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Unforgettable Journey on the Snow Train to the Canadian Rockies

The allure of a train journey through a winter landscape is undeniable. Cozy cabins, snow-clad vistas, and the rhythmic track clatter assemble the adventurous spirit within us. Our Social Media Specialist Stephane Obergfell takes us along on his recent trip aboard the Snow Train to the Canadian Rockies, booked with the Travel Experts at Canada By Design. Read on as Stephane shares his first-hand experience of this bucket list adventure.

Day 1: Embarking on a magical journey

My decision to undertake the jam-packed “Winter Snow Train to the Canadian Rockies | VIA Rail” adventture immediately ignited excitement. The idea of traversing the Rockies, witnessing nature's raw beauty, and embracing the charm of historic train travel filled me with anticipation.

Arriving at the iconic Pacific Central Station in Vancouver was a pleasure. The historic station feels like a portal to a different era, a fitting beginning to a journey steeped in both tradition and adventure. Inside the station, I was captivated by the blend of old-world charm and modern conveniences. The architecture whispered stories of countless journeys that had begun here, and the echoes of anticipation seemed to bounce off the walls. Amidst the historic details, there were subtle nods to the journey ahead, like the snow-themed decorations that adorned the waiting area and lounge.

As boarding time neared, we were provided with all the necessary information to make our journey seamless. And then, the moment arrived. The Snow Train, gleaming under the station's lights, awaited us on the tracks. As I stepped onto the train, I was welcomed by the warm greetings of the onboard staff and interiors were a blend of coziness and elegance. After settling into my spacious “Cabin for two” I found myself drawn to the expansive windows. The show truly begins as you exit the city and the world outside turns into a winter wonderland with snow-draped trees standing like sentinels along the tracks. The landscape seemed to change with every passing moment, revealing frozen lakes, cozy cottages nestled in the snow, and distant mountain peaks kissed by the sun's soft rays.

As the day's light dimmed and the evening approached, the Snow Train offered not only scenic views but also a delectable dining experience. The onboard dinner service was a culinary journey itself, featuring dishes that were a celebration of local flavors and international inspiration. The clinking of cutlery and the hum of conversations filled the air as travelers shared stories and savored each bite. After dinner I did a quick walk through the many carts, then it was back to my transformed suite for bedtime. Wrapped in the luxurious comfort of my cabin, I felt the gentle sway of the train as it continued its path through the Rockies.

Day 2: Aboard the Snow-Adorned Railcar

Waking up to a new day on the train brought its own sense of delight. The soft morning light filtered through the frost-traced windows, casting a gentle warmth that embraced the cabin. Wrapped snugly in a blanket, I savored the comfort of the moment, cradling a cup of hot cocoa as I turned my gaze to the unfolding panorama outside. Then it was time to enjoy a true Canadian breakfast at the dining cart before securing a spot in the famous Glass Dome car. The onboard staff, with their attentive presence and genuine warmth, ensured that each moment was curated to perfection. It was not just a visual spectacle that awaited us beyond the windows; but a multi-sensory immersion into the heart of the Rockies.

Our arrival in Jasper was met with the welcoming embrace of a snow-covered paradise. The town's charm was immediately apparent as we disembarked from the train. After checking into the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, I ventured out to explore the town nestled amidst the mountains. The streets of Jasper exuded a cozy ambiance, with quaint shops and cafes offering a break from the winter chill. As the sun dipped below the horizon, I returned to my hotel room to enjoy the spa and hot tub, before getting cozy and anticipating the adventure-filled days ahead.

Days 3-7: Exploring the Magical Rockies

Day 3 saw Jasper's snowy charm unfold. Following a guided tour that unveiled the town's heritage and natural marvels, I later found myself standing at Maligne Canyon, awestruck by the frozen waterfalls and delicate ice sculptures that adorned its walls. The tranquility of Jasper's allure lingered long after.

As the journey continued with private road transfers, Day 4 was a captivating transition to Lake Louise. Travelling along the Icefield Parkway, I can 100% attest to it being one of the most scenic roads in the world. It’s one of those experiences that photo’s truly don’t do it justice; you need to see it in person to enjoy the magnitude and beauty of it truly. Lake Louise is also iconic for hundreds of reasons, and it lived up to my expectations. Skating on the frozen lake and savoring hot cocoa while enveloped in such natural splendor felt like stepping into a true winter fairytale. I recommend staying at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise here to truly enjoy the setting and get the best experience.

Day 5 beckoned with Banff's allure—a fusion of mountainous beauty and town charm. The Banff Gondola ride unveiled panoramic vistas that captured the essence of the Rockies. Following this, a visit to Banff Upper Hot Springs provided a warm reprieve from the chilly surroundings. Exploring the town's culture and breathtaking landscapes added an unforgettable layer to the day.

The symphony of experiences continued Day 6 as Banff's diverse offerings took center stage. From scenic hikes that brought me closer to nature's heart to indulging in local artistry, every moment was a harmonious part of the greater whole. Day 7 marked the journey's culmination as we arrived in Calgary, a city thriving with excitement and culture. I was lucky enough to catch an NHL game watching the local Calgary Flames, which I highly recommend, then before I could realize it my adventure had come to an end.

Looking back, The Snow Train to the Canadian Rockies package expertly curated by Canada By Design epitomizes the enchantment of winter, inviting travelers to witness its majesty from the comfort of a luxurious train and grand mountain resorts. From the scenic vistas to the charming towns, from cozy accommodations to culinary delights, the journey was a combination of all of the things that make travel unforgettable. As I reminisce about the journey, I'm reminded that winter's allure isn't merely about the chill—it's about the stories that unfold when we embrace its magic.

Feeling inspired? Chat with one of our Travel Designers to create a custom trip that's just for you, or visit our Unforgettable Winter Vacations in Canada page for Winter trip ideas and Canada Rail Vacations for best selling Canadian train trips.

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Canada is very beautiful I’m very interested in taking the train ride across the Canada countryside to see more of it I’d like information about taking the train thank you


Exploring future vacation options

Christine Andrews,10/11/2023

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