Vancouver & the Rockies
RAIL & SELF DRIVE TOUR
VANCOUVER | VICTORIA | WHISTLER | ROCKY MOUNTAINEER | JASPER | LAKE LOUISE | EMERALD LAKE | BANFF
See the very best of Western Canada as you journey by train, plane and automobile. Ride the iconic Rocky Mountaineer not once, but twice, as you journey through the very best of British Columbia and Alberta.
• Take a scenic floatplane journey from Victoria to Vancouver
• Search for wildlife on a whale-watching tour
Vancouver & the Rockies
Day 1 : Arrive Vancouver
On arrival in Vancouver a private transfer is included.
Day 2 : Vancouver - Free Day
Today is a free day to enjoy the city. Vancouver is the gateway to the amazing natural beauty of British Columbia. Located at the foot of the dazzling Coast Mountains and surrounded by glimmering waterways, it is one of the world’s most fortunate cities when it comes to setting. You get the best of both worlds: a cosmopolitan city right on the edge of nature’s playground. See the city’s sleek high-rise-framed waterfront, or visit Vancouver’s historic heart - Gastown, reinvented as a hip hub for culture and cuisine. You may like to take the opportunity to embark on a tour to Vancouver’s famed Granville Island Public Market. Here, you’ll sample fresh locally-grown produce and wander amid the vibrant stalls that showcase a range of home-made craft and art. Alternatively, you may prefer to simply relax and make use of the facilities at your hotel or further explore the city. We highly recommend taking the Grouse Mountain & Capilano Suspension Bridge Tour which take will take you from sea level to 4,100 feet above Vancouver on the Grouse Mountain Skyride for breathtaking views of the city, the ocean and surrounding mountains.
Day 3 : Vancouver - Victoria
Depart Vancouver this morning and cruise across Georgia Strait. Arriving on Vancouver Island, tour the Butchart Gardens (admission included). Spend time wandering through the lovely Sunken Garden and relax in the beautiful settings of the Japanese Garden and the Italian Garden amongst 900 different varieties of flowers. Tour scenic Ocean Drive, Uplands, Oak Bay, University of Victoria as well as the Victoria City before being taken to your hotel.
Day 4 : Victoria - Whale Watching
This morning depart on an exhilarating, wildly authentic round trip of 50 to 80 kilometres aboard the Orca Spirit, a 50 foot, 45 passenger covered boat. You’ll go out in search of orcas, minke whales, grey whales, porpoises, harbour seals and other marine wildlife. The afternoon is free to explore Victoria. This picturesque city is considered to be North America’s most English. Victoria is a unique blend of old world charm and new world experiences. Be sure to visit some of the brightly painted shops, coffee bars and innovative restaurants or see if any local events are happening close-by.
Day 5 : Victoria - Vancouver by Floatplane*
Around midday depart Victoria Harbour by floatplane for an unforgettable trip over the Gulf Islands into downtown Vancouver’s Coal Harbour. Overnight in Vancouver.
*Due to space and weight limitations on the floatplane, luggage is restricted to 25lbs per person. We suggest that you pack an overnight pack for the Victoria portion of your itinerary; your Vancouver hotel will be able to store luggage until you check in again. Transfers to & from the floatplane terminals are not included.
Day 6 : Vancouver - Rocky Mountaineer - Whistler
Depart Vancouver this morning aboard the Rocky Mountaineer to Whistler and enjoy panoramic vistas of the Howe Sound and the Coastal Mountain Range. As you cross the stunning scenery of the Canadian Rockies, pass glistening snow-capped peaks and deep blue glacier fed lakes that reflect the sky above and their mountain surrounding, cascading waterfalls and soaring forests, keep an eye out for abundant wildlife - bears, moose and mountain sheep. Enjoy the on-board food and service as you swap stories with your fellow passengers. Highlights along the way include the cascading Shannon Falls and the Stawamus Chief Rock where climbers from all over the globe migrate to climb the granite cliffs. Upon arrival in Whistler you will be transferred to your hotel.
Day 7 : Whistler - Rocky Mountaineer - Quesnel
Early this morning depart on the Rocky Mountaineer train in SilverLeaf Service through Caribou Country to Quesnel. This rail journey takes you along the historic Caribou Goldrush Trail. Highlights along the way include towering views of the Fraser Canyon, Anderson and Seton Lakes. Upon arrival into Quesnel you will be transferred to your overnight accommodation.
