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

Program Number: 3748RJ
Start and End Dates:
8/27/2015 - 9/7/2015; 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: $4,595.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Train Treks; On the Road; History & Culture; Independent City Discoveries
Meals: 28; 11 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches, 7 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free; Low Fat; Low Salt    

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

8-27-2015, 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
   High Country Inn
  Banff, Alberta 3 nights
   The Chateau Jasper
  Jasper, Alberta 2 nights
   Best Western Tower Inn
  Quesnel, British Columbia 1 night
   Listel Whistler Hotel
  Whistler, British Columbia 1 night
   Best Western Sands by the Sea
  Vancouver, British Columbia 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; toll free # 1-800-661-1161.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

 High Country Inn
Type: Inn
  Description: We are a family owned hotel and are fortunate enough to call Banff and the Canadian Rockies our home. We welcome all our guests like they are part of our family, and we take great pleasure in ensuring you have the best Banff experience. After giving you a warm welcome, our friendly staff are eager to share their knowledge and help you create your own lasting memories. Discover why our past guests keep coming back!
  Contact info: 419 Banff Avenue
Box 700
Banff, AB  Canada
phone: 403-762-2236
  Room amenities: Rooms have mini fridge, coffee maker and courtesy coffee, Cable TV, individual climate control and air conditioning. Most rooms with private balcony. Free wireless internet and free local calls.
  Facility amenities: Set against a mountain backdrop, the High Country Inn offers an array of luxurious amenities that will ensure comfort and relaxation. Swim a lap in the indoor heated pool, soak in the hot tub or unwind in the traditional dry cedar sauna. When ready to enjoy what Banff has to offer, the knowledgeable staff is prepared to direct you to area attractions such as hiking trails, riding stables and guided tours. In addition to comfortable units and spacious suites, guests will also find: the Ticino Swiss-Italian Restaurant, indoor heated pool, hot tubs and dry cedar sauna; 24-hour front desk; Wireless Internet and Internet Kiosk.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 The Chateau Jasper
Type: Hotel
  Description: Chateau Jasper, Luxury in the Mountains. The Chateau Jasper is an exceptional hotel with an excellent variety of accommodations and facilities. This conveniently located hotel offers 119 fully air-conditioned luxury guest rooms and suites, pleasantly furnished with mountain decor in mind.
  Contact info: 96 Geikie Street
P.O. Box 1200
Jasper, AB T0E 1E0 Canada
phone: 780-852-5644
  Room amenities: All Chateau Jasper guest rooms have private baths, mini fridges, in room safes, air conditioning and feature large flat screen televisions, in room safes, complimentary Wi Fi, hair driers, irons and boards, complimentary coffee and tea and electric kettles.
  Facility amenities: This intimate hotel includes an indoor swimming pool, whirlpool, fitness center, a variety of meeting rooms, complimentary internet kiosks in hotel lobby, a lounge, as well as an award-winning, fine dining room. Additional features: Proud recipient of Travel Alberta Good Housekeeping Award Dining Room and Lounge Heated Indoor Pool and Whirlpool Fitness Centre Seasonal Ski Shuttle Heated Underground Parking Air Conditioning Meeting and Conference Rooms
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Best Western Tower Inn
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: The Best Western Tower Inn is conveniently located in the heart of downtown Quesnel, just moments away from some of the city’s finest attractions.
  Contact info: 500 Reid Street
Quesnel, BC V2J 2M9 Canada
phone: 250-992-2201
  Room amenities: In room coffee and tea, hairdryers, iron and ironing board, pay per view movies, room service available at your expense.
  Facility amenities: 63 rooms, fitness facilities, pool, in room free high speed wireless internet, business center, Begbies Bar and Bistro, room service, safety deposit box
  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. Toll Free: 1-800-661-7887
  Check out time: 12:00 PM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
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. 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.
  Parking availability:
At the airport – Parkade: Outdoor, long-term parking per day/perweek - (403) 735-1372. Park ‘n Fly: (403) 250-6533. Visit for details. Contact the hotel directly for parking details and availability.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Calgary, Alberta
  Nearest city or town:  Calgary, Alberta
  Nearest airport:  Calgary International Airport (YYC)
  From End of Program
  Location:  Vancouver, British Columbia
  Nearest city or town:  Vancouver
  Nearest highway: Highway 1 - Trans Canada
  Nearest airport:  Vancouver International Airport (YVR)
Travel Details


From Airport





If you purchased airfare through Road Scholar, you’ll receive a free departure airport transfer to get you from your program, in addition to the already-included, complimentary arrival transfer. You will receive detailed information regarding this transfer approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. If you did not purchase airfare through Road Scholar, you will be responsible for making your own way to the airport for your departure.  Please review the suggested options below.


