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The Best Canadian Train Trips for 2021

Post-pandemic, everyone will have one simple mission on their mind: to cross borders and travel. As we wind down what has been an unprecedented year, we begin to strategize: what are the best Canadian train trips to book for 2021?

The answer, as always, lays in the uniqueness of the individual and the type of travel and experiences that you most want to have. After all, no vacation is ever 'one size fits all.' Read on for our top recommended train trips for 2021, or contact us to customize your own Canadian adventure.

Note: This article was originally published on Canada Rail Vacations

Image Courtesy of Calgary Stampede / Travel Alberta

The Wild Western Experience

Calgary Stampede and the Canadian Rockies Train Tour

  • DAY 1 Vancouver to Jasper | VIA Rail
  • DAY 2 Arrive Jasper | VIA Rail
  • DAY 3 Jasper | Freedom of Choice - Choose 1 of 2 Excursions
  • Option 1. Morning Maligne Valley with Medicine Lake Tour
  • Option 2. Evening Discover Jasper & its Wildlife Tour
  • DAY 4 Jasper to Lake Louise | Sightseeing with picnic lunch
  • Ice Explorer Ride onto the Athabasca Glacier + Glacier Skywalk
  • DAY 5 Lake Louise to Banff | Coach
  • DAY 6 Banff | Freedom of Choice - Choose 1 of 3 Excursions
  • Option 1. Discover Banff & Its Wildlife Tour + Banff Gondola
  • Option 2. Discover Grizzly Bears, Lakes & Waterfalls
  • Option 3. Cowboy Horseback Cookout BBQ Lunch or Dinner
  • DAY 7 Banff to Calgary | Coach
  • DAY 8 Calgary Stampede | Reserved Seating for Rodeo event including:
  • Steer Wrestling | Ladies Barrel Racing | Saddle Bronc Riding | Bareback Bull Riding
  • DAY 9 Calgary Stampede | Chuckwagon Races + Evening Grandstand Show
  • DAY 10 Calgary | Departure

For those wishing to experience the 'wild west', look no further than this 10-day Western Canada summer train trip. Combining Calgary Stampede – otherwise known as 'The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth' – with a rail journey through the Canadian Rocky Mountains, you'll have a chance to catch authentic rodeo shows and chuck wagon races plus explore the alpine towns of Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper. A night onboard VIA Rail between Vancouver and Jasper is an included highlight of the trip. Sam and Steph from the Canada Rail Vacations team at Clayoquot Wilderness Resort

The Luxury Glamping Getaway

Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge & Canadian Rockies Rail Trip Combo

  • DAY 1 Vancouver to Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge | Floatplane
  • DAY 2 – 3 Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge | Included Activities
  • DAY 4 Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge to Vancouver
  • DAY 5 Vancouver | Freedom of Choice - Choose 1 of 2 Excursions
  • Option 1. Victoria & Butchart Gardens | Coach | ferry | floatplane
  • Option 2. Whistler with Sea to Sky Gondola | Coach | floatplane
  • DAY 6 Vancouver to Kamloops | Rocky Mountaineer
  • DAY 7 Kamloops to Jasper | Rocky Mountaineer
  • DAY 8 Jasper to Banff | Sightseeing with picnic lunch
  • Ice Explorer Ride onto the Athabasca Glacier + Glacier Skywalk
  • DAY 9 Banff to Calgary | Morning Sightseeing + Gondola

Perhaps rodeos aren't quite your thing, but camping in the quiet outdoors amongst stunning scenery is. Live it up with a stay at Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge, a seasonal, Relais & Châteaux, safari-style outpost with activities like horseback riding, wildlife viewing, canyoning, hiking, paddle boarding, fishing and heli-tours. Soak up every moment of this luxurious summer camp for adults, then take a day trip to Vancouver or Victoria before boarding the Rocky Mountaineer train for the Rockies. Canada Rail Vacations staff on a winter trip with VIA Rail

The True Winter Wonderland

Canadian Rockies Winter Rail Wonderland

  • DAY 1 Vancouver to Jasper | VIA Rail
  • DAY 2 Arrive Jasper | VIA Rail
  • DAY 3 Jasper Trail Tour | Dog Sledding
  • DAY 4 Jasper to Lake Louise | Evening sleigh ride
  • DAY 5 Lake Louise | Day at leisure
  • DAY 6 Lake Louise to Banff | Coach
  • DAY 7 - 8 Banff | Freedom of Choice - Choose 2 of 4 Excursions
  • Option 1. Discover Banff & Its Wildlife Tour
  • Option 2. Snowshoeing at Paint Pots
  • Option 3. Johnston Canyon Icewalk
  • Option 4. Banff Gondola
  • DAY 9 Banff to Calgary | Coach

Always wondered what winters in Canada are all about? Get your fill of fresh powder, sparkling landscapes, snow-capped peaks and magical frozen lakes on this 9-day train trip to the Rockies. Beginning in either Vancouver or Calgary, you'll travel onboard the iconic VIA Rail train and blend winter activities with mountain luxury. See Jasper, Lake Louise and Banff by day while unwinding in the deluxe comfort of the Fairmont properties by night. You'll even stay at Canada's 'Castle in the Rockies'! Image Courtesy of Knight Inlet Lodge

