The Canadian Rockies, famed for jagged, ice-capped mountain peaks, alpine lakes, diverse wildlife and outdoor adventures, are best experienced by train.
Canadian Rockies train trips present travelers with unique views inaccessible by other modes of transportation while also offering ample opportunities to explore scenic destinations in Alberta on stops throughout the journey. If you're planning a Canadian Rockies train trip, these are five places to visit for impressive scenery and thrilling experiences:
1. Banff National Park
Banff National Park is an essential stop on any Canadian Rockies train tour. It's preserved 2,564 square miles of impressive mountainous terrain, crystalline glacier-fed lakes and abundant wildlife, including grizzly bears, black bears, moose, elk and more since it was first established in 1885 as Canada's first national park.
There's no shortage of things to experience on Alberta vacations that visit Banff National Park. Take the gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain for panoramic views of Bow Valley and the resort town of Banff. Marvel at the aquamarine waters of Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. Embark on a guided sightseeing tour visiting the Cave and Basin Historic Site, where the first hot springs were discovered. Banff National Park is also a great destination for outdoor activities in all seasons, canoeing, kayaking, hiking in the spring, summer and fall and skiing, snowboarding, skating, fat biking and snowshoeing in winter.
2. Icefields Parkway and the Columbia Icefield
The Icefields Parkway is arguably the most scenic drive in Canada. It's an epic stretch of road from Lake Louise to Jasper dotted with more than 100 ancient glaciers, cascading waterfalls, dramatic rock spires and emerald lakes set in sweeping valleys of thick forests.
An adventure on the Icefields Parkway is an incredible experience that enhances any Canadian Rockies train trip. Several of our Canadian Rockies train trips feature drives and excursions on the Icefields Parkway, including a Columbia Icefield excursion where travelers venture by Ice Explorer onto the massive Athabasca Glacier and a visit to the Glacier Skywalk, a short walkway that leads visitors to a glass-floor observation platform overlooking a 900-foot drop.
3. Jasper National Park
Jasper National Park is the largest national park in Canada and another important destination in the Canadian Rockies. It's known for scenic vistas of tumbling waterfalls, mighty glaciers, pristine lakes, dense forests and rushing rivers as well as its diverse wildlife and year-round outdoor activities that speak to adventurers everywhere.
Sightseeing tours in Jasper National Park feature highlights like Maligne Canyon, with its narrow gorge and limestone walls, Maligne Lake, the largest natural lake in the Canadian Rockies, the iconic Spirit Island, and the stunning Athabasca Falls.
Edmonton, also known as the "Gateway to the North," is the capital of Alberta and a frequent stop on Canadian Rockies train trips. It's a destination that'll please urban adventurers and nature enthusiasts alike.
Take advantage of no provincial sales tax at Edmonton Mall, collect souvenirs from the trip at charming shops on Whyte Avenue and dine in fantastic restaurants. Embark on a Segway tour to see the city, visit the Royal Alberta Museum, Muttart Conservatory, Fort Edmonton Park or enjoy outdoor activities like hiking or snowshoeing along the river valley.
Calgary lies in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies and is an excellent place to visit on a Canadian Rockies train trip. There are numerous museums, galleries and shops to explore, architecture to admire, culinary delights to indulge in and parks to stroll through. The city is a great destination on its own, but it's also known for the Calgary Stampede, an annual rodeo and festival with roots traced to 1886 when the Calgary and District Agricultural Society held its first fair.
Trips to Calgary for the Calgary Stampede feature admission to the main event, the Chuckwagon Races, where 36 wagon drivers compete for over $1 million in prize money and the Grandstand Show, which begins when the winner crosses the line and features acrobats, musicians, dancers and other talented performers. There's also time to explore the Stampede Grounds on your own. Take in the sights and sounds of the rodeo, shop at the many vendors, sample the food and experience amazing events, such as bareback bronc riding, bull riding, barrel racing, saddle bronc, steer wrestling and tie-down roping.