Road Scholar : Home
The Best of the Rockies By Rail: Western Canada's Splendor

Program Number: 3748RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/5/2013 - 9/16/2013; 6/16/2016 - 6/27/2016; 7/14/2016 - 7/25/2016; 8/18/2016 - 8/29/2016; 8/25/2016 - 9/5/2016; 9/1/2016 - 9/12/2016; 9/8/2016 - 9/19/2016; 9/15/2016 - 9/26/2016; 9/22/2016 - 10/3/2016; 9/29/2016 - 10/10/2016;
Duration: 11 nights
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Price starting at: $3,953.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Train Treks; On the Road; History & Culture; Independent City Discoveries
Meals: 29; 11 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches, 8 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

Experience the wonder of the rugged, beautiful Canadian Rockies in Alberta and British Columbia. Journey through green valleys, past sapphire rivers and wide, jade lakes as you head into the heart of the mountains. Visit the soaring resort town of Banff, where you can enjoy the hot springs that have made this place famous. See Lake Louise’s famed emerald waters, born of the glaciers that overlook it. Complete your adventure with three nights in the cosmopolitan coastal city of Vancouver.


• Enjoy some of the world’s most magnificent stretches of railway aboard the Rocky Mountaineer.
• Ride a glass-enclosed gondola to the peak of Sulphur Mountain for 360-degree views of the Rockies.
• Journey along the famed Icefields Parkway through the heart of the Canadian Rockies.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles per day; some uneven terrain. Elevations of 4,500 feet.

An alternative itinerary is also available with departures from Seattle. See program #21493.

Date Specific Information

9-5-2013, 6-16-2016, 7-14-2016, 8-18-2016, 9-1-2016, 9-8-2016, 9-15-2016, 9-22-2016, 9-29-2016

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.


Travel in Gold Leaf service for this departure. Bi-level glass domed coach, meals served in dining car. See Daily Schedule for full details.
Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Calgary, 1 night; coach to Banff, 4 nights; coach to Jasper, 2 nights; train to Kamloops (Silver Leaf), 1 night; train to Vancouver, 3 nights; departure.


A dynamic metropolis that blends big-city energy with outstanding outdoor adventures, Calgary offers a wealth of cultural and historical attractions, world-renowned festivals, and a prime location close to mountain trails, rolling foothills and the desert badlands.


Located within a national park, the municipality of Jasper shares its governance with the Parks Canada Agency. Born as a fur-trade supply depot in the early 1800s, the 4,000-resident town benefits from the nearly 3 million visitors that pass through Jasper National Park annually.


A storied gateway to Banff National Park — with more than 25 mountain peaks towering over 8,000 feet — Banff welcomes adventurers and nature-lovers to take in the alpine wonders and colorful history of the Canadian Rockies.


This resort town in the southern Pacific Ranges of British Columbia attracts more than 2 million visitors annually, nearly all of them drawn by the world-class skiing and snowboarding of Whistler Blackcomb. Annually ranked among North America’s best winter sports destinations, Whistler hosted most events of the highly praised 2010 Winter Olympics.

Vancouver (British Columbia)

Outdoor enthusiasts flock to Vancouver for its breathtaking hiking and biking trails and majestic views of the tree-lined waterway, the Strait of Georgia. With distinctive neighborhoods, top-rated restaurants and a thriving theater and arts scene, Vancouver is also a sophisticated destination. It is renowned as one of the world’s best cities.

Comfortable national park and city hotels.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Ben Gadd

Ben Gadd is one of Canada’s better-known naturalists and Rockies writers. Author of the ground-breaking “Handbook of the Canadian Rockies,” Ben has written eight other books and contributed to several more. His novel, “Raven’s End,” has become a prize-winning Canadian best-seller. Ben has received three Banff Mountain Book Festival awards for his work. Educated as a geologist, Ben has pursued a career mainly in natural history, including a stint as a Parks Canada naturalist. He has also taught writing at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and Grant MacEwan College. For nearly 30 years, he has worked in the summer as a freelance interpretive guide — he is one of only six master guides in Canada’s professional Interpretive Guides Association — and in the winter as a writer and sought-after lecturer on Rockies topics. Heard frequently on CBC radio, Ben has also appeared in many television items and several documentaries on the Rockies.
Kirsten Schmitten

Kirsten Schmitten has spent over 30 years exploring, researching, writing and working in the Canadian Rockies. From her career as a park naturalist to her adventures with her warden husband, Kirsten’s love and knowledge of the natural and cultural history of Jasper makes her a captivating and sought after speaker. She is the owner of All Things Wild, a company specializing in connecting people to the natural and cultural history of Jasper National Park.
Craig Oldfield

