Best Canadian Rockies Train Tours

Glide through some of the world's most amazing mountain scenery on a Canadian Rockies train trip.

View of Crowfoot Glacier along the Icefields Parkway in Banff National Park

Carving out a route through the Rocky Mountains wasn't easy. Early pioneers had to lay rails on steep switchbacks and blast through rock with dynamite. But they persevered. And their efforts resulted in a track that hugs pine-clad slopes and clings to the mountainside. It twists and turns through view after stunning view. This Vancouver-to-Banff train route is a vital part of Canada's history. And it gets you so much closer to the wilderness than any road trip ever could.

From your seat, see ice-blue glacier lakes, alpine forests and dramatic rock formations. There's no better way to immerse yourself in the wild backcountry of the Canadian Rockies.

The travel expert at Canadian Train Vacations have local knowledge of these scenic Rockies train trips. We can customised our trip itineraries to your interests and preferences. You can choose your activities, train service level, and hotel type for the best vacation possible. Discover more about these trips.

Top Canadian Rockies Train Trips in 2024/25

Our travel experts have picked some of our favourite Canadian Rockies train tours below. Get in touch for more information.

Keep reading or chat with one of our local travel experts. We’re passionate about Canada and can help you at any stage of your vacation planning.

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Essential Rockies by Train 

Discover the best of the Canadian Rockies in six days! Start your trip with a Rocky Mountaineer daylight train journey between Vancouver and Lake Louise. Admire the lake’s sparkling turquoise waters, then head to the mountain town of Banff for more adventures. 

Miles on train: 594 Miles 

Days on train: 2 

Stops: Vancouver, Kamloops, Banff and Lake Louise 

Complete Canadian Rockies by Rail 

This 8-day Canadian Rockies itinerary is full of exciting activities so you can experience all the highlights in just over a week. Enjoy a train journey to Jasper and a sightseeing tour down the Icefields Parkway to Lake Louise. Explore both Banff and Jasper national parks on your choice of sightseeing tour. Read our Canadian Rockies train trip reviews and see why this is one of our bestselling trips! 

Miles on train: 559 Miles 

Days on train: 2 

Train Stops: Vancouver, Kamloops, and Jasper 

Canadian Rockies Voyage by Train 

Experience an overnight train journey on this Rockies vacation package. See the towns of Banff and Jasper, as well as the West Coast city of Vancouver. This 6-day itinerary also includes a tour along the awe-inspiring Icefields Parkway and is packed with impressive mountain views. 

Miles on train: 332 Miles 

Days on train:1 

Night on train: 1 

Train Stops: Vancouver and Jasper

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Get inspired with sample itineraries, train information, route maps, and travel advice from our local experts.

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Polar bear cartoon looking through a pair of binoculars

Why a Canadian Rockies Train Trip

Canadian Rockies tours by train transcend the mode of transportation – it's an experience that captivates the senses, offering unparalleled relaxation as one discovers the classic appeal of train travel. Whether you’re seeking adventure, tranquility, or a bit of both, this journey through one of the world's most beautiful regions is sure to leave you with lasting memories.

Stand in awe of the turquoise waters and glacier mountain views at Lake Louise. 
Travel along the Icefields Parkway between Jasper and Lake Louise — this 232-kilometre stretch of highway is one of the most beautiful drives in the world. 
Watch for Rocky Mountain wildlife like elk, mountain goats, and bears. 
Glide past Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, as you travel by train. Discover emerald lakes and rushing waterfalls, which provide amazing photographic opportunities.

Here’s why you should consider embarking on a train ride through the Canadian Rockies:

Immersive Scenery

One of the most compelling reasons to choose a Canadian Rockies train vacation is the immersive experience of the stunning landscapes. From the comfort of your seat, you can gaze through panoramic windows and witness the awe-inspiring beauty of the region. There’s snow-capped peaks that glow in the sunlight, dramatic ancient glaciers that have shaped the land over millennia, and vibrant turquoise lakes that reflect the surrounding mountains. The journey also takes you through lush forests, each turn offering a new, captivating view. 

