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5 Sights in Canada You Must See From the Train

Canada has a diverse landscape and dramatic, awe-inspiring views from coast to coast. One of the best ways to experience all of this — mountains, prairies, rivers, lakes, forests — is by taking a train across the country. The local travel experts at Canadian Train Vacations know what scenery you’ll pass on each train route. Here are some of the top sights to look out for. 

The Exclusive Photo Opp at Pyramid Falls

The Rocky Mountaineer train passing Pyramid Falls on the Journey Through the Clouds route.

A feature of Rocky Mountaineer trips is how the hosts don’t let you miss the scenic highlights — like Pyramid Falls, on the Journey Through the Clouds route. The 300-foot, three-tiered waterfall cascades into the North Thompson River not far from the British Columbia-Alberta border — an isolated location inaccessible by car.

This beautiful view of Pyramid Falls is exclusive to the railway, so you will be one of the few to capture this sight. The impressive waterfall is in a protected area of mixed forest with old-growth cedar and hemlock.

While the train never comes to a complete stop, it does slow down near points of interest, including Pyramid Falls, so you have time to take a photo. Rocky Mountaineer staff will tell you when the train is approaching so you can get your camera ready!  

The Unusual Colours at Kamloops’ Painted Bluffs

The Painted Bluffs in Kamloops, British Columbia

The multi-coloured landscape of The Painted Bluffs near Kamloops, British Columbia, is also on the Rocky Mountaineer’s Journey Through the Clouds route. Situated on the west end of Kamloops Lake, close to the Gold Country town of Savona, Painted Bluffs Provincial Park has historic mine sites and native copper diggings. The area is of geological significance, and access is limited. The muted rainbow hues in the soil and rocks come from millennia of erosion, exposing minerals to the elements.

Riding the Rocky Mountaineer train is the best way to see this eye-catching kaleidoscope of colours — since there are no developed trails or roads leading into the park. As you pass by, watch for California bighorn sheep! A large population of these species frequents the area, so you may spot them skipping along the ridges.

The View of the Fraser River from Cisco Crossing

A rail bridge crosses the Fraser River in a misty landscape

Another view along the Rocky Mountaineer’s Journey Through the Clouds route is from the rail bridge high above the Fraser River at Cisco Crossing near Lytton, British Columbia. It's where Canada’s two train lines — the Canadian Pacific Railway and Canadian National Railway — meet, and CN’s distinctive orange truss arch bridge makes for an ideal photo opp.

If you are in GoldLeaf, head to the outdoor viewing platform. Look down at the rushing water below, feel the wind against your cheeks, and ponder the history of these parallel railway bridges. If you would rather stay inside, embrace the panoramic views through the train's glass-dome windows.

The Canadian Shield in Northern Ontario

A view of a lake from the VIA train on the Toronto to Vancouver route

As you travel across Canada on VIA Rail’s Canadian train, there is always something to see. The scenery is ever-changing: towering mountains, bright blue lakes, lush rainforests, and prairie grasslands. 

In Northern Ontario, the train travels through the Canadian Shield. One of the world’s largest masses of exposed Precambrian rock, the shield covers much of Quebec, Ontario, and Manitoba (as well as parts of other provinces). The landscape is a mix of rugged, exposed bedrock, sweeping forests, small lakes, and rocky hills. Enjoy the scenery from your private train cabin (included in Sleeper Plus or Prestige class), in the dining car, or — our favourite place — the Skyline dome car.

The Natural Wonder of Howe Sound

Rocky Mountaineer travelling along Howe Sound through the Sea To Sky Corridor

B.C.'s Howe Sound is Canada’s newest United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) biosphere. Known as Átl'ka7tsem in the local Squamish language, Howe Sound’s scenic and diverse habitats support a variety of wildlife. The deep fjord has several large islands, making it incredibly picturesque. Kayaking and hiking are popular summer activities around Squamish, a town at the northern tip of Howe Sound.

The Rocky Mountaineer Rainforest to Gold Rush Route winds along the majestic fjord. The train tracks hug the rugged coastline between Vancouver and Whistler, taking you slowly uphill from "sea to sky." This section of the train journey heads towards the Coast Mountain Range and is spectacular. Get close to the sparkling ocean by standing in the train's outdoor viewing areas. This train journey is featured in our Discover Whistler and the Canadian Rockies by Rail trip.

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Fresh Tracks Canada
Our team of Canadian Insiders love exploring Canada.