Having grown up in the Canadian Rockies, Craig Oldfield still returns regularly to his parents’ ranch to camp, fish, and catch up with friends. Although he worked in home construction for many years, Craig changed course when he took a job teaching English in China and explored that country and Southeast Asia. Today, he is drawn to anything that has to do with photography, music, cooking and being outside. He has studied ecotourism and outdoor leadership at Mount Royal University in Calgary.
Meals and Lodgings
   Best Western Plus Port O'Call Calgary Airport Hotel
  Calgary, Alberta 1 night
   Irwin's Mountain Inn
  Banff, Alberta 3 nights
   Amethyst Lodge
  Jasper, Alberta 2 nights
   Sandman Hotel Quesnel
  Quesnel, British Columbia 1 night
   Listel Whistler Hotel
  Whistler, British Columbia 1 night
   Best Western Sands by the Sea
  Vancouver, BC 3 nights
 Best Western Plus Port O'Call Calgary Airport Hotel
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: BEST WESTERN PLUS Port O' Call Calgary Airport Hotel is conveniently located only 3.72 miles (6 kms) from the Calgary International and also provides easy access to downtown Calgary, a number of Calgary attractions and Banff National Park. In addition, the hotel also features complimentary wireless Internet, an indoor pool, New Water Park featuring two slides, extensive fitness room, and several onsite restaurants for your convenience.
  Contact info: 1935 McKnight Blvd N.E.
Calgary, AB T2E 6V4 Canada
phone: 403-291-4600
  Room amenities: All hotel rooms have cable television with in-room movies, voicemail, irons, coffee makers and hair dryers. High speed Internet is available upon request.
  Facility amenities: • Complimentary shuttle to/from Calgary Airport • Indoor pool • Hot tub - Whirlpool • Exercise facility • Squash courts • Barber/beauty shop • Gift Shop • Dry cleaning • Guest laundry • High-speed Internet access
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Call for availability & rates. Contact hotel directly.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

 Irwin's Mountain Inn
Type: Hotel
  Description: Family owned and operated for over thirty years, Irwin's Mountain Inn was completely reconstructed by the fall of 1995 making the property one of Banff's newer accommodations. Originally built in 1967 by Paul and Elizabeth Irwin with their two sons, Arlen and Larry, Irwin's Motor Inn was recognized as one of the best values in Banff. With farming as their previous livelihood, the Irwins extended the same hospitality to their guests at the motel as was characteristic of the way they greeted and treated visitors and friends to their farm. A tradition of hospitality and friendliness was established in those early years and the Management to this day still endeavors to live up to Paul and Elizabeth's example in the service and quality of comfort they provide guests to Irwin's Mountain Inn. The name has changed and three times the motel has undergone major rebuilding phases, but the standard of excellence in hospitality that Paul and Elizabeth Irwin exemplified over thirty years ago still serves as the benchmark for the next generation of Irwins that share in the ownership and management of the Irwin's Mountain Inn.
  Contact info: 429 Banff Avenue
Banff, AB T1L 1B2 Canada
phone: 403-762-4566
  Room amenities: Satellite TV and movie channel
  Facility amenities: Fitness centre, coin laundry, small gift shop, sauna and steam room, 10 person jetted pool, games room, massage therapy and is located within walking distance of downtown.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Amethyst Lodge
Type: Lodge
  Description: The Amethyst Lodge is close to the center of Jasper and just a short walk from rail and bus terminals, museums and art galleries. Enjoy amazing wildlife viewing and unspoiled wilderness within blocks of your Jasper home.
  Contact info: 200 Connaught Drive
Jasper,, AB T0E 1E0 Canada
phone: 780-852-3394
  Room amenities: Includes complimentary in-room coffee, hair dryers, cable television.
  Facility amenities: The lodge offers a number of amenities for your convenience, including two outdoor hot tubs, high speed Internet access in Business Center, wheelchair accessible rooms are available, restaurant and lounge, and a coin-operated laundry facility nearby.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Sandman Hotel Quesnel
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: The Sandman Hotel Quesnel is centrally located just off Hwy 97, just blocks from the town center.
  Contact info: 940 Chew Road
Quesnel, BC V2J 6R8 Canada
phone: 250-747-3511
  Room amenities: Complimentary in-room coffee and tea, hairdryers, iron and ironing boards available.
  Facility amenities: 106 guest rooms, fitness facilities, indoor pool and whirlpool, high speed internet access available, business center, Denny's 24 hour Restaurant with room service, Shark Club Bar and Grill.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Listel Whistler Hotel
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Celebrating 20 years as one of Whistler’s favorite destinations. Less than 200 yards from the base of the mountains, we are a short walk away from skiing, shopping and dining. The Listel Hotel offers 98 deluxe non-smoking guest rooms.
  Contact info: 4121 Village Green
Whistler, BC V0N 1B4 Canada
phone: 604-790-9043
  Room amenities: Luxurious down duvets, hairdryer, fridge, color TV, clock radio, coffee/tea, iron/ironing board, in room safe, Wireless-Wi-Fi Internet system available – minimal charge. High speed Ethernet Internet connections are available.
  Facility amenities: Bistro and wine bar, outdoor open-air Jacuzzi, heated, outdoor pool, saunas, coin-operated laundry, fax & photocopy facilities (minimal charge), High speed Internet. Ethernet and Wi-Fi available. Minimal charges apply.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Best Western Sands by the Sea
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Best Western Sands by the Sea is conveniently located one half block from the beach at beautiful English Bay and three blocks from Stanley Park's 1,000 acres of trails and gardens. Three bus routes stop at the front door for easy access to other parts of town.
  Contact info: 1755 Davie Street
Vancouver, BC V6G 1W5 Canada
phone: 604-682-1831
  Room amenities: In-room coffee makers, iron and ironing board, hair dryers.
  Facility amenities: Hotel amenities include a sauna and exercise room. Same-day dry-cleaning and laundry service is available, and there is a laundromat six blocks from the hotel. Restaurant and 2 bars on site.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: Call for availability & rates. Please contact the hotel directly on your own OR if you require personal assistance contact Denise at Maritime Travel toll free at 1-888-905-5959 or by email at A service fee MAY apply.
  Check out time: 12:00 PM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Independent arrivals and transfers to program hotel in Calgary, AB. Check into hotel after 3:00 pm. Dinner is at 6:00 pm. You will be staying at Best Western Plus Port O'Call Calgary Airport Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
Breakfast is at 7:30 am. Independent departures after breakfast from program hotel in Vancouver, BC. Hotel check out is 12:00 noon. You will be staying at Best Western Sands by the Sea the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. Passport requirements are subject to change. Visit for information.
  Parking availability:
At the airport – Parkade: Outdoor, long-term parking for CAD$24 per day, or CAD$120 per week(403) 735-1372. Park ‘n Fly: CAD$13.95 per day or CAD$69.75 per week. More info: (403) 250-6533. Contact the hotel directly for parking details and availability.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Calgary, Alberta
  Nearest city or town:  Canmore, Alberta
  Nearest airport:  Calgary International Airport
  From End of Program
  Location:  Vancouver, BC
  Nearest city or town:  Vancouver
  Nearest highway: Highway 1 - Trans Canada
  Nearest airport:  Vancouver International Airport (YVR)
Travel Details

