Take your time getting to know Western Canada on this rail and drive vacation that blends city adventures with time in wine country and the awe-inspiring Canadian Rockies.
About the Tour
From Vancouver to the Canadian Rockies, Western Canada is a treasure trove of inspiring scenes and wonderful opportunities. Discover them for yourself on this 10-day independent itinerary that begins with a scenic road trip from Vancouver to Banff - with a 2-day stop in the Okanagan Valley - and wraps up with a ride aboard VIA Rail’s Canadian. Your rental car comes equipped with unlimited miles, so exploration is encouraged as you travel by car between destinations. The first leg of your road trip takes you to Kelowna in the picturesque Okanagan Valley. Enjoy a day of wine tastings at the local vineyards before continuing by car into the Canadian Rockies to Banff. Explore independently in your free time and with the help of a guide on a tour through the park. When it comes time to travel to Jasper, the route takes you along the Icefields Parkway and includes an excursion to the Columbia Icefields and the mighty Athabasca Glacier. A guided tour introduces you to the best of Jasper before you return to Vancouver aboard Canada’s premier overnight train, VIA Rail’s Canadian. Savor the wines of the valley, marvel at the peaks of the Rockies and make memories to last a lifetime as you explore Canada’s scenic West.
- Rail travel on VIA Rail Canada (1 night on train)
- Hotel accommodations for 8 nights
- 4 meals
- Okanagan Valley wine tour, including tastings
- Banff National Park sightseeing tour
- Columbia Icefield excursion, including a ride on an Ice Explorer
- Glacier Skywalk
- Jasper National Park guided excursion
- 7-day mid-size car rental with unlimited miles
Day 1 - Arrive in Vancouver
Arrive in Vancouver today, and make your way independently to your downtown hotel. The remainder of the day is yours to explore this lovely coastal destination. Maybe shop the market at Granville Island or visit Stanley Park to walk along the scenic seawall. Gastown is an incredibly trendy neighborhood where you can enjoy art, music and cuisine. Of course, you could always spend the evening relaxing at your hotel in preparation for the great adventures to come. Overnight Vancouver.
Day 2 - Drive to Kelowna
Uncover the beauty of Western Canada today as you pickup your rental car and embark on a road trip from Vancouver to Kelowna. The journey takes you through the suburbs of Vancouver and small towns before driving along the Fraser River, through the mountains and amid lush forests. Your rental car has unlimited miles, so feel free to follow the path less traveled or to explore points of interest along the way. As you depart Vancouver, there are many charming farms around Abbotsford - some of which offer pick-your-own fruits. Consider a stop at Bridal Falls, which cascades down nearly 200 feet of rock, or to visit the town of Hope that is brimming with mountain and railroad history. In Hope, you might visit Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park to walk through the incredibly scenic canyon or the old Othello Tunnels. You could drive through the Sunshine Valley, where incredible scenery abounds. Continue through the region’s protected provincial parks and stop off for hiking or sightseeing.
As you arrive at your hotel later this afternoon, check-in and take the rest of the day to enjoy your new surroundings. While Kelowna is known for its fruitful wineries, there are also beautiful beaches to walk along and parks that highlight the landscape’s diversity. Overnight Kelowna.
Day 3 - Okanagan Valley Wine Tour
Savor the fruits of the Okanagan Valley on a small group winery tour. The Okanagan Valley is tucked between the Cascade and Columbia Mountains and is sheltered from the extreme winter weather in Canada. As such, the conditions are ideal for growing over 60 grape varietals and producing some of Canada’s finest wines. Departing from your hotel by motorcoach, soak in picturesque scenes of Lake Country as you traverse between five local wineries. Your first stop is at Intrigue Wines, then the tour continues to Gray Monk Winery, where an exclusive tour of the cellars and a delicious lunch in the onsite restaurant* greets you. Enjoy tastings at three more local vineyards before returning to your hotel later this afternoon.
Following the tour, the remainder of the day is at leisure to enjoy the offerings of Kelowna. Numerous art galleries showcase local artists and wonderful boutique shops dot the downtown. You may wish to continue with the theme of the day at one of the cideries, breweries or distilleries in the region or to get a taste of the valley at one of the eateries. Overnight Kelowna. (L)
*Lunch location subject to change based on availability.
Day 4 - Drive to Banff
Your unforgettable road trip through western Canada continues this morning as you drive from Kelowna to Banff. The vistas from Highway 1 are spectacular, and there are so many places to enjoy the splendor of nature and the local culture as you travel. Your route begins in Lake Country, passing Okanagan, Wood and Kalamalka Lakes. As you proceed north, perhaps veer off course and visit the lakeside vacation town of Salmon Arm or continue to Margaret Falls in Herald Provincial Park. The walk to get to the falls is ideal for adventurers of all activity levels and takes only a few minutes. A stop in Craigellachie allows you to see the last spike of the Canadian Pacific Railway and driving through the Mount Griffin Ecological Reserve offers views of lush hemlock and spruce groves. Continue past mountain peaks and through Mount Revelstoke National Park before arriving in Glacier National Park of Canada and Yoho National Park. All these protected lands are stunning examples of Canada’s natural beauty and are perfect places to stop off and stretch your legs. Fantastic hiking and gorgeous sightseeing opportunities beckon in both parks. As you proceed further into the Canadian Rockies, get an introduction to the immense beauty of Banff National Park at Lake Louise, one of the most legendary locales in the Rockies. Proceed to Banff and check-in at your hotel, surrounded by the beauty of the mountains. The remainder of the day is yours to enjoy the scenery and amenities of the town and park as a whole. Overnight Banff.
