From the moment I stepped onto the Rocky Mountaineer train platform before dawn in Vancouver, I was greeted with a flurry of bright, energetic smiles. Though most of the crew had been up since 3 a.m. to prepare for the journey, their buoyant attitudes proved infectious, and I found myself relaxed and uplifted, unable to resist in sharing their smiles and their energy. After choosing a breakfast off a lengthy menu that included hot omelettes, local breakfast meats and fresh fruit, I left the dining room and nestled into my seat on the second floor of the train. As daylight broke, so did the scenery. It was captivating. The Rocky Mountaineer is constructed with huge windows that extend the length of the sides and ceiling of the cab, providing an uninterrupted view of the beautiful mountain and coastal scenery.
You quickly find yourself entranced by the views, ignoring your seatmates—and being startled by the attendants as they ask if they can get you anything to make you more comfortable. With four routes to choose from through British Columbia and Alberta, your experience can take you from rainforest to mountain passes to national parks. If there’s a better way to enjoy he majesty of the wilderness in Western Canada while on the move, I haven't experienced it yet.
My journey up the stunning coast of British Columbia would only be a day trip, and by night the Rocky Mountaineer had delivered me back to Vancouver. The Rocky Mountaineer offers trips ranging from two days to 8 or more, with packages that combine rail travel and cruises up the coast. Prices start at approximately $600 for Red Leaf service to $1,150 for Gold Leaf, with routes from cities such as Calgary, Jasper, Whistler and Vancouver. The trip includes meals, travel, lodging at hotels and transfers—and a travel experience not to be forgotten.