Calgary, AB


From Airport




Hotel Shuttle
phone: 403-291-4600


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 CAD (per taxi)
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:


Approximately $30 CAD (per taxi)
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 CAD (per taxi)
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


30 minutes 


Taxi from hotel to Vancouver airport.

Driving Directions
  **DIFFERENT START AND END LOCATIONS This program starts in Calgary, Alberta and ends in Vancouver, British Columbia. Driving your personal vehicle to the program is not recommended due to logistics of the itinerary and different start and end locations.
  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: Arrival and Check-In/Welcome Dinner/Orientation
(Thursday, August 27)
 Arrive To: Arrivals and transfers to the program hotel. Check-in is 3:00 p.m. Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner at the hotel at 6:00 p.m.
 Evening: Following dinner, you will meet for introductions, a review of the program and orientation.
Accommodations: Best Western Plus Port O'Call Calgary Airport Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Glenbow Museum/Fort Calgary/Banff
(Friday, August 28)
 Breakfast: Hot buffet breakfast at the hotel in Calgary.
 Morning: On a field trip to the Glenbow Museum, you will explore Western Canada’s largest museum and one of Canada’s foremost museum facilities. 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: At Fort Calgary.
 Afternoon: Depart Calgary and travel to Banff. Along the way, marvel at the mountains coming into sight and the beauty of Banff National Park. Arrive in Banff late afternoon.
 Dinner: At El Toro restaurant in Banff.
 Evening: Your evening is free to explore the town of Banff, walk along local trails or swim at the Hot Springs.
Accommodations: High Country Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Geology of Banff/Cave and Basin National Historic Site/Sulphur Mountain Gondola
(Saturday, August 29)

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

 Breakfast: Breakfast at a nearby restaurant (El Toro).
 Morning: 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 our expert who will share the fascinating story of the Canadian Rockies.
 Morning: Visit the Cave and Basin National Historic Site. 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!
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: 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. 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: On your own to explore local fare or join the Group Leader at a local restaurant.
 Evening: Explore Banff on your own, remain with the Group Leader or relax at your hotel or the Hot Springs.
Accommodations: High Country Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Lake Louise/Yoho National Park
(Sunday, August 30)

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

 Breakfast: Breakfast at a nearby restaurant (El Toro).
 Morning: Discover the geological highlights of Lake Louise and Yoho National Park with Ben Gadd. Highlights include Moraine Lake, Spiral Tunnels and Emerald Lake.
 Lunch: Box lunch in a picturesque mountain setting.
 Afternoon: 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. Learn about a huge avalanche path, the normal forest, a dry and dramatic alluvial fan and the towering trees of the forest on a guided walk. Emerald Lake is another jewel of the Canadian Rockies, and is one of the few lakes with a trail all the way around it. Learn about the interesting plant species not found in Banff or Lake Louise, and the Burgess Shale quarries along Fossil Ridge.
 Dinner: At El Toro.
Accommodations: High Country Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Icefields Parkway and Interpretive Centre/Athabasca Glacier/Ice Explorer
(Monday, August 31)

Note: There are stairs leading up to the entrance of the Columbia Icefields Interpretive Centre, but there is a higher parking lot with a ramp for easier access. The remainder of the field trip is completed by coach, which is wheelchair accessible.

 Breakfast: At a nearby restaurant (El Toro).
 Morning: Depart for Jasper travelling along the Icefields Parkway, considered one of the most scenic highways in the world. 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.

Travel in a specially designed Ice Explorer to the middle of the Athabasca Glacier, on a 3 mile/5 km round trip journey. Your driver/guide will explain how glaciers are formed and point out interesting geological features as you travel in safety and comfort. At the mid-point, you will have the option of stepping out onto ice formed from snow falling as long as 200 years ago.

