The Rocky Mountaineer Train

The Rocky Mountaineer showcases rugged alpine terrain and wildlife you can only see by rail, paired with comfy carriages, exquisite meals and excellent service. We'll help you choose the right train trip, then personalize your time in the Canadian Rockies. Luxury, scenery and a dash of adventure? It’s truly the trip of a lifetime. 

Canada's iconic daylight train only travels from sunrise to sunset. With routes to Banff, Jasper, Lake Louise, Kamloops, Whistler and Vancouver, you'll enjoy spectacular views and impeccable service along the way.

The travel experts at Canadian Train Vacations have extensive experience booking tours on the Rocky Mountaineer train routes. They can ensure your itinerary is a perfect match for your interests. When you book with us, you can add tours and excursions to the beginning or end of a trip, resulting in a completely customized travel experience. We offer friendly service and act as your point of contact from the time you start planning your trip until the very last day of your train tour. 

Popular Rocky Mountaineer Train Trips in 2024/25

Our Canadian travel experts recommend the following Rocky Mountaineer tour packages to travellers looking for a truly luxurious train experience.

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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Complete Canadian Rockies by Rail 

See all the highlights of the Canadian Rockies, from Banff and Jasper National Parks to the sparkling waters of Lake Louise. The Complete Canadian Rockies by Rail itinerary departs from Vancouver and includes two days of train travel. 

Miles on train: 559 Miles 

Days on train: 2 

Train Stops: Vancouver, Kamloops, and Jasper 

Discover Whistler and the Canadian Rockies by Rail 

A popular route for photography buffs, Discover Whistler and the Canadian Rockies by Rail takes travellers from Vancouver all the way to Calgary, with train and transfers. Take a scenic tour of Icefields Parkway, walk on a real glacier, spend time in an alpine village or customize your tour with extra activities in Banff National Park or Jasper National Park. 

Miles on train: 707 Miles 

Days on train: 3 

Train Stops: Vancouver, Whistler, Quesnel, and Jasper 

Essential Rockies by Train 

For travellers interested in a shorter trip, Essential Rockies by Train lets you soak up the splendour of the Canadian Rockies on a quick excursion. You'll see wildlife, glaciers and waterfalls as you travel through the mountain ranges of Alberta and British Columbia. 

Miles on train: 594 Miles 

Days on train: 2 

Stops: Vancouver, Kamloops, Banff and Lake Louise

Rocky Mountaineer glass-domed train car passes lush valley

Rocky Mountaineer Train Schedule -2024

Rocky Mountaineer train journeys are only available between April and October as the train does not run during winter. There are usually two or three departures per week for each direction of each route. As the train departs the station early in the morning and arrives at the next destination in the evening, guests spend 10-12 hours onboard the train each day.

[ Explore: Rocky Mountaineer Train Trips ]

Rocky Mountaineer - Fact Sheet

  • The Rocky Mountaineer connects British Columbia and Alberta, with stops in Jasper, Lake Louise, Banff, Vancouver, Whistler, Quesnel and Kamloops. 
  • The train runs from mid-April until mid-October. 
  • The Rocky Mountaineer is a daylight-only train designed so that passengers can experience the most spectacular views and optimal photo opportunities. 
  • The routes are designed with an overnight break about mid-way, where guests are transferred to a comfortable hotel. 
  • Chef-prepared meals and local BC wines are included on the train, as well as gourmet snacks. 
  • Inside Rocky Mountaineer train cars, you'll find comfortable seats and friendly hosts who are ready to answer your questions and point out landmarks along each route. Glass domes give passengers a bird's-eye view of waterfalls, lakes, glaciers and wildlife. Each train also has an outdoor viewing platform, making it easier to see local points of interest. 
  • The best time of year to ride the Rocky Mountaineer depends on what you want to see. Late September is the best time if you want to view stunning fall foliage, while May is the best time to avoid summer crowds. 

