4 Winter Train Vacations in Canada for a Magical Adventure

Train vacations are one of the most popular ways to explore Canada, so unsurprisingly, we get a lot of questions about which are the very best. In winter, the answer simplifies as there are a few we highly recommend: those combining the Canadian Rocky Mountains with VIA Rail and the iconic Fairmont properties.

Traveling aboard VIA Rail into a sparkling winter wonderland, there really is nothing quite like a winter trip in Canada. Made even more cozy with your own private sleeper cabin on the train and the right accommodations, it's a magical adventure that you won't soon forget. Read on for the top 4 winter train vacations in Canada, and get in touch with our team at sales@canadabydesign.ca or 1 (800) 217 0973 to book.

Image Courtesy of VIA Rail

All Aboard VIA Rail

While in the summer both VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer are running, in winter VIA Rail is the only train that operates. Luckily, VIA Rail is the one that runs the length of the country and has cozy sleeping berths onboard. By night, your Sleeper Plus Class ticket turns your private cabin with sofa chair into a cozy bunk-style bed, complete with baggage space, a window, private washroom and access to a shower down the hall. You'll even have your own door that locks, so it's really like a tiny hotel room on a train.

Image Courtesy of VIA Rail

Also as part of your ticket, you'll have access to wine tastings, presentations and musical acts on certain departures, plus access to lounges and cars with glass ceilings for optimal sightseeing. Meals will be served at set times in the dining car, complete with classic white linen-laid tables. Menus offer a three-course selection of mouthwatering dishes that change daily, and all food is prepared by a Chef on the train.

Image Courtesy of VIA Rail

By the time you arrive in the Rocky Mountains, you'll already have had an adventure. But delicious cuisine, awe-inspiring scenery and cozy accommodations are just the beginning! Read on for where to stay throughout the rest of your trip, plus details on our top 4 winter train vacations in Canada. Have questions? Call our Travel Designers at 1 (800) 217 0973.

Image Courtesy of Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel

Welcome to the Fairmont

Those wonderful words are what we all wish to hear while traveling through the Canadian Rocky Mountains. If you choose to book our deluxe-grade hotels, you will in fact stay at these beautiful properties on any of the below trips – complete with their castle-like structures, grand ballrooms, gourmet restaurants, soothing spas and finely-appointed guest rooms and suites.

Image Courtesy of Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge

The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge

In the heart of the Canadian Rockies on a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge embodies the peace, tranquility and natural beauty that make the surrounding peaks so famous. A village of heritage log cabins connected by picturesque paths, guests can experience a truly authentic Canadian getaway complete with wildlife sightings, views of Lac Beauvert and that signature Fairmont service. In winter, the lake freezes over and guests can skate across it, go tobogganing, take a sleigh ride or head off on snowmobiles or dog sled.

Image Courtesy of Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

Located in the heart of Banff National Park and within a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is an iconic sight towering over Lake Louise itself. While in winter the lake is frozen, it offers the perfect space for activities like snowshoeing and skating or festivals like the annual Ice Magical Festival each January, where talented carvers create sculptures of ice. From the grand entrance resplendent with chandelier and the sound of live music playing gently in the background, the elegance of this grand dame is all around you.

Image Courtesy of Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel

The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel

An icon amid the picturesque town of Banff, the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel – otherwise known as 'Canada's Castle in the Rockies' – is so much more than just striking architecturally. Here, guests can wander through grand hallways to spacious suites and quiet corners, discovering various restaurants, ballrooms, shops and the spa as they go. Worthy of a special mention is the secret lounge and cocktail bar hidden behind a bookcase in the Rundle Bar. This hidden Sidecar lounge provides an intimate dining experience for something extra special.

Image Courtesy of Fairmont Chateau Whistler

The Fairmont Chateau Whistler

While not in the Rocky Mountains – this one is in the ski resort town of Whistler – it's still worthy of a mention for an absolutely magical winter trip. While the train won't go to Whistler in the winter (it's serviced by Rocky Mountaineer only), you can still book a coach tour or private transfer to make a visit. Combining classic elegance with a modern alpine setting and the convenience of a ski-in ski-out resort, the Chateau offers exceptional dining, full resort amenities and an incredible spa at the base of Blackcomb Mountain, just a short walk from the village.

Marketing Manager Steph on her winter trip to the Rockies

1. Luxury Winter Snow Train to the Canadian Rockies

Depart on a luxurious train trip through the Rockies, passing through the stunning winter scenery of Banff, Jasper and Lake Louise. Beginning in Vancouver, spend a night in your own private cabin on VIA Rail, then arrive to Jasper for a Maligne Canyon Ice Walk, wildlife tour, Dark Sky experience or dog sledding. Take a helicopter tour to Abraham Lake to witness methane gas bubbles frozen beneath the surface and arrive to Lake Louise in time for a cozy evening sleigh ride. Back in Banff, enjoy your choice of tours from wildlife viewing, snowshoeing or an Icewalk in Johnston Canyon before ending the trip in Calgary.

