Welcome to Mountaineer's Woodview Golf Course
The fare includes breakfast and lunch with complimentary beer or wine and non-alcoholic drinks. If booking by phone, request a seat towards the front of the leading Gold Leaf car, as the upper deck front windows in this car give great views forward over the roof of the rest of the train, see the photos below. Climbing alongside the Fraser River canyon The mountain give way to gentle hills along the South Thompson River. Virtual tour of the train. At 12, feet it's the highest mountain in the Rockies. Crossing the Fraser River canyon
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Would you like to relax for a few days? We have the best hotels, accommodations, inns, and resorts. Banff is your vacation and adventure destination. The Mountaineer Lodge, open year round, is one of the best and most affordable places to stay in the Lake Louise area of Canada's Rocky Mountains.
Mount Robson Inn is an ideal location in the town of Jasper, Alberta as it is quieter, yet only a short walk to downtown amidst the Canadian Rockies backdrop. There are many ways to explore the scenic views of the Canadian Rockies by vehicle or motor coach tour or by plane or a helicopter, but the best way to absorb the beauty of the mountains will always be to go on foot.
Visiting the Banff National park is no exception and visitors can choose from an awesome range of events and festivals, shopping opportunities, cultural excursions, gastronomy must-visits, and a range of lovely hotels, cabins, guesthouses and more. Planning on a vacation? Deciding on whether to go hiking, a resort, or driving across the country? How about just enjoying all the fun offered by casinos just by staying home?
The Rocky Mountaineer passes the beautiful 'log cabin' style station at Lake Louse, on the left on a track slightly lower than the one that westbound trains now use. Lake Louise station was used for the station scenes in the film 'Dr Zhivago'. The lake itself is up in the mountains, out of sight. The train now crosses and briefly runs alongside Highway 1, the Trans-Canada Highway. Rainwater falling east of the divide flows to the Atlantic, rainwater falling to the west makes its way to the Pacific.
It's the highest point on the trip, 5, feet above sea level. Travelling west, you now put your watch back an hour, as BC is an hour behind Alberta. The train passes Wapta Lake and enters the first of the two famous 'Spiral Tunnels'. Inside the Upper Spiral Tunnel, the train describes a complete spiral and emerges further down the mountainside, facing the opposite way.
The train then crosses the deep wooded valley and plunges into the Lower Spiral Tunnel to descend even further. Long freight trains can even cross over themselves here! There's a cut-away diagram of the spiral tunnels in your route guide, and the commentary from your carriage attendant will explain it, but it's still disorientating.
The spiral tunnels were built in , replacing a dangerously steep section of line known as the 'Big Hill', where many CPR trains and staff came to grief. The train calls at Field, an important operating centre for the Canadian Pacific Railway, then heads through the Kicking Horse canyon, crossing and re-crossing the Kicking Horse river several times. The river is narrow, fast running, and blue with meltwater sediment. The train follows the Kicking Horse river for 30 scenic miles, with many bridges and tunnels.
The train now runs through a wide flat valley full of pines - the Rocky Mountain Trench. The Columbia River is on the left. This is the other classic location for illustrations of trains crossing Canada. It's a beautiful arched steel girder bridge at milepost It's the latest of three bridges built on this spot. The approach to the bridge is dead straight, so there's little opportunity to see or photograph the bridge, and although the line curves sharply to the left immediately afterwards there are so many trees in the way that it's still difficult to get a clear view of the bridge.
A new tunnel the 9-mile long MacDonald Tunnel was built in to increase capacity by by-passing both the Stoney Creek Bridge and the shorter built Connaught Tunnel, but the Rocky Mountaineer deliberately takes the original route. The train passes Craigellachie, where on 7 November the last ceremonial rail spike was driven in, completing the Canadian Pacific Railway and linking Montreal to Vancouver by rail. Here there's a monument and small museum by the tracks, on the right hand side.
The train passes Sicamous, 'The houseboat capital of the world' and for some miles runs along the shore of the huge and beautiful Lake Shuswap. It passes 'Osprey alley', a long line of osprey nests in the tops of telegraph poles and trees by the lake. Watch out for bald eagles, too. After Lake Shuswap comes Lake Mara.
The mountain give way to gentle hills along the South Thompson River. The hills are volcanic, but at their feet lie sandstone mounds or 'hoodoos', which are the moraines left by ancient glaciers.
The country is more arid here, rocky and sandy with fewer trees, very different from the morning's scenery. The train pulls into Kamloops for its overnight stop. Motor coaches meet the train and transfer passengers to their hotels. There is a choice of two evening entertainment shows with food whilst in Kamloops, both bookable through Rocky Mountaineer, but don't overestimate how sprightly you'll feel on arrival at your hotel at 8pm after a day travelling with so much to take in.
Banff to Kamloops is miles. Motor coaches pick you up from the hotel and transfer passengers to the station. It veers right and crosses the Thompson River onto Indian 'first nation' territory, passing a small wooden church on the left that was allegedly used in the film 'Unforgiven' with Clint Eastwood.