Day 8 : Quesnel - Rocky Mountaineer - Jasper
This morning, re-board the Rocky Mountaineer for your continuing journey to Jasper. Your route today follows the famous Fraser River, the longest river in British Columbia. Keep your eyes open for grizzly bears, moose, beaver and osprey! You will pass Mount Robson, at 3,954 metres this is the Rockies’ highest peak. Crossing into the province of Alberta, you will arrive by early evening in the peaceful alpine town of Jasper.
Day 9 : Jasper - free day
This morning go to the Avis Depot in Jasper to collect your rental car. The day is then free for your to explore this charming mountain village close to many terrific scenic highlights. This pleasant alpine village is nestled amidst some of Canada’s most stunning scenery. The “Gem of the Canadian Rockies” is surrounded by snow-capped mountains, thundering waterfalls, glaciers, lakes and rivers running in deep canyons, a region where wildlife abounds. Perhaps take a gondola ride to Jasper’s alpine tundra for stunning views of six mountain ranges, or maybe a gentle raft ride down the Athabasca River; then stroll around the village and relax with a coffee. Jasper National Park was established in 1907 and is the largest national park in the Rockies. With over 4,000 acres of alpine forests, white-water rivers, hot springs, soaring mountain peaks and tranquil river valleys there’s little chance you’ll see it all! Perhaps you’ll visit the limestone gorge of Maligne Canyon or volcanic Medicine Lake, named by tribal elders who believed its waters had healing powers. Admire the breath-taking beauty of glacially fed Maligne Lake and perhaps cruise to Spirit Island.
Day 10 : Jasper - Lake Louise (130 miles)
This morning depart on the scenic drive that takes you through the spine of the Canadian Rockies. You view a never-ending procession of mammoth mountains, jagged peaks, over 100 glaciers and pristine emerald colour lakes. Along the way see such sights as the Columbia Icefield and take an Ice Explorer ride out onto the glacier (included). Also watch for the Sarbach Glacier, Peyto Lake, Bow Lake, with the Bow Glacier providing the backdrop, and Crowfoot Glacier before your arrival into Lake Louise. (Please note: Mountain lakes in this region will be frozen through to mid June).
Day 11 : Lake Louise - Emerald Lake Lodge (40 miles)
A short drive today through Majestic Mountain passes into Yoho National Park. This 1313 sq. km (507 sq. miles) National Park is filled with gem coloured glacial lakes and waterfalls, snow-covered peaks and dense forests of western red cedar and western hemlock.
Emerald Lake Lodge is built of hand-hewn timber and featuring massive stone fireplaces is located on the shores of Emerald Lake. Since its construction in the early 20th Century, the Canadian government has permitted no further development in the area and the setting is truly breathtaking, The historic main lodge houses two restaurants, one is a summer only bistro whilst the main restaurant offers year round fine dining and an extensive wine list, games and reading rooms, and a quiet lounge – ideal for a relaxing drink. Accommodation is in chalet-style buildings dotted throughout the grounds, and to preserve the tranquillity there’s no TV in the rooms and vehicles are not permitted within the boundaries of the resort. A shuttle runs from the main parking area to the Lodge building.
Day 12 : Emerald Lake - Banff (70 miles)
Enjoy the leisurely drive from Field and Lake Louise to Banff. At Lake Louise take the lovely Bow Valley Parkway, a two-lane roadway with numerous scenic outlooks and pullouts. Be sure to stop for a quick nature walk at Johnston Canyon, where you can stand in the spray of a roaring mountain waterfall. This rest of the day is free to explore Banff and area.
Day 13 : Banff
A full day to explore Banff and area, in town you’ll find lots of things to do. Perhaps you’ll browse the shops along Banff Avenue, take on optional helicopter tour over the majestic Rockies, visit one of the charming local cafés, dine out, or just relax and enjoy the facilities in your hotel. If you’re feeling adventurous why not try a canoe trip on the bow river, or for a more serene experience try a float trip and look for wildlife along the river banks. Check out the Cave and Basin National Historic Site, Banff Gondola (included) where you will see a panoramic view of the Bow Valley, or take a dip in the hot pools at the Upper Hot Springs.
Day 14 : Banff - Calgary (75 miles)
Drive to Calgary today. En-route, you may wish to stop at the historic Cochrane Ranch (admission not included) before dropping off your rental car at the Calgary Airport or downtown location, where your tour ends.
Tour also available in reverse direction from Calgary to Vancouver, please ask for prices & itinerary.