Day 5 - Banff Sightseeing
The best of Banff National Park lies ahead on this morning’s guided tour. Learn the deep history of Canada’s oldest national park as the coach meanders between historic sites and scenic points of interest. Photo opportunities abound during the 3-hour excursion - sometimes from picturesque outlooks and other times after taking brief walks. The beauty here is endless.
Following the tour, the rest of the day is at leisure in Banff. Whether you crave town amenities or great adventures, there is plenty to capture your attention in Banff. Perhaps ride up the side of Sulphur Mountain on the Banff Gondola or check out the boutique shops and restaurants that line Banff’s downtown. Venturing into the wild surroundings of the national park, you have access to nearly 1,000 miles of hiking trails and pristine lakes on which you can canoe, kayak or even fish. Maybe explore the park’s caves or go rock climbing. There are mountain biking trails, as well as trails for horseback riders. You could relax in Banff Hot Springs or get in touch with the local art scene at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Overnight Banff.
Day 6 - To Jasper
Leaving Banff, set out in your car along Icefields Parkway toward your next destination, Jasper National Park. The drive takes approximately 3 hours to complete without stopping; however, your journey includes a special treat: a stop at the Columbia Icefield. Your time here consists of a ride onto Athabasca Glacier aboard an all-terrain Ice Explorer vehicle and a chance to explore the Glacier Discovery Center, which includes a glass walkway overlooking the Sunwapta Valley and a glass-floored observation platform that extends out over the valley over 900 feet below. The combination of the two experiences is truly memorable.
After check-in at your Jasper hotel, the rest of the day is yours to get acquainted with the park. You could visit one of the waterfalls in the region, such as Athabasca Falls or Sunwapta Falls, or take a dip in Miette Hot Springs. The spectacular sights of Jasper National Park are on full display when you ride aboard the Jasper SkyTram. If you want to explore on foot, you can do that on one of the many well-maintained hiking trails in the park. Overnight Jasper.
Day 7 - Jasper Sightseeing
Return your rental car this morning, then, enjoy an exclusive look at Jasper’s most notable sights on a guided sightseeing tour. The outing begins in town, where you and an intimate group of fellow tourists are escorted through some of downtown’s points of interest. Continue across the Athabasca River to Maligne Lake to see its stunning blue waters and immaculate surroundings, including three glaciers and panoramic mountains. Maligne Lake is also home to Spirit Island - one of the most photographed spots in all of Canada. After taking in the sights from the shore, board a boat for an interpretive cruise out to the island. This 6-hour tour also includes time in Maligne Canyon and a visit to “disappearing” Medicine Lake.
The remainder of the day is at leisure to continue your explorations or kick back and relax while surrounded by unmatched scenery. Overnight Jasper.
Day 8 - VIA Rail to Vancouver
Make your way to the rail station this morning and board VIA Rail’s Canadian bound for Vancouver. As you travel through the Canadian Rockies and toward the coastline, take in the passing views from the glass-enclosed Panorama car, and savor delicious meals in the train’s dining car during your journey. As the sun sets, relax in your onboard accommodations. Overnight train. (BR, D)
Day 9 - Vancouver at Leisure
As you wake, the Canadian is continuing its journey through the mountains and toward the coastline. On arrival in Vancouver, transfer to your hotel for check-in, then take the rest of the day at leisure. If you crave adventure, climb through the treetops at the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. You may wish to wander through VanDusen Botanical Garden or to visit the Vancouver Aquarium. The culinary scene in Vancouver is booming, and there are many great places to sample freshly caught seafood and local ingredients. Overnight Vancouver. (B)
Day 10 - Tour Conclusion
Your rail and drive expedition through western Canada concludes this morning.
Moderate accommodations include Sandman Vancouver City Centre, Vancouver; Prestige Beach House, Kelowna; Banff Royal Canadian Lodge, Banff; and Whistler's Inn, Jasper. Accommodations onboard VIA Rail's Canadian are in a semi-private berth.
Superior accommodations include Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre, Vancouver; The Cove Lakeside Resort, Kelowna; Rimrock Resort, Banff; and Sawridge Hotel and Conference Centre, Jasper. Accommodations onboard VIA Rail's Canadian are in a private cabin.
Deluxe accommodations include Fairmont Hotel, Vancouver; The Cove Lakeside Resort, Kelowna; Fairmont Banff Springs, Banff; and Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, Jasper. Accommodations onboard VIA Rail's Canadian are in a private cabin.
It is your responsibility to check and fulfill the passport, visa, health and immigration requirements applicable to your itinerary. We do not accept any responsibility if you cannot travel, or incur any other loss because you have not complied with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities. You agree to reimburse us in relation to any fines or other losses which we incur as a result of your failure to comply with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities.
Tour Dates & Prices
Register for Free Notification of 2022 Dates & Prices
Sign up to receive insider access and special deals on 2022 departures of Rockies Peaks & the Okanagan Valley.