Renata Faeth from AAA Minneapolis shows us ways to explore Canada by train, tour bus, or car and experience all the stunning beauty that the country has to offer.
By Train: The Rocky Mountaineer:
Celebrating 30 years of private rail travel, the award winning Rocky Mountaineer offers guests a unique way to experience the Canadian Rockies. This is a journey with epic on-board service and over 65 vacation packages over four unique rail routes. The train only travels by daylight, so guests don’t miss a moment of breathtaking scenery. A hallmark of the journey – besides the scenery – is gourmet dining featuring farm-to-table regional specialties and paired wines prepared by highly trained chefs. Another much talked about feature: the onboard hosts, who cultivate a friendly atmosphere with story telling and a morning toast to the shared experience.
The routes are mainly between Vancouver on the west coast and Banff and Jasper in Alberta, including a southern route or a northern route- or you can complete a big circle on a longer route coming down through Whistler to Vancouver. There are two classes of service – Gold Leaf, with bi-level glass domed cars with sprawling windows for an expansive view, and dining in a separate lower level. Silverleaf service offers expanded picture windows and meals served at their seats.
Book early! Rocky Mountaineer has an outstanding reputation, and lots of interest. Right now they booking through 2020, but in about April they will be releasing space for 2021.
By Car: From Calgary to Banff, Lake Louise & Jasper:
This trifecta of amazing scenery is really popular, especially from here. You can fly Delta non-stop to Calgary, rent a car, and drive about an hour and 45 minutes north to Banff, a classic “True North” destination that lures travelers from across the globe to spectacular mountain backdrop, hot springs, shopping/dining and outdoor adventure. It’s a great area for hikes, but depending on the time of year – be prepared for snow as it actually can snow 12 months of the year.
From there – it’s 35 miles to stunning Lake Louise (and nearby super-photogenic Moraine Lake), surrounded by white-capped mountaintops, with moderately easy hiking trails for great views of the region. One favorite, which I’ve done, is the hike to the Lake Agnes Tea House.
It would be a crime to come this far and not venture up another 140 miles along famous Icefield Parkway to Jasper National Park, to savor yet more breathtaking mountain scenery. If you don’t make this trip, you’ll regret it. But take it slowly as along the way there is wildlife, glaciers, waterfalls, and endless lookout points.
Plan at least 5 days to a week for all this. Take your time, soak it in, don’t rush.
By Guided Tour with Trafalgar:
Trafalgar – a first class guided vacation company – offers an itinerary between beautiful Vancouver, on the west coast, and Jasper, with a stop in Kamloops, British Columbia- a haven for nature enthusiasts as well as outdoor activity lovers. The nice thing about a guided vacation is the opportunity to soak in great scenery in a comfortable motorcoach with big picture windows, and a guide to tell you what you are seeing. Accomodations are upscale and comfortable, and the trip is enhanced by authentic local experiences. For example, in Kamploops Trafalgar guests celebrate First Nation Traditions, with music and food presented by the local Shuswap Indian Band.
Add on to this trip with a return back to Vancouver on a two day Rocky Mountaineer journey! Trafalgar will marry the two experiences for you!
AAA Minneapolis is hosting a Rocky Mountaineer info session on Wednesday, March 11th at 3:30. Space is limited. Call to get a spot- 952-927-2525 or RSVPtravel@AAAMinneapolis.com