Canadian National or Canadian Pacific? You see the same scenery, of course, from a slightly different angle, but if you really want to travel on the original CP tracks almost all the way between Vancouver and Banff, you'll need to take an eastbound Rocky Mountaineer.
The train runs along the shore of Kamloops Lake - watch out for more bald eagles, and for the coloured rocks at 'Painted Bluff' on the right. The countryside here is even more arid than before - indeed, it passes Ashcroft, the driest town in Canada. The train passes 'Black Canyon', a section of black lava cliff on the right, with the Thompson river on the left. The Rocky Mountaineer travels at the very edge of the river under a sheer cliff wall with avalanche protection sheds in several places.
One section of the rock wall is attractively coloured, known as 'rainbow canyon'. Just after Lytton the train curves to the left over a bridge across the Fraser River.
The CN line crosses first on an distinctive arched orange-painted girder bridge, the CP tracks then crossing in the opposite direction on a squared-off black steel bridge lower down on the right. Being the first, the CP engineers built their line down whichever was the easier side of the canyon, the later CN engineers had to made do with the opposite, trickier side. This is the narrowest and fastest-flowing point of the Fraser River.
On the right on the far bank is the Hell's Gate cafe, with a suspension footbridge across the river below the train and a cable car over the river and up the mountain. We're no longer right next to the Fraser River, which has become very broad. The train is in a wide flat valley, with farms and greenhouses starting to appear. The historic site of Fort Langley is just visible through the trees on the left.
The train slows through the freight cars in Thornton Yard, finally curving right over a very long, low steel bridge across the Fraser River with a much higher arched road bridge on the left, which also carries the Vancouver 'Skytrain' metro. Once across the river the Rocky Mountaineer curves sharply right again, weaving its way through the Vancouver suburbs.
Their impressive and spacious terminal building was once a diesel locomotive maintenance shed. You've now travelled a total of miles from Banff. This train travels over the second trans-continental line built across Canada, the Canadian National route between Jasper in Jasper National Park and Vancouver, opened in Previously known as the Yellowhead route , but marketed from as the Journey through the Clouds. Mount Robson, seen from the train This is the easiest pass through the Rockies in other words the lowest, at 3, feet above sea level.
The Canadian Pacific chose a more difficult route through the Kicking Horse pass to the south because of political tensions between Canada and the USA at the time, and a desire to safeguard Canadian territory. Look out for the highlight of the trip, views of snow-capped Mount Robson to the right of the train. At 12, feet it's the highest mountain in the Rockies. After running alongside Moose Lake, the train crosses the Fraser River. For almost 20 miles, the train passes some of Canada's most magnificent mountains in the Premier range, named after early Canadian prime ministers.
The train passes the site marked by a small cairn, where 12 members of the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery were killed when two CN trains collided. The train passes Pyramid Falls see photo above , where water cascades feet beside the tracks.
The scenery soon after leaving Whistler The Rocky Mountaineer on Anderson Lake The beautiful Seton Lake Climbing alongside the Fraser River canyon Crossing the Fraser River canyon The world's longest wooden truss footbridge, Quesnel. Unfortunately, Rocky Mountaineer have discontinued their Vancouver-Whistler train, instead from the main Rainforest to Goldrush train will start from North Vancouver. Passengers are collected by motor coach from central Vancouver hotels, and driven through Stanley Park and across the Lion's Gate Bridge to the North Vancouver station, a simple siding a block or two away from the original BC Rail passenger station.
BC Rail stopped normal passenger service on his route in After leaving Vancouver, the train passes right under the Lion's Gate Bridge and over a girder bridge across the Capilano River Vancouver's famous Capilano footbridge, www.
The train runs alongside the sea on left hand side until it heads off into the mountains. It passes through the mile-long Horseshoe Bay Tunnel, built to eliminate a difficult section of line around the headland, emerging onto the banks of Howe Sound. For some miles the train run along the banks of this beautiful sound also on left hand side past the BC Ferries terminal serving the islands. The trains passes waterfalls and an old copper mine, once the largest copper mine in the British Empire and now a museum.
The train starts to climb, away from Howe Sound up into the hills. This is the most scenic part of the journey, as the train passes over several high trestle bridges along the Cheakamus canyon with the narrow fast-flowing river way down below.
The train passes over the top of feet-high Brandywine Falls. A few minutes late on this example, arrives at Whistler station. This is in the Creekside area of Whistler, near Nita Lake. A fleet of buses meets the train and transfers passengers to their hotels in Whistler Village a mile or two away. A top tip on this route is to request a seat on the left hand side of the train northbound, right hand side southbound, as both Howe Sound and the Cheakamus Canyon are on this side. You now have the afternoon and evening free to explore Whistler, and you stay there in a hotel overnight.
