The Canadian Rockies by Train on Via Rail
By Casey Carr
May 14, 2020
We just returned from the majestic Canadian Rockies. The scenery here is truly mesmerizing from the crystal blue water of Bow Summit to the rainbow over the Icefields in Jasper (pictured below). Filled with jump in pictures left and right you could not possibly do a 360 turn without clicking on your camera button! This is the ideal trip to clear your mind and enjoy the beauty of the magnificent great outdoors!
We began our journey in the great town of Banff! Banff offers a great combination of luxury lodges, fine dining and lively nightlife. At the Banff Gondola, we experienced a stunning bird’s eye view of six mountain ranges. We were beyond happy with our accommodations at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. This is a delightfully beautiful old castle nestled in the Canadian Rockies with everything you expect in a heritage luxury property. We then ventured off into turquoise Lake Louise in Banff National Park located just three miles away where we were amazed by the color. The renowned grand hotel Chateau Lake Louise sits at the brim of the eponymous lake. Here we enjoyed our favorite latte and sat mesmerized taking in the moment.
After a fun-filled stay in Banff we escaped the urban bustle and made our way to the mountain town of Jasper. It’s low-key and unpretentious with good food and drink; and as a destination, it’s an outdoor sports lover’s playground. Nearby we enjoyed the beauty of the Athabasca Falls, Maligne Canyon and of course one of the highlights was our trip the Columbia Ice Field!
We drove along the Icefield Parkway from Jasper to Golden and made a stop at the Columbia Icefield. The experience is truly breathtaking. We walked on glacial ice and the temperature was at -5 degrees Celsius – a very wintry day in October so come prepared. You will need to wear gloves, mufflers, double socks and warm jackets. Driving along the Icefield Parkway is one of the best scenic road trips you can make and going to the Columbia Icefield definitely is 50% of the reason why.
My own personal jumping for joy moment by far was the Glacier Skywalk! Although the name may be a little misleading (ie. there is no direct view of the glacier), it is nevertheless an impressive site overlooking the Sunwapta Valley just north of the Columbia Icefield Interpretive Centre along the highway. The Skywalk also was surprisingly large with a walk along the edge of the canyon and exhibits about flora and fauna and how the Skywalk was constructed. This forms part of a package deal with the Columbia Icefield Tour. As this is an outdoor exhibit, it is best to visit it when the weather is clear.
Our fabulous journey ended in the beautiful Canadian metropolis of Vancouver. The city’s forests, grand parks, and impressive suspension bridge attracts travelers as do the city’s shops and museums. The Canadian Rockies is must do on your bucket list, and by train is the perfect way to see it!!