If you’ve ever dreamed of taking a luxury train ride through one of the most scenic passes in the world, then you’ve dreamed of taking the Rocky Mountaineer.
This genuinely moving train journey has a few different options, including stops in Jasper, Whistler, and even Denver.
Dished Daily Hive was lucky enough to take this unforgettable train ride on the First Passage to the West route from Vancouver, BC, stopping in Kamloops, BC, and ending in Banff and Lake Louise.
From spotting eagles, elk, big-horned sheep, and a few bears along the way, the sights outside were terrific as we enjoyed all of the amenities that the Goldleaf service provided.
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Goldleaf is a truly world-class experience, offering features like sitting in a bi-level glass-domed train cabin, a large, exclusive outdoor viewing platform, a separate dining room to enjoy the gourmet breakfast and lunch, and complimentary beverages and snacks.
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We even got to check out Sky Bistro in Banff, a restaurant where you have to take a gondola ride to the top of Sulphur Mountain to experience.
The onboard host team — Tyler, Travis, Train Manager Colin, and Executive Chef Kaelhub — were all incredibly friendly, knowledgeable, and willing to answer any questions we had along the way.
We arrived at the station filled with excited guests, quickly got on the train, sat in our seats with lumbar support and temperature control, enjoyed a coffee and warm croissant, and prepared to start the journey.
It’s a train ride with an open bar the whole way, but that doesn’t mean the quality isn’t there.
Wine from the Okanagan Valley, high-quality signature cocktails, craft beer, and different spirits and liqueurs ensure something for everyone, including plenty of non-alcoholic options.
The same goes for the food menu.
Executive Chef Kaelhub is relatively new to the Rocky Mountaineer team. His dedicated staff has created and delivered a menu that changes with so many fantastic options at each meal.
There are starters, healthy options, hearty plates, and sweet and savoury options at breakfast.
Each dish is large, tastes fantastic, and is plated beautifully, but the best part is each one is enjoyed with a spectacular windowsill view.
It was a wonderful surprise to see such a full food menu and one that had everything from an Alberta stripling with a chimichurri sauce to a sesame udon bowl stir-fried with seasonal vegetables.
Ingredients and flavours are locally sourced and inspired to place you in this area that so few people get to see from this unique perspective on the tracks.
Berry pancakes, Benedicts, and frittatas were the best way to start the day on the train, while starter plates like candied salmon plates had us thinking about lunch for most of the morning.
The train ride can reach close to 15 hours, so yes, there are bathrooms on board, and that experience also feels luxurious.
It’s not a crammed-in, plane-style toilet on the Rocky Mountaineer.
While we enjoyed every fact that our onboard hosts told us over the speakers, the food, and the drinks, it’s the views of nature that bring people to this world-famous train ride.
The outdoor viewing platform allows you to stand outside while the train hurtles forward, surrounded by trees, mountains, countryside, fog, sunshine, etc. From the bridges you cross to the tunnels you enter, there are many awe-inspiring angles you don’t get to view from the highway in a car.
There are no sleeper cars on the Rocky Mountaineer.
All day long, passengers can eat, drink, mingle, read, and watch the ever-changing landscape of the Canadian West Coast, countryside, and mountain ranges.
At night, the train is stopped, and passengers spend the night in luxurious hotels for maximum comfort.
It’s a long train ride, but these breaks in towns allow you to stretch your legs and wander to do your own thing.
The price tag for a ticket on the Rocky Mountaineer can get pretty expensive, but if you ever get the chance to ride on it, we highly recommend taking the journey.
Vancouver is one of Canada’s great cities and Banff is one of the most popular tourist destinations; seeing both at the ends of one of the most incredible train rides in the world felt like it went by in an instant.
This is the way to see the Rockies.
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