Wildlife Spotting

The Canadian Rockies are home to a diverse range of wildlife, and a train ride trough the Rockies offers a front-row seat to observe these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. As the train passes through the wilderness, keep your eyes peeled for bears roaming the forests, elk grazing in open meadows, and moose making their way through the marshlands. Eagles can often be seen soaring overhead, adding to the sense of awe and connection with nature. The trains’ routes through remote areas increases your chances of spotting animals.

Relaxing and Nostalgic

In an era where travel often involves hectic schedules and crowded airports,  Canadian Rockies railroad trips offers a refreshing alternative. It's a stress-free way to travel, allowing you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the journey without the usual travel hassles. The gentle rocking of the train and the rhythmic sound of the tracks create a soothing ambiance, perfect for unwinding. The extended time during a scenic train ride in the Canadian Rockies and the many sights along the route allow you to fully appreciate the landscapes and wildlife, making the trip as enjoyable as the destination.

Aerial view of Lake Minnewanka in Banff National Park in summer

#1 Travel tip: Banff Gondola

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There are many exciting activity options and attractions in Banff, including the Banff Gondola. Ride to the top of Sulphur Mountain and enjoy beautiful panoramic views of six mountain ranges!

Katherine Foxcroft
Product Manager, Tours and Vacations

Canadian Rockies Train Experiences

These are some suggested train experiences for your Canadian adventure. 

Rocky Mountaineer, Daylight train 

The Rocky Mountaineer winds through British Columbia and Alberta and stops in Jasper, Lake Louise, Banff, Vancouver, Whistler, Quesnel and Kamloops. There are three main train routes, including the Canadian Rockies train Vancouver to Banff. The train only runs during the daytime and from April to October (start and end dates vary annually). Large windows, an outdoor platform, and glass-dome coaches are perfect for sightseeing.

A Rocky Mountaineer train with glass-dome coaches travels past Castle Mountain in the Rockies

SilverLeaf and GoldLeaf are the two service levels on Rocky Mountaineer. 

In SilverLeaf, guests have assigned seats in a single-level dome car. Breakfast and lunch are served to guests at their seat, with complimentary snacks and beverages available throughout the day.  

In GoldLeaf, guests have assigned seats in a bi-level dome car. Seating is on the top level and a dining room is on the lower level. Breakfast and lunch are served in the dining room, with complimentary snacks and beverages available throughout the day.  

VIA Rail Train 

VIA Rail runs trains across Canada all year round. There are a few major train routes. The Canadian train passes through the Canadian Rockies, stopping at Jasper on its way to Vancouver from Toronto (or vice versa). On VIA Rail, you can also go to Prince Rupert, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec and Halifax. VIA Rail offers daylight and overnight sleeper train experiences.

A VIA Rail train travels past snow-capped mountains on snowy train tracks during winter

#2 Travel tip: Winter train trip

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VIA Rail trains operate year-round. So, if you’re looking to visit the Canadian Rockies in winter, you can travel to Jasper by sleeper train from Vancouver or Toronto.

Blog Author - Hannah Poaros-Mcdermott
Hannah Poaros-McDermott
Travel Writer and Senior Content Coordinator

Sleeper Train, VIA Rail 

One option for your Canadian Rockies train travel is the Sleeper train. Sleeper Class is available on The Canadian between Vancouver and Toronto. You can go all the way from coast to coast or choose to stop in Jasper or Winnipeg. Jasper is where you would disembark for your Canadian Rockies adventure.

There are three service levels on The Canadian train: Economy, Sleeper Plus, and Prestige. Both Sleeper Plus and Prestige classes are recommended if you are spending a long time on the train. Sleeper Plus includes a private berth or a cabin with bunk beds. Hot meals are served in the dining car of the train, and these are included throughout your journey. Prestige Class is a luxury service that includes priority meal reservations, afternoon tapas, snacks, drinks, meals, and more. Prestige Class cabins are larger than Sleeper Plus cabins and feature a lower bed for two. Prestige guests also have a dedicated concierge. Both Sleeper Plus and Prestige guests have access to the train’s viewing cars.

A VIA Rail sleeper train cabin has two chairs next to a window looking out to the Rockies

If you want to extend your stay in Canada, you can also sleep on board The Ocean train. This VIA Rail train travels between the provinces of Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

Both sleeper train routes are available all year long.

