3748
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 (4.95)
Program No. 3748RJ
Length
12 days
Starts at
4,799
Special Offer
Click on Dates & Prices below to see special offer details.
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12 days
11 nights
27 meals
11 B 9 L 7 D
DAY
1
Arrival & Check-In, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Calgary, Alberta
D
Best Western Plus Port O'Call Calgary Airport Hotel

Activity note: Hotel check-in starts at 3:00 pm.

Afternoon: Arrive in Calgary. Program registration begins at 4:00 pm. After you have your room assignment, join us at the Road Scholar table in the lobby to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing the up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, other important information, and to confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. Remember to bring your name-tag (sent previously).

Dinner: Dinner will be served at the hotel at 6:00 pm.

Evening: Orientation. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

DAY
2
Glenbow Museum, Transfer to Banff
Banff, Alberta
B,L,D
The Rimrock Resort Hotel

Activity note: Getting on and off a motor coach. Walking approximately half a mile at the museum, and there will be periods of standing.

Breakfast: A buffet breakfast is provided by the hotel and includes hot and cold options as well as coffee, tea, and juice.

Morning: This morning’s field trip is to the Glenbow Museum, Western Canada’s largest museum. Learn about the critical role of the railway through Glenbow’s extensive collection of art and artifacts. We’ll see the images that first brought people from around the world to Western Canada. We’ll meet the interesting personalities that came here. We’ll also be introduced to the Blackfoot people of Alberta (including the Siksika, Piikani, Kainaiwa, Tsuut’ina, Stoney Nakoda, Chiniki, Wesley, Bearspaw and Metis Nation Region III) and share the story of Western Canada’s development through the perspectives of both European and Indigenous peoples.

Lunch: Enjoy local cuisine at a restaurant in Calgary.

Afternoon: We’ll journey to Banff National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here we’ll witness the grandeur of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, enjoy a scenic drive, see turquoise glacial lakes and, perhaps, even some wildlife. Banff National Park was the first national park in the country and fostered the beginnings of the national park system in Canada.

Dinner: Enjoy dinner at the hotel. Dessert, coffee and tea are included.

Evening: The evening may be enjoyed at your leisure. Explore the town of Banff, or walk along local trails, or swim at local hot springs and relax.

DAY
3
Banff Geology, Cave & Basin, Sulphur Mountain Gondola
Banff, Alberta
B,L,D
The Rimrock Resort Hotel

Activity note: Getting on and off a motor coach. Several sets of stairs at the Cave and Basin Historic Site. Maximum elevation of Sulphur Mountain is 8,041 feet (2,451 m).

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Learn about the history and geology of the Canadian Rockies from a geologist at the Cave and Basin National Historic Site. Gain insight into the natural forces that formed the rugged landscape of the Rocky Mountains, and the differences between the Front and Main Ranges. Understand what is meant by the “Ring of Fire,” the role of plate tectonics in the area, and about the healing splendor of the hot springs at the Cave and Basin National Historic Site.

Lunch: Enjoy local cuisine at a near-by restaurant.

Afternoon: Glide to the summit of Sulphur Mountain in four-passenger gondolas (weather permitting). At a height of 8,041 feet (2,451 meters), enjoy a bird eye’s view of the breathtaking beauty of the Rockies.

Dinner: Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.

Evening: At your leisure.

DAY
4
Lake Louise, Yoho National Park
Banff, Alberta
B,L,D
The Rimrock Resort Hotel

Activity note: Walking up to two miles on well-maintained trails, paved paths, with some inclines.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Experience some of the foremost geological highlights of the Rockies on walking field trips at Lake Louise, and Moraine Lake. Learn about the natural history of the area in trailside discussions with our local expert.

Lunch: Enjoy a boxed lunch at a scenic spot.

Afternoon: This afternoon’s field trip will feature an expert led walk at Emerald Lake, and a stop at the Spiral Tunnels. Learn about the interesting plant species to be found here and about the Burgess Shale quarries along Fossil Ridge. Notice the various landscapes along the way, including avalanche paths, pine forests, and the rainforest.

Dinner: Dinner will be served at a local restaurant.

Evening: At your leisure.

DAY
5
Whyte Museum, Moore Home, Banff Springs Hotel, Free Time
Banff, Alberta
B,L
The Rimrock Resort Hotel

Activity note: Walking approximately half a mile at the museum with some periods of extended standing.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: We’ll step into the 1931 home of artists and Whyte Museum founders, Peter and Catharine (Robb) Whyte, whose home illuminates their simple yet classic mountain style. Then journey back a generation to soak in the rustic elegance enjoyed by collectors Phillip and Pearl (Brewster) Moore in their 1907 home. This field trip provides an intimate look at both homes and the intriguing people who lived in them. In addition, visit the galleries and exhibits in the Whyte Museum.

Lunch: Enjoy afternoon tea at the famed Banff Springs Hotel.

Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At your leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
6
Icefields Parkway Center, Athabasca Glacier, Ice Explorer
Jasper, Alberta
B,L,D
The Chateau Jasper

Activity note: Getting on and off a motorcoach. Stairs to Columbia Icefields Interpretive Centre entrance. Stepping up and out of an Ice Explorer vehicle. Remainder of the trip completed by motor coach. Travelling 3.5 hours from Banff to the Athabasca Glacier. Travelling 3 hours from the Glacier to Jasper.

Breakfast: A buffet breakfast will be provided by the hotel.

Morning: Travel by motor coach to Jasper National Park along the Icefields Parkway. The highway follows a lake-and-river lined valley between the Eastern Main Ranges that make up the Continental Divide where water flows from one slope west to the Pacific Ocean, from another east to the Arctic Ocean, and another north to Hudson’s Bay.

Lunch: Enjoy boxed lunches during our journey.

