Rocky Mountaineer?

Old Dec 2nd, 2000, 06:31 PM
Posts: n/a
Rocky Mountaineer?

We're contemplating a trip on the Rocky Mountaineer in July or August 2001. Has anyone been on it recently? Which service would you consider -- Red or Gold? Is the two day trip suitable for an 11 year old? Would you go to Banff or Jasper?
Old Dec 4th, 2000, 10:32 AM
Posts: n/a
Went on the Rocky Mountaineer last year (1999) - travelled West to East, from Vancouver to Banff.

To sum it up, the trip was "interesting." As suspected, many of the "travellers" were 50+ - mostly from the U.K. (We went in May).

It was a lot of time to spend on a train - we (thirty-somethings) found that we were getting quite antsy being on the train for extended periods of time - your 11 year old may feel the same way!!

And although our guide had been Rocky Mountaineering for "the last 10 years" he was less than entertaining or knowledgeable.

The only redeeming quality about the trip was the beautiful Canadian scenery. It was truly breathtaking - although the time allotted for off the train "sightseeing" was too short to take in all of the sights.

Hope this helps.....good luck.
Old Dec 4th, 2000, 05:13 PM
Bob Brown
Posts: n/a
Hi Shandra. When people start offering opinions on travel it is sometimes helpful to know their basis for judgement. In my case, my wife and I have visited the Rockies 6 times since 1987 when we first saw Lake Louise, the Icefields Parkway, Jasper and Banff.
Since then we have returned often as you can tell. On some of the trips we drove west to east from Seattle and return; on others we came in from Denver (too long a drive really), and on other occasions we flew into Calgary.
On those trips we have rented a car each time which gave us full freedom of the hills so to speak. I do not regret taking the car because we could go where we wanted. The big factor to me, however, is this: you can get a much better view of the mountains from the highway than you can from the train.
Much of the highway route follows the same canyons and mountain passes as the rail road with one exception: much of the train route is either down deep in a canyon, or in a tunnel. Particularly in Glacier National Park (Canadian), the road looks down into the canyon where the train goes. You do have some open stretches on the rail trip, but you can see much more from a car, plus the fact that you can stop when you want.
In Europe the last two summers we have had a similar experiences. We have taken the train to some destinations and used a car for others. Trains almost without exception have to take the flatest route possible which means tunnels and deep valleys. With a car, we were able to drive over the high mountain passes and view the mountains from the top down rather than looking up at them from the bottom of a hole.
If you just want the social experience of a train ride, I guess the Rocky Mountaineer would be ok. If you want to see the mountains and explore the beauties of the Canadian Rockies at your leisure, rent a car.
Old Dec 7th, 2000, 05:27 PM
Posts: n/a


Old Dec 16th, 2000, 11:25 AM
Posts: n/a
I am not sure what you are referring too - red or gold??? However, I live in S. Alberta, only about an hour from the beautiful Rockies. If I were travelling here, I would just "wing" it and rent a car. Banff and Jasper are lovely but expensive. I would drive from Calgary, through what is called the "Gap" (Hwy 22) to the Crowsnest Pass. Then I would just get a room. You must remember that these are small communities and not a lot of accomodation so you should book early in the AM. And, don't expect 5 star rooms but clean and comfortable. The cost in the Pass is about
$55 CDN. You could then drive into BC to Elkford which is off the main drive and so lovely. I could help you with a room there as I know the owners. Again, just a room but you would truly appreciate the view and the mountains. Have fun.
Old Dec 19th, 2000, 10:23 PM
Bill Hartford
Posts: n/a
Hi Shandra
I drive 55,000 to 65,000 kilometers every year - mainly in B.C. and Alberta. I'm writing to reinforce Bob Brown's comments. To best appreciate the Rockies you have to drive the Jasper/Banff route. The Rocky Mountaineer is fine but wouldn't be my first choice. However, if the romance and inspiration of rail travel with spectacular scenery is irrestible, imnsho you'd be much better off taking the BCRail trip from Prince George to Vancouver. Comparable scenery (particularly south of Lillooet) but much cheaper and less time aboard.
Old Jan 8th, 2001, 05:14 PM
Posts: n/a
We just returned from a fantastic trip to BC & Alberta. Our family, 40 somethings and boys 11 & 7 took the Rocky Mountain Rail (Red Leaf) from Vancouver to Calgary and we all LOVED it.

Our boys were never bored, our guide in our car was VERY knowledgeable. Apparently the few winter trips are only given to long term employees.