Calgary, AB


From Airport




Hotel Shuttle
phone: 403-291-4600
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


No charge
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


Approximately 15 minutes 


A complimentary shuttle is available from the airport to the Best Western Port O' Call. Please call the hotel from the airport for pickup. The hotel staff will advise when the next shuttle will be at the airport and will let you know where to go to meet the shuttle.


Calgary (AB)


From Airport






Per Person/One Way:


Approximately $30
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


15 minutes 


Taxis are readily available in the arrival area.


Calgary (AB)


From Bus Terminal






Per Person/One Way:


Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


20 minutes 


Taxis available at bus station. Greyhound Canada offers regularly scheduled bus service to/from Calgary, Alberta. Contact Greyhound at 800-661-8747 or 403-263-1234 or visit for schedule and fare information.




To Airport




Public Transportation
Sky Train/Canada Line


Per Person/One Way:


$7 - $10
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


35 - 45 minutes 


City bus to Yaletown/Roundhouse Station, then take the Sky Train/Canada Line to the airport.




To Airport






Per Person/One Way:


$30 - $35
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


30 minutes 


Taxi from hotel to Vancouver airport.

Driving Directions
  Calgary Airport (to Best Western Port O' Call) Head South on Airport Road NE. Turn right to stay on Airport Road NE. Turn left onto Barlow Trail NE N. Turn left onto Airport Trail NE W (watch signs for Alberta 2/City Centre). Take the ramp onto Alberta 16 State Hwy S. Take exit 261 for McKnight Boulevard E. Merge onto McKnight Blvd NE E. The Best Western Port O’Call will be on the right
  Trans Canada Highway (from the east) Head west on Trans Canada Hwy/AB-1 W. Take the AB-2 N/Deerfoot Trail ramp to Red Deer. Merge onto Deerfoot Trail/Alberta 16 State Hwy N. Take exit 261A for McKnight Blvd NE E. The Best Western Port O’Call will be on your right.
  Trans Canada Highway (from the west) Head East on Trans Canada Hwy/AB-1 E. Turn left onto Centre St NE N. Turn right on McKnight Blvd NE E. The Best Western Port O’Call will be on the right.
Elevation Note: Banff 4,540 ft; Bow Summit 6,781 ft; Sunwapta Summit 6,660 ft; Sulphur Mountain 8,041 ft