Whistler is one of Canada's biggest ski resorts, a sort of North American Zermatt. Cable cars run up the mountains, seaplanes run scenic flights, and there are many outdoor activities in both summer and winter. The centre of Whistler village is pedestrianised, with many bars and restaurants. The Rocky Mountaineer train leaves Whistler at Whistler station is in the Creekside area of Whistler between Alta and Nita lakes, a few minutes' taxi or motor coach transfer from Whistler village itself.
Check-in opens at Breakfast is served as you pass through snow-capped mountains and run alongside the Green River. The scenery is beautiful, although there are still houses and occasional timber yards here, not to mention a few power pylons! The Green River soon gives way to the Birkenhead River, also on the right, but flowing in the opposite direction. The train crosses a low bridge just above the top of a waterfall in the pine trees, Nairn Falls. The train skirts the blue waters of Anderson Lake right by the water along the cliffs.
The tracks follow the shore for 15 miles, with many photo opportunities. The train passes the end of Anderson Lake and crosses the spit of land known as Seton Portage separating it from another lake, Lake Seton. Originally one big lake, lakes Anderson and Seton were separated by a landslide over 1, years ago. Lake Seton is a luminous turquoise colour, an effect caused by the sediment washed down by meltwater from the mountains.
Lillooet is a major railway town, and there's a minute locomotive crew rest stop here in the freight yards. After leaving Lillooet, the train crosses the wide and brown Fraser River on a massive and dramatic girder bridge, feet long and feet above the river. Immediately after the bridge the train snakes left onto the Fraser's left bank and starts climbing a steep 2. It's one of the longest sustained 2. This 30 mile stretch is the highlight of the trip: The train follows the Fraser River canyon, high up on the mountainside with the river far below.
The sheer scale of the canyon is spectacular. There are few trees, the landscape is arid an sandy here. The train finally leaves the Fraser River canyon. It's now on the Cariboo plateau, and pine trees make a welcome reappearance. These are the gentle rolling hills of cattle country. Still on the Cariboo plateau, this is also timber country. You can smell the sawdust from the many lumber yards.
You pass many cattle ranches, and can spot many deer in the wooded areas. The train passes lumber yards and the occasional osprey nesting in telegraph poles or tall trees, and arrives at Quesnel pronounced 'kwanell' for the overnight hotel stop. Quesnel is the local centre for the Cariboo, and if you've never seen small-town Canada it's well worth an evening wander. There's also a Greek restaurant, a casino built to look like an old paddle steamer, and a gift shop by the river that's often open in the evenings when the train arrives.
There's a town museum complete with allegedly haunted doll 'Mandy' which you may or may not find open when the train comes in. Motor coaches transfer you from the hotel around The bridge was only completed in , the last major link in the railway from Vancouver to Prince George and Prince Rupert. The 'last spike' was driven in 8 miles further on, at the slightly smaller Abhau Creek bridge, on 31 October Since they started building the line in , it was no wonder the Pacific Great Eastern Railway became known locally as the 'Prince George Eventually'!
The Fraser River is sighted again, on the left. Endless pines and birch trees, and the odd sawmill including a fully automated one at Dunkly. The Rocky Mountaineer makes slow progress through the yards approaching Prince George. The train heads for a long low steel bridge across the Fraser into Prince George, which is the route passengers trains when there were any would normally take. But immediately before the bridge the train turns right at a triangular junction onto the line leading out of Prince George towards Jasper.
Although not in the same league as Vancouver, much freight is still shipped overseas via Prince Rupert. Lunch is served as the train enters the Rocky Mountain trench, a wide valley between the mountains. The train follows the meandering brown river through the pines and birches. The train passes McBride, with agriculture now in evidence across the valley.
Another highlight of the trip, the train passes Mount Robson, the highest mountain in the Rockies at 12, feet. The Fraser river is now narrower, cleaner and greener. The valley narrows, with snow-capped mountains on each side. This is the easiest and lowest pass through the Rockies at 3, feet above sea level.
The train crosses from British Columbia into Alberta, and the clocks go forward an hour. The train arrives at Jasper, at the heart of Jasper National Park. The station is right at the front of this small town, which grew up around the railway. You may see ospreys, bald eagles and deer from the train, and if you're lucky maybe a bear or two. There are two sorts of bear, black bears are more common, grizzly bears less so. Keep your eyes peeled! In Jasper, you'll see many elk just wandering about the outskirts of the town.
Below, the best bear sighting they've had for several years on the Rainforest to Goldrush route, approaching Jasper near Mt Robson.
The locomotive engineer radios the train attendants and the cry goes up, "Bear, bear, bear, right hand side, right next to the train". Our train stops, then draws slowly forward past the bear. Paying for a guidebook may seem an unnecessary expense, but it's a tiny fraction of what you're spending on your whole trip.
You will see so much more, and know so much more about what you're looking at, if you have a decent guidebook. For the independent traveller this means either the Lonely Planet or the Rough Guide. Both guidebooks provide the same excellent level of practical information and historical background.