What we love about this trip
• Waterton, Banff and Jasper National Park
• Spectacular lodges and wonderful nature excursions
• Rocky Mountaineer rail trip
• Coastal mountains of Whistler
• Your choice of Canadian West Coast nature lodge
• Chances to see grizzlies and black bears, whales, eagles, and seals
(Please note, like most of our Canada rail packages & tours, this railway vacation can be customized to your needs - just ask one of our local experts when you call.)
Day 1 - Your Canada rail adventure beings
Today arrive in Calgary, the gateway to Alberta’s cowboy country and the Rocky Mountains. Spend the night resting after your long flight in Calgary.
Day 2 - Calgary to Waterton on the Cowboy Trail
Pick up your car, have your Canada travel guide at the ready, and start the drive south to Waterton. This country is some of the most scenic and embodies the essence of Alberta. Head for the Cowboy trail along ‘The Gap’ - a winding road passing century old homesteads and ranch-hand bunk houses. Cattle graze and the sun beams through the clouds on the rolling foothills. Cattle roam free in these parts, so you will almost certainly see a cowboy at work, with his trusty steed. Soon the enormous peaks of Waterton surround you. Go out an celebrate in the little town - you have just discovered one of Canada’s true gems, often left off the main tourist maps.
Day 3 and 4 - Explore Waterton
Waterton has so many diverse vistas and ecosystems - two days will hardly feel enough. This is grizzly bear country, so make sure to keep an eye out for a photo opportunity. The meadows here are ablaze with wildflowers in the summer, and the geology changes drastically from one turn to the next. Soak it all in, and see how different it looks to the rest of your Rockies adventure. A cruise on Waterton Lake is included.
Day 5 - Waterton to the Kootenays via the Crowsnest Pass
Today is full of intrigue and scenery, as you travel through the historic Crowsnest Pass. Crystal rivers, peaks and charming towns will all be part of your backdrop. This is old mining country, as you’ll see from the abandoned relics of this era. Drive through the Frank Slide - a heartbreaking sight that defies the imagination. Boulders which crashed down a mountainside a hundred years before are massive beside your car. Finally, arrive in Fernie and check into your wilderness lodge.
Day 6 - Explore the Kootenays
Even though you’ve only traveled a few hours, the scenery here looks so different. Deep blue lakes wind their way through mountain valleys, as far as the eye can see. Depending on how far you drive on your adventures, you may even be able to take a ferry from one shore of Kootenay Lake to the next. Visit the quirky town of Nelson - full of history and colorful characters. Overnight at your lodge.
Day 7 - Fernie to Lake Louise
A drive through famous Rogers Pass brings you to beautiful Lake Louise, flanked by glacier-clad mountains and shining emerald-green in the sunlight. Overnight in Lake Louise.
Day 8 - Discover Lake Louise
A ride up Lake Louise’s gondola will take your breath away, as you see peaks stretching endlessly into the distance. Make sure to rent a canoe and go for a paddle on the lake, to leave the tourists behind and go where feet can’t. Overnight in Lake Louise.
Day 9 - Lake Louise to Banff
Drive along the Bow Valley Parkway today, making sure to stop along the way at Johnstone Canyon for a walk. Arrive in the lively mountain village of Banff, and mingle with visitors from all over the world.
Day 10 - Day in Banff
Discover one of the endless walking opportunities in Banff, visit some of the fascinating historic sites, or simply browse the shops for souvenirs. Head up the Banff Gondola for lunch - you can either ride back down or take the more exciting option of hiking the switch-back trail to the bottom. Overnight in Banff.
Day 11 - Banff to Jasper along the Icefields Parkway
The Icefields Parkway is a scenic drive unlike any other, tracing 140 miles from Lake Louise through the heart of the Canadian Rockies to Jasper. The route journeys through a vast wilderness of magnificent peaks that top 11,000 feet and glaciers 1000 feet thick. Take a break at the Columbia Icefield, Athabasca Glacier and Icefield Centre to learn more about glaciation, climate change and to head out onto the ice floe. Arrive in Jasper and put your feet up after a long day of discovery.