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Independent Arrivals/Orientation
(Thursday, September 5)
 Arrive To: HOTEL CHECK-IN: Independent arrivals and transfers to the program hotel after 3:00 pm. Please note that rooms are not generally available until mid to late afternoon.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
 Evening: INTRODUCTIONS: Following dinner, you will meet for introductions, a review of the program and site orientation.
Accommodations: Best Western Plus Port O'Call Calgary Airport Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Glenbow Museum/Fort Calgary/Banff
(Friday, September 6)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at your hotel
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: Glenbow Museum. Depart for Banff. On a field trip to the Glenbow Museum, you will explore Western Canada’s largest museum and one of Canada’s foremost museum facilities. It houses an art collection, museum and archives, with over 93,000 square feet (8,640 square meters) of exhibition space and more than 20 galleries. This is a self-guided experience but museum docents will be on hand to answer any questions. Its museum collection focuses on cultural and military history, ethnology and mineralogy. What sets it apart from other museums chronicling the continent's Native cultures and pioneer settlement is the excellence of its interpretation. Especially notable is the third floor, with its vivid evocation of Native cultures -- particularly of the local Blackfoot -- and compelling descriptions of western Canada's exploration and settlement.
 Lunch: Lunch at Fort Calgary.
 Afternoon: Depart Calgary and travel to Banff. Arrive in Banff and check into the hotel.
 Dinner: Dinner at El Toro, at your hotel, a Banff favorite known for its homemade quality food and great service.
 Evening: Your evening is free to explore the town of Banff, walk along local trails or swim at the Hot Springs.
Accommodations: Irwin's Mountain Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Geology of Banff/Cave and Basin National Historic Site/Sulphur Mountain Gondola
(Saturday, September 7)

Note: Please note, the elevation at the top of Sulphur Mountain is 8,041 ft (2,451m).

 Breakfast: Breakfast at your hotel.
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: Cave and Basin. Tour the Cave and Basin National Historic Site with naturalist Ben Gadd. The warm waters issuing from Sulphur Mountain were known to aboriginal peoples. These hot springs later became the centrepiece of Canada's first national park (and the world's third.) We will also stroll down to the warm marshes below the springs, easily accessible along a boardwalk, to see birds and tropical fish. Bring your binoculars!
 Morning: PRESENTATION: Creating the Canadian Cordillera. Fifty years ago we thought that the Rockies popped up out of a “geosyncline”, and we had no reasonable explanation for the weird rock making up the mountains to the west. Now we know! Join one of Canada's better-known naturalists and award-winning author, Ben Gadd, as he shares the fascinating story of the Canadian Rockies.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: EXCURSION: Sulphur Mountain Gondola. Before lunch, take an excursion up Sulphur Mountain in a four-passenger, glass-enclosed gondola (weather permitting). This activity will reinforce what you have learned during this morning's presentation. Please note: you will experience elevations above 10,000 feet. Along the way, you will have a 360-degree view of the breathtaking beauty of the Rockies. Bring your camera along, you will be amazed at the view from the top!
 Dinner: Dinner on your own to explore local fare.
 Evening: Explore Banff on your own, remain with the Group Leader or relax at your hotel or the Hot Springs.
Accommodations: Irwin's Mountain Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Lake Louise/Yoho National Park
(Sunday, September 8)

Note: Walks are less than 2 kms/1.2 miles, with some inclines, along well maintained trails and paved pathways.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at your hotel.
 Morning: PRESENTATION/FIELD TRIP: Lake Louise and Yoho National Park. Discover the geological highlights of the Rockies with Ben Gadd, renowned naturalist and author of the ground-breaking Handbook of the Canadian Rockies.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant in a picturesque mountain setting.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Trail walk around Emerald Lake. Emerald Lake is another jewel of the Canadian Rockies, and is one of the few lakes with a trail all the way around it. Thanks to its position of the west side of the Great Divide in Yoho National Park, a 360 degree tour of Emerald yields up four very different environments: a huge avalanche path, the normal forest, a dry and dramatic alluvial fan and the towering trees of the coastal rainforest.
 Dinner: Dinner at El Toro
Accommodations: Irwin's Mountain Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Bow Lake/Athabasca Glacier and Falls/Columbia Icefield/Jasper
(Monday, September 9)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at your hotel.
 Morning: FIELD TRIP & PRESENTATION: The Icefields Parkway and Glaciers. Depart for Jasper. En route, a local interpretive guide will tell you about the glaciers of the Icefields Parkway. Learn how the remnants of the last Ice Age left behind this magnificent landscape, and discover the flora and fauna of this mountainous region. Continuing north along the Icefields Parkway, considered one of the most scenic highways in the world, you will visit Bow Lake, the Columbia Icefield and the Athabasca Glacier and Falls. At the Columbia Icefield Interpretive Centre, you will learn all about this impressive geological feature. The Icefields feed eight major glaciers, including the Athabasca, Dome and Stutfield glaciers, all of which you will see along the way.
 Lunch: Boxed lunch en route
 Afternoon: Arrive in Jasper late afternoon; check into the hotel and freshen up before dinner. Jasper lies in the center of Jasper National Park, deep in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, and it is known around the world for its rugged beauty. It is also a renowned, world-class resort town that has many attractions, yet it retains its small-town feel. Its distance from large urban centers and its relatively intact ecology give you a real sense of the early days in the Rockies.
 Dinner: Dinner at your hotel
 Evening: Free evening to rest after a long day of travelling.
Accommodations: Amethyst Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Pyramid Lake/Maligne Canyon/Yellowhead Museum/The History of Jasper
(Tuesday, September 10)