Alaska Cruise - suggested add-on 

Canadian Rockies train tours from Vancouver can combine with an Alaska Cruise. The rail part of your trip can come before or after your Alaska cruise. There are two types of cruise ships. Choose a larger, more luxurious vessel or a smaller ship that allows you to visit more coves and inlets. Each type of ship has its advantages, so it depends on your style of travel and what you want to get out of your Alaska cruise adventure.

A couple stand on the deck of an Alaska cruise ship looking out at an iceberg

Top 5 Places to see in the Canadian Rockies

These are examples of the places you can visit on a Canadian Rockies trip. Please get in touch to discuss your options and to check availability for your Canadian Rockies train ride.

1. Banff, Alberta 

The townsite of Banff, established in 1885, is the hub of Banff National Park. A lively mountain town with great restaurants, Banff is a welcome change of pace. Enjoy strolling Banff Avenue or try one of the outdoor adventures. Banff was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984 for its incredible mountain peaks, glaciers, lakes, and waterfalls.

View of Banff National Park and Banff townsite from above

2. Jasper, Alberta 

Nicknamed the 'gentle giant of the Rockies,' Jasper is a small alpine town in the heart of Jasper National Park. It’s the largest park in the Canadian Rockies and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Jasper is also a Dark Sky Preserve, making it the perfect place for stargazing.

A person looks up at the starry sky using a large telescope in Jasper National Park

3. Lake Louise, Alberta 

Lake Louise, named after the nearby lake, is a quaint hamlet in the heart of the Rockies. The lake is known for its sparkling turquoise waters and impressive glacier-clad peaks. It offers a surreal paddling experience in the warm summer months. In winter, the lake turns into one of the most scenic skating rinks in the world.

A couple skates in front of an ice castle on frozen Lake Louise with snowy mountains behind

4. Yoho National Park, British Columbia

Yoho National Park, situated in eastern British Columbia, is part of the Canadian Rockies UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park is home to dramatic waterfalls, emerald lakes, fossil sites, and towering mountains. Field is a small town in the centre of the national park and the perfect place for lunch stops or cozy overnight stays. 

A canoe on Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park

5. Canmore, Alberta 

Surrounded by the peaks of the Rocky Mountains, Canmore’s lively arts scene, charming shops, and diverse dining options make it a welcoming mountain community. This quaint small town is in Kananaskis County, just 22 kilometres (12 miles) east of Banff. 

View of a path next to the town of Canmore and snow-capped Three Sisters mountain

Choosing the Right Train Experience for You

Selecting your perfect train trip in the Canadian Rockies depends on various factors including your desired level of luxury, the specific route you wish to travel, and the time of year you plan to go. 

Luxury vs. Classic

When it comes to choosing a luxury versus classic train experience, you need to consider your desired level of comfort, the type of service, and the amenities you’d like, as well as factoring in your budget.

Luxury Options

If you prefer a high-end experience with premium amenities, consider the GoldLeaf service on the Rocky Mountaineer.

  • GoldLeaf Service: This top-tier option features bi-level coaches with full glass-dome windows on the upper level for panoramic views, gourmet meals prepared by executive chefs served in a dining car, and an exclusive outdoor viewing platform. The service is impeccable, with attentive staff ensuring every detail of your journey is perfect.
    For an ultimate luxury experience on a sleeper train, upgrade to VIA Rail’s Prestige Class, which offers unparalleled comfort and exclusivity on longer overnight journeys.
  • Prestige Class: On VIA Rail's sleeper trains, Prestige Class provides private modern cabins with en-suite bathrooms, dedicated concierge service, and priority access to dining and lounge cars. It's an ideal choice for those seeking a blend of luxury and extended travel across Canada.

Classic Options

For travelers who prefer a more traditional experience or have a tighter budget, the other service tier options on these trains offer a charming and comfortable way to see the Rockies. You can still enjoy stunning views, cozy accommodations, and friendly service, making it a memorable journey without the premium price tag.

  • SilverLeaf Service: While more affordable than GoldLeaf, Rocky Mountaineer’s SilverLeaf still offers an elevated experience with single-level dome coaches that provide excellent views, locally inspired cuisine served at your seat, and a high standard of service.
  • Sleeper Plus: with VIA Rail’s Sleeper Plus, you still enjoy a private cabin and access to the lounge and dining cars. While some options have a private toilet, there are shared showers. 

