Travel

Endless adventures on the Rocky Mountaineer

By: Doug O'Neill

Image courtesy of Rocky Mountaineer Author: Canadian Living Credits: Image courtesy of Rocky Mountaineer

Travel

Endless adventures on the Rocky Mountaineer

By: Doug O'Neill
Whoever said it's not the destination but the journey that truly matters must have taken a scenic trip on the Rocky Mountaineer. Where else but on this daylight-only train service will the engineer slow down so passengers can snap a photograph of a mountain goat or a black bear while winding through Kicking Horse Pass in the Canadian Rockies? It's all part of creating an experience that indulges the senses and satisfies your inner adventurer.

That experience begins as soon as the train pulls out of the station, and if you're travelling east, it all starts in Vancouver. Your only concern, as you recline in the glass-domed viewing car, is which wine to have with your lunch. Otherwise, sit back and watch the wonders of the Canadian West—the rushing waters of Hell's Gate in the Fraser Valley, the Rocky Mountains, the snow-capped peaks of Yoho National Park, the grandeur of Pyramid Falls—unfurl in front of you. You can't get access to views like these from an airplane seat or through the windshield of a car.

Customizing those views is part of the package: Choose a one-day trip or come
aboard for up to 24 nights. Some routes, such as the classic, meander along the West Coast or into the Interior, while others head directly from Vancouver into the Rocky Mountains. If you crave a little more independence, ride from Vancouver to Jasper, then hop into a rental car for your own road trip. Book a return, called a circle journey, or combine your rail holiday with an Alaskan cruise. A handful of Rocky Mountaineer packages combine train and coach bus, so you can explore areas unreachable by rail. Got lots of time on your hands? Pair the Rocky Mountaineer trip with Via Rail and travel the entire breadth of Canada.

If travel makes you hungry, get ready to eat—and eat well. There are no shrinkwrapped sandwiches on this train. Instead, start your day with its signature breakfast: Sir Sandford Fleming eggs Benedict with tarragon hollandaise. At noon, choose between Alberta Ranchland pork tenderloin, pan-seared B.C. salmon, beef short ribs braised in Okanagan Valley Merlot and sweet Chilliwack corn farfalle, all served on white linen. At the end of the day, bed down in a comfortable hotel (no worries, the staff totes your luggage to the hotel). Then, after a good night's rest, head back to the station to continue the journey.

Check out what another Canadian Living writer had to say about riding the Rocky Mountaineer.

This story was originally part of "The Canadian Travel Bucket List" in the July 2015 issue.
           
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Endless adventures on the Rocky Mountaineer

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