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

Polar bear cartoon looking through a pair of binoculars
Polar bear cartoon looking through a pair of binoculars

Maps of Rocky Mountaineer Train Routes

Rocky Mountaineer offers three stunning daylight routes connecting British Columbia and Alberta. We can personalize your trip around one of these train journeys or combine them together. Consult the map of your Rocky Mountaineer route for more information about what stops are included on each itinerary. 

First Passage to the West 

This route connects Vancouver and Banff and is the line the company first established when it was founded in 1990. The Rocky Mountaineer is the only passenger train to travel along this famous, historic section of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Memorable spots along the way include the charming train station at Lake Louise, the Stoney Creek Bridge, the dramatic Fraser and Thompson River Canyons and the location where the last spike was added to the railway in 1885. 

Route map of Rocky Mountaineer’s First Passage to the West train trip

Route map: Rocky Mountaineer’s First Passage to the West train trip

Journey Through the Clouds 

This route traverses the later of the two main Canadian transcontinental railways: The Canadian Northern Line, which dates to 1917. It travels between Jasper and Vancouver, taking the breathtaking Yellowhead pass through the mountains. The highlight of the trip is the view of snow-covered Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Rockies. 

Route map of Rocky Mountaineer’s Journey through the Clouds train trip

Route map: Rocky Mountaineer’s Journey through the Clouds train trip

Rainforest to Gold Rush 

This route connects North Vancouver and Jasper, with stops in Whistler and Quesnel. The train passes through the Fraser River Canyon. This routing was previously known as the "Fraser Discovery Route," and much of the hosts’ involve the discovery of British Columbia's wild timber country and Gold Rush history. It's not uncommon to spot black bears, bald eagles, osprey and even grizzly bears. 

Route map of Rocky Mountaineer’s Rainforest to Gold Rush train trip

Route map of Rocky Mountaineer’s Rainforest to Gold Rush train trip

#1 Travel tip: Longer train route

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Choose Rocky Mountaineer’s Rainforest to Gold Rush route from Vancouver to Jasper if you’d like more time on the train. It takes 2.5 days and has 2 overnight stops.

Katherine Foxcroft
Product Manager, Tours and Vacations

The Rocky Mountaineer Service Levels

Rocky Mountaineer offers two enticing service levels — Goldleaf and Silverleaf — with features that appeal to every traveller. We can help you decide which service level is right for you. 

GoldLeaf Service 

On GoldLeaf, you can take in Canada's iconic landscape from a bi-level glass-dome luxury coach. During meals, you’ll feast on gourmet creations by Executive Chefs.  

The GoldLeaf cars are double-level, and your assigned seat will be on the top floor, right underneath the dome window where you will have 360-degree views of the scenery around you. Downstairs is the dining room, where you will be served a la carte meals prepared onboard. GoldLeaf cars also feature an outdoor viewing platform where you can step outside for some fresh mountain air. 

A couple take photos of the scenery while seated onboard Rocky Mountaineer GoldLeaf glass-dome train car

SilverLeaf Service 

Winding through the Canadian Rockies onboard a luxury coach, you'll come face to face with magnificent scenery. It can be so breathtaking, you may think you’re dreaming. 

Hot gourmet breakfasts and lunches served at your spacious seat means you won't have to miss a moment of the splendour out your window. Nor will you miss a moment of the latest historical tidbit from your onboard Host. SilverLeaf cars also feature outdoor vestibules between the cars where you can step outside and feel the cool mountain breeze on your face. 

Rocky Mountaineer SilverLeaf train travels along Bow River and scenic landscape with tall trees and mountains

Rocky Mountaineer GoldLeaf vs SilverLeaf Service

Which is the best option for your Canadian train getaway? To help you decide which level of service is perfect for you, here’s a quick comparison between GoldLeaf and SilverLeaf.





A bi-level dome car with lounge seating in the upper level and dining in the lower level. 

A single-level dome car. 


