Canada's famed rugged beauty and its iconic wildlife have always attracted visitors from all the world's corners. When "glamping" instead of camping is more your cup of tea, plan a vacation aboard the luxurious Rocky Mountaineer train on the First Passage to the West route. The Mountaineer travels on the 125-year-old Canadian Pacific tracks that first connected British Columbia to other parts of Canada.

The train sets out at 7am with the red-carpet treatment from the Rocky Mountain Vancouver Station before moving onwards to Kamloops for an overnight stay and then off to Banff National park—one of the many Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Waking up so early truly pays off upon entering the deep, lush, tree-topped valleys and seeing skyscraping snowy caps in the distance. The locally-sourced breakfast, and also lunch, served in the dining floor will satisfy any rumbling stomach as swift rivers rush by.

Even when dining deliciously, keep your eyes and ears peeled for the trained Mountaineer hosts' signals such as, "Bear on the left!" Lock and load that camera quickly to capture the brown grizzly hiding among trees or catching salmon, if you're lucky enough. Black bears, elks and even bald eagles can be seen through the large domed glass windows on the second floor of the GoldLeaf Service's coach; the first floor is for dining. The SilverLeaf Service travels in a single-level dome coach with oversized windows.

The host will narrate on as you peer out the windows to see the historic Fort Langley, Hell's Gate canyon in Fraser Valley, stunning Mount Baker and Rainbow Canyon, among other scenic points, on the way to Kamloops. On the next-day trip to Banff in Alberta, prepare enough memory-card space or film rolls to channel your inner Ansel Adams and to record the mirror-like Shuswap Lake and Craigellachie—plus more wildlife, for sure.

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Photo credits: Rocky Mountaineer


Tags: Travel, Canada, Rocky Mountains, Rocky Mountaineer, Train Trip