Note: Please note, the day's field trip may include up to 2 guided walks, no more than 1 mile (1.5 km) each in length on paved or improved/maintained trails.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at your hotel
 Morning: FIELD TRIP & PRESENTATION: Jasper National Park. Depart for a field trip in the nearby area, stopping at Pyramid Lake and Patricia Lake, and Maligne Canyon (weather permitting). En route, a Jasper naturalist will discuss the ecology of Jasper National Park. The Maligne Canyon trail is rich in natural history, with impressive geologic features and wildlife. Search for fossils and find out how this deep canyon formed during glacial ages and how Maligne Canyon may not be a true canyon! The tall pine covered forests of these wilderness areas are home to an abundance of mountain goats, elk, moose, and bears. Scenic trails let you explore the spectacular vantage points, flower meadows, and sapphire blue mountain lakes.
 Lunch: Lunch at your hotel
 Afternoon: OPTIONAL EXCURSION: Jasper - Yellowhead Museum. Enjoy an optional excursion to the Jasper -Yellowhead Museum and Archives, where you can explore the history of the Jasper-Yellowhead corridor from its earliest visitors 10,000 years ago to the present day. The Historical Gallery includes exhibits on the fur trade, the pioneers, the railways, early tourism in Jasper National Park and the town of Jasper. Spend some free time exploring the town on your own or relaxing at your hotel.
 Dinner: Dinner at your hotel.
 Evening: PRESENTATION: The History of Jasper, presented by a Jasper naturalist.
Accommodations: Amethyst Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Rocky Mountaineer to Quesnel
(Wednesday, September 11)

Note: NOTE: Today you will travel by train from Jasper to Quesnel – Redleaf Service. Take only your small overnight bag on the train with you (it will be stored under your seat or overhead) and ensure that you carry all medications on board with you. Pack what you will need for the two full days and one night. You will not have access to your large luggage during this time; it will be checked through to Whistler. Small overnight bag not to exceed 23 cm x 92 cm x 46 cm or 9”x36”x18”.

 Breakfast: Breakfast served at your seat on the train.
 Morning: Depart for the train station and board the Rocky Mountaineer, Red Leaf Service, bound for Quesnel. From the comfort of your roomy, reclining seat enjoy and experience the spectacular scenery through large picture windows. Train attendants will provide interpretive commentary. You will travel from Jasper to Quesnel through the Rocky Mountain Trench and past Mount Robson, at 13,000 feet (3,954 meters) the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. The train will travel around the base of Mount Robson where the track is approximately 4,000 ft. above sea level. Other highlights will include Yellowhead Pass, Moose Lake and the Fraser River.
 Lunch: Cold lunch served at your seat
 Afternoon: Arrive in Quesnel in the early evening. Quesnel (pronounced /kwe-NELL) is a small city that is part of the Cariboo District of British Columbia, Canada and is nestled in between the Fraser River and the Quesnel River. It is the main route to northern British Columbia and the Yukon and has claimed to be home to one of the world's largest gold pans (disputed by Nome, Alaska and others). To the east of Quesnel lie Wells-Gray, Barkerville, and Bowron Lake Provincial Park, a popular canoeing destination in the Cariboo Mountains.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own in Quesnel
 Evening: Free evening to explore Quesnel or relax at your hotel.
Accommodations: Sandman Hotel Quesnel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8: Rocky Mountaineer to Whistler
(Thursday, September 12)

Note: NOTE: Today you will travel by train from Quesnel to Whistler – Redleaf Service. You will not have access to your large luggage during this time; it will be checked through to Whistler. Small overnight bag not to exceed 23 cm x 92 cm x 46 cm or 9”x36”x18”.