You'll be sitting in the glass-dome observation car, which offers 360-degree views. Since the carriage is higher, you'll be able to see above the treeline. You'll have access to the exclusive outdoor viewing platform. 

You'll have oversized picture windows next to your seat for enjoying the views. 

Outdoor Access

You'll have access to your coach's large and exclusive outdoor viewing platform. 

There is a small viewing area between cars. 


Meals will be served in a separate dining car on the lower level of the carriage.  
You'll order from an a-la-carte menu offering three-course meals, snacks, and drinks. 

You'll be served delicious meals at your seat. 


Your every need is taken care of by 3-4 hosts per coach, as well as a full culinary team.  

You'll enjoy the friendly service of 2 hosts and one culinary team member per coach. 


Both SilverLeaf and GoldLeaf include:

  • complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages
  • entertaining commentary
  • baggage handling in Kamloops and Quesnel

Seasons on Rocky Mountaineer

Spring (April and May)

Rocky Mountaineer train going through a green forest next to Pyramid Falls

With views of lush green landscapes and snow-capped mountains, the spring season is a lovely time for a Rocky Mountaineer train ride. The fresh snowmelt from the mountains means that waterfalls and rivers are at their most powerful. Bears emerge from hibernation and other animals become more active as the weather warms up. Flowers also start to bloom, adding pops of colour into the landscape. There are often less visitors during the spring, so it is a quieter time to visit the Canadian Rockies.

Summer (June, July and August)

Rocky Mountaineer train winding around Seton Lake on the Rainforest to Gold Rush route

Summer means longer days, lots of sunshine, and warm temperatures. In the Canadian Rockies, alpine wildflowers appear on the slopes of the mountains and the glacier-fed lakes have completely thawed, showing their crystal-clear turquoise waters once again. This is a popular time of year for those who want to explore the outdoors and enjoy the drier, warmer weather.

Fall (September and October)

Rocky Mountaineer train travelling towards snow-capped Mount Robson, with fall foliage either side of the tracks

Fall is a stunning time of year to travel.Some trees turn brilliant shades of yellow, orange, and red during the fall season, and this kaleidoscope of colours can be witnessed on all Rocky Mountaineer train routes. Early snowfall at higher elevations in the Canadian Rockies adds a magical touch to the picturesque landscapes. In October, it’s sometimes possible to see grizzly bears fishing for salmon by the edge of the rivers.

Winter (November to March)

Snow-covered trees and mountains surround the icy Bow River in Banff

Rocky Mountaineer does not operate during the colder months. If you’d like to see the breathtaking Canadian Rockies in winter, then there are other train experiences that run year-round.

Photography Opportunities on The Rocky Mountaineer Train

You can capture amazing photos of Western Canada’s beautiful scenery as you travel on Rocky Mountaineer. The luxury train is designed to provide guests with the best sightseeing experience and optimal photo opportunities.

Best Vantage Points on the Train

Person leaning out of the GoldLeaf outdoor area to take a photo of the mountains

Both SilverLeaf and GoldLeaf train coaches have glass-dome windows, which means you can snap stellar shots from the comfort of your seat.

One of the advantages of GoldLeaf service is that there are more spaces to take photos from: there’s the upper-level seating area which has full glass-dome windows, the lower-level dining room where gourmet meals are served at tables next to large windows, and the exclusive outdoor viewing platform. When the train is curving round a bend, the outdoor viewing platform is the best place to be for taking photos!

In SilverLeaf, there is a small outdoor viewing area between train coaches. This outdoor area only fits a couple of people at one time, but it’s a great place for taking quick photos of notable sights and getting closer to the scenery.

