Rocky Mountaineer is a luxury train company. It offers railway tours showcasing the beauty of Western Canada between Vancouver and Alberta.
(Note: In Vancouver from November 2023 until the early spring of 2024 is Space Explorers: The Infinite. It’s a space-themed virtual reality attraction that sets up at the Rocky Mountaineer’s train station. At the attraction you can explore the International Space Station in 360 degrees!)
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Rocky Mountaineer Train Company
Founded in 1990, Rocky Mountaineer is a Vancouver-based tour company that’s popular with tourists. Trips usually run from mid-April through to mid-October and feature daytime-only journeys (with hotels provided for overnight stops). Trains travel at about 50 kilometres per hour, but slow down for picturesque locations.
The company operates four rail routes with stops throughout BC and Alberta. The newest route, Rockies to the Red Rocks, began in 2021. It runs through Denver, Glenwood Springs and Moab in the United States.
Rocky Mountaineer Rail Routes
Guests can choose between four different train routes. They are First Passage to the West, Journey Through the Clouds, Rainforest to Gold Rush, and Rockies to the Red Rocks. Two or more train routes can also be combined to create a Circle Journey where guests end in the same city that they start in.
All rail routes can be done in both directions, so folks can either start or end in Vancouver. Or, if choosing to do a Circle Journey, guests start and end in the same terminal city of their choice.
(Note: Details of the different routes and services are subject to change).
First Passage to the West
This original rail route includes stops in Vancouver, Kamloops and Banff. The basic route is just two days but can be combined with other tours and routes to include up to 12 nights of travel. Popular add-ons to this route include bus and car tours in the Rockies and additional nights in Vancouver.
Journey Through the Clouds
Similar to First Passage to the West, this route travels through the Rockies and includes stops in Vancouver, Kamloops and Jasper. Guests can also choose to add on bus and car tours with additional nights in the Rockies and cities such as Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper.
Rainforest to Gold Rush
The longest of the rail routes, the Rainforest to Gold Rush trip begins in Vancouver and stops in Whistler, Quesnel and Jasper. Add-on packages to this route often include sightseeing tours in the Rockies and additional nights in Vancouver, Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper and Calgary.
Rockies to the Red Rocks
This is the newest route and the first to travel through the United States. There is plenty of natural scenery to take in with canyons, deserts, mountains and more. It’s possible to customize your trip so it ends in either Las Vegas or Salt Lake City rather than Denver.
What the Train Trips Include
Whether folks choose the Silverleaf or Goldleaf level, all travelers on the Rocky Mountaineer have access to unique experiences on board. Train cars come equipped with large glass windows to experience the beauty of Canadian (or American) nature, and the locomotive slows down for particularly picturesque locations. Folk get both breakfast and lunch on board the train, with complimentary snacks and both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
The train doesn’t have sleeper cars so guests on the train stay at hotel rooms in each of the overnight city stops.
When traveling on the Rocky Mountaineer passengers can choose between Silverleaf or Goldleaf levels of service. Each has its own specific perks and benefits.
Silverleaf is the most basic level of service, although it is still fairly luxurious. Train cars at this level include large, glass-dome windows, reclining assigned seats, two hosts and one culinary team member. Guests eat breakfast and lunch in their seats. There is also a small outdoor viewing platform.
Goldleaf guests receive the same benefits as Silverleaf passengers, plus some additional items. Coaches in the Goldleaf section are bi-level, with seating on top and dining on the bottom. Three to four hosts plus a full culinary team attend to the guests. In addition, the outdoor viewing platform is larger and reserved exclusively for Gold-level passengers.
Rocky Mountaineer offers different hotel options for Silver and Gold-level packages. So, if there is a specific hotel you would like to stay in, check before you book to make sure it’s included. Overnight stops on the Rocky Mountaineer train routes include places like Lake Louise, Jasper, Banff and Vancouver.
Examples of Silver level hotels include the Sheraton Wall Centre in Vancouver, the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and the Cariboo Lodge and Spa in Banff. Some hotel options included in the Gold level are the Sutton Place Hotel in Vancouver, the Fairmont Lake Louise and the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. Hotels vary though and the same ones are not always offered.
Rocky Mountaineer Station
The address for the train station for the Rocky Mountaineer in Vancouver is 1755 Cottrell Street which is just off Terminal Avenue not far from Central Station. It’s about two kilometres east of Science World.
In addition to being used as a terminal for travel on the Rocky Mountaineer train, the station can also be rented for private events. It’s a big building with large windows. Whisky Global, for example, is a whisky-tasting event that usually takes place at the station in late winter each year.
Rocky Mountaineer’s Rocky 2020-21 Seasons
What happened to Rocky Mountaineer in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic?
In July of that year the Rocky Mountaineer Company officially cancelled the remainder of its 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic. That meant no further trips that summer and early fall. Passengers who had already booked travel were offered a credit worth 110% of whatever they had paid. The credit had to be used by the end of the season in 2022.
Originally hoping to reopen in the spring of 2021, the Rocky Mountaineer had to push that back until the beginning of July. On July 6th, a Rocky Mountaineer train left BC for the first time in close to two years, and the following day a train left from Banff towards BC.
For more details about the train company, visit the Rocky Mountaineer website.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Downtown Vancouver Hotels
- BC Ferries
- Vancouver Sightseeing Tours
- Harbour Air Seaplanes
- Vancouver Day Trips
- Vancouver Cruise Ship Information