DarkSkyFestival StarSessions 2019

History, Culture, and Starry Skies of the West

259 reviews


10 days / 9 nights

Time on train

1 day, 1 night

Train type

Where it goes

When to go


Price from

Your itinerary is personalized to suit your dreams and needs:

  • Decide your desired budget
  • Choose your own activities and experiences
  • Have all the details of your trip arranged for you
Start Planning

Indigenous culture and Jasper Dark Sky Festival

After an overnight train journey from the west coast to the prairies, discover Indigenous culture, history, and food at Métis Crossing. On the banks of the North Saskatchewan River, the centre’s remote location is perfect for stargazing. Continue your exploration of the sky with time in Jasper National Park, one of the largest dark sky preserves in the world and the largest park in the Canadian Rockies!

Highlights of your trip

Overnight rail journey from the west coast to the prairies

Immersive experiences at Métis Crossing, Alberta’s premier cultural destination 

Option to sleep under the stars in a Sky Dome at Métis Crossing

Enjoy a stargazing session and skytram ride in Jasper National Park

Travel along the beautiful Icefields Parkway between Banff and Jasper 

Top experiences and features

Seating area in dome viewing section on VIA Rail train travelling through the forest in Canada

Dome viewing area on The Canadian train

Admire the scenery from one of the viewing cars on VIA Rail's sleeper train as you travel from Vancouver to Edmonton. Look out for Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies.

Your Questions Answered

Find out what is included in your trip and have all your questions answered. We are here to help.

What’s Included

Hotel accommodation
Unique guided activities
Sleeper train experience in a private cabin
Meals onboard VIA Rail's Canadian Train
Meals at Métis Crossing
Feature dining experience at one of our favorite local restaurants
Train station transfers
Transportation to and from airports, timed with your flights
Electronic travel documentation package
Personalized Fresh Tracks Canada customer service support

Frequently Asked Questions

Our vacations are not typically ‘escorted.’ You are not tied into a specific group, or a rigid daily itinerary but rather have the freedom of ‘independent’ travel.

This allows you, with the help of our Canadian Insiders, to personalize your trip to suit your occasion, interests, timeframe and budget. We’ll guide you through the process and provide the reassurance of seamless connections, customer service support, and scheduled activities tailored to your taste.

Your trip can be as rich as you’d like, and completely arranged around your interests and needs. The greatest benefit of working with us is our local knowledge. You can customize your trip and decide what you’d like to see and do.

If your trip is a special occasion, we’ll make sure it is unforgettable. Or if you’re traveling with a group, we’ll take care of the logistics so you can share time together stress-free.

On some of our trips, you’ll see that we categorize our hotel rooms by Comfort, Superior and Deluxe class, which generally translates into the traditional 3-, 4- or 5-star designation (equivalent to Best Western, Sheraton and Fairmont). However, sometimes we use the same hotel for more than one category and distinguish the room by size, floor level or view.

Our Comfort Level hotels include our favorite 3 star hotels, in great locations and with excellent service.

Our Superior Level hotels provide amazing value for clients wanting something more upscale but not at the price of a top-end 5 star resort. Superior level hotels are some of our favorites because of the character and unique charm that you won't find at the average chain hotel.

In Deluxe Level hotels, it's likely you'll be staying at one of the iconic Canadian Fairmont Hotels in a room with a view. Built for the Canadian Pacific Railway in the early 20th century, these hotels are luxurious and full of history – ensuring an experience you'll never forget.

This trip itinerary features a private cabin in Sleeper Plus Class on VIA Rail's The Canadian train. Each cabin features comfortable seating that converts to a bed. Cabins include a sink and toilet and access to a shared shower.

In Sleeper Plus Class, you’ll also enjoy gourmet meals in the dining car and access to the train's viewing cars, where you can watch the passing scenery and meet fellow travellers. Complimentary tea, coffee and snacks are available throughout your journey. Alcoholic beverages are not included but are available for purchase.

During the month of October, average temperatures in the Canadian Rockies are between 10 degrees C to -1 degrees C (50 degrees F to 30 degrees F). With some sunny days and comfortable daytime temperatures, it’s a great time of year for walking, hiking, and exploring the landscape without the crowds. At higher elevations, there’s a chance of early snowfall, light rain, and cooler temperatures.

We recommend bringing a range of clothing layers, including a rain jacket or winter coat, during this time of year.

The Jasper Dark Sky Festival is an annual event that takes place in Jasper National Park over 2 or 3 weeks in October. Jasper National Park was named a Dark Sky Preserve in 2011 because of its limited light pollution, so it's the perfect place for stargazing.

The festival celebrates astronomy, science, and everything related to the night sky! Guests can attend presentations and special events, including stargazing sessions, telescope experiences, photography workshops, and more. Please contact one of our Vacation Advisors if you’d like to learn more about the festival.


Get your personalized quote as prices vary by departure date, train-service level and hotel class. Prices shown are our lowest rates per person, based on double occupancy, and exclude taxes.
Comfort Level
Hotel Accommodation
VIA Rail Service
Loading... pp

View full itinerary

Like this trip? Get more details with a sample itinerary:

  • Day-tour options and descriptions;
  • Departure dates;
  • Suggestions for personalizing your trip.
Schedule a call


These are examples of the places you can stay on this trip. Please get in touch to discuss your options and to check availability.
Patio view outside Métis Crossing

Métis Crossing

A cultural destination in Alberta

Métis Crossing is Alberta's first major Métis cultural interpretive destination. Relax by the cozy stone fireplace within the central dining hall, or on the covered outdoor deck which overlooks the North Saskatchewan River. Accommodation options include river view suites in the boutique lodge and private sky-watching domes.

Personalize This Itinerary

Here are some of our most popular enhancements to personalize this journey.

Stay in Lake Louise

Stay in Lake Louise

Ask us about adding a night at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise! This iconic hotel in Banff National Park is surrounded by soaring mountain peaks, the majestic Victoria Glacier, and a glistening emerald lake.

What Our Customers Say

Excellent overall rating based on 259 reviews

The scenery was beautiful

Rocky Mountaineer was great (people and food). The scenery was beautiful. Everyone remembering our anniversary and personalizing it with cards and small gestures was special. The g... 

Bob and Judy review of their [object Object] trip

Bob and Judy


Discuss your Canadian train vacation with a local travel expert

Cartoon polar bear speaking on the phone

Or call us toll free

Cartoon polar bear speaking on the phone