A couple of weeks ago, I detailed my trip to Western Canada’s Banff and Jasper region.  Today, we will conclude the journey to Vancouver via The Rocky Mountaineer.  All aboard, everyone!

The Rocky Mountaineer describes itself as an unforgettable experience that takes you via a luxury service train through some of the most stunning landscapes in Western Canada. And it doesn’t no disappoint.  The train winds its way through the Canadian Rockies, passing through Banff and Jasper National Park and several other incredible locations. Throughout this trip, you’ll have the opportunity to see towering mountains, crystal-clear lakes, and dense forests as you relax in the comfort of your train car. Along the way, you’ll be treated to gourmet meals, and plenty of opportunities to learn about the history and culture of the area. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a first-time visitor, the Rocky Mountaineer is a trip you might want to put on your bucket list.  But there are a few things to consider.

Our journey had us catching the train in Jasper and disembarking in Vancouver.  The boarding process was flawless, and the train cars are very spacious and comfortable.  The seats are very luxurious – they’re heated and allow for rest and reclining without infringing on the passengers behind you.

We opted for the Gold Leaf service.  That’s important as I will note later on in my review.  It’s also an early morning boarding call on both days, so be mindful if you need more time to rest or stretch your legs in the evenings.

On our day of departure, we were boarded and settled, and breakfast service began.  Crisp white linens along with delightful breakfast options accompanied the full luxury dining experience.   Along our rail ride, we were entertained by the many stories of ancestorial stories and Canadian landmarks.   The weather was again perfect, so our party was able to sneak outside the train car for a peak of the stunning surroundings while gathering a quick breath of fresh (and cool) air.  For those who love an open bar, you will be pleased to know the bar opened at 10 am and stayed open for the entire rail ride.

Our travels the first night took us to Kamloops, a tiny town located in the southern area of Western Canada followed by a long travel day into beautiful Vancouver.  I was surprised at the comradery within our travel car.  The days are long and often times you “make friends” at mealtimes with the seating arrangements.

Two important things to know if you decide the Rocky Mountaineer is for you.

One, I would certainly pay for the Gold Leaf service. Gold Leaf Service simply allows you to dine in the downstairs dining car instead of your seat.  It’s a nice change of pace and scenery. The dining options are also delicious. While there are two sittings for Gold Leaf passengers, you do not feel rushed to hurry through your meal.  There is also time to walk out and to catch the fresh air while you wait on your meal.  Other lower dining service options (Silver) include staff serving your meal in your chair. Believe me, you will want to break up the trip, so do allow for the higher service.

Secondly, the train departs on time.  The train arrives…well…again…when it arrives.  With other trains on the railway at the same time, it is customary for the passenger train to stop and wait for the larger car trains to pass.  Be mindful that you may have hold-ups on the line and each day took us around 11 – 12 hours.  As noted earlier, while the seats are indeed luxuriously comfortable, to be honest, that’s a long time to sit. Also, don’t expect to see much wildlife as you are traveling very quickly and unlike the bus tours, the train doesn’t slow for photos.   Again, bar service, snacks and beverages are in constant motion in the hands of the attendants, so you can just sit back, relax and enjoy the ride seeing parts of Canada you wouldn’t be able to see if you were traveling on your own.

If you make the decision to embark on this journey, my only advice would be to strongly encourage you to take the opposite route we did.  While the train allows you to beautifully explore the areas from Jasper to Vancouver, the stunning views and glorious experiences of Banff and Jasper through Brewster Sightseeing tours for my party far outweighed the train ride long days.  The Rocky Mountaineer offers several travel routes, but do try to spend your final days visiting this beautiful country outdoors and enjoying the breathtaking scenery that is truly like no other.