This tour is not offered this year. A variety of other spectacular tours to see America by rail are currently available for travel.
Travel aboard two of North America’s legendary trains in one spectacular spring rail adventure. Beginning in Chicago, board Amtrak’s Empire Builder for the two night journey west to Seattle, where you will cross the border into Canada by coach. Your Canada touring includes sightseeing in Vancouver, travel board VIA Rail’s stainless steel Canadian between Kamloops and Edmonton and visits to the West Edmonton Mall and Canada’s fifth largest city, Calgary, before re-entering the U.S. in Shelby, Montana and returning to Chicago by way of the Empire Builder train.
Day 1 - Empire Builder West from Chicago
Arrive in Chicago and meet your tour manager and fellow travelers at Chicago’s Union Station where you will board Amtrak’s iconic Empire Builder for its afternoon departure west to Everett, Washington. Settle into your private sleeping accommodations aboard the train and prepare for your journey across seven northern states. Overnight train. (D)
Day 2 – En Route
This morning we cross the remote flatlands of western North Dakota and eastern Montana. Take time to enjoy some of the train’s unique features including the glass-walled Sightseer Lounge offering stunning views of the passing scenery. Sleeping car passengers can enjoy a wine and cheese reception in the dining car this afternoon. Dinner tonight will be served as the Empire Builder rolls through Glacier National Park. Overnight train. (B, L, D)
Day 3 – Vancouver
Early this morning the Empire Builder will enter the 7.8 mile-long Cascade Tunnel. For the next several hours we’ll wind through the Cascade Mountains. Finally, we’ll roll south through the lush Puget Sound area and ease into the Everett train station. Our motorcoach will be waiting, ready to whisk us north across the Canadian border to British Columbia. We’ll arrive in Vancouver around noon, just in time for lunch on your own at the delightful Granville Island Market. This afternoon we’ll embark on a 3 ½-hour sightseeing tour of the city including Gastown, Chinatown, Stanley Park, English Bay, the waterfront and more. After our tour, we’ll check into our hotel, conveniently located to many of the city’s main attractions. Dinner tonight will be at the Boathouse Restaurant. Overnight Blue Horizon Hotel. (B, D)
Day 4 – Vancouver / Kamloops
This morning we’ll visit the world-famous Vancouver Aquarium, featuring more than 800 marine animals representing diverse habitats from Arctic Canada to the Amazon rainforest. The ocean floor and its inhabitants can be viewed through the simulated portholes of a submarine in the North Pacific Gallery. Following lunch on your own, we’ll travel 219 miles northeast by motorcoach to Kamloops, a city of 77,000 located where the north and south branches of the Thompson River converge. Overnight Hampton Inn.
Day 5 – VIA Rail’s Canadian to Edmonton
This morning we’ll transfer to the VIA Rail station where we’ll board the 6:35 am Canadian for the 507-mile journey through the Canadian Rockies to Edmonton. Throughout the day, take advantage of access to the train’s Skyline Lounge Car featuring the all-glass Vistadome for special viewing. The most stunning scenery of the day will be experienced as we follow the Miette River toward Jasper. First Mt. Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, comes into view and then we roll through Yellowhead Pass. There will be a 50 minute stop in Jasper, which will give you time to disembark the train and stretch your legs in one of Canada’s most-photographed destinations. A boxed dinner will be served as we continue our travels to Edmonton, arriving at our destination at 11:00 pm. Overnight Fantasyland Hotel. (CB, L, D)
Day 6 – Edmonton
The West Edmonton Mall is one of those “must see to believe” attractions. The entire day is free to explore the Mall, featuring more than 800 stores including 8 major department stores, the Galaxyland Amusement Park with 25 rides and attractions including a 14-story triple-loop roller coaster and an exact replica of Columbus’ ship, the Santa Maria. The Palace Casino, Bourbon Street and Europa Boulevard theme streets are a few more of this vast complex’s attractions. These are just some of the things to see and do over the next two days. The Fantasyland Hotel is part of this complex, so you will be conveniently located to all of these attractions. A gala evening at the Mall, complete with the Jubilations Live Dinner Theatre, will complete your day. Overnight Fantasyland Hotel. (D)
Day 7 – Edmonton Sightseeing
The morning is yours to take advantage of the Mall’s many attractions. This afternoon we’ll embark on a sightseeing tour of Edmonton including the 3,000-acre Capitol City Recreation Park, Commonwealth Stadium and other historical and educational attractions. We’ll stop at the Muttart Conservatory and Botanical Gardens where you’ll find four pyramid-shaped greenhouses: the Tropical House, the Arid House, the Temperate House and the Show House. We’ll return to the Mall this evening, where you can enjoy a multitude of activities including casino games, bowling, movies and shopping as well as several dining options. Overnight Fantasyland Hotel. (L)
Day 8 – Calgary
This morning we’ll travel by coach to Canada’s fifth largest city, Calgary, for a day of sightseeing. Enjoy lunch atop the 626-foot high Calgary Tower with spectacular views of the city and the nearby Rocky Mountains followed by a visit to the fascinating Glenbow Museum showcasing colorful displays that trace the history of Western Canada. Our last night in Canada will be in Lethbridge. Overnight Comfort Inn Lethbridge.
Day 9 – Empire Builder to Chicago
This morning we’ll travel south by coach and cross the border into Shelby, Montana, where we will board the Empire Builder eastbound to Chicago. Relax onboard the train and enjoy the passing scenery as you travel through the Northern Prairies. Overnight train. (CB, L, D)
Day 10 – Arrival in Chicago
The Empire Builder will pass through Minneapolis-St. Paul early this morning and then head south along the west bank of the Mississippi River, arriving in Chicago’s Union Station late this afternoon. You may wish to extend your vacation with a stay in Chicago or transfer to a connecting train or airport for your return trip home. (B, L)