Surrounded by stunning natural beauty, Vancouver is considered to be one of the most desirable places to live or visit in the world. A cosmopolitan city nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Coast Mountains, and blessed with green spaces galore, Vancouver is an outdoor playground waiting to be discovered. Vancouver is also home to world-class entertainment, an abundance of first class restaurants, and a diverse range of shopping options.
A thriving port and departure point for Alaskan cruises, Seattle stands as the largest city in the Pacific Northwest. Among the city’s biggest draws is Pike Place Market with more than 190 craftspeople, 100 farmers, and 200 businesses, and the world’s first Starbucks coffee shop. Visitors can take in a 360 degree view from the 158 metre (520 foot) high observation deck at the iconic Space Needle, or enjoy great shopping, museums, arts, culture, and a diverse range of restaurants throughout the city.
The Canadian Rocky Mountains were formed millions of years ago as a result of the slow movement of the earth’s crust and the grinding of massive glaciers, which sculpted the majestic Rockies during four major ice ages. It has been estimated that the oldest rock in the Canadian Rockies is over 600 million years old, and research has indicated that this mountain region was once ocean shoreline.
As the resort towns of Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper are located in National Parks, all development is strictly regulated and monitored by Parks Canada. Hotels in these regions are designed to preserve the pristine wilderness and are situated in the town centre and out of town. Hotel rooms may be configured differently than those in larger cities, and facilities and amenities such as air conditioning vary for each property. Rocky Mountaineer makes every effort to provide the best accommodation available for our guests, and works closely with our hotel partners to ensure an exceptional guest experience.
The National Parks in the Canadian Rockies are a haven for flora and fauna. At the height of the flowering season, mid-July to mid-August, hundreds of wildflower species bloom in the Rockies. Trees of many different varieties landscape the park and our rail routes. Banff National Park alone is home to 57 species of mammals, 265 species of birds, more than 290 species of butterflies, and 19 species of fish. Today, thousands of elk inhabit the parks. You may also see the majestic bighorn sheep, black bears, grizzly bears, or moose. Bald eagles and osprey are prevalent along our routes.
The town of Banff is named after Banffshire in Scotland, the birthplace of two major financiers of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Nestled into the Bow Valley corridor within Banff National Park, highlights include the iconic Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, bustling Banff Avenue, Bow River, the Sulphur Mountain Gondola, and Bow Falls.
Known to the Stoney First Nation as Lake of the Little Fishes and called Emerald Lake by its first European visitor in 1882, Lake Louise was renamed in 1884 to honour Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, daughter of Queen Victoria. The village of Lake Louise offers a range of lodging, dining, and shopping. From the village it is a five minute drive to the lake. Please note, if you plan to dine at The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, it is recommended to make dining reservations by calling 403.522.1818 within 7 days prior to your arrival.
Jasper is a small town of 4,700 people tucked away amid the mountains of the Canadian Rockies. Situated on a plateau overlooking the Athabasca Valley, it commands a view of the Colin Range to the east and of the jagged peaks along the Icefield Parkway to the south. Snowcapped Mount Edith Cavell, one of the most prominent mountains, is the centerpiece of the alpine skyline. North of the town, Pyramid Mountain towers above Pyramid and Patricia Lakes, popular summer boating, swimming, and picnic sites.