Photography Tips and Tricks

Guest taking a photo of the scenery from inside the GoldLeaf coach on Rocky Mountaineer
  • The train never fully stops, but it does slow down at scenic spots and for wildlife. We recommend listening to the host’s onboard commentary as they will announce upcoming sights and let guests know when wildlife has been spotted near the tracks.
  • When taking photos from inside the train, hold your phone or camera close to the glass. This helps to eliminate any glare from the photo.
    In addition to the beautiful landscapes outside, the interior of the train can make for interesting photos.
  • Wildlife sightings are unpredictable and can happen at any moment! Make sure your camera is set up with your desired settings in advance, so you’re always ready to take photos.
  • Make friends with your fellow guests so you can swap photos at the end of your trip! If you missed taking a photo of a certain location or memorable moment, ask to see if someone else on the train managed to capture it. 

How to Plan a Rocky Mountaineer Trip

Guest looking out the window and reading a newspaper on Rocky Mountaineer

The first step of planning a Rocky Mountaineer trip is to decide when you want to travel! Each season (spring, summer, fall) offers a different experience and the best time to travel depends on what you’d like to see.

You should also think about your ideal starting location and what other Canadian destinations you might like to visit before or after your train ride. This will help you decide which Rocky Mountaineer trip is best for you.

We recommend booking your trip as early as possible — many dates and Rocky Mountaineer routes sell out months in advance. Speak to one of our local travel experts to learn more about how to plan your train journey.

Packing List

When you are preparing for your Rocky Mountaineer luxury train journey, it’s important to pack a range of light clothing layers — no matter what season you are travelling in. You will travel through various climate regions and the temperature on the train can fluctuate throughout the day. Make sure you bring:

  • Comfortable, flat-soled shoes
  • Comfortable clothing — you will be sitting down for most of the day!
  • A light sweater or jacket
  • Hat and sunglasses

Rocky Mountaineer Train Experience Add-Ons

Alaska Cruise 

The rail portion of your trip can come before or after your Alaska cruise. A smaller ship allows you to visit more coves and inlets, and offers a more immersive experience in the area. Ask your travel advisor about adding a cruise to your Rocky Mountaineer trip. It involves an easy flight from Vancouver to the port of departure.

Cruise ship travels Glacier Bay with unobstructed views of mountains and glaciers during daytime

Floatplane Sightseeing 

For an extra dose of adventure, hop on a floatplane and glide over Vancouver's skyline or the natural wonders of Whistler in British Columbia. Floatplanes take off from and land on the water, putting you right in the middle of the action.

Float plane flies over water in Burrard Inlet and above Stanley Park during daytime

Helicopter Tours 

Enjoy 360-degree views of the Canadian Rockies while sightseeing via helicopter. You'll gain a new appreciation for Canada's natural beauty as you hover above lakes, rivers and waterfalls. You may even get a glimpse of the local wildlife.

Helicopter flies over Canadian Rockies’ snow-capped mountains peaks

#2 Travel tip: Wildlife viewing

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Rocky Mountaineer hosts will make announcements for wildlife sightings and the train will slow down, giving you the opportunity to get your camera ready or head to the outdoor platform.

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

Places to Visit

From the shimmering waters of Vancouver to the fresh mountain air of Jasper, the Rocky Mountaineer train travels through many of Canada's best scenery and cities. Your Canadian Train Vacation Advisor can help personalize a trip for you that includes the best places to visit in Western Canada. Our Rocky Mountaineer rail packages may include stops in the following places. 


All of the Rocky Mountaineer trips in Canada start or end in Vancouver. This West Coast city is a popular summer destination due to its mild climate. It's warm, but not so warm that you'd rather spend your whole vacation indoors. Vancouver blends world-class restaurants and cultural attractions with soaring mountains and outdoor activities — everything from easy paddles to challenging hiking trails, giving every traveller something fun to do. 

Aerial view of Vancouver cityscape on a clear day with North Shore Mountains in the background


If you want to spend your vacation relaxing, Jasper is the perfect destination. It's a sleepy mountain town with plenty of places to rest after a morning of paddling, hiking or sightseeing. It’s home to inviting bakeries and a brewpub, as well as several nice dining establishments.  