Route Considerations

Your choice of route will shape your overall experience, depending on whether you want an immersive Rockies adventure or a broader cross-country exploration.

  • Rockies-Focused Routes: If your primary interest is in experiencing the Canadian Rockies, consider Rocky Mountaineer's daylight sight-seeing trains. These routes are specifically designed to highlight the most scenic and iconic parts of the Rockies, offering a concentrated and intensive experience of the region’s natural beauty.
  • Cross-Country Journeys: For those looking to extend their adventure beyond the Rockies, VIA Rail’s "The Canadian" offers an epic journey from Vancouver to Toronto. This route provides a comprehensive cross-country experience, including the train across the Canadian Rockies, as well as the diverse landscapes of Canada, from prairies to forests to urban centres. It's a great option if you have more time and want to see more of what Canada has to offer.

Time of Year

The time of year you choose for your train trip in the Canadian Rockies can significantly influence your experience, as the scenery and available activities change with the seasons.

  • Spring (April to June): Spring brings a burst of colour to the Rockies with blooming wildflowers and rushing waterfalls fed by melting snow. Wildlife is also very active during this time, making it a great season for animal sightings.
  • Summer (July to September): Summer offers the most comfortable weather and the longest days, perfect for outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, and sightseeing. The lakes are at their most vibrant turquoise, and the mountains are lush and green.
  • Fall (October to November): Fall is a spectacular time to visit for the autumn foliage, with its rich reds, oranges, and yellows. The cooler temperatures and fewer tourists also make for a more tranquil experience.
  • Winter (December to March): Winter transforms the Rockies into a snowy playground. While Rocky Mountaineer does not operate in winter, VIA Rail’s Canadian is affectionately known as the Snow Train, and offers a stunning train ride in the Canadian Rockies, especially as it travels between Vancouver and Edmonton. Tours at this time offer unique activities like skiing, snowshoeing, and ice skating. The snow-covered peaks and frozen lakes provide a serene and magical backdrop.

Practical Tips for Planning Your Train Trip

Planning a Canadian Rockies train trip requires thorough preparation to ensure you make the most of this extraordinary experience. From booking your tour to packing your bags, here are some essential tips to help you get ready for your adventure.

Booking in Advance

One of the most crucial steps in planning your Canadian Rockies train trip is booking your tickets well in advance. Popular routes and services, especially those during peak seasons, tend to sell out quickly.

  • Peak Seasons: Summer (June to September) and the holiday season (December) are the busiest times. To secure your preferred dates and service level, it’s advisable to book several months ahead.
  • Special Offers: Keep an eye out for early bird specials or promotional discounts that can save you money.

Booking early not only guarantees your spot but also gives you more flexibility in choosing the best travel dates and accommodations.

Combine with Other Destinations

Maximize your trip by combining your train journey with stays in nearby cities and attractions.

  • Vancouver: Start or end your trip in Vancouver, a vibrant city known for its scenic waterfront, diverse culinary scene, and cultural attractions like Stanley Park and Granville Island.
  • Calgary: If your route includes Calgary, take some time to explore this dynamic city, famous for its western heritage and the Calgary Stampede.
  • Banff: Extend your time in Banff during your train vacation to experience everything this mountain town has to offer. Nestled in the heart of the Rockies, Banff offers stunning natural beauty, hot springs, and outdoor activities.

Activities and Excursions

Enhance your train trip with various activities and excursions available in the Canadian Rockies.

  • Hiking: The Rockies are a hiker’s paradise with trails ranging from easy walks to challenging climbs. Popular hikes include Johnston Canyon and the Plain of Six Glaciers.
  • Wildlife Tours: Join guided tours to see the region’s wildlife up close. Expert guides can take you to the best spots for viewing bears, elk, moose, and more.
  • City Sightseeing: In cities like Vancouver and Calgary, take advantage of sightseeing tours to explore local landmarks, museums, and cultural sites.

What to Pack

When packing for a train trip through the Canadian Rockies, consider both comfort on the train and the area’s varying weather conditions.