 Breakfast: Breakfast served at your seat on the train
 Morning: Depart for the train station and board the Rocky Mountaineer, Red Leaf Service, bound for Whistler. Train attendants will provide interpretive commentary. Your journey continues south today through breathtaking and varied scenery to Whistler. Highlights include sweeping views of the Fraser Canyon, the crossing of Deep Creek Bridge, one of the highest railway bridges in the world, and the shorelines of glacial-fed Seton Lake and Anderson Lake.
 Lunch: Cold lunch served at your seat
 Afternoon: Arrive in Whistler in the early evening. Nestled in the Coast Mountains, Whistler is 25 miles/40 kms inland from the Pacific Ocean and 75 miles/120 kms from Vancouver. The landscape around Whistler includes five main ecological areas: temperate rainforest, wetlands, sub-alpine forest, high alpine tundra and disturbed sites such as logged areas and roadsides. Few places possess so much biodiversity in such a small area as the Coast Mountain Range of southwestern British Columbia. The coastal rainforest fills the deep valley bottoms, while alpine flowers retrace the steps of receding glaciers. The Whistler corridor is a magical place for nature enthusiasts from every walk of life.
 Dinner: Dinner on the train.
 Evening: Evening is free to do some sightseeing on your own or relax at your hotel.
Accommodations: Listel Whistler Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Squamish Lil’wat Native Cultural Centre/Rocky Mountaineer to Vancouver
(Friday, September 13)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at your hotel.
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: Squamish Lil’wat Native Cultural Centre The Squamish Nation and Lil’wat Nation celebrated the official opening of the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre in Whistler on July 10, 2008. The Native Cultural Centre showcases the local Aboriginal cultures through historical and contemporary exhibits and galleries, art, food, language, interactive crafts and engaging performances. A spectacular 15 minute film introduces guests to the Centre and provides context to the art and exhibits on display, and the presentation by your Squamish and Lil’wat hosts.
 Lunch: Lunch at Squamish Lil’wat Native Cultural Centre
 Afternoon: Depart for train station and board the Rocky Mountaineer, Classic Service, for a three hour breathtaking rail journey to the coastal city of Vancouver. Train attendants will provide interpretive commentary. Highlights of the trip include the impressive Cheakamus Canyon, Mount Garibaldi, Shannon Falls and spectacular views of the Coast Mountains and Howe Sound.
 Dinner: A light meal will be served at your seat on the train.
 Evening: Arrive in Vancouver in the early evening. Located in a stunning ocean harbor and surrounded by spectacular mountain peaks, Vancouver is on the leading edge of public policy and planning, and it has developed a plan for sustainable development. This large metropolitan center provides an international gateway for exploring the natural wonders of southwestern British Columbia. Free evening to explore Vancouver on your own or relax at your hotel.
Accommodations: Best Western Sands by the Sea
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: History of Vancouver/Museum of Anthropology
(Saturday, September 14)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at your hotel
 Morning: PRESENTATION: Vancouver 101. A local historian will present a slide show and discussion on the history of Vancouver. Learn about Vancouver's evolution into a modern, progressive city. Cradled between snow-capped mountains and the Pacific Ocean, it is consistently ranked as one of the best places in the world to live. It has one of the world's most beautiful and busiest harbors and the vast urban wilderness of Pacific Spirit Park.
 Lunch: Lunch at your hotel
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Museum of Anthropology. On a field trip to the Museum of Anthropology, you will gain a remarkable glimpse into the lives of the indigenous peoples of the northwest coast of British Columbia. Explore one of the world's outstanding collections of Pacific Northwest Aboriginal artifacts. Massive totem poles, carved boxes, bowls and feast dishes are displayed in the Great Hall, while smaller (but equally magnificent) pieces in gold, silver, argillite, wood, ceramic and other materials are exhibited in the galleries. Canada's largest teaching museum is located in a spectacular building overlooking mountains and sea, and its collections, exhibitions and programs are renowned for providing insight into the cultures of indigenous peoples around the world. You will be guided by docents who are students of anthropology at the University of British Columbia.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own to explore the wide array of restaurants in Vancouver.
 Evening: Free evening to explore Vancouver on your own, join the Group Leader or relax at your hotel.
Accommodations: Best Western Sands by the Sea
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 11: Guided Walking Exploration of Vancouver/Farewell Dinner
(Sunday, September 15)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at your hotel
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: A local historian will lead a guided walking exploration of Gastown, Chinatown and Stanley Park (local buses will be used to travel between areas). The history of Stanley Park coincides with the early days of Vancouver. Opened in 1888 and named after Lord Stanley, then Governor General of Canada, this urban park is a cool, lush, evergreen oasis situated on a peninsula in the heart of the city. Today, Stanley Park is recognized as one of the great parks of the world, offering a backdrop of majestic cedar, hemlock and fir trees.
 Lunch: Lunch at your hotel
 Afternoon: FREE AFTERNOON: Enjoy a free afternoon to explore Stanley Park and Vancouver's famous seawall or another part of beautiful Vancouver. The Stanley Park Seawall rings the peninsula of Stanley Park for a distance of 5.5 miles (8.85 km). It was designed in the early 1920s as a precaution to prevent erosion. It took nearly six decades to complete the entire seawall, and today it is the most popular spot in Vancouver, used by residents and visitors alike. Vancouver is a clean and safe city where you can walk or bike where you please and was chosen as the site for the 2010 Winter Olympics.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at a local restaurant
 Evening: WRAP-UP SESSION: Enjoy farewell celebrations and a review of your program’s highlights.
Accommodations: Best Western Sands by the Sea
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Independent departures
(Monday, September 16)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel is at 7:30 am.
 Morning: Independent departures from the program hotel after breakfast. Hotel check-out is 12:00 noon.
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  Banff, Alberta Banff Hot Springs
All the amenities of a modern facility are featured in this splendid, historic spa and bath house – against a backdrop of spectacular alpine scenery. Luxuriate in the comfort of soothing hot water where travelers have come to “take the waters” for more than a century. For additional information, visit
  Banff Park Museum
The Banff Park Museum is a national historic site because the museum's original exhibit collections reflect and commemorate an early approach to the interpretation of natural history in Canada. Also, the architectural style and detailing of the 1903 log building are characteristic examples of early federal buildings in the Park. The museum displays an extensive collection of natural history specimens (more than 5,000) which are characteristic of early museum practices. The emphasis is on changes in attitudes toward natural resource management. Although the building, the collection, and the grounds have been modified over time in response to the demands of the day, the developments and treatments are "in keeping" with the historical significance of the building and collections themselves. For additional information, visit
  Lake Minnewanka Cruise