Day 12 - Jasper National Park and Maligne Lake
Take today to explore Jasper National Park with a guide and small group. Embark on a cruise of spectacular Maligne Lake, and mysterious Spirit Island - Jasper’s hidden gem.
Day 13 - Canadian Rockies Train from Jasper to Quesnel
The Rocky Mountaineer travels during daylight hours only. So as you trade the road for the rails you know you will see all the scenery of the Cariboo from Jasper to Quesnel. Your train first navigates the Rocky Mountain Trench, the sheer Rocky and Cariboo mountains line the tracks on either side before opening into the pasture land, rolling hills and vast forests that British Columbia is famous for. Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies passes by at an impressive elevation of almost 13,000 ft. After arriving at the Rocky Mountaineer station a coach whisks you to a local hotel in the quaint town of Quesnel.
Day 14 - Canadian Rockies Train from Quesnel to Whistler
After boarding, the Rocky Mountaineer sets off on its journey to Whistler. The nearly desert-like Cariboo Plateau gives way to the forest and winding lake shores of Anderson and Seton Lakes. The award-winning service, food and commentary of the Rocky Mountaineer continues. As the train pulls into Whistler , the pleasure of the last two days aboard the train ends and the excitement of Canada’s most famous ‘four season’ resort begins. Will it be hiking, biking or kayaking that proves your favorite way to explore?
Day 15 - Whistler Canoeing
A gentle guided canoe paddle takes you down a spectacular valley of the ancient rainforest of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. This is a truly unique outdoor adventure, rain or shine, with no better setting than Whistler.
Day 16 - Continue to your Coastal Lodge
Hop into your car to continue the journey down to the Pacific Ocean. This stretch of road known as the Sea to Sky Highway has won awards as one of the worlds best road trips. On the ferry cruise across the Georgia Strait to Vancouver Island keep an eye out for whales and seals. Depending on which coastal lodge you choose to stay at, you’ll either head for Campbell River or Gibsons by ferry. Check into the to the West Coast Wilderness Lodge, or to Sonora Resort, with views of the spectacular gulf islands and coast range mountains. Check in at your resort, and enjoy delicious regional cuisine.
Day 17 and 18 - Enjoy your resort!
Explore the rugged wilderness of Canada’s beautiful west coast today. Nestled in the BC Coastal mountains, the rainforest trails, secluded fjords, and diverse marine life are yours to discover. Both lodges offer an array of outdoor activities, or you can simply choose to relax and admire the views.
Day 19 - Lodge to Vancouver
Another scenic ferry and car ride takes you to Vancouver, where you will spend the next two nights.
Note - please ask your Fresh Tracks Canada expert if you’d like to add some time in Victoria, on Vancouver Island
Day 20 - Enjoy Vancouver
This is the last day of your adventure, so you choose the pace in Vancouver. Stroll the sea wall, sip coffee looking out of English Bay, visit a secret garden in Chinatown, or shop for some more souvenirs. Overnight in Vancouver.
Day 21 - Much too soon - Depart Vancouver
Much too soon you leave the colorful sights and fresh air of Canada behind as your Canadian train trip comes to an end. Yet you leave with wonderful memories to revisit and cherish for a lifetime.
Interested? Contact us to start customizing this trip today!
Here are just a few of the things to look forward to on this trip...
Waterton Lake cruise
Glacier ride on the Ice Explorer
Cruise on Maligne Lake to Spirit Island
Whistler Peak to Peak gondola pass
Sonora Resort zodiac adventure
Customize this trip a little... or a lot
Think of this itinerary as just a starting point. Work with us to personalize this trip by adding some amazing side trips & activities, like...
Wildlife and bear watching tours
Sightseeing flights or helicopter tours
Exploring local native culture tours
Whitewater rafting tours