Close your eyes for a moment and imagine traveling back in time -- to a time and place where cellphones did not exist, laptops had yet to be invented, and life was, well, a bit slower.
Imagine spending your free time enjoying those around you rather than scrolling through Instagram. Imagine taking in more of your natural surroundings, rather than escaping them via the newest binge-worthy Netflix show.
Sounds pretty fab, right?
We think so too. And that’s why we decided to hop on board the Rocky Mountaineer for a trip back in time -- to a place where cell service is spotty at best, WiFi is nowhere to be found, and where you have time to sit back, relax, enjoy the stunning scenery, consume some incredibly delectable delights, and enjoy the company of people who are seeking the same escape from the hustle of everyday life.
However, when you’re on the Rocky Mountaineer, you’re not exactly “roughing it.” No luxury is spared on this iconic Canadian train trip through the western part of the country. As the largest privately-owned luxury tourist train in the entire world, you can envision the opulence you’ll experience while riding this all-dome fleet through the stunning Canadian countryside.
The hardest part of this train trek was not going a few days without cell service or WiFi -- it was returning to the world of cell service and WiFi -- oh yeah, and cooking your own meals.
An excursion on board the Rocky Mountaineer will leave you feeling fresh and revitalized and ready to create some more permanent space between you and that cellphone.
Here, all the fun and grandeur you’ll experience on board this luxurious train.
Let’s start with the train itself. The length of the train varies, and can reach up to 41 cars. There are two options on board the Rocky Mountaineer -- the GoldLeaf Service and the SilverLeaf Service.
Your experience in a GoldLeaf Service car offers two levels of fun. The bottom level serves as your elegant dining car with full-service, and the top is where you’ll spend most of your time viewing your stunning surroundings from within the glass dome.
In this car, you’ll enjoy four hosts that take you through the history of the areas you pass through, as well as a culinary team of five people that make you truly feel like royalty. And we mustn’t forget the drink and snack service that was one of the highlights of the experience. Wine, cheese, chocolate, and more. Yes, please.
When the train parks for the night, you’ll head to your luxurious accommodations at a hotel nearby to rest before continuing your journey the next day.
This car option provides you seat-side service and unparalleled views out the glass-dome windows.
Two hosts take you through countryside and cityscapes, and share with you stories of all kinds, awhile serving you tasty drinks and snacks.
The SilverLeaf Service will put you up at a nice, comfortable accommodation for the night until you’re ready to hop back on board the next morning.
Both levels of service ensure that your luggage makes it from the train to the hotel, and back on the train in the morning so you never have to fuss with lugging your bags anywhere.
And possibly the best part of all this is the fact that all the alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks are complimentary. To take things even one step further towards excellence, wine service starts early, and you’ve really got no reason not to indulge -- you’re not driving anywhere, and without a computer, cell service or WiFi, work definitely isn’t happening. Taking in all these views with a glass of wine in hand, and zero worries in your mind is pretty ideal.
The Rocky Mountaineer offers up four different routes that allow you to experience this train multiple times, in a variety of ways.
First Passage to the West
The most popular route for the Rocky Mountaineer, the First Passage to the West starts in Vancouver and takes guests through Kamloops, Lake Louise, and finally to Banff.
The exclusivity of this route is likely what makes it one of the most popular -- it is the only passenger service on the country’s Canadian Pacific track, the connector between British Columbia and Canada back in the 1890s.
Journey Through the Clouds
Enjoy a number of unique sites on this route that also begins in Vancouver, but takes you to Kamloops and then ends in Jasper.
Along this route you’ll see the highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies, Mount Robson, as well as the Pyramid Falls.
Rainforest to Gold Rush
Experience the stunning rainforests of Canada with this route that starts in Vancouver, through Whistler, Quesnel, and concludes in Jasper.
This area is home to the largest temperate rain forest in the entire world, and also traverses through the deserts of Fraser Canyon and more. The different terrains you’ll experience on this route will amaze you.
Starting in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S., the Coastal Passage route will take you from Seattle to Vancouver, and through the Canadian Rockies.
This route is the ideal one to take if you are in the mood to add a cruise to your experience, and have the opportunity to see some remarkable sights along the way.
Regardless of what route you take, you’ll journey through some of the world’s most beautiful scenery, and have opportunity to take in everything from mountains to glaciers, eagles to elk, and so much more.
Once you dive into your first meal on board the Rocky Mountaineer, you will not be surprised to learn that the executive chefs on board, Jean Pierre Guerin and Frederic Couton were trained at Michelin star restaurants and worked in five-star hotels all over the world.
All of the ingredients for the food prepared on board this train are locally-sourced and the meals have been carefully chosen to highlight some of Canada’s top flavors, including its famous salmon.
Whether you’re a vegetarian, a pescatarian, or a die-hard meat eater, there is something for everyone on this train, and the culinary team is more than happy to accommodate any dietary allergies or preferences (including specially-made one-off gluten free desserts -- I speak from experience).
Going hungry is absolutely not an option on this train. The amount of food you’ll consume will truly wow you, especially given that you aren’t really doing much except for relaxing. But, no need to feel any guilt. We all deserve to indulge from time to time, right?
From the fresh-out-of-the-oven scones you’ll experience immediately after boarding the train in the morning to the out-of-this-world rich chocolate cake you’ll experience before heading off the train for the night, every morsel that enters your mouth on board the Rocky Mountaineer will be full of flavor and delight.
What would this excursion be without the astonishing views along the way? Though the food, the drinks, and the luxurious cars play a major role in the enjoyment of this trip, the scenery really takes the cake.
The vibrantly turquoise waters you’ll marvel at along the way get their electric color due to the fact that they are fed by melting glaciers full of a sediment called glacier stilt and, when the sun reflects off of it, the water literally glows.
You’ll feel dwarfed by the giant mountains and glaciers that surround you as you voyage through the countryside, and the number of trees and sheer amount of land with nothing but nature on it is a rarity that can be appreciated by all.
You’ll also experience the train rolling to a crawling speed as bighorn sheep, eagles, and a wide variety of other wildlife make themselves seen in their natural habitat.
You may want to have your camera by your side at all times, or maybe you’d rather take a photo with your memory, and really soak up the moment. It’s not often you get to be this close to these magnificent creatures, so consider yourself lucky.
Not only do you get to see the rich lands of Canada while on this train trek, you also get to learn the rich history of the areas you pass through. The Rocky Mountaineer hosts in each car really know their stuff, and are beyond excited to share it with you. From poems about the region’s salmon to facts about Canada that will knock your socks off, you will end this journey feeling like you took a course in Canadian history -- a course that includes an epic train journey, complete with five-star food and unlimited drinks.
WIth the variety of options for routes, and the choices of different times of year to go (the train runs between mid-April and mid-October), you embark on a journey aboard the Rocky Mountaineer a number of times and never have the same experience twice.
Plus, your fellow passengers will always be different and they too make for an adventure on the trip. You’ll love getting to know your car neighbors and experiencing this one-in-a-lifetime journey with them as well.
Hosting over 2 million guests in its nearly 30 years of existence, the Rocky Mountaineer has traveled nearly 5 million miles across the splendid lands of western Canada, and has created monumental experiences for people from all over the world.
Ready to join the fleet of Rocky Mountaineer travelers? Dive into your trip here: rockymountaineer.com