Scenic Trains and Dazzling Domes – 10 Days / 9 Nights
Thousands of travelers have discovered the majestic beauty of Canada’s West, as they traveled between Vancouver and the Rockies, but only a handful have traveled by rail through the towering peaks and emerald lakes of British Columbia. This tour, Scenic Trains and Dazzling Domes, combines three remarkable train trips, traveling though some of the most beautiful and dramatic country in the world. So get on board to experience Rocky Mountaineer’s Yellowhead and Kicking Horse route from Vancouver to Banff, the Fraser Discovery Route from Jasper to Whistler, and the Sea to Sky train from Whistler to Vancouver.
Day 1 – Arrive in Vancouver
Welcome to Vancouver! The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver makes you feel special from the moment you arrive. Here, in the heart of the city, you are close to shops, museums and restaurants.
Overnight – Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
Day 2 – Rocky Mountaineer, Vancouver to Kamloops (B, L)
Your journey today takes you through the fertile fields of the Fraser River Valley and the Coastal Mountains, before entering the Fraser Canyon and viewing the raging turbulence of Hell’s Gate. You follow the Fraser River through beautiful landscapes to Kamloops, for an overnight stay. Breakfast and lunch are served aboard the train. The Rocky Mountaineer staff will provide transfers between the train and your hotel.
Overnight – Kamloops
Day 3 – Rocky Mountaineer, Kamloops to Banff (B, L)
This day brings you through vast ranchlands to Shuswap Lake and past Craigellachie, where the “last spike” was driven completing the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1885. Beyond Craigellachie is Rogers Pass with its tunnels, glistening glaciers and snow-capped mountains. Before crossing over the Continental Divide into Banff National Park, the train will travel through the unique Spiral Tunnels – a remarkable engineering achievement. Once again, breakfast and lunch will be served aboard the train. When you arrive in Banff, you are but a short taxi ride from your hotel.
Overnight – Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
Day 4 – Banff at leisure
Bring your camera, as your “Explore Banff” tour takes you to the sightseeing highlights of this area. Your day includes Bow Falls, Hoodoos, Surprise Corner, the Cave and Basin where Banff’s history began, and a gondola ride to the top of Sulphur Mountain. You are never at a loss for things to do in Banff. The town is filled with delightful shops and boutiques. The facilities and activities offered by the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel make it a village in itself. Their European Spa and health club is outstanding, and their golf course options make it known throughout the world. Indoor and outdoor pools are great for kids and adults alike. Lounges with sweeping views and a wide selection of dining options make the Fairmont Banff Springs the place to be!
Overnight – Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
Day 5 – Banff / Lake Louise
Your destination is the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. The hotel is in a storybook setting, next to one of the most beautiful lakes in the world.
Overnight – Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
Day 6 – Lake Louise to Jasper
As you travel in the Canadian Rockies, you come to realize that many of the names you have seen are those of glaciers, resting in mountains high above the valley floor. In summer, their slow, steady melting creates lakes with color to rival the finest jewel. You begin your day traveling past jagged mountains and lush valleys, as you drive along the Icefields Parkway, one of the most scenic drives in North America. A highlight of the day is a ride on the Ice Explorer. The Columbia Icefields is made up of a series of glaciers covering 325 square kilometers. After a day of scenic wonders, you arrive at The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, wilderness luxury at its finest.
Overnight – Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge
Day 7 – Fraser Discovery Route from Jasper – Rocky Mountaineer (B, L)
We will arrange transfers from the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge to the rail station. From Jasper, you will travel aboard the Rocky Mountaineer on their “Fraser Discovery Route.” Few train journeys offer such dramatic scenery. These two days of daylight rail travel will take you on a 634 mile odyssey that will astound you with the diverse beauty of Canada’s West. You bid farewell to Jasper at 7:10AM and travel through the Yellowhead Pass to Mt. Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. Entering the Rocky Mountain Trench, you are surrounded by the steeply rising Rocky Mountains to the north and the Cariboo Mountains to the south. Travel through the forests of British Columbia into Prince George, and follow the Fraser River. Your will arrive into Quensel at 6:30PM, a little known spot on the map, but soon to be known as the overnight stop on this great rail trip. The staff of the Rocky Mountaineer will meet you at the station and take you to your hotel.
Overnight – Quesnel
Day 8 – Quesnel to Whistler (B, L)
The Rocky Mountaineer Rail staff will pick you up from your hotel and have you aboard the train at 7:10AM, for day two of your journey! Following the Fraser River, highlights of this scenic day include: the Deep Creek Bridge – one of the highest railway bridges in the world, sweeping views of Fraser Canyon, glacial-fed Seton Lake, and the shorelines of Anderson Lake. You will pass through the rolling hills and vast ranchlands of the Cariboo Plateau, the desert-like conditions of Fraser Canyon, the lush farmland of the Pemberton Valley and towering peaks before your scheduled arrival into Whistler at 7:30PM. Your hotel is a short taxi ride from the station.