This trip includes:

  • Sleeping berth onboard VIA Rail for 1 night
  • 5 nights hotel accommodation
  • Transfer between rail depot and hotel in Jasper
  • Choice of 1 of 4 Excursions in Jasper
  • Jasper to Lake Louise private tour with Heli Snowshoe + Ice Bubbles Adventure
  • Gourmet picnic lunch between Jasper and Lake Louise
  • Sleigh ride at Lake Louise
  • Private transfer Lake Louise to Banff
  • Choice of 1 of 3 Excursions in Banff
  • Private transfer Banff to Calgary
  • Meals as per itinerary
  • National park fees

Image Courtesy of VIA Rail

2. Trans Canada Winter Train Adventure

Connecting Toronto with Vancouver and traveling in either direction, explore Canada from coast to coast on this incredible 12-day trip. From Toronto, you’ll board VIA Rail for the incredible journey through the prairies and great plains before arriving to the Rocky Mountains. Take your choice of tours in both Jasper and Banff, plus enjoy a helicopter snowshoe adventure to the trapped methane ice bubbles at Abraham Lake. Enjoying a private transfer from Banff to Lake Louise, soak up the beauty of your surroundings on a magical evening sleigh ride. Returning to Jasper you’ll board VIA Rail for the overnight route to Vancouver. Going the other way? It's the same, but in reverse.

This trip includes:

  • Sleeping berth onboard VIA Rail for 4 nights
  • 7 nights hotel accommodation
  • Transfer between rail depot and hotel in Jasper
  • Choice of 1 of 4 Excursions in Jasper
  • Jasper to Banff private tour with Ice Bubbles Adventure & picnic
  • Choice of 1 of 3 Excursions in Banff
  • Private transfer Banff to Lake Louise
  • Sleigh ride at Lake Louise
  • Private transfer Lake Louise to Jasper
  • Meals as per itinerary
  • National park fees

Image Courtesy of Travel Alberta and Paul Zizka

3. Winter Escapades | Canadian Rockies Winter Train

This 8-day itinerary is one of our most magical Canadian Rockies winter train trips through the snow covered mountains of Western Canada. Imagine climbing aboard a train in Vancouver, sharing a glass of wine with fellow travelers and being lulled to sleep by the gentle rocking of the train as snow falls outside. Waking to a Rockies winter wonderland for 7 days of adventure, you'll have your choice of tours in Jasper and Banff from exploring Maligne Canyon, wildlife viewing, dog sledding, snowshoeing or taking an Icewalk through Johnston Canyon.

This trip includes:

  • Sleeping berth onboard VIA Rail for 1 night
  • 6 nights hotel accommodation
  • Transfer between rail depot and hotel in Jasper
  • Choice of 1 of 3 Excursions in Jasper
  • Scheduled express coach between Jasper & Lake Louise
  • Sleigh ride at Lake Louise
  • Scheduled express coach between Lake Louise & Banff
  • Choice of 1 of 3 Excursions in Banff
  • Scheduled express coach between Banff & Calgary
  • Meals as per itinerary
  • National park fees

Image Courtesy of Travel Alberta

4. Christmas in the Canadian Rockies Winter Train Vacation

While it may be too late to book this package for this year, you can always consider it for next! Our 7-day Christmas in the Canadian Rockies Winter Train Vacation is everything you love about the holidays, all rolled up into one festive and fun-filled vacation. Stay at Canada's ‘Castle in the Rockies’, the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, and enjoy a delicious Christmas feast prepared by the hotel chefs. Embark on a guided Icewalk together through a frozen canyon, snowshoe through a sparkling landscape at Paint Pots, watch for wildlife like moose, elk and bighorn sheep and cozy up on a horse drawn sleigh ride. The memories made on this holiday are sure to last through the ages!

This trip includes:

  • Sleeping berth onboard VIA Rail for 1 night
  • 5 nights hotel accommodation
  • Transfer between rail depot and hotel in Jasper
  • Scheduled express coach between Jasper & Banff
  • Optional Christmas tree in room in Banff
  • Choice of 1 of 3 Excursions in Banff
  • Discover Lake Louise Tour
  • Sleigh ride in Banff
  • Christmas Dinner on the 25th
  • Scheduled express coach between Banff & Calgary
  • Meals as per itinerary
  • National park fees

Feeling inspired?

Get in touch with one of our travel designers to book one of the above packages or to customize your dream winter train trip in Canada. Prefer to simply stay in touch? Subscribe to our newsletter for up-to-date deals, trip ideas and more!

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