Two women hike in the woods with picturesque mountain peaks in the distance


Located in Alberta, Banff is home to Banff National Park, one of Canada's most popular attractions. The town itself is filled with restaurants and shops, but the nearby national park offers tempting outdoor activities for nature enthusiasts. If you visit Banff National Park, you'll see lakes, waterfalls, glaciers and mountain peaks.

Two kids walk across the street in Banff with a large mountain range in the distance

Lake Louise 

Crystal-clear water and stunning glacier peaks are just a few of the many reasons to visit Lake Louise. Paddling enthusiasts flock to the lake during the summer months, but Lake Louise has year-round outdoor activities. 

Woman paddles forward in Lake Louise in canoe towards mountains


Whistler, British Columbia, has fine-dining establishments, trendy shops and other amenities to make your visit to the Canadian Rockies a memorable one. Relax at a local spa or play a round of golf while you're in town. One of Whistler's most popular attractions is the Peak 2 Peak Gondola, which links Roundhouse Lodge with Rendezvous Lodge. The Rocky Mountaineer only runs in the warmer months, but Whistler is a famous ski destination. 

Whistler Village in the fall on a clear day with mountains in sight


Originally settled by the Shuswap First Nation, Kamloops is a popular stop on several Rocky Mountaineer train routes. Travellers enjoy visiting local wineries and viewing wildlife at BC Animal Park. The stop here on your Rocky Mountaineer trip is a quick overnight visit. You’ll see most of the sights from the train. 

Kamloops winery stand out against backdrop of mountains


Nestled between Prince George and Williams Lake, Quesnel is a popular stop on the route through British Columbia to the Yukon. Outdoor enthusiasts flock to Quesnel for some of the best fishing, hiking and canoeing in the world. Like Quesnel, the stop here on your Rocky Mountaineer trip is a quick overnight visit. You’ll see most of the sights from the train.

A man fishes enjoys fishing in the calm Quesnel River during the fall with mountains and colourful foliage in the background

Rocky Mountaineer USA vs Canada Train Rides

The Rocky Mountaineer does operate daylight sightseeing trains in both the USA and Canada.  

In the USA, the Rocky Mountaineer only has one rail route, which travels between Moab, Utah, and Denver, Colorado. There is an overnight stop in Glenwood Springs.  

In Canada, the Rocky Mountaineer has three routes through the Canadian Rockies, between British Columbia and Alberta. You can go from Vancouver to Banff, Jasper, or Lake Louise. Overnight stops are in Kamloops, Quesnel, and Whistler (depending on the route). A benefit to taking the Rocky Mountaineer in Canada is the multiple options to choose for your train trip. Our Circle the Canadian Rockies by Train trip combines two Rocky Mountaineer journeys for an epic roundtrip train tour. 

Difference in Service Levels 

On the Rocky Mountaineer Colorado to Utah, there are two levels of service — SilverLeaf and SilverLeaf Plus. SilverLeaf Plus includes exclusive access to a separate lounge with upscale drinks and an elevated food experience. SilverLeaf Plus is only available on this USA route. There is no GoldLeaf class on Rocky Mountaineer train trips USA. 

If you want to experience the ultimate in rail luxury in North America, you need to take a Rocky Mountaineer trip in GoldLeaf through Western Canada. GoldLeaf is the most luxurious service and includes a seat in a bi-level glass-dome car with oversized windows. GoldLeaf has a separate dining area on the lower level where you can enjoy your freshly prepared gourmet meals. 

SilverLeaf class in Canada and USA is the same. SilverLeaf includes a seat in a single-level dome car with beautiful views. Regionally inspired meals and drinks are served at your seat.


On Colorado Rocky Mountain train rides, you’ll see desert canyons, sandstone archways, rock formations, and the Colorado River. 

