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 (4.87)
Program No. 3748RJ
Length
12 days
Starts at
4,099
Special Offer
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12 days
11 nights
28 meals
11 B 9 L 8 D
Getting There
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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 from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Arrive to booming Calgary and transfer to the hotel. Program Registration. 4:00-5:00 p.m. Come meet our group leader in the lobby and get your welcome packet. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in and the front desk will be happy to help you.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a welcome dinner

Evening: We’ll begin our evening with an orientation session where we’ll get to know each other as well as review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes. We’ll go over important information as well as have time for questions. 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. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars or settle in for the night. You may also wish to explore what the city has to offer.

DAY
2
Glenbow Museum, Transfer to Banff
Banff, Alberta
B,L,D
The Rundlestone Lodge

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Walking approximately 1/2 mile at museum, some standing.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel

Morning: This morning we depart on a field trip to the Glenbow Museum, Western Canada’s largest and one of the nation’s foremost museum facilities. Its 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 its vivid evocation of Native cultures — particularly the local Blackfoot — and compelling descriptions of western Canada's exploration and settlement. Docents will be on hand to answer questions during our self-directed exploration.

Lunch: We’ll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant

Afternoon: Continuing our journey to Banff, we’ll make some stops along the way to marvel at the mountains coming into sight and the beauty of Banff National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Dinner: We'll enjoy dinner at the hotel

Evening: At leisure. You might like to explore the town of Banff, walk along local trails, swim at one of the hot springs, or just relax.

DAY
3
Banff Geology, Cave & Basin, Sulphur Mountain Gondola
Banff, Alberta
B,L,D
The Rundlestone Lodge

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Several sets of stairs at Cave and Basin. Elevation at top of Sulphur Mountain is 8,041 feet (2,451 meters).

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel

Morning: At Cave and Basin National Historic Site, a local expert will give us a presentation on the history and geology of the Canadian Rockies. Then, explore the site and learn about the origin and development of Canada's outstanding national parks and historic sites. The warm waters issuing from Sulphur Mountain were known to aboriginal peoples. These hot springs later became the centerpiece of Canada's first — and the world's third — national park. Stroll down to the warm marshes below the springs, easily accessible along a boardwalk, to see introduced tropical fish and warm-water plants. Bring binoculars!

Lunch: We’ll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant

Afternoon: Next (weather permitting), glide up Sulphur Mountain in 4-passenger, glass-enclosed gondolas to reinforce what we learned this morning. We’ll also have a 360-degree view of the breathtaking beauty of the Rockies. The view from the top is amazing, so bring your camera.

Dinner: We’ll enjoy dinner at a local restaurant

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Lake Louise, Yoho National Park
Banff, Alberta
B,L,D
The Rundlestone Lodge

Activity note: Walking up to 1.5 miles (2.4km); well-maintained trails, paved pathways, some inclines.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel

Morning: Experience some of the foremost geological highlights of the Rockies: Yoho National Park, Lake Louise, and Moraine Lake, one of the most photographed places in the Rocky Mountains. Learn about area geology in trailside discussions with our expert naturalist.

Lunch: At Lake Louise, we’ll enjoy box lunches. We’ll also have time for a short stroll along the shore.

Afternoon: Next, we’ll head to Emerald Lake with a stop at the Spiral Tunnels. Emerald Lake is another jewel of the Canadian Rockies. On an expert-led trail walk, learn about the interesting plant species found here and the Burgess Shale quarries along Fossil Ridge. Thanks to its position of the west side of the Great Divide in Yoho National Park, 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 forest.

Dinner: We’ll enjoy dinner at a local restaurant

Evening: At leisure.

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

Activity note: Walking approximately 1/2 mile at museum, some standing.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel

Morning: 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 to the galleries and exhibits in the Whyte Museum.

Lunch: At the historic Banff Springs Hotel, we’ll have afternoon tea here at the famed “Castle in the Rockies.” The original hotel opened in 1888, was burned and rebuilt in the 1920s, and named a National Historic Site in 1991.

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 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/off a motorcoach. Stairs to Columbia Icefields Interpretive Centre entrance. Getting in/out of Ice Explorer vehicle. Remainder of field trip completed by motorcoach.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel

Morning: Depart for Jasper, riding along the Icefields Parkway, considered one of the most scenic highways in the world. At the Columbia Icefield Interpretive Centre, learn all about this impressive geological feature that drains into the Arctic, Atlantic, and Pacific oceans. The icefield was formed during the “Great Glaciation” period (238,000-126,000 BCE.). It feeds eight major glaciers, including the Athabasca, Dome, and Stutfield glaciers, all of which we will see along the way. We will also make some stops at scenic spots.

Lunch: En route, we’ll have boxed lunches.

Afternoon: This afternoon, travel to the middle of the Athabasca Glacier, on a 3 mile (5 km) round trip journey, via a specially designed Ice Explorer vehicle. The knowledgeable driver will explain how glaciers are formed and point out interesting geological features as we ride in safety and comfort. At the mid-point, we’ll have an opportunity to step out onto ice formed from snow falling as long as 200 years ago. Arriving in Jasper late afternoon, we’ll check into our hotel with time to 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 retains its small-town feel. The distance from large urban centers and relatively intact ecology provide a real sense of the early days in the Rockies.

Dinner: We'll enjoy dinner at the hotel

Evening: At leisure.

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

Activity note: Walking up to 1 mile (1.5km); paved or maintained trails.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel

Morning: Our expert naturalist will join us at the hotel to discuss the ecology of Jasper National Park. We’ll continue with our local expert naturalist who will lead our exploration in Jasper National Park including Maligne Canyon and Pyramid Lake. On the Maligne Canyon trail, rich in natural history, we’ll see and learn about its impressive geologic features and wildlife. Search for fossils and find out how this deep canyon formed during glacial ages. The forests of these wilderness areas are home to mountain goats, elk, moose, and bears as well as a variety of birds, including Bald Eagles. Scenic trails let us explore the spectacular vantage points, flower meadows, and sapphire blue mountain lakes.