 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: At the hotel.
 Evening: This evening is free to rest after a long day of travelling.
Accommodations: The Chateau Jasper
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Pyramid Lake/Maligne Canyon/Yellowhead Museum/The History of Jasper
(Tuesday, September 1)

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: At the hotel.
 Morning: An expert led presentation will introduce us to the Wildlife of the Rockies before we depart for a field trip in Jasper National Park, 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: At the hotel.
 Afternoon: Explore the history of Jasper in a presentation with our expert: Walk in Their Footsteps: Stories from the Past. Following the presentation take 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.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant.
Accommodations: The Chateau Jasper
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Rocky Mountaineer to Quesnel
(Wednesday, September 2)

Note: Today will be an extensive day of travel by train from Jasper to Quesnel – Gold Leaf Service. The custom-designed, bi-level, glass-domed GoldLeaf coach puts you right in the middle of the awe-inspiring scenery of the Canadian Rockies. Take in the dazzling vistas upstairs, and enjoy delicious meals downstairs. Enjoy some of the most breathtaking and varied rail scenery found anywhere in the world on this route.

 Breakfast: Breakfast in the dining car; 36 dining room seats with picture windows (four guests per table). Full galley kitchen.
 Morning: Depart for the train station and board the Rocky Mountaineer, Gold Leaf service. From the attentive service provided by your Rocky Mountaineer Hosts, to the gourmet meals prepared from regional cuisine by our award-winning chefs. GoldLeaf Service is quite simply, as good as it gets. 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: We may take you into the wilds of nature, but with our GoldLeaf Service, there’s no such thing as roughing it. So forget the foraging, and prepare to indulge in gourmet meals made with the finest and freshest local ingredients. Our celebrated chef has created a mouth-watering menu that delivers the distinctive flavours of Western Canada right to your table.
 Afternoon: Arrive in Quesnel in the 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.

Please be aware that arrival time in Quesnel could vary depending on rail traffic or weather conditions. Rocky Mountaineer staff will do their best to keep you informed of your estimated time of arrival.

 Dinner: On your own in Quesnel.
Accommodations: Best Western Tower Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8: Rocky Mountaineer to Whistler
(Thursday, September 3)

Note: Today will be an extensive day of travel by train from Quesnel to Whistler – GoldLeaf Service. Discover why our guests rave about Rocky Mountaineer GoldLeaf Service. From the attentive service provided by your Rocky Mountaineer Hosts, to the gourmet meals prepared from regional cuisine by our award-winning chefs.

 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the train. Service begins with a fresh seasonal fruit plate and warm baked goods
 Morning: Depart for the train station and board the Rocky Mountaineer, Gold Leaf Service, bound for Whistler. Take in the panoramic views from full-length, dome windows and reclining dome-level seats that rotate to accommodate groups of four. 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: Our lunch service begins with your choice of our soup du jour or freshly prepared salad, followed by an entrée and dessert.
 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.

Please be aware that arrival time in Whistler could vary depending on rail traffic or weather conditions, which could make for a long day of travelling. Rocky Mountaineer staff will do their best to keep you informed of your estimated time of arrival.

 Dinner: At the hotel.
Accommodations: Listel Whistler Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre/Rocky Mountaineer to Vancouver
(Friday, September 4)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: 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 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: At Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre.
 Afternoon: Depart for the 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. A light meal will be served at your seat on the train.
 Dinner: Enjoy dinner on your own in Vancouver.
 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
Accommodations: Best Western Sands by the Sea
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 10: History of Vancouver/Museum of Anthropology
(Saturday, September 5)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: A local historian will present a slide show and discuss 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: Box lunch at the museum.
 Afternoon: 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: On your own to explore the wide array of dining options in Vancouver; or join the Group Leader at a local restaurant.
 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: Vancouver Guided Walk/Farewell Dinner
(Sunday, September 6)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: 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: At a local restaurant.
 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). Vancouver is a clean and safe city where you can walk or bike where you please.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
 Evening: Enjoy farewell celebrations and a review of the program highlights.
Accommodations: Best Western Sands by the Sea
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Program Concludes/Departure
(Monday, September 7)
 Breakfast: Breakfast will be served at the hotel between 7:30 - 9:00 a.m.
 Morning: Departures from the hotel after breakfast as per individual travel plans. Hotel check-out is 12:00 noon.