  • Clothing: Layered clothing is essential due to the fluctuating temperatures. Include a waterproof jacket, warm sweaters, and comfortable pants.
  • Footwear: Bring sturdy, comfortable walking shoes for excursions and casual footwear for onboard.
  • Essentials: Don’t forget your camera for capturing stunning landscapes, binoculars for wildlife spotting, and a good book or travel journal.
  • Health and Comfort: Pack any necessary medications, travel-sized toiletries, and personal comfort items like a neck pillow or blanket.

Tailoring your packing list to the unique demands of train travel and the outdoor adventures in the Rockies ensures you’re well-prepared for a comfortable and enjoyable journey.
By following these practical tips, you can effectively plan and prepare for a Canadian Rockies train trip and make the most of your spectacular rail journey through one of the world's most beautiful regions.

What Our Customers Say

The Canadian Rockies were amazing!

The landscape and scenery were some of the most beautiful we've ever seen. And the only way to see it is by train. The Canadian Rockies were amazing!

Susan and Brian review of their [object Object] trip

Susan and Brian


Frequently Asked Questions

Where are the Canadian Rockies located?

The Canadian Rockies cover parts of northern British Columbia and Alberta. The Canadian Rocky Mountain UNESCO World Heritage Site is made up of seven parks. Banff, Jasper, Kootenay and Yoho national parks. Mount Robson, Mount Assiniboine and Hamber provincial parks.

When is the best time to visit the Canadian Rockies?

The best time to visit the Canadian Rockies is the fall, but they are a great destination year-round. Each season offers a different experience, so the ideal time depends on what you'd like to see and do. To see snow-covered peaks and frozen lakes and go skiing or snowshoeing, head to the Rockies between December and February. Spring and summer months bring ideal hiking and wildlife viewing conditions. With warm temperatures and sunshine, June, July, and August are the most popular months to visit. For those who want a quieter experience, travelling to the Rockies in September and October is ideal. Larch trees change from green to yellow during mid to late September. If you would love to witness the mesmerising fall colours, this is the perfect time to go.

How much does a Canadian Rockies train trip cost?

The price of a train trip through the Rockies depends on season, length and inclusions. For example, if you’re considering the Rockies Rail Winter Wonderland itinerary, this train trip through the Canadian Rockies starts from $2,430 USD per person. Pricing includes transfers, hotels, and some meals and activities. Reach out to one of our Canadian Train Vacation Advisors to find the Canadian Rockies tour by train that best suits your preferences and budget.

How tall are the Canadian Rockies?

Mount Robson, at 3,954 metres (12,972 feet) tall, is the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies.

How can you see the Canadian Rockies?

You can get to the Canadian Rockies by train or vehicle. You can fly to Vancouver, Edmonton or Calgary, then make the journey to Banff, Jasper or Lake Louise. There are so many ways to explore the Canadian Rockies. Enjoy sightseeing tours, lake cruises, mountain gondolas, alpine hiking and more.

Schedule a call with one of our Vacation Advisors to learn more about Canadian Rockies train excursions.

Can you drive through the Canadian Rockies?

Yes, you can drive the Trans Canada Highway through the Canadian Rockies. Between Banff and Lake Louise, the Bow Valley Parkway is a more scenic driving route. The Icefields Parkway between Banff National Park and Jasper National Park is beautiful.

Is Whistler in the Canadian Rockies?

Whistler is in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia and is not part of the Canadian Rockies. Whistler is about a two-hour drive from the city of Vancouver.

Which train ride is best through the Canadian Rockies?

If you are looking to enjoy a daylight train ride through the Canadian Rockies, then a Rocky Mountaineer journey is best. If you want to experience sleeping on the train as you travel to the Rockies, then choose VIA Rail’s Canadian train. Our Ultimate Rockies Rail Journey includes both trains.

How long do you need in the Canadian Rockies?

The amount of time you need to fully experience the Canadian Rockies depends on your interests and the specific places you want to visit. A minimum of 4-7 days is recommended to see the highlights of the Canadian Rockies, though you can easily spend two weeks exploring this area.

About the author: Katherine is Product Manager with Fresh Tracks Canada. Having worked in the Canadian travel industry for almost 20 years, she enjoys sharing her local expertise with visitors. She is based in Calgary and one of her favourite Canadian destination is the... Read more

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