Lunch: We'll enjoy lunch at the hotel

Afternoon: Learn about the history of Jasper National Park in a presentation with our local expert Canada's largest and most northerly Rocky Mountain park encompasses more than 4,200 square miles. Healthy wildlife populations, including grizzly bears and wolves, live among its grand peaks and emerald-green lakes. The combination of these startling blue-green mountain lakes, soaring peaks and broad, forested valleys makes this one of the world's premiere national parks. Then take a field trip to the Jasper-Yellowhead Museum and Archives, where we’ll learn about the history of the Jasper-Yellowhead corridor from its earliest visitors 10,000 years ago to the present day with experts from the museum. 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: We’ll enjoy dinner at a local restaurant

Evening: At 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: Lengthy train travel day, Jasper to Kamloops. Pack everything you need including medications in a small bag (not to exceed 9" x 36" x 18" / 23 x 92 x 46 cms) to be stowed under your seat. Other luggage will be transferred to Kamloops hotel.

Breakfast: We'll enjoy breakfast on the train

Morning: After an early check-out, we’ll depart for the train station and board the Rocky Mountaineer with Silver Leaf Service to Kamloops. The custom-designed, single-dome coach with large glass windows offers excellent views of the awe-inspiring Canadian Rockies. Train attendants will provide interpretive commentary as we ride. We’ll travel from Jasper to Kamloops along the Thompson River and through the Monashee Mountains — past sparkling lakes, across trestle bridges, through tunnels carved out of rock and under mountain peaks crowned with snow. We’ll also pass Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies at 12,972 feet (3,954 meters) and beautiful Pyramid Falls.

Lunch: Enjoy lunch on the train

Afternoon: Arriving in Kamloops, we’ll transfer to the hotel. Situated in the southern interior of British Columbia at the confluence of the North and South Thompson rivers in the Thompson Valley, its name comes from the First Nations word Kahm-o-loops, meaning “meeting of the waters.” It was the native fur trade that attracted the first Europeans, and they established a trading post here in 1812. Gold rush fever in the 1850s and the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway in the 1880s contributed to the rapid expansion of the settlement. Until the 1860s, the fort at Kamloops was an important depot for the horse-drawn pack trains that traveled to and from the coast. Today, Kamloops is the third-largest city in the southern interior of British Columbia and the fifth-largest in the province.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like in Kamloops. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

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

DAY
9
Rocky Mountaineer to Vancouver
Vancouver, British Columbia
B,L
Best Western Plus Sands Hotel

Activity note: Lengthy train travel day, Kamloops to Vancouver. Pack everything you need including medications in a small bag (not to exceed 9" x 36" x 18" / 23 x 92 x 46 cms) to be stowed under your seat. Other luggage will be transferred to Vancouver hotel.

Breakfast: We'll enjoy breakfast on the train

Morning: We’ll board the Rocky Mountaineer train, Silver Leaf Service, bound for Vancouver. The route will follow the Thompson River and travel through the Fraser Canyon. Marvel at the towering peaks of the Coast Mountains before passing into the fertile farmland of the Fraser Valley. As the surrounding scenery unfolds, so will the interpretive commentary about the changing landscape and the interplay of geology, glacial history, ecology and human history that has shaped this diverse and beautiful land.

Lunch: Enjoy lunch on the train

Afternoon: Continuing our journey, hear about the history and development of the Canadian Pacific Railway, including the travails of building the line through the Rocky Mountains. Carved out of solid rock, it was called the “Iron Road." The railway actually crossed all of Canada, and was finished in 1885. We expect to arrive in Vancouver at approximately 7:00 p.m. and transfer to the hotel.

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

Evening: At 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 Anthropology
Vancouver, British Columbia
B,L,D
Best Western Plus Sands Hotel

Activity note: Getting on and off a motorcoach. Walking up to 1 mile.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel

Morning: Vancouver — cradled between snow-capped mountains and the Pacific Ocean — 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. It is also on the leading edge of public policy and planning, with a plan for sustainable development. A local historian will present a slide show and discuss the city’s history. We’ll learn about Vancouver's evolution into a modern, progressive city. We will then transfer by coach to Granville Island and explore some of the highlights along the way including Stanley Park, downtown, Chinatown, Gastown and False Creek.

Lunch: We'll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant on Granville Island

Afternoon: At the Museum of Anthropology, with one of the world's outstanding collections of Pacific Northwest Aboriginal artifacts, we’ll get a glimpse into the remarkable lives of the indigenous peoples of the northwest coast of British Columbia. Our exploration will be led by docents who are students of anthropology at the University of British Columbia. 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. Its collections, exhibitions, and programs are renowned for providing insight into the cultures of indigenous peoples around the world.

Dinner: We'll enjoy at the hotel

Evening: At 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
Best Western Plus Sands Hotel

Activity note: Walking approximately 2 miles; city streets.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel

Morning: With a local historian, take walking field trip to explore Vancouver's historic landmarks, dramatic new architecture and great parks. On this walk we will explore the extraordinary evolution of the city's downtown and the Coal Harbour waterfront, and see how it has become one of the most talked about urban transformations in North America.

Lunch: On your own.

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: We'll enjoy our farewell dinner at a local restaurant

Evening: We’ll a closing session to review highlights of the program and celebrate a successful conclusion of our adventure together.

DAY
12
Program Concludes
Vancouver, British Columbia
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out is by 11:00 a.m.

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

Morning: We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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