Afternoon: Travel to the center of the Athabasca Glacier on a three-mile round trip aboard purpose-built Ice Explorer coaches. Ice Explorer staff will explain the formation of glaciers and direct your attention to interesting geological features. We’ll have the opportunity to step out onto and to touch the ancient ice which reaches depths of 270-1000 feet (90 – 300 meters).

Dinner: Dinner will be served at the hotel in Jasper townsite.

Evening: At your leisure.

DAY
7
Jasper National Park, Pyramid Lake, Maligne Canyon
Jasper, Alberta
B,L
The Chateau Jasper

Activity note: Walking up to two miles on paved and maintained trails.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: This morning’s lecture will discuss the ecology of Jasper National Park. Join our expert naturalist on an exploration of the park, including Pyramid Lake, and Maligne Canyon where we’ll learn about its formation during the glacial ages.

Lunch: We'll enjoy lunch at the hotel.

Afternoon: Learn about the cultural history of Jasper National Park in a presentation with an expert. Jasper Park encompasses over 4,200 square miles with an abundance of wildlife including wolves and grizzly bears. Enjoy some free time: You may wish to visit the Jasper-Yellowhead Museum and Archives which explores the history of the area. The Historical Gallery includes exhibits about the fur trade, pioneers, and the railway.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy local fare.

Evening: At your leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
8
Rocky Mountaineer Train to Kamloops
Kamloops, British Columbia
B,L
Kamloops Hotel TBA

Activity note: Travelling by train from Jasper to Kamloops for 9.5 hours. Pack everything needed including medications in a small bag (not to exceed 9” x 36” x 18” / 23 cm x 92cm x 46cm) to be stowed under your seat. Other luggage will be separately transferred to the Kamloops hotel.

Breakfast: On the train, breakfast service in the dining car begins with a fresh seasonal fruit plate and warmed baked goods; choice of breakfast items and beverages.

Morning: Board the Rocky Mountaineer with Gold Leaf Service to Kamloops. The custom-designed bi-level, glass domed Gold Leaf coach offers incredible views of the inspiring Canadian Rockies. Take in the view of dazzling vistas while upstairs and enjoy delicious meals downstairs. We’ll travel from Jasper to Kamloops along the Thompson River and through the Monashee Mountains with commentary by train attendants. We’ll also pass Pyramid Falls and the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, Mount Robson, reaching 12,972 feet (3,954 meters).

Lunch: On the train, enjoy a plated meal in the dining car, with choice of soup or salad followed by a choice of delicious entrees; all beverages included.

Afternoon: Continue travelling by train to Kamloops. The city’s name comes from the First Nations word Kahm-o-loops, meaning “meeting of the waters” which aptly describes the city’s location at the confluence of the North and South Thompson Rivers.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy in Kamloops.

Evening: At your leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
9
Rocky Mountaineer to Vancouver
Vancouver, British Columbia
B,L
Sutton Place Hotel

Activity note: Riding by train for 9.5 hours from Kamloops to Vancouver. Pack everything needed, including medications, in a small bag (not to exceed 9” x 36” x 18”/23cm x 92cm x 46cm) to be stowed under your seat. Other luggage will be transferred to the Vancouver hotel.

Breakfast: We'll enjoy breakfast on the train.

Morning: Journey to Vancouver aboard the Rocky Mountaineer train (Gold Leaf Service). We’ll travel along the Thompson River and the Fraser River and through the dramatic Fraser Canyon. Marvel at the towering peaks of the Coast Mountains before passing into the fertile farmland of the Fraser Valley. Hear about the interplay of geology, glacial history, ecology and human history that has shaped the diverse land.

Lunch: Lunch will be enjoyed on board the train.

Afternoon: Hear about the history, development and struggles of building the Canadian Pacific Railway, nicknamed the “Iron Road,” while en route to Vancouver.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like in Vancouver.

Evening: At your leisure. You might like to go out and see something of the area on your own or relax at the hotel.

DAY
10
History of Vancouver, Museum of Vancouver
Vancouver, British Columbia
B,L,D
Sutton Place Hotel

Activity note: Getting on and off a motor coach. Walking up to two miles.

Breakfast: Breakfast will be enjoyed at the hotel.

Morning: Led by a local expert, enjoy a lecture focusing on the history and evolution of Vancouver into a modern and progressive city. We’ll explore Stanley Park, Chinatown, Gastown, and False Creek as we travel by coach to Granville Island.

Lunch: Enjoy local flavors at restaurant on Granville Island.

Afternoon: Gain a deeper understanding of the city and the First Nations people of the Pacific Northwest while listening to a lecture at the Museum of Vancouver. The educational department will lead us on an examination of the museum’s exhibits before we enjoy free time to explore the museum independently.

Dinner: We'll enjoy at the hotel.

Evening: At your leisure. You might like to set out and see more of Vancouver on your own or just relax.

DAY
11
Vancouver Walking Field Trip, Free Time, Farewell Dinner
Vancouver, British Columbia
B,D
Sutton Place Hotel

Activity note: Walking up to two miles along city streets.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Explore Vancouver’s historic landmarks, architecture, and parks on a walking journey led by a local historian. Learn about the extraordinary evolution of the city as we traverse from downtown to the vibrant waterfront.

Lunch: On your own to explore the many diverse culinary experiences available.

Afternoon: Free Time. You might like to explore Stanley Park and Vancouver's famous seawall or another part of the beautiful city. The Stanley Park Seawall rings the peninsula of Stanley Park for a distance of 5.5 miles (8.85 km). You can walk or bike where you please.

Dinner: Enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.

Evening: Review highlights of the program and share your favorite memories with your fellow Road Scholars.

DAY
12
Program Concludes
Vancouver, British Columbia
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out is by noon.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel. This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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