The Canadian Rockies is home to renowned national parks, charming towns and a multitude of activities to enhance any rail vacation to the region. Hike wooded trails and scout wildlife. Fish one of Alberta’s lakes (there are hundreds in the province) or glide along placid waters on a canoe trip. Discover hidden waterfalls, deep canyons and massive glaciers. Embark on heritage tours of Alberta’s iconic railway hotels or indulge in first-rate spa treatments.
Getting to the Canadian Rockies is half the fun and a rail vacation is just the ticket with exciting train journeys. But once in the heart of captivating scenery, set about exploring the region to get the true essence of the destination. Consider these quintessential Canadian Rockies destinations and activities:
1. Banff Gondola up to Sulphur Mountain
Hop aboard the Banff Gondola for the 8-minute ride to the top of Sulphur Mountain. As you climb to the perennially snowy peak you’ll be treated to some spectacular views of Banff laid out before you rivaled only by 360-degree views of the town from the mountain lookout.
2. Cave & Basin National Historic Site
Explore the location where a few curious railway workers discovered thermal springs, which led to the eventual establishment of Canada’s first national park, Banff. Enter the underground caverns and see for yourself where history was made.
3. Moraine Lake and the Valley of the Ten Peaks
Admire Moraine Lake’s placid glacial waters, a distinctive shade of blue that perfectly reflects the ten mountain peaks above it. Capturing this image is a must!
4. Lake Louise
One of the most-visited attractions in the region, Lake Louise is a small hamlet centered around the lake of the same name. Named after Queen Victoria’s daughter, the lake is famous for its clear turquoise waters and rests in the shadow of the massive Victoria Glacier.
5. Icefields Parkway and the Columbia Icefields
Drive along the Icefields Parkway, voted one of the most scenic drives in North America. This two-lane highway winds through the rugged wilderness of the Canadian Rockies from Lake Louise in Banff National Park to Jasper National Park. Jaw-dropping scenery is punctuated by more than 100 glaciers, waterfalls and lakes. Get an up-close experience with the most famous of the Icefield’s glaciers as you board an Ice Explorer for the journey out to Athabasca Glacier, where you can walk about and even drink from the glacial spring.
6. Glacier Skywalk
See the Columbia Icefields and its surrounding expanse of nature from a new angle. Step out onto an exciting cliff-edge walkway and glass-floored observation platform for breathtaking views of glacier-formed valleys and rushing waterfalls.
7. Spirit Island
Get a new perspective of the Canadian Rockies from this small island located in Maligne Lake. It can be reached by a short scenic boat ride, which offers even more great views of Canada’s largest national park, Jasper.
8. Jasper SkyTram
Take a picturesque trip to The Whistlers Mountain for unmatched views of Jasper National Park. A highlight of the 7-minute “flight” is commentary from a SkyTram “flight attendant” who shares points of interest en route. Once at the mountaintop, enjoy views of the surrounding scenery including six mountain ranges and the town of Jasper sprawling before you.