Rocky Mountaineer is their Canadian Rockies Rail Journey. This 7-day rail journey from Vancouver to Banff includes 2 days onboard the Rocky Mountaineer, sightseeing in Vancouver, a ride on the Banff Gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain, an overnight stay in Lake Louise — and more.
Another classic rail journey across Canada and into the Rockies can be found aboard VIA Rail’s premier long-distance sleeper train, the Canadian. Choose Sleeper Plus Class with your choice of semi-private berths and private cabins. In contrast to all-daylight rail vacations where travelers are focused on a scenic daylight experience, an overnight rail journey encourages the nostalgia for long-distance train travel. Travelers can relax in their onboard accommodation, take in spectacular evolving scenery in the lounge cars or visit the dining car for savory meals. Vacations By Rail’s Trans Canada by Rail with Jasper trip includes overnight rail travel aboard VIA Rail's Canadian from Toronto to Jasper and from Jasper to Vancouver, hotel accommodations in Toronto, Jasper and Vancouver, hop on/hop off tours in Toronto and Vancouver, and sightseeing in Jasper National Park including Maligne Canyon and Medicine Lake.
For travelers interested in experiencing both types of train journeys, combination trips like the Canadian Rail Adventure offer a taste of each. Highlights include a 2-day rail journey into Alberta aboard the Rocky Mountaineer, a ride aboard the Banff Gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain for panoramic views of Banff National Park and the surrounding area, a Lake Louise and Yoho Valley tour, an overnight rail journey from Jasper to Toronto aboard VIA Rail’s Canadian, and sightseeing in Toronto and Niagara Falls.
Vacations By Rail offers a comprehensive selection of independent rail vacations, escorted rail tours, and luxury rail journeys around the world. They also provide virtually every European rail pass and train ticket to meet customers’ European travel needs. Vacations By Rail also offers some of the most exciting trips in North America including U.S. routes, cross-Canada rail vacations, rail-cruise combination packages, and Canadian Rockies-centric getaways.
Call Vacations By Rail at 877-929-7245 or visit www.vacationsbyrail.com to see all Canadian Rockies vacations!This article was previously published in AARP's "Great Deals to Great Destinations" Spring issue