Alberta/British Columbia

The Best of the Rockies by Rail: Western Canada's Splendor

Voyage to the heart of the Canadian Rockies by train — and glass-enclosed gondola! — discovering ancient glaciers, unique wildlife, isolated towns and stunning alpine views.
Rating (4.97)
Program No. 3748RJ
12 days
Starts at
Special Offer
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Flights start at

At a Glance

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 explore 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.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to two miles daily over varied terrain. Elevations of 4,500-8,041 feet.

Best of all, you'll ...

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

General Notes

Select dates are designated for small groups and are limited to 24 participants or less.
Featured Expert
All Experts
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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.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

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Rania Hatzioannou
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Brent MacDonald
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Patricia Thomson
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Kirsten Schmitten
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John Atkin
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Anita Hafner
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Hugh Southee
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Cory Gross
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Gabrielle Abernethy
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Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Scats and Tracks of the Rocky Mountains
by James Halfpenny, Todd Telander (Illustrator)
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.
Raven's End
by Ben Gadd
A young raven, with no memory of his past, arrives to the beautiful and dangerous landscape of Yamnuska, Banff. A book that looks at the complex world of ravens.
Switchbacks, True Stories from the Canadian Rockies
by Sid Marty
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.
Vancouver Map
by Berndtson & Berndtson
A laminated, folded map of Vancouver, British Columbia at a scale of 1:15,000.
Banff National Park Map
by Gem Trek Maps
A double-sided map and guide to Banff, Yoho and Kootenay national parks at a scale of 1:250,000.
Moon Handbook British Columbia including the Canadian Rockies
by Andrew Hempstead
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.
After the Ice Age: The Return of Life to Glaciated North America
by E.C. Pielou
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.
Field Guide to Banff National Park
by James Kavanagh
This fold-up, laminated card features 133 color drawings and short descriptions of commonly encountered wildlife and a map.
Northern Rocky Mountain Wildflowers, Including Glacier, Waterton Lakes, Banff, Jasper, Kootenay, Mount Revelstoke, and Yoho
by Wayne Phillips
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.
The Amazing Death of Calf Shirt and Other Blackfoot Stories, Three Hundred Years of Blackfoot History
by Hugh A. Dempsey
A wonderful collection of stories, illuminating the history of the Blackfoot people of the prairies of southern Alberta and northern Montana.
Vancouver Then and Now
by Francis Mansbridge
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.
Bachelor Brothers' Bed and Breakfast
by Bill Richardson
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.
Rocky Mountain Natural History, Grand Teton to Jasper, A Trailside Reference
by Daniel Mathews
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.
The Great Rocky Mountain Nature Factbook
by Susan Ewing
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.
Handbook of the Canadian Rockies
by Ben Gadd
Geology, plants, animals, history and recreation from Waterton/Glacier to the Yukon.
Eyewitness Top Ten Vancouver & Victoria
by Eyewitness Guides
A compact, illustrated guide in the popular series, featuring favorite attractions in Vancouver and Victoria.
Bear Tales from the Canadian Rockies
by Brian Patton
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.
The West Beyond the West, A History of British Columbia
by Jean Barman
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.
Moon Handbook Canadian Rockies
by Andrew Hempstead
This comprehensive and authoritative guide by Banff-based Hempstead covers where to go and what to do from Jasper to Waterton.
Canadian Rockies Explorer's Map and Guide
by Gem Trek Maps
A driver's map of Banff and Jasper National Parks in Alberta, at a birds-eye scale of 1:400,000.
A Traveller's History of Canada
by Robert Bothwell
A readable and admirably concise march through Canadian history from prehistory to today, including a timeline.
Rocky Mountain Nature Guide
by Andy Bezener
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.

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