Lake Minnewanka (home of the 'Banff Crasher Squirrel') lies in the heart of the Canadian Rockies in Banff National Park, just a short 15 minute drive from the townsite of Banff. Banff Lake Cruise provides a unique sightseeing tour experience on one of two 43 passenger Lake Cruisers or the 65 passenger Alberta Explorer operating several times daily from mid-May to mid-October. This magnificent interpretive lake cruise of Minnewanka and the scenic Canadian Rockies is 1 hour and provides unique photo opportunities unavailable elsewhere. Our experienced crew will guide you through this rugged paradise richly steeped in history, native folklore and geology. The narration is intriguing, entertaining and informative. You will learn about the wildlife and vegetation that inhabit these mountains, the early explorers who named them and the tremendous forces that created them. The Lake Minnewanka valley offers some of the most interesting and spectacular scenery found anywhere in the Canadian Rockies For additional information, visit
  The Banff Centre
A globally respected arts, cultural, and educational institution and conference facility, The Banff Centre is a leader in the development and promotion of creative work in the arts, sciences, business, and the environment. It is the largest arts and creativity incubator on the planet. Over 8,000* artists, leaders, and researchers from across Canada and around the world participate in programs at The Banff Centre every year. Through its multidisciplinary programming, The Banff Centre provides them with the support they need to create, to develop solutions, and to make the impossible possible. For additional information, visit
  Calgary, Alberta Calgary Zoo
From the splendour of the Rocky Mountains to the heart of Destination Africa, The Calgary Zoo takes you to see over 1,000 animals from around the world. Trek through the gorilla’s rainforest, safari over the Savannah to watch the hippos swim, or climb the Canadian Wilds for a grizzly bear encounter! Finish your world tour with a trip back in time in the Prehistoric Park or soothe your senses in nearly 6 acres of our Botanical Gardens. Relax in the new ENMAX Conservatory and enjoy the butterflies and seasonal displays. For additional information, visit
  Canada Olympic Park/Sports Hall of Fame
No visit to the Calgary is complete without a visit to WinSport’s Canada Olympic Park, the most visible legacy from the 1988 Games. WinSport has taken the Olympic legacy to new heights with the goal of becoming a world-class Winter Sport Institute and helping Canadian athletes reach the podium at World Cup events and the Olympic Games. In the summer, a visit to Canada Olympic Park is the perfect tonic for adrenaline junkies! Rush down North America’s fastest zipline, reaching speeds of up to 140 km/h from the top of the 90m Ski Jump Tower, or rumble down the sliding track at 100 km/h in a four-man summer bobsleigh. (Advance booking required, please call 403.247.5452). Guests can also ride more than 25 km of mountain bike trails, enjoy a scenic round of 18 hole mini-golf, or strap on the skates at Calgary’s newest Ice Complex and home of Hockey Canada. If you’re looking for a more relaxed visit at the Park, take a tour of the iconic 90 meter Ski Jump Tower, which has graced the Calgary skyline for 25 years. Or celebrate Canadian sports history with a visit to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, which features 520 inducted sports legends and more than 1,000 artifacts from a vast array of sports. Canada Olympic Park has something for everyone, and with more than a dozen sports organizations making their home at WinSport Canada, you just never know when you’ll run into a past, present or future Olympian. For additional information, visit
  Fort Calgary
The heart of Calgary is red ...the scarlet red of the North West Mounted Police tunic. When the NWMP built their fort at the confluence of the Bow and Elbow Rivers in 1875, they laid the foundations for the city we enjoy today. They came to bring law and order to the west, to stamp out the whiskey trade, and to befriend the First Nations peoples in preparation for the treaties that would open the land for settlement. The hopes, dreams and values of that time are still evident in the city we enjoy today. Fort Calgary is located just east of downtown Calgary on a 40-acre site. For additional information, visit
  Heritage Park
Step back in time and experience hands-on history, visit with the friendly costumed townsfolk, tour 180 historical exhibits and relive the past through a huge collection of working antiques and artifacts. Explore the far corners of the Park and: -Tour the Railway Car Shop- packed full of Canada’s rail treasures, -Explore a replica of an 1860s Hudson’s Bay Company Fur Trading Fort, -Make bannock in the Aboriginal Encampment, -Visit the original home of Sam Livingston in the 1880s rustic pre-railway settlement, -Churn old-fashioned ice cream on the porch of the Burnside Ranch House, -Shop, eat and play in the bustling 1910 prairie railroad town. -Ride an authentic steam train, cruise on Calgary’s only paddlewheeler and tour the Park on a horse-drawn wagon. For additional information, visit
  Vancouver, BC Capilano Suspension Bridge
Voices from Vancouver’s past mingle with the sounds of nature, beautiful gardens skirt colourful totem poles, British Columbia First Nations artisans chisel legend into cedar and Capilano Suspension Bridge takes you to the serenity of a West Coast rainforest. Cross the suspension bridge, try out Canada’s award-winning tourist attraction, Treetops Adventure which offers a squirrel’s eye view of a thriving coastal rainforest in the mid-story of 1300-year-old old growth Douglas-firs; or take the Cliffwalk with a labyrinth-like series of narrow cantilevered bridges, stairs and platforms. For additional information, visit
  Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
Step back in time to 15th Century China at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. The first of its kind outside of China, the Garden offers a glimpse into life as a Chinese scholar during the Ming dynasty. Scholars lived and worked in their gardens, sharing these enchanting spaces with friends and family of all ages. Like any home, a scholar's garden was filled with energy, but also offered quiet moments for contemplation. As a bridge between cultures, the Garden offers lively demonstrations, Chinese festival celebrations and diverse art exhibitions. We also feature musical concerts such as the summer Enchanted Evenings Concert series. For additional information, visit
  Granville Island
Early in the morning, the first Aquabus of the day putters across False Creek, heading towards Granville Island. Home to 300 businesses, studios and facilities, the destination still retains an old-fashioned, timeless feeling. Craftsmen and artists take up residence here, and it's clear that the tradition of apprenticeship and mastery is alive and well. You can see it in the detail of a ceramic bowl or the gentle curve of a freshly blown glass vase, the intricacy of a piece of jewellery or the flick of a painter's brush. Granville Island's charming public market overflows with fresh produce, breads, seafood and a bounty of other goods is reason enough to visit Granville Island. Be sure to also stroll the narrow lanes of the island to check out its unique shops and photo-worthy views of downtown across False Creek. Street music is one of the most distinctive characteristics of Granville Island. Singer/songwriters strum away in open courtyards, drum circles form out of nowhere, and a clear strain of a melody from violin or saxophone melody often seems to make its way to the ears of an unsuspecting visitor For additional information, visit
  Harbour Cruise
Vancouver's best sightseeing, dining and special event cruises. Join Vancouver's most popular Sunset Dinner Cruise, an amazing opportunity to enjoy the fabulous sunset view. Enjoy Vancouver's only authentic paddlewheeler and narrated tour of the inner harbour or relax with Indian Arm Luncheon Cruise through a secluded mountain fjord. A unique experience, since the area is only accessible by boat, in 4 hours you will pass Deep Cove to Indian Arm and finally reach Silver Falls. For additional information, visit
  Vancouver Museum
The Vancouver Museum houses permanent displays, exhibitions and educational programs about the natural, cultural and human history of the Vancouver region. Canada's largest civic museum moves into its second century, it continues to explore the human and natural history of the Vancouver region, the Pacific Northwest Coast and Pacific Rim with exciting, ever-changing new exhibitions. The Vancouver Museum continues to celebrate the rich legacy and heritage of our diverse multicultural society through varied programs. For additional information, visit
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