In Canada, the Rocky Mountaineer takes you to Banff and Jasper national parks. You’ll travel through dramatic canyons and mountain passes, past rushing waterfalls and coastal rainforests. The Rocky Mountaineer train journeys in Canada are longer than those in the USA, meaning you have more time to relax and gaze at the ever-changing scenery. 

Once you’ve arrived in the Canadian Rockies, there are many impressive sights to explore on day trips and excursions. Cruise on Maligne Lake in Jasper, tour the famous Icefields Parkway, ride the Banff Gondola, or have afternoon tea at Chateau Lake Louise. You could even experience a thrilling helicopter tour over ancient glaciers, towering peaks, and turquoise lakes. 

What Our Customers Say

The Rocky Mountaineer exceeded my expectations

Getting off the train at Winnipeg to temperature of –2 with a wind chill taking it down to –9 and snow! The hotel was outstanding despite the 12 hour delay to the Via rail train an... 

Ian and Gareth review of their [object Object] trip

Ian and Gareth

London, UK

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Rocky Mountaineer?

The Rocky Mountaineer is a train company offering luxury sightseeing tours in Western Canada and the American Southwest. Each route features panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains, comfortable seating and delicious meals prepared with fresh local ingredients.

Who owns the Rocky Mountaineer?

Armstrong Hospitality Group, owned by Peter Armstrong, operates the Rocky Mountaineer luxury train company.

How long is the Rocky Mountaineer train ride?

Rocky Mountaineer train tours typically include 2 to 5 days aboard a rail route and 1 to 2 nights in a hotel. It's possible to extend your trip by adding tours and excursions at the beginning or end of your Rocky Mountaineer train ride.

How much does a Rocky Mountaineer train trip cost?

Rocky Mountaineer train prices vary based on the length of your trip and whether you purchase any add-ons. For a standard trip with no extra tours or excursions, our Rocky Mountaineer train trips range from $4,380 USD to $6,930 USD.

Where does the Rocky Mountaineer train start and end?

All Canadian Rocky Mountaineer train journey begin or end at the Rocky Mountaineer train station in Vancouver. The other end-point depends on which route you select. For the First Passage to the West itinerary, it’s Banff/Lake Louise, while for the Journey Through the Clouds and Rainforest to Gold Rush Rocky Mountaineer train routes end it is Jasper.

Is Rocky Mountaineer GoldLeaf worth it?

Rocky Mountaineer train holidays offer two levels of service: SilverLeaf and GoldLeaf. Although SilverLeaf service includes gourmet meals, panoramic views and personal attention from the tour hosts, GoldLeaf service comes with some extra-special touches that make it well worth the price. GoldLeaf passengers enjoy spacious seats in the upper level of the glass-domed coach and chef-prepared meals featuring local ingredients.

Does the Rocky Mountaineer run in winter?

Rocky Mountaineer train tours aren't available during the winter. The company runs its luxury train excursions from April through October of each year.

Can you sleep on the Rocky Mountaineer?

Rocky Mountaineer train rooms aren't available to passengers. The train only operates during daylight hours, so trips with overnight stops include hotel accommodations. Reservations at a midpoint hotel come standard with each train tour, but passengers have the option to upgrade their hotels on some routes.

What is the most scenic route on the Rocky Mountaineer?

First Passage to the West is one of the best Rocky Mountaineer scenic routes because it takes passengers through the historic Spiral Tunnels and provides sweeping views of the Canadian Rockies. For even more scenery, pair the First Passage to the West itinerary with another Rocky Mountaineer route on a Circle Tour.

Which is better, VIA Rail or Rocky Mountaineer?

VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer both offer quality train service in Canada, but Rocky Mountaineer is a better pick for travellers interested in having a luxury experience in the Rockies.

Where in America can you catch the Rocky Mountain train?

You can catch the Rocky Mountaineer train from Moab in eastern Utah or from Denver, the capital of Colorado. The Rocky Mountaineer Denver to Moab train route is a two-day journey between these cities. You stop in Glenwood Springs overnight.

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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