Bear Viewing in British Columbia

Grizzly Bears & The Canadian Rockies Rail Vacation

  • DAY 1 Vancouver | Arrival
  • DAY 2 Vancouver | Freedom of Choice - Choose 1 of 2
  • Option 1. Victoria & Butchart Gardens | Coach | ferry | floatplane
  • Option 2. Whistler with Sea to Sky Gondola | Coach | floatplane
  • DAY 3 Vancouver to Campbell River | Flight
  • DAY 4 Campbell River to Knight Inlet Lodge | Floatplane Flight | Grizzly Bear Viewing
  • DAY 5 Knight Inlet Lodge to Vancouver | Grizzly Bear Viewing | Flight
  • DAY 6 Vancouver to Jasper | VIA Rail
  • DAY 7 Arrive Jasper | VIA Rail
  • DAY 8 Jasper | Freedom of Choice - Choose 1 of 2 Excursions
  • Option 1. Morning Maligne Valley with Medicine Lake Tour
  • Option 2. Evening Discover Jasper & its Wildlife Tour
  • DAY 9 Jasper to Lake Louise | Sightseeing with picnic lunch
  • Ice Explorer Ride onto the Athabasca Glacier + Glacier Skywalk
  • DAY 10 Lake Louise to Banff | Coach
  • DAY 11 Banff | Freedom of Choice - Choose 1 of 2 Excursions
  • Option 1. Discover Banff & Its Wildlife Tour + Banff Gondola
  • Option 2 Cowboy Horseback Cookout BBQ Lunch or Dinner
  • DAY 12 Banff to Calgary | Coach

One of the top requests we get for any trip to Canada is to include wildlife watching. While the country is home to many bears, deer, moose, eagles, whales and the like, it's the Grizzly bear that so often steals the show, particularly when there are cubs. On this 12-day trip from Vancouver, we combine a stay at Knight Inlet Lodge – renowned for its Grizzly bear viewing – with a trip on VIA Rail to Jasper, Lake Louise and Banff. Get ready to discover one of the largest concentrations of Grizzly bears in BC! Image Courtesy of Travel Alberta

The Classic Canadian Rockies Experience

Majestic Canada Rail Vacation through the Rockies

  • DAY 1 Vancouver to Jasper | VIA Rail
  • DAY 2 Arrive Jasper | VIA Rail
  • DAY 3 Jasper | Freedom of Choice - Choose 1 of 2 Excursions
  • Option 1. Morning Maligne Valley with Medicine Lake Tour
  • Option 2. Evening Discover Jasper & its Wildlife Tour
  • DAY 4 Jasper to Lake Louse | Sightseeing with picnic lunch
  • Ice Explorer Ride onto the Athabasca Glacier + Glacier Skywalk
  • DAY 5 Lake Louise to Banff | Coach
  • DAY 6 Banff | Freedom of Choice - Choose 1 of 3 Excursions
  • Option 1. Discover Banff & Its Wildlife Tour + Banff Gondola
  • Option 2. Discover the Grizzly Bears Lake & Waterfalls
  • Option 3. Cowboy Horseback Cookout BBQ Lunch or Dinner
  • DAY 7 Banff to Calgary | Coach

Short on time but want the classic Canadian Rockies experience? On this week-long trip, you'll depart Vancouver onboard VIA Rail for an overnight journey to Jasper. Sleep in the comfort of your own private room, waking as the snow-capped peaks of the mountains come into view. On arrival, you'll disembark to spend the next 4 days exploring Jasper, Lake Louise and Banff, selecting your choice of tours in Jasper and Banff. Will it be wildlife viewing, a trip up the Gondola for sightseeing or a cookout? Image Courtesy of Tourism Vancouver

Cities and Rockies Combined

Vancouver & The Canadian Rockies Rail Vacation

  • DAY 1 Vancouver | Arrival
  • DAY 2 Vancouver | Freedom of Choice - Choose 1 of 2 Excursions
  • Option 1. Victoria & Butchart Gardens | Coach | ferry | floatplane
  • Option 2. Whistler with Sea to Sky Gondola | Coach | floatplane
  • DAY 3 Vancouver to Jasper | VIA Rail
  • DAY 4 Arrive Jasper | VIA Rail
  • DAY 5 Jasper to Lake Louise | Sightseeing with picnic lunch
  • Ice Explorer Ride onto the Athabasca Glacier + Glacier Skywalk
  • DAY 6 Lake Louise to Banff | Coach
  • DAY 7 Banff | Freedom of Choice - Choose 1 of 3 Excursions
  • Option 1. Discover Banff & Its Wildlife Tour + Banff Gondola
  • Option 2. Discover the Grizzly Bears Lake & Waterfalls
  • Option 3. Cowboy Horseback Cookout BBQ Lunch or Dinner
  • DAY 8 Banff to Calgary | Coach

Perhaps you love the idea of a small alpine town getaway, but prefer it to be paired with the bright lights and pulsing energy of the city. On this 8-day trip you'll start in Vancouver, where neighborhoods like Gastown, Yaletown, Coal Harbour and the West End await with much to do. After a day trip to Whistler or Victoria, board VIA Rail's renowned Canadian train to travel overnight to Jasper in the Rocky Mountains. Enjoy an array of activities through Lake Louise and Banff before ending the trip in Calgary.

Feeling inspired? Chat with one of our travel designers to create a custom trip that's just for you. Prefer to simply stay in touch? Subscribe to our newsletter for up-to-date deals, trip ideas and more!

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