Overnight – Hilton Whistler Resort
Day 9 – Whistler to Vancouver – Sea to Sky train
Wake early and bask in the sweet, fresh mountain air. If you don’t mind heights, take a ride to the top of Whistler Mountain or Blackcomb Mountain. The ride on the gondola makes you feel like you are at the top of the world. Whistler Village was designed for pedestrians. Filled with flowers and sweet-smelling candy shops, you will have no problem finding things to fill your morning. The Sea to Sky train departs at 2:30PM, so use a taxi for the short ride from your hotel to the station. If you thought the scenery couldn’t get any better, you will quickly realize that these three hours of going from mountain peaks to shimmering ocean views on the “Sky to Sea” route, have no problem holding their own! Cross over the pinnacle of Brandywine Falls before descending a steep grade through the Cheakamus Canyon, where the river below tumbles through a craggy gorge. Pass through the town of Squamish, BC, home to the West Coast Rail Association and the Royal Hudson steam train, and look out for the spectacular dome peak of Mount Garibaldi, rising 2,678 meters (8787 feet). Continuing south, pass the impressive cascade of Shannon Falls, as the train hugs the eastern shores of Howe Sound with the Coast Mountains rising steeply to the left and stunning views of ocean and mountain to the right. As you approach the end of your rail tour, enjoy views of downtown Vancouver and Stanley Park from the scenic waterfront of West Vancouver’s exclusive residential area, before passing under the Lions Gate Bridge and arriving at North Vancouver rail station. Transfers will be arranged from North Vancouver to your hotel.
Overnight – Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
Day 10 – Vancouver Home
Airport transfers have been arranged from your hotel. We hope you have enjoyed your trip, and that it will be one of many visits to this lovely country.
- Arrival transfer – Vancouver Airport to hotel
- Transfer – Vancouver hotel to the train station
- 1 night – Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
- 1 night – Kamloops
- 2 nights – Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
- 1 night – Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
- 1 night – Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge
- 1 night – Quesnel
- 1 night – Hilton Whistler
- 1 night – Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
- Station transfers as noted in your itinerary
- Transfer – Banff to Lake Louise
- Explore Banff Tour
- Sulphur Mountain Gondola
- Full day sightseeing excursion from Lake Louise to Jasper, with the Columbia Icefields and a ride aboard the Ice Explorer
- Two full days of scenic rail travel from Vancouver to Banff aboard Rocky Mountaineer in SilverLeaf* service
- Two full days of scenic rail travel from Jasper to Whistler aboard Rocky Mountaineer in SilverLeaf* service
- Sea to Sky train from Whistler to Vancouver in Coast Classic service, offering on board commentary, access to the open air observation car, a light meal and complimentary soft drinks served at your seat.
- Departure transfer – hotel to Vancouver Airport
- Maps and destination information
- Hotel taxes, GST and service charges as applicable
Dates & Rates – 10 Days / 9 Nights
- Package is offered on select Thursdays
- Rates are in US Dollars, per person, double occupancy
Rates below are in SilverLeaf & Coast Classic service on Rocky Mountaineer
|May 10 – 24, 2018||$8,199|
|May 31 – September 20, 2018||$8,699|
|September 27, 2018||$8,399|
COMING SOON: This section will include detailed information about the hotels in this tour, along with a PDF of the hotel brochure.
CUSTOMS/IMMIGRATION – PLEASE NOTE: ALL U.S. CITIZENS MUST HAVE A VALID U.S. PASSPORT FOR TRAVEL TO OR FROM CANADA AS OF JANUARY 08, 2007.
You clear Canadian Customs and immigration at your first point of entry into Canada. Customs and Immigration clearance is generally a quick and simple process. Please note that Non-citizens should carry a valid passport and check with their local Canadian Council for visa requirements.
If transfers are included in your tour package, vouchers have been provided. Present your vouchers to the bus driver.
Be casual and comfortable. Comfortable shoes are a must. We suggest flat shoes with rubber soles on the train, as this makes getting around easier and safer.
We are pleased to pass your requests to our hotels, but we cannot guarantee that the hotels will be able to accommodate these requests. Please keep in mind, that often hotels are filled to capacity.
Electricity is on the same current in Canada as in the states – 110 volts. If you are traveling on VIA Rail, bedrooms have a small sink and outlet for small appliance use like razors.
HOTEL CHECK-IN TIMES
When planning your daily activities, please keep in mind that your hotels are generally not available for check in until mid afternoon. If you arrive and cannot check in, we suggest you leave your bags with the hotel bell desk and go off to explore the city!
Based on your tour service selections, Cartan has reserved and paid for these tour services. Services, which you elect not to use, are not refundable. In the event a service cannot be used for reasons beyond your control, a refund will be issued provided the service supplier has agreed that they will refund or credit Cartan Tours. Based on the service suppliers’ refund to Cartan Tours, requests for qualifying refunds must be made in writing and will be processed less a $35.00 handling fee.
Incidental charges such as valet, telephone calls, beverages, and room service must be cleared before leaving the hotel. If you have made calls with a credit card or called collect, you may still have charges to clear. The hotels will appreciate your clearing them before you leave.
Credit cards are widely accepted throughout Canada. To avoid carrying large amounts of cash, we suggest you use your credit cards. Change the amount of money you feel you will need for general day-to-day activities. We find you get the best rate of exchange when you exchange money at a bank. Most people find it convenient to change money at the airport bank when they arrive.
GOODS AND SERVICES TAX
Cartan Tours pays GST on all taxable inclusions; however, we are not required to pay GST on hotel stays for non-Canadian visitors. Thus, there is no GST rebate due on hotel rooms reserved and paid by Cartan Tours.
Tipping percentages and policies are as in the States. A very acceptable tip for a meal is 15%. When dining, always check to ensure the service charge has not been added to your bill. You will see a tax charge that averages 12 – 17%. Service, if charged, should also be listed. Although menus frequently specify their policy on tipping, if unsure, feel free to ask.
It is customary in Canada to leave a small tip for the chambermaid. We suggest $1.00 per room per night. Baggage handling we suggest $1.00 – $2.00 per bag.