We would go again in a heartbeat, but only in the winter. There were about 400 on-board and I hear there are about 3 times that many in the summer. A very good meal midway in Kamloops, BC and a good family show.

The music was fantastic, a music teacher from Vancouver who had a wonderful voice and could play many different instruments.

There was one person dedicated to the younger kids, making crafts etc. Santa got onboard and gave all a gift.

Getting between the cars, looking out the upper open door, feeling that cold air on your face and that scenery, just wonderful.

We then went skiing at Lake Louise and snowmobiling near YOHO National Park in BC. What a fabulous trip!

We have not driven this route as others here have but why not sit back and let the train do the work while everyone can enjoy the trip.

Dave from Georgia, USA
Old Jan 8th, 2001, 06:01 PM
Bob Brown
Posts: n/a
To reiterate my key point regarding car versus train: you can see more if you have a car. For example, for you train riders, how was the view of the south flank of Mount Robson, the highest point in the Canadian Rockies?
How was: Your view of Takkakaw Falls in Yoho? Your view of the Illecillewaet Glacier in Glacier NP? Your hike around Lake O'Hara in Yoho? Your excursion to the ice caves of the Angel Glacier which spills off of the north flank Mount Edith Cavell?
Were you able to visit Sunwapta Falls, Athabasca Falls, Maligne Lake, take in the view from the summit of Sunwapta Pass, hike the short trail to Panther Falls where Nigel Creek plunges some 180 meters in a spectacular shower of mist? Did you have a chance to take a stroll around, or ride a boat on, Emerald Lake? Did you enjoy the view of the Athabasca Glacier from Parker Ridge? Or take in the glories of the Iceline Trail high above the Yoho River? Or view the spectacular Victoria Glacier from the Plain of Six Glaciers Trail, where the the ice comes down from Abbots Pass and on a clear day with a warm sun, you can hear the crack of collapsing ice and watch a shower of ice crystals cascade down the face of the mountain?
Did you get a view of Moraine Lake from the west end? Or have a chance to rest in the sun at Lake McArthur, my favorite lake in the whole area?
Well, if you didn't, those sights will be there on your next trip, as will the most spectacular trail in the whole area: The Whaleback.
Old Jan 11th, 2001, 04:38 AM
Posts: n/a
I am happy that others here have had wonderful car trips.

Both rail and car travel in BC & AB can be great. I just wanted the readers here to know that the Rocky Mountaineer trip was a wonderful part of our vacation. There are some desenting opinions here and just wanted to add my positive opinion.

Perhaps we did not see all of the sights mentioned in the previous post but we had the time of our lives.

Each way of travel is a different experience!

Dave from Georgia, USA
Old Jan 13th, 2001, 12:16 PM
Posts: n/a
My next door neighbors took the train west to east last fall, then drove a car back. They did not purchase the highest price option. They are in their 60s, moderately active, and very gregarious. They enjoyed the trip, the scenery, and the other passengers. They said their food was not that great. At the hotel their room was as good at those who had paid for the superior accommodations (I'm not sure what the options are). One of them fell ill and the staff was outstanding in helping out. You'll find lots of opinions here about Jasper vs. Banff. Most people like the atmosphere in the town of Banff, the old hotel, the nearby ride to the top of the mountain. We took a nice walk along a trail there. I remember Jasper for the elk roaming all over town, but not as scenic as Banff. I think the highlight of the area for many of us is the drive between the two towns with many of the stops Bob mentions and others have in previous posts. It's beautiful no matter how you see it.
Old Jan 30th, 2001, 10:44 PM
Posts: n/a
GET A LIFE BOB BROWN!!! Goes to the rockies a few times and he's an expert on them.

One thing that people forget is that the Rocky Mountaineer is not just about Banff and Jasper National Parks, there is the wonderful trip through the Fraser and Thompson river valleys that is truely awesome. On the trip from Kamloops to Banff (the better of the routes is to banff not jasper) there are some nice places to stop if you drive the whole way but not great places. (drive time vancouver to calgary about 12 hours depending on route)

On the train the best way is Vancouver east bound to Banff, get off in Banff and either rent a car and see the sites as BOB has suggested or take the great local tours ava. through Brewster Transportation. Not everyone wants the hiking and back country that have been suggested and a bus tour or private car is just fine and some wonderful sites can be seen from behind the drivers wheel.

Red or Gold, the only difference that I know of and I have done both is Gold has a Dome Car to sit in so you are higher up with more window and the food is more airplane style hot food v. cold cuts, sandwiches and veggies. Same hotels for the most part in Kamloops, overnight stop. good luck

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -