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 (4.94)
Program No. 3748RJ
Length
12 days
Starts at
4,099
Special Offer
Print All
Map details are not available for this location.
View Map
Expand All
12 days
11 nights
28 meals
11 B 9 L 8 D
Getting There
See travel details and required documents
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, 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: Program Registration. 4:00 - 5:00 p.m. After you have your room assignment, come meet our Group Leader in the lobby to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, other important information, and to confirm when and where the Orientation session will take place. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a welcome dinner, with coffee, tea, water included.

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 daily 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. 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 Rimrock Resort Hotel

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

Breakfast: At the hotel, we will enjoy breakfast, with coffee, tea, water included.

Morning: This morning, we will 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: At a local restaurant, we’ll enjoy lunch, with coffee, tea, water included.

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

Dinner: At the hotel, we'll enjoy dinner, with coffee, tea, water included.

Evening: At leisure.

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

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: At the hotel, we will enjoy breakfast, with coffee, tea, water included.

Morning: After arriving at Cave and Basin National Historic Site by motorcoach, a local expert will give us a presentation on the history and geology of the Canadian Rockies. Then, we will 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. Strolling down to the warm marshes below the springs, easily accessible along a boardwalk, we can see introduced tropical fish and warm-water plants.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll enjoy lunch, with coffee, tea, water included.

Afternoon: We will then 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.

Dinner: At the hotel, we'll enjoy dinner, with coffee, tea, water included.

Evening: Returning to the hotel, we will enjoy the evening at leisure.

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

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

Breakfast: Hotel breakfast.

Morning: We'll 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. After arriving by motorcoach, our expert naturalist will tell us about the area's geology in trailside discussions.

Lunch: At Lake Louise, we’ll enjoy box lunches, with 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, we'll learn about the interesting plant species found here and the Burgess Shale quarries along Fossil Ridge. Emerald represents four very different environments from its location on the western side of the Continental Divide, including an avalanche path, a forest, a dry and dramatic alluvial fan, and a tall rainforest on its shores.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll enjoy dinner, with coffee, tea, water included.

Evening: At leisure.

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

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

Breakfast: Hotel breakfast.

Morning: We will travel by motorcoach to the home of artists Peter and Catharine (Robb) Whyte in Banff, built in 1931 and representative of a beautiful, rustic mountain style. Today it houses the Whyte Museum. Then, we'll journey back in time to absorb the elegant air of Phillip and Pearl (Brewster) Moore in their 1907 home and their artifact and antique collection that resides there today. This field trip provides an intimate look at both homes and the intriguing people who lived in them.

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 Crimson 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: Hotel breakfast.

Morning: After checkout, we will depart for Jasper, riding along the Icefields Parkway, considered one of the most scenic highways in the world. At the Columbia Icefield Interpretive Centre, we'll 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, we'll 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: At the hotel, we'll enjoy dinner, with coffee, tea, water included.

Evening: At leisure.

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

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

Breakfast: At the hotel, we'll enjoy breakfast, with coffee, tea, water included.

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 Jasper National Park by motorcoach, who will lead our exploration to remarkable sites 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, searching for fossils and learning 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. We'll then return to the hotel.

Lunch: At the hotel, we'll enjoy lunch, with coffee, tea, water included.

Afternoon: We'll 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. Then, we will 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 gallery also hosts exhibits about the fur trade, the days of the pioneers, and the history of the town of Jasper.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll enjoy dinner, with coffee, tea, water included.

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: 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: After an early (6:00 a.m.) check-out, we’ll depart for the train station and board the Rocky Mountaineer with Gold Leaf Service to Kamloops. The custom-designed glass-domed GoldLeaf coach will take us through the awe-inspiring Canadian Rockies, with observation spots on the upper level. 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: On the train, we'll 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: Arriving in Kamloops, we’ll transfer to the hotel. Situated in the southern interior of British Columbia 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. 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.

Evening: At 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: 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: Breakfast aboard the train.

Morning: We’ll board the Rocky Mountaineer train for Vancouver. The route will follow the Thompson River and travel through the Fraser Canyon. We'll marvel at the towering peaks of the Coast Mountains before passing into the fertile farmland of the Fraser Valley, with interpretive commentary changing with the scenery.

Lunch: Lunch aboard the train.

Afternoon: Continuing our journey, we'll 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. to transfer to our hotel.

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

Evening: At leisure.

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

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

Breakfast: At the hotel, we'll enjoy breakfast, with coffee, tea, water included.

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 motorcoach to Granville Island and explore some of the highlights along the way including Stanley Park, downtown, Chinatown, Gastown and False Creek.

Lunch: At a local restaurant on Granville Island, we will enjoy lunch, with coffee, tea, water included.

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 via self-led exploration of the exhibits. 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. Its collections, exhibitions, and programs are renowned for providing insight into the cultures of indigenous peoples around the world. We will then return to the hotel.

Dinner: At the hotel, we'll enjoy dinner, with coffee, tea, water included.

Evening: At leisure.

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

Activity note: Walking approximately 2 miles; city streets.

Breakfast: Hotel breakfast.

Morning: With a local historian, we'll take a 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.

Dinner: We'll enjoy our farewell dinner at a local restaurant. Coffee, tea, water included.

Evening: We’ll enjoy 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 by 12:00 Noon.

Breakfast: Hotel breakfast. 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 another rewarding program in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






Click here to provide website feedback
Website Feedback