This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please be in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network, where you can share memories, pictures and comments. Best wishes for all your journeys.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  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 paddle wheeler and tour the Park on a horse-drawn wagon. For additional information, visit
  Vancouver, British Columbia 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 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 paddle wheeler 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
  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
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.

After the Ice Age: The Return of Life to Glaciated North America

Author: E.C. Pielou

Description: Eighteen thousand years ago, an immense sheet of ice covered all of present day Canada and northernmost U.S. This story tells of how a harsh terrain was transformed into the environment we know today.

Bachelor Brothers' Bed and Breakfast

Author: Bill Richardson

Description: Lake Woebegone goes British Columbian in this humorous slip of a novel about an unconventional Vancouver B&B, which features twin bookworm brothers, a talking parrot and a motley crew of hotel guests.

Banff National Park Map

Author: Gem Trek Maps

Description: A double-sided map and guide to Banff, Yoho and Kootenay national parks at a scale of 1:250,000.

Bear Tales from the Canadian Rockies

Author: Brian Patton

Description: Bears hold an honored place in the mythology of the Canadian Rockies. This collection of stories draws on the adventures of hunters and trappers, native legends and traditional tall tales to create a portrait of the animal that has captured the wild imagination of the region.

Canadian Rockies Explorer's Map and Guide

Author: Gem Trek Maps

Description: A driver's map of Banff and Jasper National Parks in Alberta, at a birds-eye scale of 1:400,000.

Eyewitness Top Ten Vancouver & Victoria

Author: Eyewitness Guides

Description: A compact, illustrated guide in the popular series, featuring favorite attractions in Vancouver and Victoria.

Field Guide to Banff National Park

Author: James Kavanagh

Description: This fold-up, laminated card features 133 color drawings and short descriptions of commonly encountered wildlife and a map.

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.

Moon Handbook Canadian Rockies

Author: Andrew Hempstead

Description: This comprehensive and authoritative guide by Banff-based Hempstead covers where to go and what to do from Jasper to Waterton.

Northern Rocky Mountain Wildflowers, Including Glacier, Waterton Lakes, Banff, Jasper, Kootenay, Mount Revelstoke, and Yoho

Author: Wayne Phillips

Description: Compiled by a former forest service ecologist and botany teacher at Yellowstone Institute, this handy guide features 300 species, expertly photographed, explained and organized by color and family for quick identification.

Rocky Mountain Natural History, Grand Teton to Jasper, A Trailside Reference

Author: Daniel Mathews

Description: A comprehensive field guide and handbook covering the plants, animals, insects, geology and history of the region. With 480 color photographs and 11 line drawings.

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.

Scats and Tracks of the Rocky Mountains

Author: James Halfpenny, Todd Telander (Illustrator)

Description: An essential pocket guide to tracks, scats and signs of not just the mammals of the region, but also of the reptiles, amphibians and birds. Each of 70 species gets a double-page spread, with line drawings of the animal, scat and track, range map and description.

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 Amazing Death of Calf Shirt and Other Blackfoot Stories, Three Hundred Years of Blackfoot History

Author: Hugh A. Dempsey

Description: A wonderful collection of stories, illuminating the history of the Blackfoot people of the prairies of southern Alberta and northern Montana.

The Great Rocky Mountain Nature Factbook

Author: Susan Ewing

Description: Ewing's family-friendly guide, with black-and-white drawings throughout, answers the curiosity of engaged visitors about the plants, animals and natural features of the Rockies.

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.

Vancouver Map

Author: Berndtson & Berndtson

Description: A laminated, folded map of Vancouver, British Columbia at a scale of 1:15,000.

Vancouver Then and Now

Author: Francis Mansbridge

Description: This installment in the Then and Now series takes stock of Vancouver’s evolution by placing antique photographs side-by-side with contemporary ones. It peels back the years so that readers can see city fixtures as they once were.

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As a not-for-profit organization, we are dedicated to providing all-inclusive educational programs at great value. From lectures to gratuities to field trips to accommodations - the tuition you pay up front is all that you pay.

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