A Traveller's History of Canada

Author: Robert Bothwell

Description: A readable and admirably concise march through Canadian history from prehistory to today, including a timeline.

Switchbacks, True Stories from the Canadian Rockies

Author: Sid Marty

Description: A native Albertan and park warden in the Canadian Rockies, Marty relates colorful anecdotes from friends, colleagues and his own youth in this collection of tales, which includes A Horse Named Candy.

The Rockies, A Natural History

Author: Richard Cannings

Description: This engaging, illustrated guide to the geology, history, habitats, wildlife and climate of the Rockies is geared for naturalist-travelers and includes hundreds of color photographs.

Rocky Mountain Nature Guide

Author: Andy Bezener

Description: This guide includes information on mammals, fish, birds, trees, shrubs, wildflowers, insects and reptiles from the entire span of the Rockies - Alaska to New Mexico. Featuring over 300 exact full-color illustrations.

Canadian Rockies Panorama

Author: Steven Flagler

Description: A souvenir collection of full-color photographs of the Canadian Rockies, including Lake Louise, Jasper and Banff. The horizontal format is perfect for showing off the stunning photography.

Canadians, A Portrait of the Country and Its People

Author: Roy MacGregor

Description: A journalist and popular author, MacGregor takes the full measure of Canadian life in this irreverent, entertaining portrait of a people.

Handbook of the Canadian Rockies

Author: Ben Gadd

Description: Geology, plants, animals, history and recreation from Waterton/Glacier to the Yukon.

Moon Handbook British Columbia including the Canadian Rockies

Author: Andrew Hempstead

Description: This comprehensive guide stakes out the best sites throughout British Columbia, nicely balancing practical detail with a good overview of the region and its attractions.

The West Beyond the West, A History of British Columbia

Author: Jean Barman

Description: A fascinating history of the Canadian province from the 18th century to the mid-1990s. The author weaves portraits of major personalities and events into a readable overview of the cultural and social influences that have shaped the region.

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